Festival Cubano: Jose "El Canario" Alberto, Celia Cruz All-Stars, Tito Puente Jr., Lefty Perez, Madai, and others Member Picks Recommended Soundboard

When: Sat., Aug. 4, 10 a.m. 2012

Dominican salsa singer Jose Alberto earned his nickname, "El Canario," for his lyrical whistling, but that talent isn't why he's been one of modern Latin music's biggest and most influential stars since the early 90s—he owes his fame to his strong voice and his ability to improvise like the greatest salseros. He moved to New York in the early 70s, and by 1977 he'd become the leader of the venerable Tipica 73—a kind of all-star group formed in '72 by alumni of Ray Barretto's band, including the great singer Adalberto Santiago. Six years later he went solo, establishing a ballad-heavy sound that would form the basis for the genre now called salsa romantica. His latest album, Original (Los Canarios), is more than just slow sentimental numbers, though, with loads of up-tempo material and even a convincing treatment of the Compay Segundo classic "Chan Chan"—a song that's now so closely associated with Segundo's Buena Vista Social Club version that tackling it takes cojones. Alberto headlines a strong lineup on the first day of the third annual Festival Cubano, which on Sunday features Cuban expat Issac Delgado. —Peter Margasak

Price: $5

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