Queens Council on the Arts’ Artist Commissioning Program will present at Viva la Comida the world premiere of Salsa Masala: A Jackson Heights Block Party, a new work completed by ACP awardee in music composition Neil Padukone.
Neil’s project employs intersectional approach to music: “Walk down Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens, and you hear Bhangra and Bollywood on one side, Cumbia and Bachata on the other,” says Neil. “What would happen, I wondered, if we all brought our instruments out and had one big block party?”
His project, Salsa Masala: A Jackson Heights Block Party provides the soundtrack for this fusion. Inspired by the music of Latin America, the Indian subcontinent, and Black music of the US, Salsa Masala creates “that special mix”—the Spanish and Hindi translations of the work’s title.
His project speaks to the role places like Queens play in an increasingly diverse America: creating connections across communities that demonstrate that “we all feel similar emotions and rhythms, even if they’re in different languages.”
Martin Vejarano’s (Chia’s Dance Party, La Cumbiamba eNeYé, Cumbia River) music projects draw from a festive repertoire of Colombian Cumbia standards. These all-time favorite Cumbia hits will take you back to the golden years of the genre, as well as inspire you to dance and contemplate the joy and energy that these rhythms bring along. Featuring tuba, accordion, clarinet, percussion and voice, the band delivers a captivating fresh sound.
SPANGLISH FLY is part band, part celebration: 12 musicians igniting a party that quickly spreads to the audience. They have been hailed as the premier band of the Latin boogaloo revival,”single-handedly reviving sixties bugalú in NYC” (NBC New York).
Boogaloo! That mix of Latin and soul/R&B that emerged from the clubs, the street corners, the transistor radios and the pool halls of 1960s Spanish Harlem, “El Barrio.” Inspired by Latin boogaloo, or bugalú, SPANGLISH FLY plays irresistible grooves that blend Afro-Caribbean rhythms with the fervor, the feeling, and the harmonics of 60s soul. SPANGLISH FLY “roars through covers, originals, and transformations of previously untouched soul hits” (Village Voice), paying homage to the boogaloo genre while refreshing it for a new generation.
DJ Michael Noonan was bred and spread within the rhythmic diversity of Jamaica, Queens and his music collection mirrors this. He feels at home whether the party calls for salsa dura, astral jazz, percussive funk, or heavy rock and more, and he tends to blend styles in surprising ways.