Dominican Republic

Johnny Pacheco is a Dominican producer, musician, bandleader, and one of the most influential figures in American salsa music. Johnny Pacheco was born on March 24, 1930 in Santiago de los Caballeros. Pacheco inherited his passion for music from his father, Rafael Azarias Pacheco, who was the bandleader and clarinetist of the "Santa Cecilia Orchestra". In the early 1940s, when Pacheco was 11, his family moved to New York City from his native Dominican Republic. He continued polishing his musical skills, learning to play accordion, violin, flute, saxophone and clarinet. He attended the Juilliard School of Music to study percussion. Playing the flute, saxophone and assorted percussion, Pacheco performed with Charlie Palmieri‘s Latin orchestra for a number of years before forming his own band in 1959. Experimentation was the focus of his new band, blending Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto Rican music of African heritage into what came to be known as salsa.

In 1960, he organized his first orchestra, "Pacheco y Su Charanga". The band signed with Alegre Records and its first album Johnny Pacheco y Su Charanga sold over 100,000 copies within the first year. Beginning then and through the end of 1963, Pacheco introduced a new dance craze called "Pachanga". He became an internationally renowned star and toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Moreover "Pacheco y Su Charanga" was the first Latin band to headline the Apollo in 1962 and 1963.