Sample 700+ Vintage Latin Records & Afro-Caribbean Rhythms by Ansonia RecordsSample 700+ Vintage Latin Records & Afro-Caribbean Rhythms by Ansonia Records


Sample 700+ Vintage Latin Records & Afro-Caribbean Rhythms by Ansonia Records

Back in the 1940s, when the streets of New York were bursting with Latin music, Puerto Rican Rafael Pérez started a label called Ansonia Records to champion sounds ranging from bolero to Latin Jazz. Today, with a catalog of thousands of records deep—sampled by DJ Khaled, Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B, and more—Ansonia Records now opens its vault doors to Tracklib users…




May 11, 2023

With the rise of Latin music in pop music in the last few years—and undoubtedly in the years to come—which role do you think the catalog of Ansonia Records can play for producers, in terms of sampling?

Souraya Al-Alaoui (manager of Ansonia Records): Ansonia Records is one of the labels that created the foundation upon which salsa and merengue could grow to become global phenomena. Producers might be familiar with the Fania catalog and its artists, but what they'll be finding within the Ansonia catalog are those foundational rhythms that those Fania artists played with and pulled from to create salsa as we now know it.

However, there is much more to the catalog that has been untapped and untouched. Rhythms and sounds that only a very small part of the world are familiar with that can be mined and readapted for our current musical landscape.

For starters who are not yet familiar with your catalog, can you please highlight a few artists who helped shape Latin music history?

Noro Morales – considered the "Duke Ellington of Latin Music." He was a leading figure in the Latin music scene of the 1940s in the US.

Arsenio Rodríguez – developed the son montuno rhythm, which became the blueprint for mambo and later salsa.

Mon Rivera – developed the "trombanga" (trombone section) in his band, which was later adopted by Willie Colón and Eddie Palmieri, and became standard in salsa groups.

Rafael Cortijo –  through his early group, Cortijo y su Combo, he introduced not widely known rhythmic patterns, call and response structures (as well as African-based timbres), and prominent placement of a rhythm section at the front of the band. Additionally, he and his group broke the color barrier on Puerto Rican TV, becoming the first Afro-Boricuan group to perform on TV.

What do you think digging into Ansonia's catalog can bring to a producer's sound?

Ansonia is a totally unique catalog that has, so far, been rarely heard in contemporary hip-hop/Latin music. These fresh and vibrant sounds will bring rich colors to any track.

The original intent of Ansonia Records founder Rafael Pérez was to "champion the authentic Latin music that mainstream American labels largely ignored." Can you please illustrate this mission with a few artists or songs?

When Ansonia Records began [in 1949], very specific Latin dance music was popular in the US, such as rumba and mambo. These were "big city" sounds that were able to cross over. What Ansonia first focused its energy on was the music from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Haiti, and music that was more "folk" or from the countryside. Music styles like the Puerto Rican jíbaro (countryside/folk music), plena, and bomba, the Dominican merengue, the Cuban guajira, and the Haitian meringue and such were a little more challenging to the Western ear.

However, considering the growing Latin and Caribbean diaspora in NYC and beyond, Ralph Pérez saw the hole in the market, which didn't take that diasporic community into account. Pérez and Ansonia helped popularize Dominican merengue in the US with the group Ángel Viloria y su Conjunto Típico Cibaeño. They were also home to one of the most beloved Puerto Rican jíbaro singers, Ramito, who recorded one of the most iconic songs of the Puerto Rican diaspora "Que Bonita Bandera" and often sang of pride in his heritage and land.

Ansonia also highlighted the Afro-Puerto Rican genres that were often looked down upon on the island, like plena and bomba, with recordings from Orquesta Panamericana, with future Latin music legend Ismael Rivera, particularly the song "El Charlatán."

"As we digitize, we're discovering how well these original tapes have been preserved."

—Souraya Al-Alaoui (manager of Ansonia Records)

Are there any stories or anecdotes worth sharing about discovering music from your catalog throughout the process of digitizing old records?

As we digitize, what we're discovering is how well these original tapes have been preserved. Of course, we've come across some tapes with issues here and there. But by and large most of the recordings sound really good for how old they are. So far what we've been digitizing we have LP copies of, but we are just now beginning to digitize tapes that contain singles that we haven't heard yet… We're really excited about that.

What does the art of sampling mean to Ansonia Records as a label?

Ansonia Records is run and curated by DJs and music supervisors. We LOVE sampling culture and history and are so excited to be a part of the community in a totally new way.

How do you think Tracklib can change the way people sample?

Tracklib brings amazing music to artists that are actively seeking the coolest sounds. We love that Tracklib provides a marketplace where artists can interact with our music and create something brand new.

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