Colombia’s premier band at Lehman

Colombia’s premier band at Lehman

The legendary Salsa group from Colombia, Grupo Niche, will perform at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, May 19 at 8:00 p.m.

Grupo Niche on its 30th Anniversary Tour is led by songwriter Jairo Varela. The band continues to tour the world, bringing their hot sound and celebrated rhythms to international audiences.

This concert will feature the band’s signature song, “Cali pachanguero,” in addition to many hits from their 10 gold, three platinum and two double platinum records.

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts is on the campus of Lehman College/CUNY at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, NY 10468.

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.

Grupo Niche was formed in Bogotá in 1980 by songwriter, vocalist, arranger, and producer Jairo Varela, who began his music career at age eight with the group La Timba.

Comprised of young musicians from the state of Chocó, Grupo Niche was conceived as new, alternative Salsa with a more international style and flavor. Their first album, 1980’s “Al pasito,” put Colombia on the map of the world of Salsa.

As Varela broke away from existing musical structures, he also took on Afro-centric issues in all their social and ethnic implications, singing to his homeland, Chocó — its problems, its marginality, and its poverty. 1984’s No hay quinto malo featured their signature song, “Cali pachanguero.”

The critically acclaimed Se pasó! was released the following year on the New York Latin Records label. After much success in Colombia, Grupo Niche soon earned international fame and in 1986 became the first Colombian orchestra to perform at Madison Square Garden, playing at the World Salsa Festival along with the world’s top acts.

Beginning in the late ‘80s, Grupo Niche turned to romantic lyrics, leaving behind their songs about social issues. The release of 1989’s Tapando el hueco coincided with Puerto Rico’s salsa romántica movement.

In March 1989, they played for more than one million people at a concert in Peru, and in September of that year they staged their first European tour, playing in France, England, Germany, Switzerland, and Spain. In 1990, the group embarked on its first Mexican tour, playing 16 concerts at large venues including the mythical Salón Tropicana.

The band has visited the United States more than 100 times, playing for hundreds of thousands of fans, and has performed all over the world.

Grupo Niche has released more than 30 albums, receiving numerous international music awards, including a 2001 nomination for a Latin Grammy Award for Album of the Year for Propuesta. Among its best known hits are “Gotas de lluvia,” Una aventura,” “Han cogido la cosa,” Sin sentimiento” and the famous cumbia, “Canoa rancha.”

The band’s latest album is 2011’s MP3 downloadable Afro Latin Hitz. 2010’s Mis favoritas is the group’s most recent CD.