The Sabor Blog

News, Events & Stories from the Latino Community across the U.S.

SPECIAL GUEST BLOG: Sabor Opening Concert in San Francisco Has Audience Dancing in the Aisles

The John Santos Sextet performed to a standing-room only packed house in the Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Public Library on August 27.  As the opening program, the five-time Grammy nominated John Santos and his stellar sextet kept the crowd dancing in their seats and in the aisles throughout the program.  The audience was ecstatic when John brought out a surprise guest, Maraca (Orlando Valle), the renowned Latin flautist, to sit in with the group and play a set.  Many in the audience lingered after the program to talk with John, his fellow musicians and with library staff, sharing their Latin music performance memories before flooding the exhibition in the Skylight Gallery to take in the exhibition.


Photo courtesy Arturo RieraLocal journalist and radio host Chelis Lopez served as the opening program emcee.  She hosts two Spanish shows on KPOO 89.5 FM, a community radio station in San Francisco that has just received the Best of the Bay 2011: Best Emancipation Station in addition to Linea Abierta, a Spanish show in Radio Bilingue the nation's Latino public radio network.  Lopez also writes for El Mensajero, a local Spanish newspaper and leads Rincon Literario, a Spanish book club at the San Francisco Public Library.


John Santos is one of the foremost exponents of Afro-Latin music in the world today. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in the Puerto Rican and Cape Verdean traditions of his family, surrounded by music. The fertile musical environment of the San Francisco Bay Area shaped his career in a unique way. He is known for his innovative use of traditional forms and instruments in combination with contemporary music. Santos has worked with acknowledged multi-generational masters such as Cachao, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Bebo Valdés, Max Roach, Carlos Santana and many others. He’s been a prolific performer, composer, radio programmer and record/event producer whose career has spanned over 35 years. He is widely respected as one of the top writers, teachers and historians in the field and was a member of the Latin Jazz Advisory Committee of the Smithsonian Institution. He is currently part of the faculty at the Jazz School Institute in Berkeley and the College of San Mateo.


Lisa Vestal
Chief Curator
Office of Exhibitions and Programming
San Francisco Public Library


Photo courtesy Arturo Riera


What a performance! The show

What a performance! The show had lots of energy y mucho ritmo. Many of us had to stand, but it was easier to tap our feet that way. A great kick off to a very exciting season at the San Francisco Public Library – con música, baile y mucho sabor!

I was there and it was just

I was there and it was just awesome. What a great musical beginning for this great Exhibition! Kudos to all who organized this great opening concert. Ricardo Antoni Adult Services Librarian Mission Branch Library San Francisco Public Library