Joyful Pre Xmas Tribute To Jose Guaman

Posted on Dec 22, 2011

I was scheduled to dj the last part of the benefit/tribute to La Fuerza Gigante’s band leader and bongocero Jose Guaman last Sunday.  He has been battling pancreatic cancer.  A group of friends led by fellow musician “Cafe” Agosto and Angel Cordero organized this benefit/tribute to a nice guy.  By the time I arrived at Cocomo,  I was delighted to see that the place was stuffed with folks and that they were being entertained by the likes of Orquesta Borinquen who played a smokin’ set.  DJ Carlitos Way followed them with selections that connected with the dancing crowd.

Guaman has been a fixture on the salsa scene for the past decade or so with Orquesta Baakan.  He had to change the name to La Fuerza Gigante a while back due to legal reasons but that hasn’t stopped him from radiating his warm personality, putting out a big smile and playing good music.  The Salsa community that night reflected an older, mature crowd who enjoyed and applauded the sounds of  Pa’l Bailador, Julio Bravo Y Salsabor, Alexis Y Su Original which also featured veteran sonero Monchy Esteves, La Fuerza Gigante and special guests throughout the entire evening.

There was a touching, heartfelt tribute to Jose from family members including his wife and sons and fellow musicians such as Karl Perrazo, Julio Bravo, Cafe and Avance’s Armando Cordova.  There were a lot of teary eyes during that tribute at Cocomo.  The show ran late but I got my chance to play music in honor of Jose.

The show reflected life as it often plays out: the happy with the sad and the hard road ahead.  Jose was showered with enthusiastic support, hope and optimism from a loving, appreciative crowd.  I was glad I was there.