The Big SHO at the Schermerhorn is March 18 when Nashville Symphony presents The Spanish Harlem Orchestra, performing for the first time in Music City. Since the band’s first release a decade ago, all four albums were nominated and two won Grammys, including “Viva La Tradición” named Best Tropical Latin Album in 2011.
The Spanish Harlem Orchestra emerged from the New-York-City-Community-of-a-Camelot where King Tito Puente and Queen Celia Cruz ruled Latin music. Many crown Oscar Hernandez, a Bronx boy who played with them both, as today’s Prince. As a musician, composer, producer, and leader he has worked with greats such as Tito Rodriguez, Jr., Willie Colon, Eddie Torres, Ruben Blades, Julio Iglesias and Paul Simon.
Likewise, the other twelve members of SHO have distinguished themselves in other groups and ventures. Many have won Grammys and Doug Beavers, trombonist, founded the Harlem School of Urban Music and Recording Arts. Most were born in the Bronx of Puerto Rican descent; others moved to New York over twenty years from California or Michigan, Ecuador, Venezuela or Costa Rica. Together they have conquered the world.
I asked Hernandez to name his favorite or most surprising cities where SHO has played on world tours. He recalled: “The most surprising was St. Petersburg, Russia. We felt the audience’s energy. They were knowledgeable fans.” Hernandez says he “likes to dance but doesn’t love to dance,” but in a big club in Russia, he enjoyed dancing salsa. “I was surrounded by people who get it.” Of other gigs and the upcoming stop in Nashville, he said:
“Everywhere we have had great experiences. Israel, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia. France, Spain, Italy. The Czech Republic was really great. Prague and Munich. We played for 100,000 in Montreal. We’ve been blessed for sure. We’re excited about Nashville because of its incredible music history.”
The Schermerhorn is making space for cha cha cha and salsa dura dancers. Local Latin dance companies such as Music City Salsa, Music City Rueda, and Sentir el Ritmo will be on the floor inviting all to join.
You can buy tickets here. Hernandez enthusiastically beckons, “Be there! SHO is a great musical ensemble. Don’t miss it!”
Full interview with Oscar Hernandez is here.