Lehman Center Celebrates 33 Years Of Salsa

This all-star concert will also feature the legendary RICHIE RAY & BOBBY CRUZ, NAYIBE "LA GITANA," JOSÉ MANGUAL, JR., JIMMY SABATER & SON BORICUA and RAY CASTRO Y SU CONJUNTO CLÁSICO, with musical direction by TITO RIVERA.

[Entertainment: Salsa Music]

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, in association with West Side Beat Productions, is proud to present a celebration of 33 years of “Salsa Gorda” with an icon of tropical music, musician, composer, producer and musical director JULIO CASTRO y LA MASACRE DE PUERTO RICO on Saturday, July 10, 2010 at 8pm.

This all-star concert will also feature the legendary RICHIE RAY & BOBBY CRUZ, NAYIBE “LA GITANA,” JOSÉ MANGUAL, JR., JIMMY SABATER & SON BORICUA and RAY CASTRO Y SU CONJUNTO CLÁSICO, with musical direction by TITO RIVERA.

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts is on the campus of Lehman College/CUNY at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, NY 10468. Tickets for JULIO CASTRO y LA MASACRE DE PUERTO RICO on Saturday, July 10, 2010 at 8pm are: $55, $45, $40 and $35 and can be purchased by calling the Lehman Center box office at 718.960.8833 (Mon. through Fri., 10am–5pm, Tues. 10am-7pm, and beginning at 12 noon on the day of the concert), or through 24-hour online access at www.LehmanCenter.org. Lehman Center is accessible by #4 or D train to Bedford Park Blvd. and is off the Saw Mill River Parkway and the Major Deegan Expressway. Free on-site parking is available.

A Pre-Concert Tropical Outdoor BBQ Buffet at Lehman Center by Salsa Caterers will feature a Latin BBQ menu for $20 person from 6 to 8pm. Frozen piña coladas and sangria will also be available for sale. Tickets for the dinner may be purchased in advance online at http://lehmanpre-concertbbq.eventbrite.com/ by calling 718.716.2020.

JULIO CASTRO, conguero, flautist, singer, composer, musical director and producer, was a journeyman in Puerto Rican bands, working with Roberto y su Nuevo Montuno, La Unica, Pete “El Conde” Rodríguez and José Mangual Jr., before becoming the leader and musical director of Orquesta La Masacre.

In 1979 he recorded New Generation Presenta Julio Castro y Orquesta La Masacre, with Tito Nieves on lead vocals, on the newly-formed New Generation label from Puerto Rico, which featured the hit “El Pregonero.” In 1980 Castro signed with Fania and recorded Mamey. In 1984 Fania released the classic album Julio Castro y La Masacre in Puerto Rico with Nestor Sánchez on impeccable lead vocals. Castro also performed as a percussionist for Eddie Palmieri, Héctor Lavoe, Tito Puente, Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz, and Tommy Olivencia. In 2002 Castro was nominated for a Latin GRAMMY for Best Tropical Song and was named ASCAP Composer of the Year for his composition “Me Liberé” performed by El Gran Combo on the CD of the same name. In 2007 Julio Castro y La Masacre participated in the national day of Salsa in Puerto Rico, which included Tito Nieves and drew over 23 thousand people.

RICHIE RAY and BOBBY CRUZ have had one of the longest partnerships in Latin music – over 50 years. The two met as teenagers when their mothers worked together in a factory. In 1966, as lead singer in Ray’s orchestra, Puerto Rican-born Cruz scored a major hit with “Mr. Trumpet Man,” and by 1968 the band was officially Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz. The pair had nine gold records with such hits as “Agúzate,” “A Mi Manera” (My Way) and timeless masterpieces “Ya Ni Te Acuerdas” (You Don’t Even Remember Me) and “La Zafra” (The Canes). In 2006 Ray and Cruz received a Latin GRAMMY® Award for Lifetime Achievement and released Live at Centro de Bellas Artes, San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 2007 Cruz won a Latin GRAMMY Award for Best Traditional Tropical Album for Románticos De Ayer, Hoy Y Siempre. In 2008 the two released 40 Aniversario en Vivo. 2010 has seen new CDs Regreso de los Reyes de la Salsa and Que Vuelva La Música plus several re-releases.

NAYIBE “LA GITANA” was born in Cali, Colombia. From an early age Nayibe loved to sing all the old Cuban sones, rumbas and boleros, especially those of her mother’s favorite artist, Celia Cruz, as well as the songs of Celina Rautilio “La India del Oriente” and La Lupe. At age 18 Nayibe performed with the Mexican group La Sonora Latina and the Salvadorian group La Banda Ardiente. Nayibe is currently finishing her latest CD produced by maestros Julio Castro and Ray Castro of Conjunto Clásico. Nayibe’s music will be featured in the upcoming feature film “The Pigeon Man.”

JOSÉ MANGUAL JR., the oldest son of pioneering bongocero of the Machito Orchestra, José Mangual Sr. was born and raised in East Harlem, and by age 15 was already playing in local groups. In 1968 he played bongos and sang background vocals for a new orchestra led by a young Willie Colon with lead vocalist Héctor Lavoe. After Willie Colon and Héctor Lavoe parted ways, Mangual took over the musical direction of Lavoe’s orchestra. In 1977, he formed his own record label, True Ventures Inc., and released the immortal Tribute to Chano Pozo, featuring the classics “Campanero” and “Cuero Na’ Ma’.” He was voted Bongocero of the Year for 1978 by the readers of Latin New York Magazine. In 1998 he produced and musical-directed Caiman Records’ new release Son Boricua by his band of the same name, winning the first of three New York Latin Critics’ ACE Awards as the Best New Latin Release for 1998-1999. Son Boricua’s 2000 release, Homenaje a Cortijo y Rivera, with Mangual as Musical Director, co-lead vocalist with Jimmy Sabater, and composer of “Boricua Blues,” captured their second ACE Award in 2002. Mangual was a vocalist on the soundtrack of “El Cantante” starring Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez.

JIMMY SABATER grew up in “El Barrio” and learned to play the timbales. In the early ‘50s, timbalero Sabater joined The Joe Cuba Sextet, which included vocalist Willie Torres, pianist Nick Jimenez and conguero Gilberto Calderon. The band played gigs in the clubs of “El Barrio” as well as upstate New York venues such as the Pines Resort. In 1962, Seeco Records recorded Joe Cuba’s album Steppin’ Out, which became a huge hit with Sabater singing perhaps the love song of that era, “To Be with You,” winning him international recognition. In 1964, the Joe Cuba Sextet signed with Tico Records and in ‘66 recorded two blockbuster albums, We Must Be Doing Something Right, which featured Sabater and Jimenez’s hit composition “El Pito” (‘I’ll Never Go Back to Georgia’), and Wanted Dead or Alive, the first boogaloo-style album to sell one million records, largely because of another smash composition by Sabater and Jimenez, “Bang Bang.” In 1980 Sabater recorded the outstanding album Gusto for Fania Records. In 1982 he co-led El Combo Gigante with the fantastic Charlie Palmieri until Charlie’s untimely death in 1988. In 1998 Sabater became the lead vocalist of the Latin Septet Son Boricua led by Maestro José Mangual Jr. In 2003, Jimmy Sabater was inducted into The Bronx Hall of Fame. His name now adorns a street in The Bronx, a place he helped to put on the map and where he has resided for the past 47 years.

RAY CASTRO’s vision of embracing both traditional dance forms from his native Puerto Rico and New York’s aggressive Latin swing has made his Latin GRAMMY-nominated CONJUNTO CLÁSICO popular throughout Latin America, Europe, New York and Puerto Rico. Conjunto Clásico has garnered two prestigious ACE Awards for Best Salsa Band and spawned some of the hottest talent in today’s music, including some of the finest arrangers, such as Luis “Perico” Ortiz, Louis Ramírez, and Ramón Sánchez. 2006’s Si Ella Estuviera, the group’s eighteenth album, featured new songs by legendary composer Ramón Rodríguez. In 2007 the group released the critically acclaimed live performance DVD and CD En Concierto: Sólo Éxitos Live in Colombia and in 2008 the DVD Ray Castro’s Conjunto Clásico En Vivo NYC, featuring vintage Clásico performances from the ‘80s in New York.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. Lehman Center also receives support from the New York State Council on the Arts.

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