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Willie Colón, Héctor Lavoe, And Yomo Toro’s ‘Asalto Navideño, Vol. II’ To Receive 50th Anniversary Reissue

The new edition is set to arrive on September 29.

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Willie Colon - Photo: Courtesy of Craft Latino
Willie Colón - Photo: Courtesy of Craft Latino

Craft Latino will celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of Latin music’s most beloved Christmas albums, Asalto Navideño, Vol. II.

Led by the inimitable duo of Willie Colón and Héctor Lavoe, with the addition of cuatro master Yomo Toro, this classic salsa title includes such festive favorites as “La Banda,” “Doña Santos,” and “Cantemos.” In stores on September 29 and available for pre-order today, Asalto Navideño, Vol. II features lacquers cut from the original master tapes (AAA) by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio and is pressed on 180-gram vinyl.

The LP is housed in a tip-on jacket, while the original jacket art (featuring Toro as Santa Claus) highlights the musicians’ playful personas. Fans can also find Asalto Navideño Vol. II in 192/24 hi-res audio on select digital platforms.

Asalto Navideño, which literally translates to “Christmas Assault” is named for the Puerto Rican Christmas tradition (also known as a parranda). Similar to the act of caroling, revelers visit their friends and families, singing (typically secular) songs and enjoying refreshments late into the night. In 1971, three leading Puerto Rican-American musicians (bandleader and trombonist Willie Colón, singer Héctor “El Cantante” Lavoe, and “King of the Cuatro” Yomo Toro) banded together to record their own parranda. The resulting album, which marked the first volume of Asalto Navideño, became a best-seller in the US and Puerto Rico.

As salsa reached its height in New York, fans could not get enough. And so, in 1973, the three musicians reunited with percussionists Milton Cardona and José Mangual Jr. to record even more holiday music. As with the first edition of Asalto Navideño, Colón (who also served as producer and arranger) selected eight traditional Puerto Rican country songs (música jíbara) and reimagined them in the salsa tradition, blending them with an array of Afro-Caribbean rhythms (from Cuban guaguancó to Brazilian samba).

Throughout Vol. II is an air of spirited celebration, as the banda toasts to Christmas, Three Kings Day, and New Year’s Day, while pledging solidarity with their fellow Latin Americans—particularly in songs like “Cantemos” and “Pa’ Los Pueblos.”

Pre-order Asalto Navideño, Vol. II.

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