Rosado brings Latin flavor to 'Upstairs Cabaret Series'
Hector Rosado and his Latin Orchestra, also known as Hector Rosado y Su Orq Hache, performs in the "Upstairs Cabaret Series," 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16, Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, 23 N. Sixth St., Allentown.
Since his birth in Corozal, Puerto Rico, 49 years ago, Rosado has become a renowned percussionist, specializing in Latin music, especially drums, congas, timbales and bongos.
Rosado and his family moved to New York in 1964, and five years later moved to Pennsylvania.
According to Rosado, some of his neighbors formed a small group which leaned toward the Motown sound. "They wanted to add a conga player to the mix. It wasn't uncommon for bands in the 70's to use congas like bands playing for musicians like Al Jarreau.
"I ended up being the conga player with a borrowed conga, but shortly thereafter my mom went back to New York and bought me one.
"I was in sixth grade and the band was called The Back Street Boys and Black Diamonds. We used to rehearse in the old firehouse on 321 East Fourth Street, Bethlehem, which is now Touchtone Theater."
One of the first gigs the band had was Ralph Lopez's Saturday morning WKAP radio show.
"When I was 13, I had my first professional gig at Ray's place on Third Street in Bethlehem," says Rosado. "I think I made something like $12 that day."
Rosado remembers one gig in Reading when he was 14 because the bandleader had to come to his house and ask permission from his parents for him to travel.
When he was 16, and with a little money, he packed a bag and travelled to his cousin's home in West New York, N.J., to further his career. He got a job in a factory. About eight months later, his cousin introduced him to a man who had a band that soon was playing all the hot clubs in New York City, including the Palladium, The Village Gate and Roseland.
After Rosado moved back to Pennsylvania, he says, "In 1989, a friend who played bongos introduced me to David Byrne, the leader of the Talking Heads, who gave me an audition. From there, my career took off.
"In 1999, I worked with Byrne, with the Johnny Carson Show band and also appeared with him [Byrne] on Jay Leno's show.
"I began to do tours all over Europe and Japan with Byrne, and, in addition, toured Venezuela with Edgar Joel, Santo Domingo Jose Alberto, accompanied the late Tito Puente, and performed with the late Celia Cruz in Columbia."
Rosado and his big band of 11 or 12 pieces plays every two months for "Salsa Night" in Musikfest Café, ArtsQuest Center, Steel Stacks, and every three months at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem. He teaches conga-playing at the Fowler Family Center, 504 E. Fourth St., Bethlehem.
He expects to release his first CD in about three months.