~by Dena Burroughs
SECOND ANNUAL LOS ANGELES SALSA MUSIC FESTIVAL, AT THE GREEK THEATRE - August 23, 2008
At 7:30 PM on Saturday, Hector Resendez, the host of the Canto Tropical L.A. radio show, welcomed the crowd to the 2nd Annual Los Angeles Salsa Festival at The Greek Theatre. The members of Puerto Rican Power went on stage, wearing t-shirts that advertised their latest CD, Salsa of the Caribbean, and began to play as Puerto Rican dancers Stacey and Lucy Lopez performed in the background. In such way began an evening of fabulous music and a parade of singers that lasted until 11:00 PM.
Xiomara Laugart, the Cuban singer who has been busy in Broadway with her role as Celia Cruz, was first to perform. “Her voice is very powerful,” said Pauline Bao, a concert attendee. And the crowd seemed to be in agreement as they danced and sang along with Xiomara to several of Celia Cruz’ hit songs.
Johnny Rivera walked on stage next, sporting a pair of glasses of black thick frames that added on to his nice looks. Not that the crowd needs anything to further love the man who put his career on hold while he stood by his wife in her time of ill. Now that he is back, his audience, in turn, stands by him.
“El Gallo,” Tito Rojas, was next, with his voice of Salsero that could have been Mariachi and those songs that start with notes that make one think of “Chente,” but then pick up the clave.
Puerto Rican Power followed with a set of their own, although they had been on stage since the start and its singers had been the background voices for all prior performers. Singer Josue Rosado, with his infectious energy and his willingness to interact with the crowd, is a definite plus to this group. The group was joined by Puerto Rican cuatro player and Fania star, Yomo Toro, and later by Osvaldo Roman, with his trademark blond hair and a performing history with both this group and the one that would follow, Grupo Niche.
In sharp contrast to the t-shirts and baseball caps worn by Puerto Rican Power, Grupo Niche got on stage suited up and elegant. The audience, heavily Colombian, went crazy as their beloved musicians represented them well.
The promotion for the concert had been “Puerto Rican Power VS. Grupo Niche.” Thankfully, there was no “VS.” This was a truly enjoyable night of great music performed by expert musicians and the craft of amazing vocalists. A party rather than a match, this was a successful event put on by Nederlander Concerts in association with Eddie Rodriguez and Latin Works Music.
PUERTO RICAN POWER (AND STACEY AND LUCY LOPEZ)
PEOPLE AND THINGS