Lehman Center for the Performing Arts will once again present its popular, special holiday event, PARRANDA NAVIDEÑA, a Christmas celebration featuring the unique jíbaro music from the mountains of Puerto Rico with three celebrated masters of the genre, on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.
The concert will feature Felito Felix Y El Trio Los Antares in a tribute to Felipe Rodríguez, Odilio Gonzalez “El Jibarito De Lares” and José Miguel Class “El Gallito De Manatí.” Joining them will be Estampas de Borinquen, Estercita Figueroa, William Guzmán and many more special guests.
Lehman Center for the Performing Arts is on the campus of Lehman College/CUNY at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx. Lehman 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. Low-cost on-site parking available.
Felito Felix, singer, songwriter and producer who resides in Cidra, Puerto Rico, where he was born, became the pride and joy of the Puerto Rican community around the world with such popular songs as “Luz del alma mía,” “Puertorriqueño de corazón,” “A escondidas te veré,” “A la deriva” and “Un jibarito castao.”
He formed his first group at age 13 and a year later won a competition to appear on television. By 16 he had moved to Camden, NJ and was soon performing in NYC with King Trio Arroyo and later with the legendary Cheito Gonzalez, The Murcianos, Los del Rio and The Borincano. During his days with the group The Four Friends, which performed on the biggest stages in the world, Felix recorded a duet with Elvis Presley. He launched his solo career in 1961 and recorded the hit “My Magdalene.” Felix has won numerous awards, including Billboard, Ace and ASCAP. El Trio Los Antares also sang with Felipe “La Voz” Rodriguez, and Felix and the Trio will perform his Christmas songs in a special tribute to him at this concert.
Odilio González was born in the small town of Lares in the center of Puerto Rico. With charm, a sweet voice and youthful good looks, he became a popular child star after radio performances in San Juan. One of Puerto Rico’s most renowned and beloved popular singers, González also enjoyed an avid following for his expert singing of the island’s ancient traditional, poetic song form, the décima (also known as “jíbaro” music). His stage name was “Jibarito de Lares.”
He debuted in 1955 at age 16 in NYC, singing for crowds of nostalgic Puerto Ricans in the famed Teatro Puerto Rico. He made his first recordings of traditional jíbaro singing for the Ansonia label during the 1950s, the Golden Age of New York jíbaro music. His early recordings greatly influenced the singing style of fellow Lares native José Feliciano. González crossed over to pop music in 1962 with Celos sin motivo. His biggest hit, “Yo tenía una luz” (I Had a Light), recorded in the early ‘70s, became a popular Christmas song and today is considered traditional.
José Miguel Class, born in Manatí, Puerto Rico, won international fame as a singer during the 1960s and ‘70s. Nicknamed “El Gallito De Manatí” (Manati’s Little Rooster), he was famous in Puerto Rico during the ‘60s before moving to Mexico and becoming a singing sensation. His Mexican music albums brought him acclaim throughout Central and South America and the rest of the Caribbean. When he returned to Puerto Rico during the ‘70s, he immediately landed a weekly television show. With his adopted Mexican accent, Class was known for his famous catchphrase “Yo soy El Gallo!” (“I am the Rooster!”) During his career, he released over 20 albums, many re-mastered as CDs, including 2006’s El Gallo and Navidades En Puerto Rico on the West Side Latino Records label.