Missed Latin Music 2014: Herman Olivera


Herman Olivera’s 2014 Salsa release “La Voz del Caribe” was one of the good Latin music CD’s I couldn’t get to review in 2014.

I couldn’t get to all the Latin music albums I wanted to review in 2014. Therefore, in January I’ll do some short reviews of music releases I wanted to blog about.

Salsa for Classic Salsa Fans

Herman Olivera with Latin music legend Eddie Palmieri
After recording 5 albums with Manny Oquendo’s Conjunto Libre, Herman Olivera has mostly been with Eddie Palmieri’s Salsa orchestra.

If you know Herman Olivera you know he is also known as “El Sonero del Siglo 21”. His 2014 release “La Voz del Caribe” is a very good album with a lot of swing and great singing.

Herman is known as one of the most creative and aggressive improvisers in Salsa music. He comes from the old school of Salsa of Manny Oquendo y su Conjunto Libre, and Eddie Palmieri, among others. This background gave way to his 1st single of the album, titled “El Heredero del Sabor”. Here he proclaims to have inherited the Salsa flag from the best soneros of the 1960’s and 70’s.

Another of my album favorite songs is “Libre Para Siempre”. In this song, Herman Olivera provides a tribute to his mentor Manny Oquendo and his time with the Conjunto Libre.

To give the album musical variety, Herman Olivera included a cha cha titled “Añorando el Cha Cha Cha”. Interestingly, he takes us in an imaginary trip to the golden days of New York’s Palladium Ballroom, to enjoy a cha cha from one of the big bands that used to play there, more prominently the Big 3 of Machito, Tito Puente, and Tito Rodriguez.

“La Voz del Caribe” is a Superb Salsa Album

Herman Olivera in cover of Salsa CD La Voz del Caribe
Herman Olivera is a proven Salsa singer with a great album for Salsaneo Records.

I found “La Voz del Caribe” to be a great Salsa album. As you can see in the album cover, the album was “Hecho en Venezuela” (made in Venezuela). It used a collective of Venezuelan musicians lead by Francisco Requena. Additionally, Willie Melo and Julio Cesar Estrada also participated in the album. It was released under the Salsaneo Records label. Finally, the musicianship is very good and the songs are tailored to Hernan Olivera’s style of singing. In them, he does creative improvisations around the song theme just as the old Salsa singers used to do.

Herman Olivera Video “El Heredero del Sabor”

Here is the official video of the single “El Heredero del Sabor”. The video won’t win any awards, but it gives you a sense for the good Salsa in “La Voz del Caribe”.

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  1. Héctor L González Falcón says

    One of my favorites since Manny Oquendo,Conjunto Libre .His been around for a while. Some dare say that he is one the few Soneros left and I must respectfully differ from that opinion. Although I’m a fan of Herman, I truly think Herman is not as well none as he should be because he is always been involve in musical projects in new York and the exterior.
    There are many goods ones left but definitely Herman is one of them. You just cannot waltz into Maestro Eddie Palmieri’s 1st class Orchestra and fill the shoes of Ismael Quintana , Lalo Rodriguez,and others, yet Herman Oliveras did not have to many difficulties . Maybe that is a problem for Herman who sings classics not very many compositions written exclusively for Him and his style. I do like his last recording La voz Del Caribe(El Heredero Del Sabor )and also like his chorus all from Venezuela and colombia . All very good! The salsa world is a dog eat dog world. Very competitive .

    You have to be good and very Charismatic. I love all his music especially all the work that he has recorded with Eddie Palmieri.
    La Voz Del Caribe is a very good music project which I have enjoyed for some time since 2014.
    He has to find a true writer that can write music for him,and arrangist for his style , that’s probably why he not as popular as he deserves to be. I love His work.. There is no doubt about his talent and his ability to sonear.

    It would not be fair to Herman to compare him with other Soneros like Tito Nieves, El Canario, Ruben Blades ,Ismael Miranda, D’leon,Mr. Callejero, Pupy Cantor, and we cannot leave out Gilbertito Santa Rosa, and many others that have been around much longer and have the portfolio of many years of experience, not to mention the ones that have parted . He is Up there! No doubt.

    Herman is still young ,I believe in his early 50’s. He has not recorded much in the island of Puerto Rico. He does more work in New York, Venezuela and Colombia, and Europe. It was 2014 the first time he was invited to el Dia de la Salsa, and did pretty good. He is still growing like every sonero , it’s a constant growth process. I would like to see a project from Herman Oliveras, Rico Walker,Pupy Cantor,Josue Rosado , Joe Gonzalez Ray de La Paz. That would be a blast.

    It is very strange that he has only recorded two solo’s. I like them both and I like all His work with the rest of the groups that he’s been with. He is has been mentioned as one of the best and I have to agree with assessment.
    Thank You once again to Latino Music café .com for the priviledge me the humble comments.
    Respectfully submitted , Héctor L . González

  2. Jose Zaragoza says

    definitely Herman has to be given his props and respect for his spontaneous inprovosations and distinctive swing and style. Herman is from the inner city of Newark, N.J.Donde el apprendio su tecnica en el sancocho de la musica y LA admiration de LA gente.

    1. Hector Aviles says

      Jose – I agree with you. Herman is a true sonero, and he knows and executes his craft as well as anyone.

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