This orchestra of pianist, arranger and producer Oscar Hernández isactually still in its infancy. Hernández and producer Erin Levinsonfounded it in 2000 and it has already released three albums. Themost recent is United We Swing on which the thirteen-man line-upstokes up a blaze of salsa dura (heavy salsa). Music that provesthat El Barrio, a vibrant community in New York to the south of125th Street, is still a fertile breeding ground for unique, newcultural forms - in this case, hot boogaloo and Latin soul.
Oscar Hernández (Porto Rico, 1954) is the driving force behind thesuccess of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra; all the albums have beennominated for major awards. Hernández himself is from the Bronx,but he feels closely linked to the neighborhood that gives theorchestra its name. 'If you are a Latino in New York, you alwayshave a relationship with Spanish Harlem. It's the place that for meis a microcosm of Latin in New York.'