Inspired by the salsa sounds of the 70’s and the sociopolitical landscape of today, La Excelencia is an award-winning band from New York City that combines traditional salsa elements with a modern and unapologetic sound. Their music invigorates social mindedness amidst a powerful and danceable soundtrack.
“It takes just a note or two to hear that La Excelencia is different. This is unprettified salsa dura, with the percussion cranked, lots of breaks, the voices loud, almost distorted. It’s the sound of a tough working band, the sort that used to be everywhere in New York and now are rare to find” says Peter Watrous of the New York Times.
Founded in 2005, La Excelencia honed their sound by performing at local venues around NYC and eventually caught the attention of the international salsa community with their 2006 debut album, Salsa Con Conciencia. “The goal was to write and record original songs that spoke to us personally. We didn’t realize these songs would resonate with so many others around the world,” recalls Julian Silva, composer, producer, founder and owner of La Excelencia. The success of their first album would result in the first of several international tours. The band would later release two more albums, Mi Tumbao Social (2009) and Ecos Del Barrio (2012), with measurable success. La Excelencia’s music has been featured on several independent films, television programs, and compilation CD’s.
La Excelencia’s in-your-face sound and energetic, live performances reach outside of the salsa norm, and have propelled the band to main stream audiences and venues. “I felt like I was at a rock show not a salsa performance,” commented Anthony Guerrero, a longtime fan.
La Excelencia has enjoyed solid success, and continues to keep their sights on the future. Under the new independent label, Cali York Records, La Excelencia is committed to bringing voice to the next generation of salseros. Under the leadership and direction of owner, Julian Silva, La Excelencia is back and currently working on a new album.
(updated: Oct. 2018)
Ok, so here at LaVoz we normally like to review the classics because in many ways, those old school rhythms were the swinging ones that embodied that true meaning of what we call 'salsa' music. Not this time folks! New York city's newest and most explosive band called "La Excelencia" is making sure people know their name. Their new album "Salsa Con Conciencia" is a testament to the original flavor from the 70's with a millennium generation twist. This album hits hard and just about every Dj in the salsa scene is starting to realize this. The first track, "La Lucha" is a nice tempo tune with a strong trombone line and great breaks that will make you happy you decided to dance it. This band definitely shows off their versatility through-out the album with other great tracks like "La Salsa y el Guaguanco," and "El Hijo de los Rumberos." But let's not forget what also makes this album special. During a time of social and political change, the young Excelencia brings you music with meaning, concrete lyrics that will also stimulate your mind. From the first time it went into the CD player we were sold, be another believer and get this album asap! - Chris Soto (Executive Editor), LaVoz
“Salsa dura, salsa de verdad” is the resounding refrain from La Excelencia’s sophomore album, Mi Tumbao Social. While many so called salseros are concerned with producing old school, Fania style albums and the many newly crazed dancers only learn to dance either “on 1” or “on 2”, here comes a project for everyone to appreciate. Mi Tumbao Social offers original pieces from a contemporary point of view, yet exudes a very authentic feel of yesteryear. La Excelencia taps into the broad Afro-Cuban spectrum with their fresh, innovative, and vibrant interpretions of guaracha, bolero comparasa, rumba, descarga, guajira, and son montuno, executed in a carefully crafted balance of hard hitting percussion, piercing horns, and exceptional lyrics and soneos. - Dennis Cuadros, Music critic
La orquesta La Excelencia de Nueva York propone uno de los más interesantes discursos musicales de la salsa ‘dura’ en la última década. Su tercera producción Ecos del barrio, reproduce de manera perfecta el ‘sentido de ayer’ de este tipo de salsa: enunciación de textos conscientes -alusivos a las problemáticas sociales, historias de vida de los personajes del barrio y el ambiente festivo de la música popular-, por ende transcendentes, articulado a la dinámica y fuerza interpretativa propia de la salsa, caracterizada por la ejecución de tempos rápidos y la libertad de los solistas del colectivo. - Roberto Carlos Lujan, Solarlatinclub.com