Raphy Leavitt y La Selecta
(Published: January 20, 2012)
Lehman Center for the Performing Arts celebrates its 31st season with a rare New York City appearance by Salsa legends RAPHY LEAVITT Y LA SELECTA in a not-to-be-missed concert with SPANISH HARLEM ORCHESTRA on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 8pm. Considered Puerto Rico's national orchestra, RAPHY LEAVITT Y LA SELECTA featuring Sammy Marrero have had numerous smash hits since the early ‘70s, including "Payaso," "El buen pastor," "Café colao," "La cuna blanca," "Somos el son" and the beloved "Jibaro soy," which has become a Puerto Rican anthem. Also appearing that night is one of today's most revered Latin bands, the two-time GRAMMY® Award-winning SPANISH HARLEM ORCHESTRA, under the musical direction of Oscar Hernandez.
Lehman Center for the Performing Arts is on the campus of Lehman College/CUNY at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, NY 10468. Tickets for RAPHY LEAVITT Y LA SELECTA & SPANISH HARLEM ORCHESTRA on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 8pm are $55, $50, and $45 and can be purchased by calling the Lehman Center box office at 718.960.8833 (Monday through Friday, 10am-5pm and beginning at 12 noon on the day of the concert), or through 24-hour online access at www.LehmanCenter.org. 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. Low-cost on-site parking available for $5.
Raphy Leavitt, bandleader, pianist, arranger, composer, and producer, formed his first band, Los Señoriales, in his early teens. After graduating from the University of Puerto Rico, he taught business at the San Agustin College in his hometown of Puerta De Tierra. In 1971, he formed La Selecta, whose line-up of trombones and trumpets, rhythm section and voices included lead singer Sammy Marrero. With Borinquen Records, they released ten albums between 1971 and 1979. Leavitt's first composition, a bolero montuno called "Payaso," was a smash hit. The single and La Selecta's self-titled debut album both went gold. The following year the band had a huge international hit with "Jibaro Soy," their second gold record. Leavitt's tribute to his late trumpeter Luisito Maisonet, "La cuna blanca," topped the charts in Latin America and the Latin charts in the USA, and he was named Puerto Rico's Composer of The Year. In 1976, the single "El buen pastor" became another international hit and went gold. The band released three albums with TH Records from 1981 to 1983. Carlitos Ramírez joined La Selecta as co-lead singer on their tenth anniversary album. In 1987, La Selecta received the Puerto Rican music industry's Diplo Award for Band of the Year. With over 30 albums, including five compilations, to their credit, the band's latest release of new material is 2006's two-DVD set 30 Aniversario: Live.
Spanish Harlem Orchestra, hailed by The New York Times as "virtuosic journeymen who are one of New York's great musical resources," has educated a new generation of listeners with its classic-meets-contemporary sound, grounded in the musical legacy of El Barrio, a pulsating, East Side community in NYC that gave rise to Boogaloo, Latin Soul and Salsa. Directed by world-renowned pianist, arranger, and producer Oscar Hernández, the thirteen-member, all-star ensemble has established itself as a standard-bearer of contemporary Latin music. All four of the orchestra's albums have been nominated for GRAMMY Awards. The band's 2002 debut, Un Gran Día En El Barrio, which revived the classic 1970 NYC sounds with a new hard-hitting point-of-view, launched the band and received a 2003 GRAMMY nomination for Best Salsa Album as well as a Latin Billboard Award for Salsa Album of the Year/Best New Group. Across 110th St., which featured singers Marco Bermudez, Willie Torres, Ray De La Paz and special guest Ruben Blades, garnered the group its first GRAMMY Award in 2005 for Best Salsa Album. United We Swing, featuring special guest Paul Simon, was nominated for a GRAMMY® for Best Tropical Album. Their latest CD, Viva La Tradición, won a 2011 GRAMMY Award for Best Tropical Latin Album.
Lehman Center is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council. The 2011-2012 season is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, JPMorgan Chase, and through corporations, foundations and private donations.