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About Descarga

Descarga was conceived as being an educational resource about tropical Afro-Latin music that also offers typically hard to find back-catalog and independant label CDs, videos, books and instruments. We have evolved into a nerve center of information relating to this music in the form of our Latin music database that is continually being updated, and the Descarga Journal, our online magazine consisting of articles, interviews, profiles, and reviews.

Descarga is a small, Brooklyn, New York based business that was founded in 1991 because I felt that there was a lack of accesible information relating to this music, and that the market that was interested in this music, including myself, was mostly ignored in all but a few specialty stores - and these few stores were hardly predictable with respect to complete back-catalog items. I remember my conga drum teacher and mentor, the late Frankie Malabe, suggested I listen to some specific titles. He wrote them down on paper and I went out shopping. Some Papines, some Los Muñequitos, some Mongo, some classic Puente, etc.

I found about one-third of what I needed -- and that was here in New York -- arguably the best place on the globe to find this stuff. So, I figured that if I'm having trouble finding the material I wanted here, imagine what it would be like for the guy in Peoria or Kansas or Ann Arbor or Utah or Greece.

We focus specifically on Afro-Latin music ranging from salsa and Afro-Cuban Latin jazz to rumba and folkloric lucumí/santeria. Over the years we have amassed a selection consisting of thousands and thousands of CDs. We also offer books, videos, instructional material, and the renowned LP drums and percussion instruments. We specialize in hard to find material, from Cuba and elsewhere, and are always expanding our offerings.

Descarga was founded with the intention of giving the genre of tropical Latin music the respect and attention it truly deserves. We believe that this music merits the reverence and admiration that classical music and American jazz have traditionally been afforded. Many, many talented musicians devoted their lives to this music and then died without receiving the recognition that should have been their due. We hope that we can, in our own small way, rectify some of those injustices. Latin music is alive and well and there are many contemporary musicians worthy of our esteem. And, over time, we will pay tribute to each and every one.

Descarga has taken on a life of its own, growing to serve thousands of salsa-starved souls across the country and around the world. The Latin music business is hot. Although Descarga is no longer alone in this business, we are the model that others look to. Thanks to our extraordinary customers, we have thrived -- although not without some growing pains. We will continue to offer the best service that we can, the widest selection of products and vital information about the Latin music scene. Que viva la música!

Bruce Polin

Hersh Gutwilik: design/illustration:
Erik Aase-Remedios: webmaster:
David M. Carp: guest editor:
Vintage photos of Johnny Pacheco, Monguito and Chivirico Davila by
Allen Gordon (914)679-8559

Delivery Schedule:
As a leading educational resource for Afro-Latin music, we feel it is important that we offer the most complete range of hard-to-find imports and back-catalog items available. We go to great lengths to locate the sources of this material, and we deal with over 600 different labels. Many things that we carry are "Special Order" items. Given the somewhat unpredictable nature of many of these companies, your order, depending on availability, will typically be delivered within 1-3 weeks. We greatly appreciate your continued business.

Returns are happily allowed within 30 days of your shipment. Defective items or mis-shipments (items we shipped in error) will happily replaced at our expense. We will reship the merchandise along with a pre-posted self-addressed jiffy envelope to ease the return of the defective (or mis-shipped) item. Please contact us by email ( or telephone (1718-693-2966) to arrange for the replacement. There is, of course, no cost to you for the exchange of defective items or mis-shipped items. Non-defective items must be returned within 30 days of the original shipment at the customers expense. A full credit of the items original cost (minus shipping) will either be credited to your account or applied to any new order you might have in our system. Opened item non-defect returns must be in "as new" condition (no marks or scratches on the disc surfaces, no damage to packaging etc.). The return shipment will, of course, be at the customers expense. A $3.00 per disc repackage/restock fee may be applied to non-defective opened returns. Please note that non-defective item returns may affect any special volume sale discounts or reduced shipping offers based on order quantities.

Thank you for your patronage.

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Box 180182 • Kensington Station • Brooklyn, NY 11218
voice: 1718 693-2966 • fax: 1718 693-1316

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