From Cali with Love

Saludos desde la Capital de la Salsa. Greetings from the capital of salsa. The hometown of José Miguel Ortegón Tovar a.k.a. Sr Ortegon Cali in the southwest of Colombia is considered the musical stronghold of South America. No surprise then that the composer was prepared for his career as a production music composer from an early age.

Capital of Salsa and Metropolis of Love

Located in the north of South America, Sr Ortegon absorbed not only Latin American music but also the musical cultures of Europe and the US at an early age. On the one hand, Cali is not far from Florida and strongly influenced by the music scene there. On the other hand, his father lived in Spain for a long time, thus introducing him to European classical music.

It was also his father who encouraged the hyperactive boy to learn how to play the violin at the conservatory, and eventually to study musicology at the Sorbonne in Paris. In Europe, Ortegon discovered electronic music – especially the French touch.

However, at that time what he himself calls a “beautiful accident” occurred. A fellow student was looking for a sound for a TV production that was missing from the production music providers. Ortegon had been bothered for some time by the fact that authentic music was often used wrongly in the film industry. Mexican music during a scene on a Cuban beach, for instance, an absolute no-go for Ortegon.

Sr Ortegon being interviewed at Feria de Cali

Colombia, Hollywood and beyond

The French production was the beginning of an unstoppable career. Sr Ortegon – by now a multi-instrumentalist and distinguished producer – had initially been involved as a session musician before concentrating entirely on production music. The reason: no producer or sound engineer understood the particular sound he wanted.

The work paid off quickly and Sr Ortegon’s tracks were featured in countless series and movies like “Ladybird”, “Spider Man”, “Rambo” and “The Simpsons”. In the cases of “The Mechanic” and “Terminator” he even sat in the cinema himself and was surprised by his sync. During the latter, he couldn’t hold back from shouting “That’s my song” through the theater.

And the winner is…

Sr Ortegon’s omnipresence in the international film and television business has not gone unnoticed by the committees of renowned award ceremonies. He has already received a Mark Award and a Production Music Award. The biggest success, however, was an award that he didn’t end up taking home at all.

In 2013, the Colombian was nominated for a Latin Grammy. To be precise, he was part of PalmaCoco for the album “Boogaflow” in the Tropical Fusion category. The nomination alone is a huge honor for him as an indie artist. His explanation for the success is simple: “When you compose music that comes from the heart, anything can happen. ” For Sr Ortegon, at least, it has brought him to party with Latin greats like Pitbull and Marc Anthony.

Sr Ortegon receiving his medal for being nominated for a Latin Grammy

Sonoton Music x Sr Ortegon

The Latin rhythms of El Señor can also be found in our repertoire. Four albums to be exact: “Tropical Fusion” and the latest “Reggaeton” on our Sonoton Vanguard label and most recently “Latin Boogaloo” Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 as part of our Sonoton Authentic Series. There are even more albums in the works. So stay tuned and in the meantime enjoy José’s tracks on

Tropical Fusion by Sr Ortegon