Craft Latino, the Latin repertoire arm of Craft Recordings, is proud to present an all-analog remastered vinyl reissue of Siembra, the transcendental LP that caused a revolution in Latin music and, for many years, was the best-selling album in salsa history.
Out this August 6, the new edition of Siembra was remastered from its original analog master tapes by Phil Rodriguez at Elysian Masters and pressed on 180-gram audiophile quality vinyl at Memphis Record Pressing.
The iconic album will also be released in hi-res digital for the first time, including 192/24 and 96/24 formats. In addition, an Emerald Green color vinyl exclusive is being offered at Fania.com with exciting bundle options that include a commemorative Siembra T-shirt.
Released in 1978, Siembra was the second full-length collaboration between Panamanian singer/songwriter Rubén Blades—formerly a vocalist with Ray Barretto’s orchestra—and visionary Nuyorican producer Willie Colón, who had already made history with a string of superlative albums featuring mercurial salsa star Héctor Lavoe.
Colón’s soulful sonic identity—built on layers of trombone riffs, always eager to incorporate the influence of outside genres—provided the perfect counterpoint to Blades’ songwriting universe. If their previous album together had already merged Afro-Caribbean beats with sociopolitical messages, Siembra was the thinking Latino’s ideological manifesto.
Opening track “Plástico” uses a disco-flavored false start as the jumping board for a simmering salsa jam condemning prejudice and materialism. “Buscando Guayaba” combines picaresque innuendo with a devastating groove, complete with an improvised “mouth solo” in lieu of a guitar. Siembra’s title track is all about Latino pride and emancipation. And the epic “Pedro Navaja,” a seven-minute tour de force blending Kafka, Bertolt Brecht, West Side Story and tropical fever, remains to this day the ultimate salsa epic, a stark, richly layered illustration of the genre’s unlimited potential.
Legend has it that Fania executives at the time were hesitant to release a record so unrepentant in its desire to lead salsa into a new level of poetic vision. But the public, weaned on a full decade of wondrous tropical albums, fell head over heels for the duo’s ambitions. Colón’s sophisticated sound, Blades’ memorable lyrics and hummable hooks are now legendary. Siembra signaled the commercial apex of both Fania as a label and the ’70s salsa explosion as cultural phenomenon. It would remain a record-breaking LP until the arrival of Marc Anthony and his salsa-pop soundscapes in the ’90s.