Colombian Grupo Niche
was formed by Jairo Varela, joined by pianist Nicolas Cristanelo, bassist Francisco García, sax player Alí Garcés, trombonist Alexis Lozano, percussionist Luis Pacheco, singers Jorge Bassam, and Héctor Viveros, making their debut with the release of Al Pasito in 1980. After becoming one of the major tropical acts in their native country, the group had the opportunity to participate in a salsa festival at New York's Madison Square Garden in 1986. Grupo Niche
's new lineup debuted in 1987 with Tapando El Hueco, touring Europe for the first time in 1989. A year later, Puerto Rican singer Tito Gómez decided to leave the band, being replaced by Colombian Carlos Alberto Cardona. During the '90s, Grupo Niche
turned to romantic lyrics, leaving behind their traditional songs based on social issues.