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Orquestra La Inspiracion

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Friday, June 24, 8 pm
Ozzie Rivera’s Orquesta La Inspiracion

There is nothing better to get your body shaking on a velvety twilight than the Latin grooves of Orquesta La Inspiracion. Led by Puerto Rican-born congero Ozzie Rivera and music director-pianist Bill Meyer, this 10-piece unit honors the traditions of merengue, cumbia and Afro-Caribbean jazz while forging new directions in Latin music.

Raised in Detroit, Rivera is a longtime cultural activist and social worker. He’s studied Afro-Latino music for more than 30 years. “Music with heavy drumming helps people get into a different, spiritual plane,” says Rivera. “If it’s not putting you in a trance, it’s not doing its job.” That sounds pretty inspirational.

Meyer is a key component of Detroit’s jazz community, an activist and leader of his own bands. His long list of associates includes luminaries such as George Burns, Smokey Robinson, Cab Calloway, Burt Bacharach, Nipsey Russell, Natalie Cole and Savion Glover.  He recently composed The Home Suite: Coming to Hamtramck, a five-part world music composition. He directed the Hamtramck World Music Ensemble’s performance of the suite, accompanying the documentary film Coming to Hamtramck.

Inspiracion is a mighty river of Latin sounds with strong old- and new-school currents. Singer Figueroa and trumpeter Bob Mojica each have more than 40 years’ experience in the salsa and jazz inferno. Saxophonist Chris Kaercher is deeply funky, having spent time with the likes of the Temptations, James Brown, Lou Rawls, the Manhattans, and the Spinners. Bassist Steve Backus is known for his R&B bass grooves with Detroit band Jocelyn B and the Detroit Street Players. Singer Armando Vega has that youthful spirit. He co-leads Grupo Salvaje, a young salsa band in tune with today’s new sounds. The experiences of percussionists Gregory “Greco” Freeman and Javier M. Barrios range from Detroit jazz and soul to salsa and reggae. Songbirds Dulce Checkler and Consuela Lopez bridge the old and new, going deeply into African call-and-response vocals, as well as the latest salsa and soul hybrids.

If a bit of that inspiration gets into your backside, it’s ok to let it move to the beat! Between dancing, swaying and enjoying the music, our reception buffet will include a paradise of authentic Mexican


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