June 18, 2024


Salsa Dancing for Phoenix, AZ

Orquesta Zaperoko “The Salsa Resistance of Callao”

Orquesta Zaperoko: The Salsa Resistance of Callao

Orquesta Zaperoko: Reviving the Rhythms and Reigniting the Salsa Spirit in Callao and Beyond!

By Mario Pacheco | AZSalsa.net

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In the musical landscape of Peru’s Callao region, there is a salsa dura band that stands out – Orquesta Zaperoko. Known for their energetic live performances and refreshing salsa dura musical arrangements, Zaperoko has become a symbol of the salsa resistance in the Peru’s musical scene that was dominated by other genres like reggaeton.

Founded in the first quarter of 2009 by trumpet player Johnny Peña, the band quickly gained recognition for their energetic covers of classic salsa dura tunes. Songs like “Mala Mujer“, “Periquito Pin Pin” and “Juanito Alimana” were given a new life with Zaperoko’s distinctive musical touch. Alongside these covers, the band introduced their own compositions, including hits like “La Revancha” and “Ni Perdon ni Olvido“.

Johnny Peña, a trumpet player and salsa vinyl collector and seller, seized an opportunity to perform at a local festival in early 2009. Not wanting to miss the chance, he quickly assembled a group of talented musicians, called it Zaperoko, and performed for the first on March 6, 2009. The name, derived from Venezuelan slang meaning “party” or “celebration,” encapsulates the essence of the band’s music – a festive celebration of salsa dura.

In a Peruvian region flooded with diverse musical genres, Zaperoko emerged as a torchbearer for salsa dura. Peña envisioned reviving the classic Fania-style salsa sounds for younger generations to appreciate, earning the band the moniker “The Salsa Resistance of Callao”. This mission to preserve and propagate salsa dura became the driving force behind their musical style.

With a lineup of 17 members on stage, the Zaperoko’s instrumentation mirrors the classic salsa dura configuration. It boasts a piano, two trombones, a baritone saxophone, two trumpetsbaby bass, timbales, bongo, and a vocal section comprising six members. In a unique addition, Zaperoko includes a presenter and a mascot as part of their ensemble, adding a touch of playfulness to their performances.

One distinctive feature that sets Zaperoko apart is their mascot – the Pink Panther salsa dancer. Originating from an unexpected incident where a fan dressed as the Pink Panther danced on stage after a game of local soccer team Sport Boys, the mascot quickly became a sensation. The viral moment led to an overwhelming demand for the Pink Panther at subsequent concerts, especially from children. Responding to the enthusiasm, Zaperoko officially adopted the Pink Panther salsa dancer, creating a memorable symbol for their fans.

The band’s musical goal is to channel the spirit of salsa dura in the Fania era style while infusing it with a contemporary flair. The band’s videos, often shot during live performances on the streets of El Callao, have gone viral, showcasing their infectious energy and passion for salsa worldwide.

Their success extends beyond the borders of Peru, with the band having been featured in over 10 countries, including Japan, Australia, Canada, Argentina, Spain, Switzerland, the USA, and Italy. Their international acclaim speaks to the universal appeal of salsa dura and the enduring legacy of this musical genre.

The band continues to be a driving force in the resurgence of salsa dura, proving that the spirit of celebration and resistance is alive and well in the streets of El Callao. With their electrifying performances, diverse repertoire, and iconic Pink Panther mascot, Zaperoko is leaving an indelible mark on the global salsa scene while honoring the rich tradition of their musical roots.

Salsa for Phoenix, AZ

Salsa For Phoenix, AZ
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