Spanish Harlem Orchestra

August Wilson Center for African American Culture
December 18
Doors 7 p.m.; concert 8 p.m.

Come Friday night, the rich sounds of the barrio will fill downtown’s August Wilson Center.

Spanish Harlem Orchestra
Spanish Harlem Orchestra

If you’re looking to heat up winter and celebrate a very festive Feliz Navidad, then Global Beats and The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust have you covered. Turning the AWC into a Salsa Navidad fiesta, the holiday happening features a headlining performance by the two-time Grammy Award-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra.

Led by Puerto Rican-American pianist, arranger and producer Oscar Hernández, the Salsa and Latin Jazz band has performed around the world at concert halls and festivals, and released their fifth album in May of 2014.

Courtesy of Global Beats
Courtesy of Global Beats

The 13-member orchestra—which incorporates everything from timbales and trombone to piano and saxophone—will mesmerize crowds with its signature New York style salsa. Known for its authenticity, musical prowess, on-stage energy and raw, organic and vintage sounds, the band’s electrifying set will also feature a special selection of traditional Christmas carols from Latin America, aka “villancicos de navidad.”

Keeping the rich musical legacy of “salsa dura” (hard salsa) alive and kicking—while also expanding its fan base to include lovers of all musical genres—the Latin Jazz powerhouse is both firmly grounded in the past and paving the way for a fresh future.

Salsa Navidad kicks off at 7 p.m. with a Global Lounge party at the August Wilson Cafe, featuring pre-show cocktails and music by Global Beats DJ and impresario, Carla Leininger. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind night of live music and merrymaking in The Cultural District. The concert will start at 8 p.m.

Ready to dance the night away? Hang onto your ticket, because it will grant you free admission to Salsa Fridays at nearby Cabaret at Theater Square, which runs from 10:45 p.m. to 1:45 a.m.

Purchase tickets.

Looking for more events? Read our 10 Pittsburgh events not to miss in December feature.

Jennifer BaronArts & Entertainment / Jobs Editor

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.