Livermore, California (EastBayDaily) — From the infectious beats of the mambo and samba, to the holiday joy of a lively fiesta, the sparkling sounds of Latin music will fill the Bankhead Theater this fall during LVPAC Presents’ seventh and largest season to date. On Nov. 13, the high-energy San Francisco-based big band, Pacific Mambo Orchestra featuring Tito Puente Jr., will ignite audiences with their modern and fiery Latin style. They will be followed by Balé Folclórico da Bahia in a visual and musical extravaganza that celebrates the passion and fire of Brazil on Nov. 21. To kick off the holidays, a colorful south-of-the-border Yuletide Spectacular featuring the traditional Christmas holiday songs and dances of Mexico will be presented by Ballet Folklórico Costa De Oro on Dec. 3. Tickets for each performance are just $15 for students and range from $36 to $55 for adults.
In only three years, The Pacific Mambo Orchestra featuring Tito Puente Jr. has emerged from the San Francisco jazz scene to become one of hottest Latin big bands on the West Coast. Formed by experienced bandleaders, trumpeter Steffen Kuehn and pianist Christian Tumalan, they are currently touring with acclaimed drummer Tito Puente, Jr. With all the exhilarating brass and percussive sounds of a traditional big band, PMO unites trumpets, trombones, and saxophones with timbales, congas, and bongos to back up the sensual vocals of Alexis Guillen. PMO was formed to bring back the great Latin big band sounds from the 1940s through 1960s, including those of Puente’s father, the legendary band leader, as well as to build upon them by adding their own irresistible flair to contemporary arrangements. They perform regularly at San Francisco’s Café Cocomo, which was named one of the top three salsa clubs in the country by USA Today.
Brazil’s top professional folk dance company, the internationally acclaimed Balé Folclórico de Bahia, is renowned for presenting captivating theatrical celebrations of music and dance. In Bahian folkloric dances of African origin, including slave dances, the dazzling samba, and capoeira, a spectacular form of Afro-Brazilian martial arts, more than 30 dancers, musicians and singers bring all the color and excitement of Brazil’s Carnival to the stage. Based in Salvador in the northern state of Bahia, Balé Folclórico’s first appearance in July 1988 was a resounding success and they have since been enthusiastically welcomed by audiences in venues throughout Latin America and around the world. Now celebrating their 25th anniversary, Balé Folclórico de Bahia’s performances have been described as “a frenzied spectacular – sensual, full of passion and fire” and a “not to be missed cultural experience.”
This holiday season at the Bankhead will include a “south of the border” traditional Christmas fiesta featuring Ballet Folklórico Costa de Oro. Their “Yuletide Spectacular” includes a traditional Christmas processional (posada), Mexican holiday songs (villancicos), a visit from the three wise men, a festive piñata scene, and a vibrant, colorful finale. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Ballet Folklórico Costa De Oro is dedicated to preserving and sharing Mexican culture and traditions, and is known for their creative choreography, exceptionally skilled performers, and authentic presentations. In addition to performing, Costa de Oro runs an academy that teaches the art of folkloric dance to students of all ages and provides extensive outreach to schools and local communities. They have appeared in the pre-game and halftime shows for both the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers and toured extensively throughout California and beyond.
Since the Bankhead Theater opened in 2007, LVPAC Presents has showcased a variety of acclaimed artists in music, dance and other performing arts. Each year the World Music Series features diverse arts groups from around the world bringing Livermore audiences events from Irish fiddlers and Portuguese bands, to African drummers and Chinese Acrobats. Latin music has been well-represented in recent seasons by such groups as Paco Pena Flamenco, Mariachi Sol de Mexico, and the contemporary flamenco guitar of Jesse Cook and Ottmar Liebert. This coming February, Latin music will return in “Guitar Passions,” which brings together Grammy Award-winning guitarist Sharon Ibsin, iconic jazz master Stanley Jordan and Brazil’s leading guitarist Romero Lubamo in an evening of music influenced by the sounds of Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Colombia and Spain. Tickets for all performances in the 2013-2014 LVPAC Presents season are available now at the Bankhead Theater box office.
About the Company: The mission of the not-for-profit Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center is to establish and operate a world-class performing arts center that promotes and encourages the presentation and creation of visual and performing arts, enhances the public's appreciation, enjoyment and understanding of the arts, and serves as a catalyst for the continued economic enhancement of both the City of Livermore and the surrounding Tri-Valley region.
The Bankhead Theater, located at 2400 First St. in downtown Livermore, is home to the LVPAC Presents Series as well as performances by resident companies and touring performing arts groups. Rotating art exhibitions are also presented in the lobby and Founder’s Room throughout the year. The ticket office is open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. On performance days the ticket office remains open for 30 minutes beyond the announced curtain time. To purchase tickets, call 925-373-6800 or visit http://www.bankheadtheater.org.