By Robert Fox
I hope you have room to dance in front of your computer: get a load of this blistering streaming video clip of the Fania All-Stars from their historic 1974 concert in Kinshasa, Zaire (Congo), featuring Celia Cruz at the height of her powers, backed by one of the greatest big bands ever put together. Wow--now that's funky!
This footage is from the video "Fania All-Stars Live in Africa," shot in front of 80,000 people at Stadu du Hai in Kinshasa as part of the "Rumble in the Jungle" concert series linked to the Ali-Foreman fight (as depicted in "When We Were Kings"). The Fania Live in Africa video is now available on DVD.
Can I get a witness? This band defines classic salsa with its incredible, heart-stopping funk and masterful musicianship.
The Fania All-Stars of this era included salsero giants Hector Lavoe, Ray Barretto, Cheo Feliciano, Mongo Santamaria, Johnny Pacheco and many other world-class performers, musicians and dancers. Their epic 1975 "Live at Yankee Stadium" is arguably the greatest live salsa album ever recorded, especially considering the time and place. Volume 2 has a special spot on my playlist, and also includes historic live cuts from Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan. Check it out for the sheer energy, gigantic groove and incomparable vibe. ¡Vaya!