Hot Salsa With Willie Rosario

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[Entertainment: Music]




Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, in association with Mario A. Torres Productions, presents a night of “old school Salsa that’s hip and fresh” with legendary timbalero Willie Rosario Y Su Orquesta on Saturday, February 2, 2008 at 8pm. 

Willie Rosario has made his mark on both Salsa and Tropical music, from swinging mambo, to guaganco and boogaloo, composing such hits as “De Barrio Obrero a la Quince,” “El Timbal de Carlitos,” and the Grammy Award-nominated “Nueva Cosecha.”

This spicy hot evening will also feature conguero Eddie Montalvo And Friends
, with master percussionist and timbalero Don Perignon, and vocalist Rico Walker, who was part of Willie Rosario’s band for many years.  This event receives support from JP Morgan Chase.

Willie Rosario—aka “Mr. Afinque”—was born Fernando Luis Rosario Marin in Coamo, Puerto Rico to a hard-working family.  His parents realized that Willie was musically-inclined and took him to guitar lessons at the age of six. 

He later studied saxophone, but what really attracted him was the conga.  In 1946, at age 16, he formed a band called Coamex.  A year later, his family moved to New York City’s Spanish Harlem.  Rosario began playing conga in various orchestras.  After graduating from high school, he continued his education, studying journalism and public relations.  One night, at the famed Palladium Ball Room in New York, he saw Tito Puente playing the timbales. 

Thus began Rosario’s love affair with the timbales, and at age 22, he began classes with percussionist Henry Adler.  In 1959, he organized his first band, which played for three years in New York’s Club Caborrojeño.  He also worked as a disc jockey for WADO, the Spanish radio station in New York.  In 1962, he signed with the Alegre Record Label and traveled and performed with his band in Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, Curaçao, U.S. Virgin Islands, and all over the United States. 

He opened the Tropicana Club in New York with fellow Puerto Rican Bobby Valentin.  In 1987, Rosario received a Grammy nomination for his song “Nueva Cosecha” (New Harvest). 

has received numerous awards, including his 2002 induction into The International Latin Music Hall of Fame. 

Conguero Eddie Montalvo, who grew up in the South Bronx, began playing bongos at age ten, and by seventeen was playing congas professionally.  His early influences include Tata Guines, Ray Barretto, Mongo Santamaria, Sabu Martinez, and Armando Peraza.  Known for his rock-steady time and his ability to “lock” with other rhythm players, he has recorded and performed with some of Latin music’s biggest names, including the Fania All-Stars, Celia Cruz, Willie Colon, and Johnny Pacheco. 

As the conga player in Rubén Blades’s 11-piece ensemble Son del Solar, Montalvo appeared on the critically acclaimed album Rubén Blades y Son del Solar – Live!  He also performed on Paul Simon’s 1997 release Songs from The Capeman, a selection of tunes from the Latin-flavored Broadway show of the same name.  In the 1970s, many a beginning player studied Latin rhythms by listening to Montalvo’s popular series of instruction albums.  He is also the man behind the mambo beat in several dance-instruction videos by New York’s Latin-dance master Eddie Torres.

Center for the Performing Arts is on the campus of Lehman College at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, NY 10468.  Tickets for Willie Rosario Y Su Orquesta on Saturday, February 2, 2008 at 8pm, are: $55, $50, $45 and $40 and 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  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 attended parking is available.


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