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Willie Bobo: An Appreciation And A New Album

Percussionist Willie Bobo (left) with son Eric Bobo.
Courtesy of the artist
Percussionist Willie Bobo (left) with son Eric Bobo.

Percussionist and bandleader Willie Bobo had a remarkable career that not only reflected his Afro-Caribbean background, but also created a cross-cultural hybrid that still reflects the bi-cultural life of Latinos living in this country. Still, he rarely gets enough credit for his role in the development of bugaloo, Latin jazz, and then Latin soul.

This week on Alt.Latino, we change that when we talk to his son, Eric Bobo, about a new collection of long-lost material, released this week with the title Dig My Feeling.

From his start with Tito Puente and Latin big bands to his later career as a major exponent of Latin soul, Willie Bobo innovated constantly. The proof of that lies in the way contemporary club DJs seek out vinyl copies of Bobo's albums from the 1960s and '70s, up until his death in 1983.

So this week, we're all about Willie Bobo and shedding more light on his place in Latin-music history — not to mention a whole bunch of old-school finger-popping grooves.

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Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.
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