Grupo Folklorico at Hostos Center on November 1


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Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture will present a special reunion concert by one of Latin music’s most important alliances, the groundbreaking GRUPO FOLKLORICO y EXPERIMENTAL NUEVAYORQUINO, on Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 7:30pm. With its two seminal recordings from the mid 1970s, Concepts in Unity and Lo Dice Todo (We Say It All), this legendary Bronx orchestra introduced the world to a new way of playing Latin music -- New York-style. Grounded in community and folklore, it encompassed various musical genres from both the Cuban and Puerto Rican diasporas. After 33 years, the group of mostly original members, together with the LPs’ producers, Rene Lopez and Andy Kaufman, make a rare appearance in their hometown of the Bronx to once again explore their musical roots, revisiting original music as well as new material, and demonstrating once again the power of the group’s original concept: no written music, with improvisation as the driving force, played by musicians steeped in the knowledge of their musical traditions.

The members of GRUPO FOLKLORICO y EXPERIMENTAL NUEVAYORQUINO are: Andy Gonzalez (bass and leader); Manny Oquendo (timbales, bongos and percussion); Jerry Gonzalez (trumpet and percussion); Gene Golden (congas, bata drums and percussion); Nelson Gonzalez (tres guitar); Oscar Hernandez (piano); Eddy Zervigon (flute); Jorge Luis Maldonado (vocals); Pedro “Pedrito” Martinez (vocals, bata drums and percussion); Reynaldo Jorge (trombone); Eddie Venegas (trombone and violin); Abraham Rodriguez (vocals, bata drums and percussion); Tony Rosa (congas, bata drums and percussion); Guido Gonzalez (trumpet); plus surprise guests.

Grupo Folklorico y Experimental Nuevayorquino was an idea created at the Gildersleeve Avenue home of Andy and Jerry Gonzalez in the Bronx in the early 1970s. Originally named El Conjunto Anabacoa, the group eventually evolved into the fifteen-piece band known as El Grupo Folklrico Experimental and performed several concerts on the East Coast as well as in New York. The Gonzalez brothers were joined by such extraordinary musicians as Manny Oquendo, Heny Alvarez, “Chocolate” Armenteros, Virgilio Marti, Gonzalo Fernandez, and Oscar Hernandez. A sonic fusion of Latin styles, Grupo’s sound captured the cultural melting pot of the New York scene like no other orchestra of the day. A favorite of university campuses and folk festivals, they performed at the Smithsonian, Lincoln Center and President Carter’s Inaugural Ball. The group became a major cult band, mostly as a result of its two recordings, 1976’s Concepts In Unity and 1977’s Lo Dice Todo (We Say It All), produced by Rene Lopez and Andy Kaufman. Called “some of the finest examples of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Puerto Rican artistry” by Descarga.com, the LPs included such unforgettable musical compositions as “Cuba Linda,” “La Mam,” “Aguemimo” and “Se Me Olvid Que Te Olvid.” More recently, Grupo Folklrico performed in 2007 in Berlin at the World Music Congress and in 2008 in Washington, D.C. at the American Folklife Festival honoring Rene Lopez's meritorious service for many years working with the Smithsonian Institute. The November 1st concert at Hostos will be the band’s first appearance in the New York City area in many years. In the words of noted Professor of Latin Studies Juan Flores, “Folklrico, y Experimental Newyorkino – the name says it all, then and there, here and now -- my favorite band ever! We went wild! And now, 30 years later, GRUPO is back -- a thrilling, historic occasion -- the champagne of New York music -- pure history and sheer prophecy!”

Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture is located on the campus of Hostos Community College/CUNY at 450 Grand Concourse at 149th Street, Bronx, NY. Tickets for GRUPO FOLKLORICO y EXPERIMENTAL NUEVAYORQUINO on Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 7:30pm are $35 & $25 (group rates available) and can be purchased online or by calling the Hostos box office at 718.518.4455 (Mon. through Fri., 12:30 - 6:30PM, and two hours before show time on weekends). Hostos Community College is off the Major Deegan Expressway and accessible by IRT 2, 4, 5, BX1 and BX19 to Grand Concourse and 149th Street.

This story appears courtesy of Leah Grammatica Public Relations.
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