• Jorge Spiteri Latin Funk
  • Jorge Spiteri Latin Funk
  • Jorge Spiteri Latin Funk
  • Jorge Spiteri Latin Funk
  • Jorge Spiteri Latin Funk
the godfather of Latin Funk

Latin Funk

Signed to a record labels in the 1970s, Jorge Spiteri is considered by many to be the pioneer of Latin music in the UK.

In Latin America, he is known as the godfather of Latin Funk, influencing a generation of bands, such as Los Amigos Invisibles.

As he prepares his return to KOKO, the very venue where he broke his unique sound 35 years ago, to receive The LUKAS Fellowship Award, Latinolife caught up with the original Venezuelan funkster.

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Jorge Spiteri

Jorge Spiteri

His life story
Jorge Spiteri

Jorge Spiteri

Life at the Lukas Awards




Live Presentations and TV
Over 30 years making great musicOver 30 years making great music

Over 30 years making great music

“It was 30 years ago today, that we were playing our very own brand of Latin Funkifield salsa music, in the same places where the whole British Rock scene started, to us it was a dream come true, playing at the Marquee Club, the Speakeasy, the Ronnie Scott’s, Dingwalls, and touring together with Bob Marley and the Wailers, to open the club Amnesia in Ibiza, Spain, playing the Zoom Club in Hamburg.
There was no stop to what we were accomplishment and how far we could go. “

We started doing lots of recording studios session work for people who became big stars like Chris De Burg, Bill Lovelady (of reggae for it now fame), Bob Marley, The Sex Pistols, Tyrone Downie and Chris Wood of Traffic; and a lot more artist from Africa, Europe and the USA.
The 70’s where really magical times and we cut our teeth playing the London nights and going up and down the M1-British Rocks (Highway 61).

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  • London

    Funky London town is where it all started!

  • New York

    The birthplace of boogaloo

  • Dubai

    A fantastic reunion of the original Spiteri

  • Miami

    Spiteri & amigos started the second wave London Latin bands to the USA

  • Richard Bailey

    Richard Bailey has been an in demand drummer for the past 40 years because of his unique style and versatile playing. He has recorded and toured with artist like Johnny Nash, Bob Marley, Jeff Beck, Pete Townsend and Steve Winwood.

    “One of the finest drummers I’ve ever met and he’s been a good friend through the years. He played with me in all the important gigs at Ronnie Scott’s, Dingwalls and Speakeasy, and he was the tower where we built our rhythm section from. It is a pleasure for any bass player to play with him”

    Richard is currently working with Steve Winwood and his band Traffic. When he is not on tour you can find him playing at The Prince of Wales in Kilburn, London. That is where he usually spends his Sunday nights, jamming with fellow top musicians.


  • Tyrone Downie

    Tyrone Downie is a Jamaican keyboardist/pianist who is most known for his involvement as a member of Bob Marley and The Wailers.

    “I met Tyrone while I was playing with my band at the London Hilton Hotel in Park Line. A girlfriend of mine came and ask me if he could jam with us; we jam that night and had a terrific time and then he invited me to go to Island Records the next day where he was recording his solo album. I arrived at St Peter’s Square and who was there recording with Tyrone, but Chris Wood. We seem to spend the 76’s summer recording and having lots of fun.“
    read Tyrone’s bio

    THe has also played with The Abyssinians, Beenie Man, Black Uhuru, Buju Banton, Peter Tosh, Junior Reid,Tom Tom Club, Ian Dury, Burning Spear, Steel Pulse, Alpha Blondy, Tiken Jah Fakoly and Sly & Robbie. He currently resides in France and is a member of the touring band of Youssou N’Dour, whose album Remember he produced.


  • John Altman

    Saxophonist, Composer, Arranger, Music Director John has played with almost every musician in the world at one time or the other as well as having hundreds of film scores to his credit including Shall We Dance, Titanic and the Life of Brian.

    “I met John Altman when he was rehearsing with his band at the basement of the Pizza Express in Notting Hill Gate, he was playing with John Etheridge and a drummer called Hamish when I was rehearsing at the same place with Lionel Grigson. The we met again at Spiteri’s Latin Jam in Ronnie Scott’s where he started playing with us and even wrote are opening signature tune “Get down John”. I love meeting with him from time to time.“

    Winner of the most prestigious film composer awards, an EMMY and an ASCAP Film Award for RKO 281 – The Making of Citizen Kane, the Anthony Asquith Award (BAFTA) for Hear My Song, a TRIC Award for Peak Practice, a Golden Reel nomination for Little Voice, a BAFTA nomination for The Old Devils, an Oscar mention for the period music for James Cameron’s Titanic, which he also produced, and a second Emmy nomination in 2003 for his score for The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone.


  • Charlie Spiteri

    Charlie Spiteri was a superstar in his native Venezuela and one of Latin Rock pioneers in London. Together with brothers Jorge (guitar) and Henry (flute) he started the latin funk movement that influenced so many players especially percussionist in London.

    “Brother Charles was the real angkor of the group and the heart of it. He could take us to magic places in one of his cuica solos and make us go wild when he approached the stage with his rider’s hat and a gigantic bow, his birimbao.
    We would sing in harmony and experience the pleasure of being brothers sharing vocals harmonies, nothing quite like it.“
    read Charlie’s bio

    Charlie played in a diversity of groups and with his wife Rebecca played a long-term residency at London’s Hilton. He tour with King Crimson, Hot Chocolate and recorded with Chris De Burg, Sting, Bob Marley and Chris Winwood.


  • Chris Wood

    Chris Wood was, in some ways, the ideal ensemble player; his multi-instrumental contribution to Traffic provided the unifying forces of mood, atmosphere and color in many of the groups finest songs. Try to imagine Traffic songs without Chris’ flute, saxophone and other instruments – he was literally embedded in the ‘Traffic Sound’. Viewing him outside of this context is difficult, since he did relatively few non-Traffic sessions, and more importantly, in his lifetime he was unable to complete a solo album – something that would have given him a distinct and separate musical identity. At the time of his death in 1983, Chris was working to build that identity, and had a rough version of an album sequenced – with the tentative title of Vulcan

    “I went to Island Record Studios to help Tyrone Downie on his solo album. We were in the middle of recording ‘Sangua’ when Chris Wood walks in with his flute and we started to record together. Traffic is one of my favourites british bands so it was a very special moment for me. I proceeded to play on Chris’s solo album and even wrote a song together with Chris and my partner Steve Alpert, ‘See No Man Girl’. We became friends and that summer seems to be very magical and full of music.“

    A musical world journey in five and a half-minutes, aided and abetted by the excellent Jorge Spiteri band, who also perform on the wonderfully titled See No Man girl a spoof on the title Cinnamon Girl. Compare this with a Traffic live recording from ‘74, with Jim taking up the tempo with some precision drumming, Steve on rhythm guitar chopping in and out of the mix and Rosko with his dominant bass lines pinning the whole thing down. The playing is relaxed, but musical moments of tension.