Orquesta GarDel

With a membership stretching into the double digits (the group contains between 11 and 13 members on any given night) and a dizzying repertoire that includes salsa dura, and jazz and Afro-Cuban-inflected originals, Durham's Orquesta GarDel is one of the most respected salsa groups in North Carolina. Since their formation, the group has performed at the Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival, the North Carolina Museum of Art, the North Carolina Salsa Festival, La Fiesta del Pueblo, and countless public programs throughout the state.

Founded in 2006 by UNC ethnomusicology professor David Garcia, Orquesta GarDel boasts a dynamic personnel that combines Latino music veterans with African and Anglo-American music students, a blend that the members of the group say works to their advantage. Speaking to the Independent Weekly in 2008, GarDel pianist, co-leader, and arranger Eric Hirsh explained that it was precisely this mix that gave rise to his group's eclectic style and innovative approach to salsa. "It's not the same as coming from the street and the working music world and growing up with the culture," he said. "The rhythmic soul of our band is driven by the Latin contingent."

Indeed, this rhythmic soul--a syncopated, funky mix of timbales, congas, and bongos, plus brass and wind instruments, bass, piano, and enthusiastic vocals--allows Orquesta GarDel to shine on the local salsa circuit while stepping outside the box with projects such as their recent collaboration with Durham hip-hop ensemble The Beast.

Now under the leadership of Hirsh and trombonist Andy Kleindienst, Orquesta GarDel aims to lay a rock-solid foundation for North Carolina's burgeoning salsa scene. The group currently features Hirsch (piano); Kleindienst (trombone); Nelson Delgado (lead vocals); Jaime Roman (lead vocals); Pete Kimosh (bass); Brevan Hampden (timbales); Julio Correa (congas, timbales); Ramón Ortiz (bongos, timbales, backing vocals); Alberto Carrasquillo (trumpet); Al Strong (trumpet); Tim Smith (saxophones, flute); and Bluford Thompson (saxophones, flute).

Booking Agency: 
Orquesta GarDel
Booking Contact: 
Eric Hirsh
Booking Address: 
2505 E. Weaver St.
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