Grupo Arcano

Grupo Arcano 2

In 2008, George Vélez Jr. and his father, George Vélez Sr. founded Grupo Arcano with the aid of Danny Diaz (bass) and Ray Torres. Soon they were joined by the composer and pianist Harold Gutiérrez. As George Vélez Jr. puts it "a bunch of musicians, kind of unknown to the majority of the NYC latin musicians scene“. Thus they really live up to their name Grupo Arcano.


Conguero Anthony Almonte, the newest and youngest band member, solidified what Grupo Arcano is all about: Smooth melodies, searing mambos, joyful rhythms and a serious approach of soneando. 


The instrumentation is key to its unforgetable sound being created by the brass section comprised of trumpets, trombones and a woodwind section made up of tenor and alto saxophones. The sound is best described by a mixture of Tito Rodriguez and La Sonora Ponceña with a Brooklyn/Queens twist.


Being asked about the favorite songs of the latest CD, George Vélez Jr. said: “I love them all, but La Maya or Un Tipo Salao take the cherry for me, musically." Both lyrics are written by his father and La Maya is even sung by himself meanwhile Un Tipo Salao is sung by Anthony. Both singers do an amazing job in the vocals and when they sing their soneos during the chorus sections.


‘Desde el otro lado del East River‘ is a highly recommended debut album of young still unknown professional musicians with arrangements that are not too predictable and thus give the dancers a full range of interpretation.

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