May 4, 2008

A night with the Spanish Harlem Orchestra

So, I know it's been a while (papers and illness have taken me down) but I do have exciting things to share! First though, I have to say that tonight I went to go see the Spanish Harlem Orchestra. I know, perhaps it seems strange for those of you paying attention, I pathologically avoid Nuyorican things, not because they're not of quality, since they are, just that Puerto Ricans and Nuyoricans are two different groups of people and I can only stretch myself so far! I guess that'll be something else for me to explore later on... not that I could learn everything there is to know about Puerto Rico, of course.

Spanish Harlem Orchestra is a world-famous, Grammy-winning salsa group. And Spanish Harlem, in case you didn't know, is a barrio in New York that is filled with descendants of all the Puerto Rican immigrants (among others). It's a birthplace of many creative movements just as its sister district, Harlem, was for the Black community there a few decades before. Combined you should get some pretty damn good music. And we did.

Point is I went to this concert sitting front row right in the center! So we got lots of attention from the group, including kisses from the singers. What can I say, I'm adorable.

Afterwards my close Puerto Rican friend went to talk to the trumpeter about his last name--they both share the same, kind of rare apellido. They started comparing family trees, found nothing in common, decided they were family anyways and embraced each other. It was cute and very Puerto Rican. At least I think so... I hate to try to force the family-closeness and hospitality stereotypes on them, since I know plenty of people that definitely don't match that (sorry but it's true!), but I did see a genuine sense of that tonight and I found it kind of touching.

Actually, in general everyone in the band was incredibly friendly and they all had lots of character. And of course, the music was great. Very "clean" and professional, and by the end everyone was shouting for an encore (which we got). Basically, if you have a chance to see them, go. And if you have a chance to go to any salsa concert at all, go!!

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