Los Kenya Siempre Afro-Latino
MÃºsica Infinita presents the raw and uncompromising Afro Latin sound of Ray Perez and Los Kenya, one of the most interesting groups to spring out of the Venezuelan salsa scene in the late sixties. The late 60s was a prolific period for outstanding Afro-Latin music in Venezuela, with multiple local labels releasing and distributing records by a myriad of homegrown talent. Pianist and bandleader, Ray Perez, recorded and released seven LPs between 67 & 68 with Los Dementes, one of the best-known salsa bands in the country at the time. Following a brief stint in New York, where he shared the stage with Kako's orchestra, Perez returned to Venezuela and under the influence of bandmates Luis Arias and Alfredo Naranjo formed Los Kenya. The core of this compact group was made up of two trumpets and a drum set, uncommon at a time when big bands were the norm. With the addition of an accomplished and unique pair of vocalists in Calaven and Carlin Rodriguez, Los Kenya cooked up a stew of raw, groovy, and uncompromising tunes for their debut LP on Velvet, later re-released by Ray himself under his own Pyraphon label, and presented here in a limited and re-mastered edition. Having recently left his previous band Los Dementes, Ray and Los Kenya debuted with a live performance in September of 1968 at Sunday Party Group to present their 7 inch single featuring "Hoculele" and "Omelembe". Soon after, their debut album was released by the label Velvet. Due to a combination of original compositions, most of them written and arranged by Ray; a killer lineup of musicians; and an uncompromising and raw approach to their music, Los Kenya became one of the most interesting new groups in the Venezuelan salsa scene. In Ray's own words: "each of my bands had a distinct sound. For example, Los Dementes had a different sound to Eddie Palmieri's band even though we shared a similar configuration. The same happens with Los Kenya and another of my band's Los Calvos, both of which had a very similar lineup of musicians.