Library Branches Go South of the Border With Concerts
There will be Latin American music in the air when the Barnegat and Stafford branches of the Ocean County Library celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with concerts.
Barnegat presents the Karen Rodriguez Latin Jazz Ensemble on Saturday, Oct. 6, at 2 p.m. Based in Bristol, Pa., the vocalist is backed by a four-piece band that performs the traditional sounds of Tito Puente, Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz, Gloria Estefan and Antonio Carlos Jobim among other artists. Musical styles include salsa, bossa nova, merengue, mambo and other Latin American sounds.
The Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation web site says her band has the feel of “walking into a Cuban night club circa 1950.”
“Some may attempt to convey a Latin sound by singing a bossa nova song, but Karen is indigenous to Latin music,” the site says. “Her parents are from Puerto Rico. She speaks, teaches and sings in Spanish.”
Ray Rodriguez y Swing Sabroso will be performing at the Stafford branch on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 6 p.m. Audience members may both listen and dance to the salsa rhythms of the nine-piece band, which formed in 2001. The group has performed at Lincoln Center as well as numerous clubs and festivals in New York and Philadelphia.
Born in Puerto Rico, Rodriguez grew up in New York’s Spanish Harlem, where he took an interest in music at an early age, and was influenced by Latin American icons Tito Puente and Ray Barretto. Rodriguez studied music theory, harmony and arranging at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music.
“We had a great response when they were here last year,” said Branch Manager Chris Rodas. “It was like a party.”
For more information and registration, call Barnegat (609-698-3331) or Stafford (609-597-3381) or log on to theoceancountylibrary.org. —E.E.