Elkin Marin (born Javier Marin Velez), born in Columbia, has traveled the world as a performer and recording artist. Not surprisingly, Marin calls his sound "world music rooted in Latin rhythms"; he cites as major influences los Panchos, the Beatles, and Julio Iglesias. Much of Marin's sound leans toward Latin pop, though in late 1998, he professed a desire to return to his musical roots.
As a youngster, Marin's family moved to Caracas, Venezuela, where both he and his brother Nelson (born Leon Marin Velez), whose career was to parallel much of Elkin's, were signed to Rotna Records. An executive of the Spanish affiliate of CBS Records (now Columbia) saw them perform and signed them to the label. The brothers moved to Spain, where they recorded two albums in the mid-'70s for CBS, Samba, Samba and Angeles y Demonios. The brothers left the label and moved to Paris, France, where in the late '70s they recorded an album called Mulata produced by Robert Ash, who had also produced Bob Marley and the B-52's. While in France, they also recorded with Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones, who had taken an interest in Latin music. A planned album, however, was never released.
Continuing to record in the '80s in Spain on an independent label, Elkin and his brother first came to the Philippines in 1989. The two recorded an album for local independent OctoArts. Entitled Never Get Enough, it was credited to the Salsa Boys. The album was also released in Spain under the title Elkin & Nelson, through independent Spanish label Pasion. In 1993, an album compiling songs from Elkin & Nelson and a subsequent album recorded for Pasion, Espreciones, was released in the United States through Sony Music as Espreciones. The brothers continued to play night spots in the Philippines and throughout Asia. In late 1997, Elkin (without his brother Nelson) released the excellent Elkin Marin for PolyCosmic Records (a joint venture between then-PolyGram and a local independent).
In 1998, a composition by the brothers, "Jibaro," first released on their '70s album Samba, Samba, was featured in a remix version on the soundtrack to the film Dance with Me, starring Vanessa Williams. Also in 1998, Elkin became part-owner in a Manila restaurant/night spot called Bogota, where he professed a desire to return to his roots, performing less pop and more "authentic" Latin music in an acoustic mode. He also hoped to record an album of such music. In mid-1999, however, Elkin broke with the night spot and reportedly left the country. Elkin is an excellent, most-accomplished artist who deserves more international recognition, as proved by his professionalism and the beauty of his 1997 album, Elkin Marin, which was released only in the Philippines.