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Grupo Niche

Artist Info
Grupo Niche

Grupo Niche
Grammy Award-Winning Salsa Group

The first symptom that GRUPO NICHE was turning into a legend was noted a few years ago when Jairo Varela, its director and front man, could not be found by the world press, which was desperately searching for him. The confirmation of the legend came recently. On December 27, 1996, before 30,000 people at a Super-concert at the Fair of  Cali, Colombia, the name Jairo was tiredlessly shouted in standing ovation. The world press, having finally found him, was testimony to this event.

Since then, Varela’s existence began to be drenched in mythology, to acquire a celebrity status like those characters whom live on the cusp of immortality, whom seem to remain in the world of neon which cannot be easily escaped.

Nevertheless, he does frequently escape; he is able to peel himself from those molded letters of neon which spell out the word NICHE, he arises from the records and characters and submerges in his thoughts, profound, reflective and alone, he exposes himself to the creative process. He dedicates his time to his family, especially his children, whom he adores.  

More than a composer, Jairo Varela is a sensitive and rather introverted man, who prefers his songs to speak of everyday things.  


Grupo Niche was formed in 1980 in Bogotá, founded by Jairo Varela Martínez and originally made up of a handful of young musicians from the state of Chocó.

Niche was conceived as a new alternative salsa, seeing as the musical panorama of that time in Colombia was quite poor. Varela was able to take advantage of this fact to introduce a more international style and flavor, which was a hit with salsa lovers. In addition to breaking away from the pre-existing musical structure, his music reflected a break from the thematic dogma as Varela took on Afro-centric issues, with all of their social and ethnic implications, thus conquering a new place in the national market.
Nevertheless, Varela did not only sing to black people, but also to his homeland, Chocó, its problems, its marginality and its poverty. With these strategies, he gained a lot of support in Colombia and the way was padded for his international success.


In 1986, for the first time, a Colombian orchestra performs at the majestic stage of Madison Square Garden. Grupo Niche arrived at the world Salsa Festival and played along with the top salsa acts in the world, leaving such an excellent impression and great reviews that was the point of departure of their successful career.  
In March of 1989 Grupo Niche played to more than one million people at their concert in Perú. During this concert there were injuries and similar incidents caused by the ecstasy created by Niche’s songs.
In September of 1989, Grupo Niche arrived to Europe for the first time and staged their first European tour, visiting France, England, Germany, Switzerland and Spain.
In 1990, Musivisa, affiliate of Televisa, acquires discografic and promotional rights of the orchestra and organizes the first Mexican tour of Grupo Niche, where they played an extended tour of 16 concerts at large venues such as the mythical “Salón La Maraca”.
Grupo Niche has visited the United States over 100 times, where hundreds of thousands of fans have attended concerts in such places as Washington, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Orlando, Chicago, Rhode Island, etc. Niche is one of the few orchestras admired by North Americans and Latinos alike.
In their twenty seven years of existence, Grupo Niche has participated en the largest and most traditional festivals in Colombia, where they have, in several occasions, triumphed as the top band.  They have played at the Carnaval of Barranquilla, Feria de Cali, Feria de Manizales, Carnavales de Blancos y Negros in Nariño, at the Reinado del Bambuco in Neiva, at the Reinado Nacional de la Belleza de Cartagena, at the Fiestas del Petróleo in Barrancabermeja, not to mention many, many more.
On an international level, Niche has played at the largest venues in the world and has represented Colombia at infinite concerts such as: the Independence of Cuba in Miami and the Calle Ocho Celebrations, Festivals of Salsa of Ralph Mercado in New York, and has visited countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador, Perú, Panamá, México, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Curazao, Aruba, among others.


During the artistic career of Grupo Niche, the orchestra has received dozens of Gold and Platinum records for their excellent sales. Grupo Niche has also been the recipient of an infinity of awards including Latin Grammy nominations and other special distinctions around the world, being, of course, the applause and love of their fans, the greatest of all.