A few years ago, a visit to Cali, Colombia by Puerto Rican salsa promoter Eli Irizarry to enjoy the International Gathering of Music Lovers and Collectors as part of the events held during the famous Cali Fair was more than enough to impress him and leave him determined to: organize the Creole version of a gathering for salsa collectors in Puerto Rico.

And there was a step from thinking about it to doing it. In March 2020, Irizarry organized an event on the island, at the Marriott Hotel in San Juan, offering seminars and workshops in salsa and dance, live music, and a panel of collectors speaking to the public, talking about records (on vinyl) and some specific topics of these records.

After this date in 2020, the pandemic caused by COVID-19 put an end to subsequent editions.

But tomorrow, Saturday, again at the Hotel Marriot Resort & Stellaris Casino in San Juan, Irizarry and the Destino Salsa company will host the II World Meeting of Salsa Collectors, the main dish of which will be the screening of the salsa documentary “¡Viva Edy, the story of the indestructible music!”, which honors Colombian pianist, percussionist, composer, arranger and musical director Edi Martinez, a benchmark for New York salsa singers since the 1960s.

The life and work of Martínez, who was born in 1942 and who directly worked on more than 100 albums related to salsa, Latin jazz and jazz, is the subject of a documentary film directed by the Colombian Carlos Ospina, a film work that has already been awarded at such festivals like Vancouver, where it won two awards, and is scheduled to be presented in India and at the Columbia Film Festival in New York, where it opens on May 4.

Collaborations with Rey Barreto, Willy Colon, Celia Cruz, Ruben Blades, Tito Puente, Luis “Perico” Ortiz, Mongo Santamaria, Alfredo de la Fe, Paquito de Rivera, Gato Barbieri, Jerry Gonzalez, Dizzy Gillespie and more are part of the roadmap Colombian pianist.

The 81-year-old Martinez was inspired by Ospina, the owner of the well-known and well-known entertainment and salsa culture venue Topa Tolondra, which is located in Cali. In addition to Topa Tolondra, Puerto Rico will host salsa organizations and venues such as Bar La Diez, Salsa para Todos, La Maratón Salsera, Sabor en Tarima, Leyendas Vivas de la Salsa and the iconic Museo de la Salsa de Cali. in the case of . In turn, Música Bar & Lounge will be the representative of the Island.

“The highlight of the II Meeting will be a documentary film that will begin at 5:00 p.m.,” Irizarry said.

He explained that since he had visited the Cali Fair and enjoyed the meeting of music lovers and collectors, he was impressed.

“I always had in mind to do something with collectors. I’ve had this in my notebook ever since I conceptualized the World Salsa Congress in Puerto Rico. When I was able to see what was being done in Cali, I came up with the idea of ​​creolizing this project, adapted to Puerto Rico. And now we are going to the second edition,” he said.

Music lovers from Colombia, Ecuador, USA, Panama, Peru, Mexico and other countries are expected to attend the event. In the program of the day, which starts from 13:00 to 19:00 and the entrance is free, in addition to documentaries, there are conferences, vinyl sales, exhibitions, memorabilia, music from vinyl DJs, classes. dances such as pachanga and boogaloo and there will also be live music.

Speakers will talk for 15 minutes to half an hour about specific salsa songs, detailing the musicians involved in the recordings, the arrangements and composers, and other details. “They’re going to talk about every topic and it’s going to be an educational event,” Irizarry said.

Since 1991, about five days have been dedicated to him at the Kaliya fair for the meeting of music lovers and collectors.

“And you have to respect that big event in Cali, my idea is to do it in Puerto Rico and connect them with the salsa people. A group of them will come to Puerto Rico to participate in the event. Also, Puerto Rico has a lot of people who collect vinyl and have a lot of knowledge about the salsa genre in general. I want to emphasize that this is not a patronal festival or dances. It’s an event with a high cultural content, where vinyl is one of the main characters,” Irizarry said.