1 minute read

Willie Colón: 1950—: Salsa Performer, Producer, Composer, Activist

Broadened Topics Of Salsa Lyrics

The creative partnership between Colón and Blades was a stormy but productive one, and the two parted company acrimoniously several times over the years. However, in 1978 they created Siembra, one of salsa's all-time bestselling albums. In the 1980s and 1990s, Colón began to diversify the topics addressed in his songs. "El gran varon" dealt with the AIDS scourge, and other songs dealt with such topics as poverty and military dictatorships in Latin America. "That's the magic, the real secret of what I do: balancing the commercial, the artistic and the social—without being heavy-handed or foisting something on people to the point they reject it," Colón told the Boston Globe.

Colón studied music theory and orchestration in the late 1970s, and his musical skills increased along with his poetic reach. He remained much in demand in the 1980s and 1990s as a producer and arranger, and made several solo recordings featuring his own vocals. Especially successful was Fantasmas, one of the best selling albums of his career. Colón recorded a few tracks in English, but for the most part he avoided crossover efforts. "I think what we do plays a very important role in the community and I want to remain true to the people we represent, who supported me from the beginning," he told the Boston Globe. Colón amassed 11 Grammy award nominations, and in 1991 the former Bronx high school dropout became the recipient of a Chubb fellowship from Yale University.

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Ciara Biography - Wrote Out Goals to Elizabeth David (1913–1992) BiographyWillie Colón: 1950—: Salsa Performer, Producer, Composer, Activist Biography - Switched To Trombone, Broadened Topics Of Salsa Lyrics, Entered Politics