Chart Beat

Sonora Ponceña Scores First Billboard Top 10 Since 1992: 'It's Truly Gratifying'

La Buena Fortuna Music

La Sonora Ponceña director Papo Lucca

‘Hegemonía Musical’ starts at No. 8 on Tropical Albums chart.

After nearly three decades, veteran salsa band Sonora Ponceña earns its fourth top 10 on Billboard’s Tropical Albums chart as Hegemonía Musical starts at No. 8 on the June 19-dated survey.

Sonora Ponceña’s latest project starts with 1,400 equivalent album units earned in the week ending June 10 in the U.S., according to MRC Data. Most of the album’s opening sum derives from album sales.

“We are very happy to be back on the Tropical Albums chart with this new album," Enrique "Papo" Lucca, the group's bandleader, tells Billboard. “Sonora Ponceña is a universal sound and proven through 67 years as a favorite of all salseros. Thank you for this new recognition.”

The eight-track Hegemonía was released June 4 via La Buena Fortuna/Sony Music Latin. It earns the band -- co-founded by Lucca's late father, Enrique "Quique" Lucca Carballo, in 1954 -- its fourth top 10 and first in more than 28 years, when Guerreando peaked at No. 10 in 1992.

“Although we started recording Hegemonía before the pandemic, we were able to capitalize on and turn the tough episode into something good.” Lucca adds. “We spent too many hours recording differently, with masks and making adjustments. We laughed a lot at the new dynamic, we also cried for our lost brothers and friends, but it’s all a continuous learning experience and we ought to walk forward with optimism.”

Sonora earned its first Tropical Albums entry in 1985 -- the same year the tally was launched -- with the No. 20-peaking 30 Años. Since then, the Puerto Rican ensemble has placed seven sets on the survey, including two other top 10s: Jubilee (No. 10 peak, Oct. 1985) and Back to Work (No. 5 high, 1987).

Sonora is just the third act to debut in the Tropical Albums list’s top 10 in 2021. It follows Tito Rojas Éxitos y Más (No. 5, Jan. 9-dated chart) and El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico’s En Cuarentena (No. 3, April 24).

“We wanted to put together a production that appealed to our roots and the musical culture defined throughout Ponceña's career,” Lucca says. “Returning to the top 10 is truly gratifying and proves us we were able to achieve this by also applying contemporary elements for a more balanced result, thus touching the hearts of various generations of salsa players.”