Craft Latino Celebrates Fania Records’ 60th Anniversary With Box Sets & Remastered Albums

It’s been 60 years since Dominican bandleader Johnny Pacheco co-founded Fania Records with attorney Jerry Masucci. To commemorate the legacy of the Latin label that brought us legends like Willie Colón, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Héctor Lavoe, Ray Barretto, Rubén Blades, and Pacheco himself, Craft Latino announced on Tuesday (April 16) a year-long celebration with special releases, merchandise and events.


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The Latin repertoire arm of Craft Recordings, the catalog label team for Concord, Craft Latino will put out over a dozen remastered 180-gram vinyl reissues throughout the year, as well as remastered digital albums, a singles box set and curated playlists. It will also host artist spotlights and live events in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and London.

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A newly remastered reissue for Willie Colón and Héctor Lavoe’s 1970 salsa album La Gran Fuga (The Big Break) is already available. Other vinyl reissues coming in 2024 include Joe Cuba Sextet’s long-out-of-print debut album on Tico Records, Vagabundeando! Hangin’ Out (60th-anniversary edition), and the Fania All-Stars 50th-anniversary edition of the Latin-Soul-Rock album, with live recordings from the band’s 1973 concerts at New York’s Yankee Stadium and Puerto Rico’s Roberto Clemente Coliseum with guest artists Jorge Santana, Manu Dibango, Billy Cobham, Jan Hammer and more.

A Fania singles box set, Fania 45s: the Latin Sound of New York, is planned for the fall, with songs by Johnny Pacheco, Celia Cruz, Joe Bataan, Willie Colón, Héctor Lavoe, Ray Barretto, Ismael Rivera, Pete Rodriguez and Eddie Palmieri. The box will include archival images, ephemera and in-depth liner notes in English and Spanish by New York–based music historian, author and producer Aurora Flores.

“Craft Latino takes pride in being good stewards of this iconic catalog that is a true American story of greatness. Keeping this element of Latin culture alive in the US and abroad is a mission we don’t take lightly as evidenced in the release of the highly curated Salsa repertoire for the 60th anniversary”, Bruce McIntosh, VP of Latin Catalog, Craft Recordings, tells Billboard. “Via our online and consumer-facing initiatives throughout this special year, we are sure that Fania fans old and new will be captivated by the rhythm and significance of this great music.”

Founded in 1964, Fania Records became a powerhouse label with a signature sound: the apex of tropical music, combined with big band jazz and American R&B, jazz, funk and soul. In 1967, Masucci bought Pacheco’s share of the label, including its subsidiary labels. When Masucci passed in 1997, the label assets remained tied up for years, and in 2005, it was sold to V2 Records and Emusica. In 2018, Fania Records’ assets were sold to Concord, including 1.2K album masters, 15K songs and 7K compositions.

Home to one of the largest collections of Latin music master recordings and compositions, Craft Latino’s repertoire includes artists such as Antonio Aguilar, Joan Sebastian, Pepe Aguilar, Celia Cruz, Héctor Lavoe, Willie Colón, Ray Barretto, La Lupe, Rubén Blades and the Fania All Stars.