Los Angeles salsa divas.

Author:Mangual, Rudy
Position:Entrevista
 
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In a city where at least a dozen salsa bands keep sprouting every week, competing daily for the few gigs available around town, an ingenious marketing strategy is necessary to survive. Singer Ileana García--a fierce road warrior of the local Latin scene--assembled an all-female salsa band to compete with a winning edge. The Los Angeles Salsa Divas comprise the only all-female salsa band in the city and perhaps in the whole state of California. Performing as a sextet or septet, the group features some of the most talented female musicians in Los Angeles salsa and Latin jazz scene.

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Meet The Seven L.A. Salsa Divas:

A native of Costa Rica, Ileana García (vocalist/minor percussion/composer/bandleader) started working professionally at the tender age of eleven and has not stopped ever since. For the past two decades, she has performed and/or recorded with many bands in Southern California, including Rudy Regalado & Chévere, Mariachi Divas, and Ellas Son; as well as with internationally renowned artists such as Celia Cruz, Joan Sebastian, Cristian Castro, Elvis Crespo and Juan Gabriel. Her passion for singing is mirrored in her original compositions and fiery interpretations.

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Born in Miami to Cuban parents, Iliana Rose (multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/composer) is the group's piano-playing musical director. This classically trained musician (a graduate of the University of Miami) is an accomplished pianist, percussionist, clarinetist and songstress, who also leads her own band around town. As a vocalist, she captivates audiences--whether performing in Spanish, English, or Portuguese--with her organic and unique phrasing skills, like a jazz singer. Rose is currently enjoying the release of her own solo debut, Light of the Sun, while co-producing the L.A. Salsa Divas' upcoming debut recording.

Keiko Okamoto (flutist/composer) was born in Hokkaido, Japan, and began her piano studies at the age of six, before switching to the flute by her 13th birthday. A graduate of Tokyo's Nihon University, Keiko also attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. A resident of Los Angeles since the mid-1990s, Keiko has performed and/or recorded with Orquesta La Palabra, Mariachi Divas, Mariachi Los Angeles, Ellas Son, and Louie Cruz Beltrán's Latin Jazz band, among others. She is also enjoying the release of her debut recording as a leader--Keiko Okamoto, A native of Tijuana, Mexico, María "Coco" Villalobos...

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