Summer Music Series will feature all-star performances as the summer sizzles in the Bronx as the 2nd Annual SalsaFest brings together some of the borough’s best salseros, dancing in the streets and on the sand. Produced by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and the Bronx Tourism Council and funded by NYC & Company, SalsaFest, which made its debut last year, begins on August 3 and will continue through to August 26, the last of the Summer Music Series Concerts at Orchard Beach.
“This is the borough that gave birth to what has become an international phenomenon, and it is only fitting that we celebrate ’El Condado de la Salsa‘ together with music, dancing, old-fashioned block parties and fun in the sun,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “I invite Bronxites and visitors alike to come and join me at Orchard Beach for another great summer of Salsa!”
“Music is a universal language spoken quite fluently around the world,” says Olga Luz Tirado, Executive Director of the Bronx Tourism Council. “Visitors will enjoy experiencing authentic Salsa music and dance in the borough where it all began.”
The entertainment begins on Friday, August 3, from 7 – 9 p.m. with a screening of "From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale," a documentary produced by City Lore and edited by Benh Zeitlin, the award-winning director of the current feature film, “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” Immediately following the screening will be a panel discussion with some of the musicians featured in the film, including Benny Bonilla, a percussionist who was part of Pete Rodriguez's group on their hit, "I Like It Like That;” The Last Mambo King Orlando Marin, bandleader and timbalero, and Jorge "Popmaster Fabel" Pabon, choreographer, hip hop historian and Senior VP of the Rock Steady Crew. The panel will be moderated by the film's co-producer, Elena Martinez, and hosted by Pregones Theater, 571 Walton Avenue. This event is free but reservations are recommended by calling 718.590.3518.
We continue with Dancing in the Streets 6th Annual Hip Hip Hop Generation Next Block Party, on Saturday, August 4, from 2-9 p.m. in the heart of Hunts Point. Salsa performances include Angel Rodriguez & the Abrazos Orchestra. Also, acclaimed mambo dancer Franck Muhel will perform and teach the mambo during a salsa set played by Orlando Marin, the Last Mambo King, and his Orchestra. Hosted by Dancing in the Streets in collaboration with Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education. This free block party takes place on Simpson Street, between Barretto and East 163rd street.
Also on Saturday, August 4, from 3 – 6:30 p.m., become part of an amazing musical experience when folklorist Elena Martinez leads a tour of musical greats interred at Woodlawn Cemetery. The tour, which includes visiting the gravesites of Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and Irene Castle, culminates in a Tribute to the Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz, offering a rare opportunity to view the mausoleum of the Grammy-award winning Salsa star. Percussionists, led by multi-Grammy nominated bandleader Bobby Sanabria, will play at various graves including Celia's in tribute to the legendary performer. Tours are free and begin at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., rain or shine. This event is hosted by Friends of Woodlawn Cemetery. Take the #4 train to the end of line, Woodlawn Station. At base of station, walk about ½ block. Jerome Avenue entrance is on the right. This event is free, but reservations are recommended by calling 718-920-1469.
The Free Summer Music Series at Orchard Beach officially begins on Sunday, August 12 at noon with Nelson Gonzalez and his All-Star Band. Lauded as one of the greatest “tres” guitar players, Gonzalez has toured with La India and Marc Anthony and was a member of the legendary Fania All-Stars. This event is co-sponsored by Latino Sports and Bronx Lebanon Hospital.
On Saturday, August 18th from noon to 6pm join the annual Morrison Avenue Festival where the community comes together to enjoy music, food, unity and the beautiful weather that the summer brings. Performers include: Nino Segarra, The CopaCabana Band, and Angelo y su Conjunto Modelo. The event takes place on Morrison Avenue and Westchester.
Also on August 18th, Lehman Center for the Performing Arts presents WILLIE COLÓN: La Historia. This concert which begins at 8pm marks the return of Bronx-born Willie Colón, renowned singer, trombonist, composer, producer and director after over a decade of absence from Lehman’s stage. Willie Colón has recorded 40 productions that have sold more than 30 million records worldwide. His collaboration with Rubén Blades in the album Siembra, is the biggest selling album of all-time for the Salsa/Tropical genre. Tickets: $50, $40, $30, www.lehmancenter.org
The excitement of live music continues on Sunday, August 19, at noon at Orchard Beach with the sounds of the Charanga All Stars. The band is led by Johnny Rodriguez, a Latin music veteran who throughout his 40-year music career has played with greats such as Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez and Eddie Palmieri. This event is sponsored by Bronx Lebanon Hospital.
Salseros won’t miss out on their last chance to dance salsa in the sand at Orchard Beach on Sunday, August 26, beginning at noon! Come and experience the rhythm of Jazz Master Papo Vázquez with his Pirates and Troubadors. This event is co-sponsored by the National Jazz Museum in Harlem and Bronx Lebanon Hospital.
For information on more events taking place during Bronx SalsaFest, visit the Bronx Tourism Council’s website, www.ilovethebronx.com.
About the Bronx Tourism Council: Established in 1991, The Bronx Tourism Council is a subsidiary of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (BOEDC), creating a cohesive and symbiotic relationship between arts and culture and economic development. The role of the Bronx Tourism Council is to promote the borough’s rich history, its institutions, and cultural diversity on a local, national, and international level.