Hailing from Spanish Harlem, New York, singer and bandleader Joe Bataan was the pioneer of ‘Latin Soul’ that fused the soul and Rhythm and Blues of the 1950’s and 60’s with the raw Latin sound of Boogaloo music. With classic hits like his debut remake of the The Impressions “Gypsy Woman,” “Ordinary Guy,” and “I Wish You Love,” Bataan brought a new youth and voice to Latin music that he added while recording under the Fania Records imprint, which was the Latin ‘Motown’ of the day during the 1960’s into the late 1970’s.
Born Bataan Nitolano, he was born of both Pilipino and African-American decent. Joe grew up listening to the great Doo-Wop groups of the day like The Drifters, The Coasters, The Cadillacs, The Turban, and Billy Ward and the Dominos. But as a youth he was involved in a gang that eventually got him arrested and locked-up and sent up state to prison for riding around in a stolen car. While serving six years in reformatory, Joe learned music by playing piano and basic chord structures. By the time he was released, six months later he formed his own group and the rest was history.
During the early 1970’s Joe began also incorporating Salsa into his music and later coined the term “Salsoul.” He was co-founder and operator of Salsoul Records.It was also during the late 1970’s when he also, along with the group The Sugar Hill Gang recorded what would become the blueprint of what is now called “Hip-Hop.” Joe recorded one of the first hip-hop records titled “Rap-O-Clap-O.”
During the early 1980’s Joe left the recording industry and gave his life to Christ and became a youth councilor for 25 years. In that time he helped thousands of wayward youth and to this day still feels good about the service that he’s provided over the years.
It was a Fania Records reunion show in the late 1990’s where Joe performed for the first time and he hasn’t looked back. Joe performs endlessly around the world and is currently in the process of recording a new CD. To find out about Joe’s upcoming club dates or to order his CD’s, please visit him online at joebataan.com.