Andy Montanez

 

A presentation by the salsa singer Andy Montañez should begin with an affirmation. The artistic permanence of Niño de Trastalleres after four uninterrupted decades making music establishes the anteroom for the Latin American people. I don't think there is an advertising machine that dares claim that distinction.

Andy's beginnings date back to 1962 with the then newly created musical group El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico. However, those years that preceded such valuable experience recognize a junior, the first-born of 17 children of Doña Celina Rodríguez and Don Andrés Montañez as a bolero singer in the Luis Morales group and as Second Voice of the Los Duendes Trio. This is the Junior who, under the leadership of the legendary Rafael Ithier, together with Pellín Rodríguez, forms one of the most remembered duos in the history of that group.

They were 15 years marked of successes. El Niño de Trastalleres recorded 37 lp's with the Gran Combo de Puerto Rico. There he created and sealed the luggage that would always accompany him. “El Barbero Loco”, “Julia”, “Guaguancó del Gran Combo”, 'A Summer in New York ”,“ Vagabundo ”,“ Sentimental Milonga ”,“ Las Hoja Blancas ”,“ La Soledad ”. Today's classic 'A mi modo', a song he recorded with Paquito Guzmán and originally with Pellín Rodríguez.

It was in 1977 that Andy decided his luck this time without the backing of the group that screened him internationally. Thus, he faced the riskiest test of his artistic career: outside his country and without the Gran Combo, by accepting the irresistible offer made by the popular Venezuelan orchestra "La Dimensión Latina" to replace Oscar D'León.

With “la Dimensión Latina” he recorded eight LPs that placed the Venezuelan group in the first places of popularity and sales. The first album with the Latin Dimension marked the successes "El Eco Del Tambor", "Mujer Impura", "Ritmos Cubanos". Then the triumphs continued with the songs “Las Perlas de tu Boca”, “Como Canto Yo”, “Nuestra Tierra”, “Vuelve”, “Rumberos de Ayer”, “Son del Bohío”, “Ave María Lola”, “Mi They are Oriental ”,“ Singer Errante ”, and others.

For 1980, Andy Montañez recorded three LPs with the group "Puerto Rico All Stars" that were the prelude to his return to Puerto Rico. “Reunion en la Cima”, “Isla Bonita”, “Tribute to the Messiah” dedicated to Eddie Palmieri, delineated that growth process in which the salsa singer still continues.

Once in Puerto Rico, Andy forms his own orchestra. In 1981 he recorded his first solo LP entitled “Salsa con Caché” with the LAD record label, a subsidiary of TH Rodven. There the hits "El Juicio de los Animales", "Las Calabazas", "Milonga para una Niña", "A station in Heaven" are born. Then came the production entitled "Versatile" with the hits "Qui, Qui, Qui", "Villarán Cuenca", "A Pesar de Todo", "Drinking Rum without Bathing".

His third LP "Simply Andy Montañez" rang with the hits "Dulce Veneno", "Payaso". In this production, Andy Jr. marks his debut with the song “Genio y Figura” by composer Tite Curet Alonso. It should be noted that this album remained 30 weeks in Bilboard magazine in its tropical music pages with five songs. With this album his orchestra is established.

In his fourth LP "You are making it difficult for me" where the hits "Cobarde, cowarde", "I'll teach you", "When I saw you", his son Harold debuts with "El Benjamín", also by Curet. Alonso.

For 1988 he recorded his fifth album entitled "El Eterno Enamorado" with the hits "Aquella Noche", "Te voy a Sacir de Mí", "Vivir sin Tí", "Almost envy you".

He continues his record production with the Rodven label and records for 1990 "Todo Nuevo" with the hits "Fantasma", "Cena Inconclusa". In 1991, "El Catedrático de la Salsa" emerged in reference to his participation in the University of Salsa, as they say to the prestigious group El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico.

By the summer of 1992, he joined his orchestra with his daughter Ednaliz Montañez to establish, together with his brothers, "La Dinastía Montañez" where musical talent remains as a family heritage.

At the Universal Exhibition of Seville '92 the Salsero received the highest ovation awarded to an artist by the Sevillian people. “Previously, the only artist to receive such an honor was the Italian tenor“ Luciano Pavarotti ”, according to the review in the Spanish press.

With the album "El Swing de siempre" (1992 where the songs "Chemen Chemen" and "El Santo" stand out, the renowned singer ends his contract with the record label TH Rodven. For those years El Salsero recessed the record production for 3 years.

This allowed him to accept invitations from his former colleagues to perform again together. This time he debuted with El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico in Japan, (1993). They also shared a stage in the city of Los Angeles and in the Republic of Colombia (1994). He was the guest of honor with the "Montañez Dynasty" and "La Dimensiòn latina" in the carnivals of Venezuela (1995).

In 1996 he recorded the romantic musical genre par excellence: Bolero, together with the salsa singer Ismael Miranda. “Al son del Bolero”, “Románticos de Nuevo” (1997) and “Con Alma de Niño” for 1998.

At that time Andy was invited to participate in the Venezuelan film “One Hundred Years of Forgiveness” as the interpreter of two of the themes that accompany the plot. The undeniable affection he has for the Venezuelan people and the recommendation of the prominent Puerto Rican actor Daniel Lugo made this experience possible.

Although his steps in acting in the cinematographic medium dates back to the 80s in the film "Boda" by the Venezuelan filmmaker Taelman Urgelles.

Along with other salsa stars and some major league players, he participated in the record project "Roberto Clemente Un tribute Musical" with the song "Roberto y Tirabala" by Pablo Rosario.

By 1998 he finally created his first independent production as a salsa singer. Guided by his feelings, his proven experience and his artistic spontaneity, the album “Soy Como Soy” arises. Collect this true village artist in his themes. This production is a tribute that Andy pays to his people to whom he responds with a commitment of national pride wherever he goes. El Niño de Trastalleres together with the renowned arranger and conductor Louis García chose the songs he performed.

Today, Andy Montañez is another symbol of Puerto Ricanness. He has received innumerable tributes both on the island and in different cities in North America where more than two million Puerto Ricans reside.

In Puerto Rico, he has been part of two theatrical works: “The Best Is Yet to Come, directed by Pablo Cabreras, and the musical“ El Bombón de Helena ”staged by the prestigious group“ Teatro del Sesenta ”.

In 2000 he realized one of his dreams: to sing under the baton of maestro Lito Peña accompanied by the Puerto Rico State Band in Castellón, Spain.

Despite 4 years without recording, Andy lives one of the most glorious moments of his career. Popular recognition places him as one of the most beloved figures in his country.

For 2002 Andy Montañez sees the support of his people materialized by filling for three consecutive days the Festival Hall of the Center of Fine Arts. Disregarding the impressive technological resources of the show that boasts in these times, El Niño de Trastalleres dressed his surroundings in the simplicity that does not abandon him and captivated three generations with an unforgettable musical journey in which El Bolero, la Música de Tríos, La Salsa and La Plena harmonized that patriotic atmosphere.