Great Latin Band's Year 30 Anniversary

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[Entertainment: Music]

The Latin Grammy nominated band, Conjunto Clasico, will swing into Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, on Saturday, November 29, 2008 at 8:00 p.m. Surrounded by a predominately black and Latin neighborhood, Lehman Center is sure to have the joint jumpin’ with the melodious strains of Puerto Rican and Afro Cuban rhythms.

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts is featuring the concert in association with RC Entertainment and V.A.I. Entertainment, and is proud to present this not-to-be-missed 30th anniversary concert which features one of Latin music’s most popular bands, Ray Castro’s Conjunto Clasico, an orchestra Ray Castro founded in the late ‘70s with vocalist/composer Ramon Rodriguez.

Celebrated around the world for preserving its Puerto Rican and Afro Cuban roots, Conjunto Clásico has sold over ten million albums during the 30 years the band has been in the music business. Vocalists Hector Luis Pagan, Ramon Rodriguez and David Navedo will be lending their considerable talents to the orchestra as will Johnny Rivera and invited guest vocalists Tito Allen and Rafael De Jesus. These great hit makers will feature many of their hits with the band for the first time in twenty years. It is sure to be an exciting night, especially since their very special guest will be Johnny Pacheco.

Pacheco is one of the greats of Latin music. Born in the Dominican Republic, this salsa pioneer’s talent has earned him a 40 year career span which consists of composing, arranging, band leading, and producing. Pacheco has garnered nine Grammy nominations, ten Gold records, and numerous awards. At age 11, Pacheco moved with his family to New York, where he learned to play accordion, violin, saxophone, and clarinet. Studying percussion at the Julliard School of Music, he mastered both percussion and flute. In 1960, he organized his legendary orchestra, Pacheco y Su Charanga, the first Latin band to headline at the Apollo, and signed with Alegre Records. His first album, Johnny Pacheco Y Su Charanga Vol. 1, sold over 100,000 copies its first year. Pacheco was instrumental in introducing the "Pachanga," which brought about a new dance craze. It wasn’t long before he was known both nationally and internationally via his extensive tours throughout the world. In 1963, Pacheco created Fania Records with Jerry Masucci, and by 1964, the label released Pacheco's next album, Canonazo, featuring a switch from Charanga to Conjunto style. In 2006, Pacheco celebrated 50 years in music with the two-disc, 30-track retrospective, A Man and His Music, as well as performed at the Latin Grammy Awards with the Fania All-Stars that year.

Conjunto Clasico is popular throughout Latin America, Europe, New York, and La Isla del Encanto (Puerto Rico), due to the vision of band leader Ray Castro, who embraced the traditional dance forms from his native Puerto Rico with that of the more aggressive style of New York swing. Conjunto Clásico has garnered two prestigious ACE Awards for Best Salsa Band and spawned some of the hottest talent in today’s music, including fine arrangers such as Jose Febles, Luis "Perico" Ortiz, Louis Ramírez, and Ramón Sánchez.

Always in search of new talent and determined to feature the best artists possible, Castro’s newest find is lead vocalist and composer Héctor Luis Pagan. Hector Luis made his debut with the band with the group’s eighteenth album Si Ella Estuviera, recorded in 2006. The album featured new songs by legendary composer Ramón Rodríguez. Last year the band released En Concierto: Sólo Éxitos Live in Colombia. This April the band followed up their En Concierto: Solo Exitos Live in Columbia CD success with Ray Castro’s Conjunto Clásico En Vivo NYC, featuring vintage New York Clásico performances from the 1980s.

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts receives support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts and is located on the campus of Lehman College at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, NY 10468.

Tickets for Saturday, November 29th concert, RAY CASTRO’S CONJUNTO CLÁSICO 30th Anniversary can be purchased by calling the Lehman Center box office at 718.960.8833 (Mon. through Fri., 10AM–5PM, and beginning at 12 noon on the day of the concert), or through 24-hour online access at Ticket prices are $60, $55, $50 and $45. 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 parking is available

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