Lehman Center for the Performing Arts continues its spectacular 31st season with the return of legendary salsa pioneers La Sonora Ponceña on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.

With more than 40 albums, La Sonora Ponceña has entertained audiences for nearly 60 years. Led by founder Enrique “Quique” Lucca and his son, piano virtuoso “Papo” Lucca, the group is known for such classic hits as “Hachero pa’ un palo” and “Fuego en el 23.” Enrique “Quique” Lucca recently celebrated his 99th birthday.

Also appearing at this unforgettable concert will be one of the hottest bands to burst onto the Latin music scene, 8 Y Mas, a collaboration of some of the best musicians in NYC and beyond who have taken salsa back to its original flavor as they play “La música de ayer, con el sonido de hoy” (yesterday’s music with today’s sound).

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. Low-cost on-site parking is available.

La Sonora Ponceña was formed in Puerto Rico in 1954 by Enrique “Quique” Lucca, who named the band after the famous Cuban band Sonora Matancera and his home city of Ponce, thus Sonora Ponceña. By 1956 the group included pianist Vicentico Morales, with Quique’s ten-year-old son, Enrique “Papo” Lucca Jr., already at the piano writing arrangements. Papo recorded his first piano solo at age 12.

The band’s early recordings featured various popular vocalists of the time, until Tito Gomez joined the band, staying until 1974. By 1960, the band had performed in New York, catching the attention of Fania/Inca Records owner Jerry Masucci. After studies at the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, Papo was an accomplished pianist and arranger, and in 1968 Quique stepped down as musical director.

Under Papo’s direction, the band’s sound became a fusion of traditional Cuban and modern Latin styles. In 1969 they released their first Inca LP, with all arrangements by Papo, Hachero pa’ un palo, whose hit title song established them as salsa pioneers. They recorded 30 more albums for Inca and by 1980 were a huge success. As salsa romántica became popular, they adjusted to commercial forces without deserting their trademark sound. The band’s most recent albums are 2011’s El gigante del sur and A Band and their Music.

8 Y Más is the cooperative effort of internationally recognized Latin musicians/producers Bobby Allende and Marc Quiñones, who have embarked on a mission to preserve the genre of hard-core salsa music as well as to expose new generations to the music which is a staple of the Latin culture. In addition to Bobby and Marc, the band includes Eddie Rosado (lead vocals), Victor Baro, Samuel Baretto, Arturo Ortiz, Jose Tabares and Manuel Ruiz. The members have played individually, and collectively, with a “who’s who” of greats from many genres of music including Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Rubén Blades, Ray Barretto, Tito Nieves, Marc Anthony, La India, Ricky Martin, Dave Valentín and Willie Colón. In November, 2006, the band released its first CD Juega Billar, which rose quickly to the top of many “best of” lists, including the Descarga Review and Salsa Picante. With their astonishing renditions of compositions by Lalo Rodriguez, Ismael Miranda, Rubén Blades and Ray Barretto, the band rapidly gained attention worldwide. In August 2011 the band released its follow-up CD, Que Mas, which includes collaborations with Eva Ayllón (“Saca la mano”) and Herman Olivera (“Lllanto de cocodrilo). The album has already been featured on Sirius XM’s three-hour salsa program, Caliente.

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