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RUBÉN BLADES and GILBERTO SANTA ROSA at Lehman Center For The Performing Arts
(Published: January 21, 2011)

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts proudly presents a special 30th Anniversary Season event by two living Salsa legends, singing side by side on the same stage for the very first time - multi-GRAMMY Award winners RUBÉN BLADES and GILBERTO SANTA ROSA - performing their major international hits in the premiere performance of their Una Sola Salsa 2011 tour on Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 8pm. RUBÉN BLADES, called "El Poeta" (The Poet), is one of the most successful vocalist/composers in the history of Latin music. GILBERTO SANTA ROSA, known as "El Caballero de La Salsa" (The Gentleman of Salsa), is known for his unique style of "soneo" (improvisation). This year Rubén Blades and Gilberto Santa Rosa performed a duet on "Me Cambiaron las Preguntas," the first song Santa Rosa ever recorded that focused on a social issue, for Santa Rosa's new album Irrepetible. Lehman Center is the first stop on the Una Sola Salsa tour, which will include concerts in Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Juan. Blades calls the tour "an opportunity to thank the fans that never abandoned the genre for their support, creating a reason to physically reunite in celebration of this type of music.. . . and to present the style to a new generation that hasn't been exposed to Salsa music and will surely become great supporters of this Caribbean expression."

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 UNA SOLA SALSA with RUBÉN BLADES and GILBERTO SANTA ROSA on Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 8pm are: $105, $95 and $75 and can be purchased by calling the Lehman Center box office at 718.960.8833 (Monday & Wednesday - Friday, 10am-5pm, closed on Tuesdays, 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. Free on-site parking is available.

Rubén Blades, who grew up in the working-class neighborhood of Carrasquilla in Panama City, is a renaissance man who has made a significant contribution to Salsa with his socially conscious lyrics. In 1968, he traveled to New York, where he was invited to record an album with the Pete Rodríguez Orchestra, and made important contacts in the music world. After obtaining a law degree in Panama, he moved to the US in 1974, staying with his parents in Miami before moving to NYC, where he was soon working with band leaders Ray Barretto and Larry Harlow. When Héctor Lavoe left his position as lead vocalist for the Willie Colón Orchestra, Blades took the spot, and their 1978 album Siembra became the best-selling Salsa record to date. He won his first of six GRAMMY Awards in 1986 for Escenas in the Best Tropical Latin Performance. Last November he received his second Latin GRAMMY for Best Singer-Songwriter Album of the Year for his album Songs of Underdevelopment. He has appeared in numerous films, including "Crossover Dreams" (1985), "The Milagro Beanfield War" (1988), "All the Pretty Horses" (2000) and "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" (2003). In 1997 he starred in Paul Simon's Broadway musical "The Capeman." After several Emmy nominations, he made his first foray to regular series work with "Gideon's Crossing" (ABC, 2000-01), playing a medical colleague of star Andre Braugher. In the 1990s, Blades took a more active role in the politics of his homeland and ran for president of Panama in 1994. He was Panama's Minister of Tourism from 2004 to 2009. The Loeb Music Library at Harvard University recently formed The Rubén Blades Archives with the purpose of collecting his work and papers.

Gilberto Santa Rosa, born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, watched El Gran Combo on television and as a teenager studied sax and trumpet at the Escuela Libre de Música de San Juan. He founded his first musical group, La Evolución 65, which later would become La Potencia Orchestra. After two years with La Grande Orchestra, he made a name for himself singing with Don Perigñón, Manolito Rodríguez's Fantasía Boricua, Tommy Olivencia's La Primerísima and the Puerto Rico All-Stars. With Willie Rosario he achieved major success with such hits as "Lluvia" and "Botaron la pelota." In the mid-1980s, Santa Rosa led his own orchestra and released four albums before signing with Sony BMG, which is still his label. His delivery and talent for lyrical improvisation spurred the Salsa movement, revolutionizing the genre and launching the pioneering singer to an international level. In 1995, he made history when he became the first tropical music singer to perform at Carnegie Hall, and in 1998 he recorded the first Salsa album with classical orchestra, Salsa Sinfónica with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela. Santa Rosa topped Billboard's music charts with 1999's stand-out Expresión. His success continued with the albums Romántico, Intenso, Viceversa, Sólo Boleros, Auténtico and 2006's Directo al corazón, which won both GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY Awards. His newest release is 2010's Irrepetible, which includes a duet with living legend Rubén Blades.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. Lehman Center also receives support from the New York State Council on the Arts.

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