Dance to the sounds of modern Latin salsa on the Santa Monica Pier at the first performance in a series of free weekly concerts called the Twilight Dance Series.
Held on Thursdays starting in July, the highly anticipated annual event, sponsored by the Pier Restoration Company, gives attendees a chance to hear a wide range of music while sitting on the pier or the beach with the waves of the ocean crashing not far away. But only big band salsa music will be featured on July 7, with Latin bands playing Cuban-style Latin Jazz rhythms.
“This is a perfect place to dance,” said event producer Martin Fleischmann. “The ocean breeze will keep people cool. This is a unique chance to see the bands live on the beach. The best thing about it all is that it’s free.”
The first concert in this year’s Twilight Dance Series is nicknamed Samo Mambo, and will begin with complimentary dance lessons offered inside the event starting at 6 p.m. The music will get underway at 7 p.m. with Oscar Hernandez and the LA Salsa All-Stars. The bumping will continue at 8:40 p.m. as the night is ushered in with Grupo Fantasma lasting until 10 p.m.
Grammy award winning pianist, arranger, and producer Oscar Hernandez of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra will combine his music making skills with his new upcoming band The LA Salsa All-Stars. Expect horns, bongos, congas, and timbales to add some spice to the air around the pier.
The multi-talented Hernandez recently signed on salsa veteran and lead singer Adonis Puentes to join him at the venue to increase the Latin vibe. Cuban-born Puentes is gifted with the unique ability to combine slight hints of rumbia, chachachá, and cumbia to his velvety vocal ability, enhancing the Caribbean Island flavored music being played by the rest of the musicians.
As the night settles in, the music will intensify as Latin funk masters Grupo Fantasma change the beat and take over the scene. Grupo Fantasma fuses together salsa, cumbia, funk, and reggae, scratching it together with a ‘70s bass style beat. This 10-piece energetic and upbeat Tex-Mex entourage has mixed contemporary Latin sounds for more than a decade. Anticipate lively music as this group has fashioned a distinct form of mambo musical magic, one that will be appreciated by all.
“Even those that aren’t very familiar with Latin music will find that Grupo Fantasma is very accessible,” Fleischmann said. “The whole aim of the Santa Monica Dance Series is to provide music that people of all worlds will be able to dance to.”
Event organizers encourage people to arrive early and use public transportation. Parking will be available on the lot north of the pier at 1550 Pacific Coast Highway. The City of Santa Monica will also provide a free bike valet on the south side of the pier, along the bicycle path.
The Twilight Dance Series will showcase 10 free concerts at the Santa Monica Pier every Thursday from July to September.
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