Celebrating 25 yrs of Freestyle music

From left, Cynthia, Stevie B. and Corina.
Photo by Miguel Cruz

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, in association with Sal Abbatiello of Fever Records, continues its fabulous 31st season with a spectacular celebration of 25 years of Freestyle music — Forever Freestyle 6 — on Saturday, March 3, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.

To Latino teenagers in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Freestyle, a hybrid of Hip Hop and disco, was known simply as “Our Music.” This year’s concert will feature Freestyle artists Stevie B, Corina, Safire, Cynthia, Noel, Nayobe, Coro, Fascination, Strafe and The Vargas Brothers. The concert will also feature DJ Lucho and will be hosted by Speedy and Sal Abbatiello.

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts is on the campus of Lehman College/CUNY at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, NY 10468.

The 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.

Stevie B skyrocketed to fame with his 1987 club smash “Party Your Body,” also the title track of his debut LP, which went gold. In 1989 he had his first Top-40 hits with “I Wanna Be the One,” “In My Eyes” and “Love Me for Life.” “Because I Love You,” from 1990’s Love & Emotion, spent four weeks at #1 on Billboard Hot 100.

Corina released a self-titled album on Atco Records in 1991 and charted a string of dance hits such as “Out of Control” and “Whispers.” It also included the summer of 1991 Top-10 hit “Temptation.” In 1999 she portrayed Frida Kahlo in the film “Cradle Will Rock.”

Safire released her debut single, “Don’t Break My Heart” in 1986, followed by the even bigger hit “Let Me Be the One.” “Boy, I’ve Been Told” crossed over to pop radio and became the #1-selling single in New York for 12 consecutive weeks. In 1989, she wrote her biggest hit, “Thinking of You.”

Cynthia began her career in 1987, with help from her friend Safire. She released two albums — a self titled debut featuring singles “Change on Me,” “Endless Night” and “Thief of Hearts,” as well as Cynthia II, which spawned “Love Me Tonight” and a duet with Johnny O, “Dream Boy/Dream Girl.”

Noel hit the dance singles charts in 1987 with “Silent Morning” his first Top-10 hit. 1988’s “Like a Child” became his first #1 single. He topped the dance charts again later that year with “Out of Time.”

Nayobe, discovered at age 14 by Sal Abbatiello, released “Please Don’t Go,” arguably the first Latin freestyle song ever recorded, which quickly gained airplay in nightclubs. “Second Chance for Love” and “Good Things Come to Those Who Wait” solidified her standing a freestyle innovator. She was the voice of Salma Hayek in the film “54.”

Coro got his start in the entertainment business playing bit parts in TV shows such as “Miami Vice.” He went on to work with pop artist, Stevie B. In 1998, Coro got his big break with the song “Where Are You Tonight,” a huge hit in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., reaching Top-25 on Billboard’s Club Chart, and #1 on DMA’s Dance Chart.

Fascination, born in The Bronx, had a huge success with her first release, “Why Ya Wanna Go,” followed by another huge hit, “Don’t You Think it’s Time.” “Remember” hit Billboard’s Dance charts and led to a major endorsement deal with Coca Cola.

Strafe, composer, producer and musician, has rocked the club world for over two decades with his signature masterpiece “Set It Off,” hailed “the most sampled song of all time” by Billboard Magazine. The singles “React,” “Comin’ from Another Place” and “Outlaw” followed on A&M Records.

The Vargas Brothers, Danny and Victor, began spinning hip hop at Bronx parties before crowds followed their signature style of playing keyboards over dance tracks to the NYC clubs. Their hit “Esa Loca” featuring the Wepa Man was followed by “El Trago.”

More from Around NYC