For seasoned salseros and novices alike, Salsa Caliente! is Philly’s premier salsa nightlife series. Inspired by the New York City club scene of the 60s, Caliente invites dancers of any skill level or walk of life to enjoy the live energy of Latin music together. It’s a vision brought to life by Jesse Bermudez, founder of La Asociación de Músicos Latino Americanos (AMLA) and long-time Painted Bride collaborator.
With his help, The Bride’s theater will once again transform into a sultry cabaret-style dancehall and candlelit getaway. The evening begins with a group salsa lesson from Maestro Flaco of Flaco’s Dance Factory, and then, once acquainted with the groove, all dancers are welcome to get down the sounds of a live Latin big band. This season dance along to the all female Latin ensemble Ellas y Amigos.
“Ellas” was founded in 1997 by Donna Bostock/percussionist, Paula Breslin/Drum-set, and Suzzette Ortiz/pianist/vocalist and arranger. Shortly after; bassist Kathy Riddle joined the group becoming a quartet. After a year; saxophonist Lynn Riley and singer Gina Roche joined the band.
The name “Ellas” stands for “them”, feminine plural object. Its mission was to give strong women musicians a place to stretch musically and enjoy the passion of the Latin rhythms and culture. Their repertoire included Latin Jazz, danceable authentic and traditional music from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil as well as original compositions.
The group played in different configurations for almost three decades. Eventually; Ellas became Ellas y Amigos after incorporating men in the group. Some of the musicians included Ted Panama senior, Pedro Cruz ,Rubin Edwards, Orlando Fiol, Mateo Goldstein, Mark Beecher, Chico Huff just to name a few.
The group helped launch the music careers of people such as, Vanissa Santi, Crystal Torres, and Rene Ginnet .They traveled to Cuba, Bolivia, Puerto Rico and locations in the US performing, presenting workshops and gaining knowledge through professional development to enhance the sound of the band. They also opened up for Compay Segundo as well as Nestor Torres.