Arsenio Rodriguez Honored By Hostos

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[Entertainment: Music Legend Honored]

One of the more important legends to grace the Latin scene was the legendary composer, band leader and musician Arsenio Rodriguez.

Rodriquez  composed over 200 songs and claimed to be the true  creator of the mambo, although this has been disputed by some. Blinded as a  child, Arsenio was born in Cuba where he learned to play the tres--Cuban guitar.

He was  instrumental in reorganizing the conjunto and in developing the son montuno and  other Afro-Cuban rhythms. Famous for his use of three trumpets and introduction  of the piano and conga drummer to the conjunto, this fusion improved the sonority of the Cuban septetos.

Rodríguez also created various rhythms and harmonic tones that enriched the  guaracha, son, and bolero-mamba and bolero-son. He performed at the Palladium  Ballroom in New York throughout the 1960s before eventually moving to California  where he died in December 1970.

Grupo Folklorico y Experimental Nuevayorquino will honor Arsenio  Rodriquez at Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture on Saturday, March 20, 2010 at  7:30pm, located on the campus of Hostos Community College/CUNY at 450 Grand Concourse at 149th  Street, Bronx, NY. Grupo Folklorico consisting of Andy Gonzalez (bass/leader); Charlie  Santiago (timbales, bongos,  percussion); Jerry Gonzalez (trumpet, percussion); Oscar Hernandez (piano);  Nelson Gonzalez (tres guitar); Gene Golden  (congas, bata drums, percussion); Reynaldo  Jorge (trombone); Eddy Zervigon (flute); Jorge Luis Maldonado (vocals); Pedro  “Pedrito” Martinez (vocals, bata drums, percussion); Eddie  Venegas (trombone, violin); Abraham Rodriguez
(vocals, bata drums, percussion); Tony Rosa  (congas, bata drums, percussion); Guido  Gonzalez (trumpet); and René Lopez, Jr. (percussion), is itself a legendary  band, known for its 1970s recordings produced by René Lopez and Andy Kaufman, Concepts in  Unity and Lo Dice  Todo (We Say It  All), wherein the Bronx orchestra  introduced the world to a new way of playing Latin music - New York  style.

Created by Andy and Jerry Gonzalez in their Bronx Gildersleeve  Avenue home in the 1970's, Grupo Folklórico y Experimental Nuevayorquino was  originally named El Conjunto Anabacoa. They eventually became a fifteen-piece  ensemble and performed at several East Coast and New York area concerts. Grounded in community and folklore, their sound consists of various musical  genres from both the Cuban and Puerto Rican diasporas. Grupo  Folklorico will dedicate their Saturday, March  20th concert to the memory of Arsenio Rodriguez by  featuring Rodriquez's compositions--some  not heard in many years.

A further treat for Rodriguez fans will be the  appearance of four special invited  guest  artists who performed with Arsenio --  Alfredo “Chocolate” Armenteros (trumpet); Sergio “Armandito” Armenteros  (trumpet); Alfredo Valdes, Jr. (piano) and Israel Berrios (vocals,  guitar).

Also, Thursday, March 18, 2010, Hostos will feature within its Art  Gallery a free seminar – La Gente del  Bronx: Arsenio Rodriguez, a  “People’s Musician” at 5:30 p.m. The seminar will focus on the típico and Afro-centric nature of  Rodriquez's music. Participants will include David R. Garcia, author of “Arsenio  Rodriguez and the Transnational Flows of Latin Popular Music,” and musicologist  René Lopez.

Tickets for GRUPO  FOLKL?RICO y EXPERIMENTAL NUEVAYORQUINO on Saturday, March 20, 2010 at 7:30pm are $35 & $25 (group rates available) and  can be purchased online at or by  calling the Hostos box office at 718.518.4455. 


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