(Willie Sanabria, Angel Rodriguez, Jose Rivera (behind Angel), Rene Lopez II, Tony Rosa, Willie Everich, Hector Elegua, Mike Rodriguez, Photo courtesy of Willie Everich)
The main reason I started this blog was to highlight several groups and individual rumberos which have played a significant role in the development and longevity of rumba in the city. One such group that plays a major part is whom i like to refer to as "the Bronx crew".
This particular crew of rumberos has consisted of street rumberos and members of Totico's house. I am going to name a couple that will hopefully be covered more deeply in the coming weeks/months.
Jose "Apache" Rivera
Rene Lopez II
* Willie reminded me to add John "Babaila" Martinez to this list as he has played a significant role as well...we will prepare more info on Babaila soon.
All these cats are heavies in their own right, and most are still playing in the NYC area. Some like Scorpio have moved on to other cities (i.e Atlanta) and sadly some have passed. Its is safe to say that without players such as these, NYC would not have the thriving rumba scene that it once had and still has (especially among the younger generation of rumberos y tamboleros). These individuals, to me are the unsung heroes of rumba in the city.
Now this is not to say that this was/is the only crew in NYC that mattered, as mentioned before Puntilla's extended crew was equally as heavy, the Central Park Crew, Chevere Macum Chevere crew and others will all hopefully be covered at some point in time on this blog.(Wille "El Ruso" Everich", great rumbero, friend, and Sentimiento Manana partner)
You will be hearing me throw around Willie's name in probably every blog entry I write. See, Willie is my ear to the streets so to speak. Since I haven't lived in NY for quite some time, Willie has been gracious enough to provide me with contacts and inside information on the rumba scene as he knows it, and believe me, Willie has been around long enough to be considered an authority on said scene. Willie is a true Bronxite and his straightforward demeanor, guidance and honesty have provided much help to up and coming rumberos and his willingness to share what he has learned and experienced have provided valuable insight to all that know him. So that said...let's formally welcome Willie "El Ruso" to the blog....
He is in fact of Ukranian descent, but "El Ruso" does have a nice ring to it...
On a side note...if you haven't checked out Barry Cox's site...shame on you...you are missing out...