Miami Salsa Band Makes Obama's Playlist. Now How 'Bout A White House Invite?

Aug 20, 2015

Maybe you’ve never heard of the Miami salsa band Sonora Carruseles. But President Obama has. This week he put one of the group’s songs on his summer playlist – and the Colombian-American ensemble is obscure no more.

The track is titled “La Salsa la Traigo Yo,” which means “I Bring the Salsa.” Sonora Carruseles recorded it back in 2002. In fact, the 12-member band rarely plays it anymore. But there it is on President Obama’s #POTUSPlaylists on Spotify.

"It's shocking the fact that the President of the United States has listened to our music," says Sonora Carruseles singer Leonardo Sierra, "and to know that beyond the Latino community, American people listen to our music. What's happening for us now is huge in many ways."

Salsa singer Leonardo Sierra at his job as a sculpture design welder in Fort Lauderdale.
Credit Tim Padgett / WLRN

Sierra says he believes the song came to Obama from First Lady Michelle Obama – who likes to use salsa rhythms, especially the richer "boogaloo" salsa Sonora Carruseles plays, in her Zumba workouts.

Sonora Carruseles, whose signature salsa hit is "Micaela," was formed in 1995 in Medellín, Colombia. The band moved to Miami in 2005, but this is its big first cross-over moment.

"If President Obama is listening, Thank you for having us on that list," says Sierra, a Cali, Colombia, native whose day job is a welder at EES Design in Fort Lauderdale. "Now we would like to go to the White House to perform live for the President. That would be awesome."

Until then, the band’s next gig is in Guatemala.