Latin musician Gregorio Uribe enjoys his time while playing his accordion. Uribe will perform with a 15-piece ensemble, Gregorio Uribe y Su Orquesta, at O’Day Park in the South End to kick off the 4th annual Tito Puente Latin Music Series. The series, which began in 2004, will feature concerts on each of the remaining Thursdays this month. (Photo courtesy of Berklee College of Music)
For Roxbury resident Gregorio Uribe, it’s all about the music.
From playing in punk rock bands in his hometown of Bogotá, Colombia, to teaching himself folk songs while living in Australia as a teenager, to hitchhiking through South America with his accordion, to working his way through Berklee College of Music here in Boston, music has always been number one for the 23-year-old bandleader.
Tonight, he brings his latest project — Gregorio Uribe y Su Orquesta (and his Orchestra), a 15-piece ensemble — to the South End’s O’Day Park to kick off the 4th annual Tito Puente Latin Music Series.
“It’s seeing a dream that I’ve had finally materialize,” Uribe told the Banner in a recent interview. “I’ve been going to that series for four years, and to be able to play there now with my big band is great.”
The music series, which will feature concerts on each of the remaining Thursdays this month, is sponsored by Berklee, The Center for Latino Arts, and the City of Boston’s ParkArts Program. It began as part of a 2004 collaboration between the city and Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA), the nonprofit community development organization that runs The Center for Latino Arts, to rehabilitate and reintroduce O’Day Park to South End families, said James McCoy, director of Berklee’s Office of Community and Governmental Affairs.
“We launched the Tito Puente Latin Music Series to reopen the park. Now the people in that neighborhood feel like the park is theirs again,” he said.
Prior to 2004, O’Day Park had fallen into a state of disrepair and become a haven for drug dealing and other unsavory behavior, according to McCoy. So far the results have been positive, McCoy said.
“The concert series has been more successful each time,” he said. “The audience grows every year, the variety of the people grows every year, and the artists get better every year.”
For Uribe, tonight is an opportunity to pay homage to Tito Puente, one of his musical heroes.
“He’s definitely the man when it comes to Latin jazz,” said Uribe. “I consider myself a drummer ultimately. He was a drummer too, but at the same time a bandleader, an arranger and a very well rounded musician — that’s what I want to be.”(p2)
At Uribe's MySpace page, visitors can check out upcoming performance dates, listen to selected sample tracks and contact the Fort Hill-based artist. More »
This advisory from Berklee College of Music provides the upcoming schedule for the music series' concerts throughout the month of July. More »
“We call our music ‘Afrocoustic,’” bandleader John Mambira told the Banner. “We based our music on listening to Africans like Salif Keita, Baaba Maal and Angélique Kidjo, but we also like Tracy Chapman, Bob Marley and Seal. Paul Simon, especially, has a African feel to his music.” More »