Salsa Fiddle
July 2, 2011 7:33 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a Puerto Rican salsa band headed by Victor Arlo (?).

This was described to me as "old Puerto Rican salsa from the 70's." My spelling of the band leader's last name is completely phonetic. English family names are not that uncommon in Puerto Rico, and my untrained anglophone ears can mishear Spanish pretty badly sometimes.

What I most remember about this band is absolutely mesmerizing fiddle playing, with some especially incredible fiddle over percussion solo bits. I only know of this band from an old coworker of mine, who had some cassettes of theirs. I've long since lost touch with him. Please help!

(Recommendations of similar stuff are also OK.)
posted by nangar to Media & Arts (5 answers total)
Best answer: Are you maybe thinking of Larry Harlow? (Scroll down for a violin battle).
posted by DrGirlfriend at 7:43 PM on July 2, 2011

Response by poster: If it helps at all, my friend was from Puerto Rico, and would have been a teenager in the 70's, so he probably would have bought the tapes there at the time. The band would not necessary have been known off the island.

I said "cassettes," but I may just be remembering an A and B side.
posted by nangar at 7:46 PM on July 2, 2011

Best answer: Did all of the songs on the tape feature or include the fiddle? It's just not a very common instrument to hear in salsa, although there were strings in 70's salsa (just not in the style that I'm imagining from your description). Could the fiddling have been a special, one-off thing?

Victor Arlo or anything that sounds like that name is not sounding familiar, which is why I thought of Larry Harlow (who was active in the 70's and played with Fania All Stars as well as solo, and he has a very varied musical background that includes the violin).

I'm from PR and am an avid 70's salsa fan, but I was born in 1975 so I'm sure there might be lesser-known bands I'm not aware of just because I was, you know, a baby. But I'll put out a call to see if my relatives who were salseros in the 70's can think of anything.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 8:05 PM on July 2, 2011

Did the strings sound something like this?
posted by DrGirlfriend at 11:08 AM on July 3, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for your help, DrGirlfriend!

It seems like I must have gotten two people's names mushed together in my head. One of them was probably Larry Harlow, the other one Victor somebody. (Probably two different tapes I liked.) So I was more mixed up than I realized.

It looks like the violinist I was remembering was probably Lewis Kahn, who was one of the violinists playing with Larry Harlow in your first link. He's got a solo here that sounds similar to what I remember (starts about 3:24). And he's got some solo work with Orchestra Harlow on "Live in Quad."
posted by nangar at 2:30 AM on July 4, 2011

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