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Tego Calderón - Reggaeton

Tego Calderón was born in Loiza, Puerto Rico in 1972 but raised in nearby Carolina and Miami, Florida. Raised in an environment that revered music and Ismael Rivera, Calderón claims that "Maelo" was a great influence on his reggaeton music.

His mother was a school teacher who instilled in him a great respect for his language, while his father, who worked in government taught him to appreciate salsa and jazz. With their instruction and support, Calderón was able to sustain his struggle for success in the music business, often working at menial jobs until he was duly recognized for his talent.

Pursuing his musical interests, Calderón developed a unique style among rappers; mixing the rhythms of his native Puerto Rico and its bomba and plena genres, together with salsa and reggae dance hall styles. He also used 1960's slang intertwined with its most modern counterpart and together with his unique voice used these elements to maximum advantage.

Calderón released his debut album: El Abayarde in 2002 on the White Lion label. The album, with songs like the title track: El Abayarde was immediately successful in Puerto Rico with young and old alike, selling almost a quarter million copies and receiving wide radio air play. The album was scheduled for distribution in the United States by RCA in 2003.

Returning to his one-time home in Miami, Calderón was a big hit at the 2003 Billboard Latin Music Conference with an energetic performance that showcased his rhythm and native influences. Calderón was also a surprise hit at the 2003 celebration of the "Día Nacional de la Salsa" concert, when noted salsa artist Tommy Olivencia, brought him on stage. Calderón sang to a standing ovation of the appreciative audience.

Calderon's latest album, El Enemy De Los Güasíbiri was released in January, 2004 on the BMG label. The album's 17 tracks included several songs written by Luny Tunes and one, "No Sufras Por Ella", featuring Toño Rosario.

Calderón claims that salsa is slipping due to emphasis on the business side of music production and being out of touch with the reality of its intended audience. His own music frequently delves into issues such as racism which he says is as pervasive in Puerto Rico as it is in the United States although not as obvious or overt. Proud of his african heritage, Calderón speaks from personal experience and with great assertiveness and integrity on the subject.

Some would say that his music has given great energy to reggaeton and simultaneously given fresh energy to a stagnant salsa genre. Given his success at reaching older audiences as well as the youth typically associated with rap, hip-hop and reggaeton, those claims should not be dismissed.


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