30 Years of Great Salsa

Alma del Barrio celebrates milestone with three bands, March 21

By Dena Burroughs
Published on LatinoLA: March 9, 2004

30 Years of Great Salsa

On Sunday March 21st, in celebration of ?Alma del Barrio?s 30th anniversary, the Queen Mary will sway to the sounds of Salsa music, performed by three fantastic bands: Soneros del Barrio, Manny Oquendo y Libre, and Johhny Polanco y su conjunto Amistad.

?Alma del Barrio? is a radio show that came to life 30 years ago thanks to two Loyola Marymount University students, Enrique ?Kiki? Soto and Raul Villa, who, in a one-hour time slot worked to highlight the musical roots of Latinos in Los Angeles.

Through their efforts, and those of many volunteers who followed after them, ?Alma del Barrio? grew into a musical institution that today provides entertainment and educates its listeners about the origin of Tropical music and its influence on our Angeline community. With time the format was enlarged to the current 12-hour shows, aired weekly on Saturday and Sunday from 6 am to 6 pm on KXLU 88.9 FM and accessible online at http://www.kxlu.com.

For 30 years ?Alma del Barrio? has been a commercial-free broadcast, DJ?d by volunteers, and supported entirely by its listeners. I know this first hand, since I have gotten to participate in the program?s fundraising events of the last two years. It was my pleasure to be within a group of happy people, all working free of charge intending to further the music they love. It was also a joy to talk on the phone with so many faithful listeners willing to provide monetary support.

To celebrate these 30 years of cooperation, camaraderie, and good music, the ?Alma del Barrio?s anniversary party promises to be a fantastic event.

For the first time in Los Angeles, ?Soneros del Barrio?, featuring Frankie Vazquez? outstanding vocals, will be a definite highlight!

Manny Oquendo, a timbalero up to par with the great Tito Puente, and his group ?Libre?, whose song ?Alabanciosa? you may recognize, will be there, as well as L.A.?s best known Salsa band: Johnny Polanco y su Conjunto Amistad.

It will be a full day event, from 2 pm to 11 pm, in the Exhibit Hall of the Queen Mary, for the enjoyment of dancers and music lovers of all ages. Believe me when I say that three bands of this caliber, for a $15 cover charge, deserves a party in itself!

You are invited to come to celebrate with ?Alma del Barrio? on March 21st! For more information, and/or to purchase tickets, please call 310/445 9705.

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