Pedro Arroyo Dies, Creator of El Dia Nacional "Zalsa" & Director of Z-93
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Puerto Rican radio programmer Pedro Arroyo, a salsa musician and lover who founded "El Día Nacional de la Zalsa" (National Salsa Day), a massive annual concert dedicated to the genre, died Saturday in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
He was 60 years old.
A towering man who was regarded as an icon in Puerto Rico, Arroyo was a fierce defender of salsa as a genre, and in 1984, he presented the first Día Nacional de la Zalsa to celebrate the music and its artists. The event's name had "Zalsa" spelled with an initial Z, referencing Z-93 (WZNT-FM), the SBS-owned salsa station network Arroyo programmed until his death. Arroyo also programmed other SBS-owned Puerto Rican stations, including pop network Estereotempo and Ritmo 96.
Since its launch, Día Nacional de la Zalsa's import grew to such a degree -- more than 20,000 people attend every year -- that in 1990, the Puerto Rican government officially declared that the third Sunday of every month would be National Salsa Day. The event's 29th edition took place March 25.
"Our entire team in Puerto Rico and in all markets where we have a presence recognize Pedro's contributions to salsa and his great knowledge of the music that was his life," said Raúl Alarcón, president and CEO of SBS. "I am committed to keeping his legacy alive through Z-93, which was his great project."
Arroyo's death was widely mourned by dozens of artists and executives, including Victor Manuelle, Olga Tañón and Gilberto Santa Rosa, among many others.
"Pedro Arroyo was an extraordinary professional and a close friend," said Ruben Blades in a statement. "His love for music and for salsa as known and appreciated by all. He is irreplaceable and impossible to imitate."
"He was one of salsa's most important advocates, and a brother and friend to me," wrote Victor Manuelle in his twitter account.
Arroyo, who had been suffering from pulmonary problems, collapsed while visiting family with his wife, Ana, and died of respiratory arrest. He will be buried in a private service, according to reports.
Source: Billboard, Leilia Cobo, Miami
SALSEEK's Adrian Montanez was able to get hold of Larry Harlow who knew Pedro for 32 years. "I am sick and very sad," says Larry Harlow. "It's a very big loss. He kept our music "salsa" alive and on the air. He created El Dia Nacional and brought it to another level. He knew his music."
Larry continues to talk about the good old times and how much Pedro loved to laugh. "In his office he had many great great promo photos of me with Cheo Feliciano and all the greats," Larry says. "He would dress up like a super hero, man he loved to laugh, great times. We talked all the time and he'd call me in middle of the night and we would just laugh. He'd always say 'dame un break on the price!'"
Pedro Arroyo, one of the greatest promoters of salsa in Puerto Rico, will certainly be missed. To view more photos, visit Larry Harlow's fan page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Larry-Harlow/110520968968939