Throwback Thursdays Part Few: Gloria Estefan’s Grandés Exitos

Along with a mess of good hiphop and soul records, this Tuesday September 27th saw the release of Latin pop legend Gloria Estefan’s comeback LP Miss Little Havana, featuring Pharrell Williams of The Neptunes fame among other contributors. Since this is something of a milestone in Caribbean music, it seemed only right to double down on our Throwback Thursday game for an all-day pan-Latin extravaganza. So on top of DJ Chief Boima’s breakdown of Big Boy (previous post) our favorite Cubana and honorary Raka Natalia Linares provides some context for the new release with a rundown of essential La Gloria moments:

“One, Two, Three, Four / Come on baby, say you love me!” or “Come on move your body / Baby, do that conga”...these were the first phrases embedded in my brain as a young girl growing up in the “Suburban Urban” of Staten Island, New York with a Cuban mom.  Mom was such a big fan of Gloria Estefan that floating around somewhere there is an exercise VHS with her doing aerobics to only La Gloris music (thanks to a recent family BBQ and my brother for reminding us!) with some serious 80s hair and color schemes.  My recollections include constantly grabbing the vinyl, pulling the disc out of the sleeve — we had her “The Greatest Hits” (1992) on vinyl, but “1-2-3″ (below) and “Conga” were off of 1987′s “Let it Loose” and 1995′s “Primitive Love” (respectively) — the horns, the infectious salsa intro, the layers of Gloria’s voice, the seeming simplicity.  “It’s the rhythm of the island, and like sugar cane…” I would reminisce on that lyric from a concrete block on the island of Staten that was anything but tropical.  I must have wanted to feel closer to what mom grew up around and must have played that record HUNDREDS of times, gallivanting around the living room, “feeling the rhythm of desire,” all smiles “…so sweet.”