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La Excelencia: Salsa Dura

Posted Aug. 20, 2012, at 2:17 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 21, 2012, at 11:19 a.m.

Dust off your dancing shoes because you won’t be able to sit still when La Excelencia takes the stage with its sexy sounds of salsa.

Salsa musical roots are in Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto Rican culture, but the style of music represents a wild musical experience making it perfect for dancing. La Excelencia provides a modern twist to the genre, especially to “salsa dura,” or “hard” salsa. Think of it like the Energizer Bunny of salsa styles: It keeps going and going with a passionate beat, strong instrumentals and a taste of Latin America.

If you’re a Zumba fanatic when it comes to exercise, you’ll recognize La Excelencia’s songs and musical style. The popular fitness program utilizes some of their music in its workout soundtrack.

Grammy-winning producer Aaron Levinson, says it best: “La Excelencia represents something very significant, a return not just to the classic formula of salsa but to the virtues of it. They are going back to the more eclectic period when salsa was street music, playing with spirit and integrity and writing socially relevant music again.”

The group, based out of Bronx, N.Y., has been serving up salsa for the masses since 2005. Founded by percussionists José Vázquez-Cofresí and Julián Silva, the group comprises an 11-piece orchestra.

It has released three CDs: “Salsa Con Conciencia,” “Mi Tumbao Social,” and “Ecos Del Barrio,” appeared live in a BBC special at London’s Barbican, on the cover of Latin Beat Magazine, in The New York Times, as well as on FOX reality show “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Zumba Fitness,” and in salsa/world music compilations, motion pictures, instructional DVDs, and on radio stations and satellite radio worldwide.

The kudos are well-deserved, as festival-goers will discover when they experience a foot-tapping case of salsa fever.

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