top of page

Musician Spotlight

Dany Martinez & His Charanga

Dany Martinez & His Charanga

Cuba / Puerto Rico / USA

Dany Martinez is an accomplished flute and saxophone player from New York, who has been a stalwart of the city’s Latin music scene since the 90s. Born to a Cuban father and Puerto Rican mother and trained at the prestigious Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts in East Harlem, Martinez embodies the blended identity that is at the heart of New York’s Latin music culture. Martinez remains a dedicated defender of the Cuban charanga tradition, breathing new life into the classic mixture of flute and violin with Afro-Cuban percussion and rhythms that was popularized by legends such as Cuba’s Orquesta Aragón in the 140s and 50s, and revitalized by Dominican salsa icon Johnny Pacheco in the 1970s, among others.

“Cuca La Loca” originally appeared on Martinez’s 2023 album Cubano Rican (a nod to his mixed heritage) and features Chico Alvarez on lead vocals and Willie Álvarez on trombone. Popularized by salsa star Willie Rosario in the 1970s, the song pokes fun at a woman named Cuca who dances like a seal, earning her the nickname, “Cuca the Crazy.” Ornamented by Dany Martinez’s percussive flute riffs, Chico Alvarez sings “Cuca what is happening to you? / That you are jumping like a seal / You think you're getting down / But you're acting crazy.”


Featured on

Fiesta Latina

375 Broadway Jazz Album Cover.jpg
bottom of page