Places that Matter

Casalegre Record Store (site of)

Home of a well-known local Latino record company, Alegre Records
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Place Matters Profile

Musician, arranger, record producer and bandleader, Al Santiago, opened the Casalegre record store in 1955. Santiago had experience in the record business having worked for his uncle, the musician Bartolo Alvarez, who owned the famous Casa Latina Record Shop in East Harlem. Unlike the mega-music stores of today, Casalegre and other neighborhoods music stores were gathering places for local and visiting musicians.

In 1956 Santiago expanded his business by starting the record company, Alegre Records. This label became synonymous with the New York Latin music sound and was unrivaled until Fania was established. Some of its recordings include Pacheco y su Charanga, Charanga at the Caravana (Charlie Palmieri), Se Te Quemó La Casa (Orlando Marín) and the first three recordings of Eddie Palmieri’s La Perfecta.