Latin Music from The Spanish Harlem Orchestra at Birch North Park Theatre
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The last date listed for The Spanish Harlem Orchestra was Friday March 13, 2009 / 7:30pm.
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Since its original conception by producer Aaron Levinson in 2000, Spanish Harlem Orchestra (SHO) has established itself as a standard bearer of contemporary Latin music. Directed by world-renowned pianist, arranger, and producer Oscar Hernández, the thirteen-member all-star ensemble has reintroduced the classic sounds of New York City Salsa to music lovers worldwide. United We Swing, SHO’s third album, is a stunning follow-up to their 2004 Grammy award-winning album Across 110th St., and their 2002 Grammy-nominated debut, Un Gran Día En El Barrio.
On United We Swing, Spanish Harlem Orchestra continues in the same classic-meets-contemporary sound, but with refreshing originality. Nine of the songs are original compositions grounded in the unique identity the band has forged based on the musical legacy of El Barrio, a pulsating Eastside community in NYC located to the south of 125th St that gave rise to Boogaloo, Latin Soul, and Salsa.
“Our music style is the original sound of New York old school Salsa dura (heavy salsa) that was played in the early years by our pioneers,” says Oscar. “That sound has been lost and we want to keep it alive while educating the new generations (and music lovers in general) on the true musical roots of our culture.” Oscar adds, “we’ve brought back the essence of what makes this music great and are keeping the salsa spirit alive in our recordings and shows.”
From their 2002 debut album, Un Gran Día En El Barrio, SHO revived the classic 1970 NYC sounds with a new hard hitting point-of-view. Fueled by great singers Frankie Vasquez, Herman Olivera, Ray De La Paz and special guest Jimmy Sabater, the songs were hot and included back-in-the-day hits like Tito Rodriguez’s “Mama Guela,” Willie Colon’s “La Banda,” and others. It launched the band and garnered them a 2003 Grammy nomination for “Best Salsa Album” and a Latin Billboard Award for Salsa Album of the Year-Best New Group.
On their 2004 follow-up, Across 110th St., the Spanish Harlem Orchestra was augmented by the roaring trombones of Jimmy Bosch and Dan Reagan, singers Marco Bermudez, Willie Torres, Ray De La Paz and special guest Ruben Blades, who Hernández worked for in the 1990s as his musical director. It was slamming and garnered the group its first Grammy Award in 2005 for “Best Salsa Album.”
Today, United We Swing, places Spanish Harlem Orchestra among Latin music’s greatest bands by paying due to a neighborhood romanticized in Leonard Bernstein’s “Westside Story” and Ben E. King’s, “A Rose in Spanish Harlem.” El Barrio is a hard urban incubator as described in Piri Thomas’ book, “Down These Mean Streets,” that in the midst of social despair has given the world unique Caribbean musical mixtures.
A dance floor will be available in the front & the back of the seating areas.