Not saying this is the first time El Gran Combo records social themes. “Los Mulatos del Sabor” have been recording a variety of messages on their Salsa music. This time, they want to provide a positive message with “Echar Pa’ Lante”.
Their songs go from their trademark humorous songs to some social themes. “Echar Pa’ Lante”, their recently released Salsa single comes out at a time where Puerto Rico is facing its most challenging time.
“Echar Pa’ Lante” is part of a social campaign launched by Puerto Rico’s Banco Popular to start positive reactive awareness among Puerto Ricans to counter the social decadence the island is going through. This social decadence is not a new thing, it’s just something that has been going on Puerto Rico for years, but now, perhaps with the help of a down economy, it has reached such a low point that Puerto Ricans are getting sick of it, and knowing that this or any government can’t fight this battle alone, everyone needs to do something, anything, to fight back.
“Echar Pa’ Lante” and “No Hago Mas Na”
Music is one of the great influencers in mass media. El Gran Combo had pointed the finger at a symptom of this Puerto Rican social decadence when in the 1983 Salsa album “La Universidad de la Salsa” they recorded the song “Y No Hago Mas Na” which was intended as a social critique to the “lazy” and “living from the government” mentality that was becoming institutionalized in Puerto Rico. However, the song seemed to have landed more like praise than a critique to the lifestyle. Needless to say, most Puerto Ricans where familiar with this “lazy” mentality. Therefore, the song became a huge Salsa hit.
Before going into more details about this song, here is the video to refresh your minds.
Perhaps it was because of the popularity of this “praise to laziness” song, that El Gran Combo decided to use the music of this song to send a positive message. They changed the lyrics to now send a message of honest, hard work as part of the solution to our social problems. “Echar Pa’ Lante” is El Gran Combo’s contribution to raise awareness that the Puerto Rican society needs to focus on working ourselves out of the social decadence that engulfed the island.
No, I don’t think a Salsa song will dig the Puerto Rican society out of the deep hole it’s in. But I hope “Echar Pa’ Lante” (you can see the song video below) lights the fire of more positive actions that are slowly starting to emerge as a way to try to save the island. Charlie Aponte, one of El Gran Combo singers, said it best; “God gave us our island to protect it, not only to enjoy it”.