If you’re wondering how to spice up your Thursday, head over to O’Day Playground in the South End tonight to hear some of Boston’s best Latin music while practicing your salsa dance moves, courtesy of the Tito Puente Latin Music Series.
The free outdoor summer concert series brings live performances of Latin music by Berklee College of Music faculty, students, and alumni and world-renowned artists to different parks throughout Boston on Thursday nights. Now celebrating its 10th year, the series is a collaboration among Berklee, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción, a Boston-based nonprofit helping people through education, workforce development, arts programs, and creating affordable housing communities, and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. The series is named for five-time Grammy-winning American musician Tito Puente, best known for his Latin jazz compositions. Puente, who helped bring Afro-Cuban and Caribbean music to mainstream audiences, died in 2000.
Tonight’s concert features Boston-based Afro-Latin ensemble Mango Blue, led by well-known composer, bassist, singer, and Berklee alum Alex Alvear. A native of Ecuador, Alvear is recognized as one of the most accomplished Latino artists in Boston and has been a driving force in New England’s Latin music scene. He has recorded and performed with internationally known artists like Celia Cruz, Larry Harlow, Afrocubism, and Isaac Delgado. He also worked on two Grammy-nominated albums, Paquito D’Rivera’s Paquito D’Rivera Presents: Las Hermanas Marquez and Gonzalo Grau’s Frutero Moderno.
Boston-based Mango Blue, which draws inspiration from a range of musical styles, including Cuban Santeria music, rumba and songo, Dominican merengue, and Puerto Rican bomba and plena, has been featured on the WGBH television show La Plaza.
Tonight’s concert, free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. at O’Day Playground in the South End. The concert will move to the adjacent Villa Victoria Center for the Arts if the weather warrants.
The Tito Puente Latin Music Series featuring Mango Blue is tonight, Thursday, July 14, at 7 p.m. at O’Day Playground, 85 W. Newton St., Boston (rain location: Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, 85 W. Newton St.). Find a schedule of other performers in the series, which runs through August 11, here. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Copley, walk down Dartmouth Street, go right on Tremont Street, and left on Aquadilla Street, and O’Day Playground is on the right.
Jennifer Bates can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.