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Hi! When I searched the web for Joe Arroyo I found that there was no real homepage about him, which is weird cause to me he´s one of the greatest artist who´s ever walked this earth. So I decided to put together a little page with information about him. If you have more info about him or his music, or if you have more lyrics please send it to this emailadress and I´ll add it to the page.


Joe Arroyo (full name Alvaro José Arroyo Gonzalez), son of Guillermo Arroyo and Angela González, was born on 1st November 1955 in Cartagena, a city of about 1 million inhabitants on the northern Colombian coast. Arroyo grew up in a poor family with no less than 39 siblings and half-siblings. Cartagena has a long history of being one of the most important ports when the spaniards conquered this part of South America in the 1600 century and is known for it´s beautiful arquitecture and scenic landscape right on the caribean coastline. Joe grew up here surrounded by all the latin and colombian music styles such as cumbia, son, tambores etc which all were to become part of his own musical repetoir later on. But also listening and getting inspired by salsa stars from outside of Colombia and artist from the New York salsa scene, artists like Richie Ray and Celia Cruz who both were some of his greatest idols.
The reputation always has it his own musical career started at the age of eight when he started singing in local strip clubs in Cartagena. But he was also part in for example the choir in the cathedral of Cartagena at the age of 12. And a local piano teacher and leader of a group who played at a hotel called "El hotel Americano" regonized his talent and beautiful, unic voice and singing style and brought him in to play with them and he ended up singing with the group for four years.
Until he in 1971 he was picked up as a singer for a group which later was to become the most famous salsa group of Colombia - "Fruko y sus tesos", lead by salsa-magician Julio Ernesto Estrada Rincon(nicknamed Fruko) and thus also became part of the most famous record company in Colombia, Discos Fuentes, which later also were to release a vast number of his solo records.
With Fruko he recorded some of the most famous colombian salsa songs in history(allthough he does not sing "El Preso", a common misconception. Fruko has had a number of vocalists and "El Preso" is sung by another famous colombian singer, Wilson "Saoko" Manyoma, info about him, in spanish however, here


The songs sung by Arroyo with Fruko are:

"El negro chombo", "Manyoma", "Los Patulekos", "Nadando", "El cocinero mayor", "Lloviendo", "El arbol", "Catalina del mar", "Confundido", "Quiero de nuevo empezar", "Flores Silvestres", "Yo soy el punto cubano", "El Ausente", "Tania", "La vi partir", "La cara del payaso", "El Caminante", "Bamboleo en el mar", "El amor", "Alma Navideña".
Other songs are sung by other Fruko singers such as Wilson "Saoko" Manyoma, Piper "Pimienta" Diaz etc. full list here:

In 1981, after having being one of the singers in another famous colombian salsa group for a period, "The Latin Brothers", Arroyo decided to fulfill his dream of having a group of his own and named it Joe Arroyo y La verdad(The truth). Allthough it took some time to get the project started; before it got started his friends used to say it should be called "La Mentira"(The lie) since it never materialized, once it was formed this was were Joe Arroyo´s full talent was finally to be seen. "La Verdad" allowed him to explore all the different latin music styles and his geniuosness as a muscician was fully displayed.
In his teenage years he had left Cartagena for another city a bit further up the coast, Barranquilla. A music metropolis in Colombia that ever since had became the city of his heart and that he was going to dedicate many songs to. Barranquilla is known for being home of many great musicans and be a meeting point for up and coming musicians.
Barranquilla is also known for it's carnaval which many argue is the most dinamic and beautiful after the carnaval in Rio, which is not bad for a city with only a slice of the number of inhabitants. During carnaval(carnaval is just four days but festivities starts in January and go on through out February ending on Ash Wednesday) a contest is held where orquestras and groupations get to show of their talent and compete for the prestigous "Conga de Oro" award(The golden conga). This prize Joe Arroyo and his band has won 8 times. Infact it was decided in 1990 he was going to receive a special "Super Conga de Oro" to give other bands a chance of winning it.
During the 80`s a lot of Arroy´s most beautiful songs were made that brought him recognicion. Songs like "Mary", "Echao Pa'lante"(echado para adelente, meaning `ready´ or `fit for fight´), "En Barranquilla me quedo"(In Barranquilla I´m staying), "Por Ti No Morirè", "Son Apretao", "La Noche" a long with many, many others. And not least the immortal song "Rebelión-(No le pegue a la negra)" which is the reason many people first discover the bonanza of songs of Joe Arroyo. Here are the lyrics and translation of Rebelión..

  Quiero contarle mi         I would like to tell you
 hermano un pedacito de la     my friend a little bit    
 historia negra, de la       about the black history, 
historia nuestra,            about our history,  
caballeros                   gentlemen

     Y dice así:             And it goes like this:
Dice!                        Goes like!

En los años mil seiscientos  In the sixteenths century
cuando el tirano mandó       When the tyran ruled
Las calles de Cartagena      The streets of Cartagena
aquella historia vivió.      This story took place

Cuando aquí                  When here
llegaban esos negreros       Arrived those black people
Africanos en cadenas         Africans in chains
besaban mi tierra            They kissed my land
    Esclavitud perpetua          But were sent to 
Esclavitud perpetua perpetual slavery Un matrimonio africano An african matrimony Esclavos de un español Slaves of a man from Spain El les daba muy mal trato He treated them very badly y a su negra le pegó And beat the black girl Y fue allí, And it was here, that the se rebeló el negro guapo hansom black boy rebelled Tomo venganza por su amor And took revenge for his Y aún se escucha love and in the gates en la verja.. still echoes.. No le pegue a mi negra Don´t you hit my woman No le pegue a la negra Don´t hit the woman

But not everything was easy street for Joe before he reached fame with his band. During the early years of the eightees Arroyo suffered from sever health problems due to stress and a lot of partying and drug use. The doctors saw his chances of recovering as small and one time, 7th September of 1983 when he weighed only 42kg and were confined to his bed they were sure he was going to die. However miraculusly he managed to fully recover and 23rd October, a month and a half later although he had problems paying the bill he was allowed to leave the hospital ready to start a new creative life.
Many of Arroyo´s songs and lyrics can be seen in the light of that incident and he ever since acredit a lot to "the higher force" and for example wrote the song "A mi Dios todo le debo"(To my God I owe everything). After leaving the hospital he said: "No soy fanático pero por toda ésta experiencia me di cuenta de que existe un ser supremo. Seguro que sí; por eso digo que 'a mi Dios todo le debo"("I´m not a fanatic but this whole experience made me realize that it exists a supreme beeing. For sure; therefor I say 'to my god I owe everything')
In 1989 he did his first european tour after releasing the record "La guerra de los callados". But he has also done shows in Great Britain, Miami and New York. Joe Arroyo has released a large amount of records, exploring all kinds of styles within the latin genre. He has even come up with a music style of his own drawing from different latin rhytms, and named it "joesón".
Arroyo regulary on his records goes back to do a lot of songs within the traditional Colombian music styles, "Para que no me olviden"(so you won´t forget me!)like he says himself.
Today Arroyo continues to release the best tropical music you can find. His latest record is called "Arroyo peligroso" and was released in 2004. Several dvd´s has been released, the best one being "El Rey Del Carnaval Y Del Caribe", which features both videos he has made and songs in concert. This dvd is a must-have for fans. He is still true to his song and still lives in Barranquilla in Colombia and gives shows in Colombia. His style on stage is very modest. He doesn´t move very far from the microphone, allthough the energy of the music is released through his always stepping feet. His presence and the intensity of his performaces are amazing. Every song sung with that special spontanous, natural ease yet with precisness. He always has a special expresion on his face on stage, full of joy but modest almost insecure, as if he didn´t know that his is the king of tropical music and should brim nothing but unconfined confidence.
And this amazing artist keeps bringing joy to the world. His music never stops amazing in its ability to lift your spirits and realize the power and beauty of music. His formula when making songs is unic and so effective in conveing emotions of joy and lust for life. Every song filled with energy that leaves noone untouched...



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"El Joe!"

Here´s a list of most of the songs Joe has recorded,
as you can see he´s super productive!

-Abandonaron El Campo -Adios Fulana -A Mi Dios Todo Le Debo -Aprieta Que Llegue -Ban Ban -Barranquillera -Barranquilla Me Voy -Bella Sin Alma -Blanco Y Negro -Cantinero -Chuvidu -Confundido -Corázon Rumbero -De Clavel -Deja Que Te Cante -Deja Que Te Agarre -Droga -Echao Pa'lante -El Arbol -El Barbero -El Caminante -El Concinero Mayor -El Coquero -El Centurion De La Noche -El Palo -El Mana -El Maletero -El Monstruo -El Nino Dios -El Sapo -El Son Del Caballo -El Trato -El Verano -Ella Y Tu -En Barranquilla me quedo -Enhorabuena -Falta la plata -Feliz Contigo -Fuego -Fuego En Mi Mente -Fundillo Loco -Fusion -Homenaje a Estafania -Homenaje A Irene Martinez -Inocente -Juguete de amor -La Amare -Las Cajas -La Cocha -La India Catalina -La Madera -La Mini Mini -La Guerra De Los Callados -La Ponzona -La Vuelta -Los Barcos En La Bahia -La Noche -La Tortuga -Las Cabanuelas -La Vi Partir -Lina Balina -Los Patulekos -Llanto Ven Llanto Va -Lloviendo -Maná -Mama -Mara Paola -Mary -Mi Libertad -Mis Zapatos Blancos -Mosaico Folclorico -Musa Original -Muevelo -Mueve Un Pie -Matiagua -Me Le Fugue A La Candela -Mostaza Al Cafe -Nadando -Noche De Arreboles -No Se Vivir Sin Ti -No Tanto -Omnipotente -Panama me tombe -Pañuelo Y Guayuco -Patrona De Los Reclusos -Palenque -Panama Me Tombe -Pan De Arroz -Planazos -Por Ti No Morir -Por El Suelo -Quiero De Nuevo Empezar -Ratón -Rosa -Revelacion 16-14 -Rosa Angelina -Rebelion -Sabre Olvidar -Se Rompio El Paraguas -Simula Timula -Son Apretao -Somos Seres -Son Sin Papelon -Soy El Folclor -Suave Bruta -Sus Razones Tendra -Tal para cual -Tania II -Tato -Teresa Vuelve -Te Quiero Mas -Torito -Tu Volveras -Tumbatecho -Tumanye -Ulala Cartagena -Viajero -Vuelve -Yamulemau -Y Que Mi Socio


here are some of the records Joe Arroyo has made -Arroyo Peligroso -2004 -Los Magnificos de la Salsa -2002 -A Duo: Los Reyes del Tropico -2001 -Los Gigantes de la Salsa -2001 -En Sol Mayor -2000 -Cruzando el Milenio -1999 -Rey del Carnaval -1998 -Deja Que Te Cante -1998 -Reinando en Vida -1997 -Mi Libertad -1996 -Sus Razones Tendra -1995 -Fuego -1993 -Toque de Clase -1991 -Echao Pa'lante -1990 -Y La Verdad

Here you can see what instruments Joe might use during a set...

The beautiful flag of Colombia!

A couple of places of the colombian map - Cartagena - hometown of Arroyo,
Barranquilla - la bella!, Medellin - base of Discos Fuentes and hometown
of "Fruko y sus tesos", Cali - salsa capital of the world,
Bogota - capital of Colombia..
- bus from Bogotá to Barranquilla takes 17 hours.



A couple of other images of "El Joe"!

Other pieces of information that might be fun to know:

- Barranquilla is also hometown of popstar Shakira and salsa artist Maia
- Mary that Arroyo sings about is his wife.
- The genious piano player on many of Arroyos tracks is called Chelito de Castro, "Y con ustedes, Chelito de Castro!"

Hope you enjoyed the website. For suggestions or comments use this emailadress, - Have a nice day! Chao!

Here are the pages that I've collected some of the info from: sites/pavilions/artists/artists/676.htm