Orquesta Borinquen features some of the youngest and most talented musicians in the “Bay Area” salsa scene today. Lead by Bill Ortega Sr. and directed by his son Bill Ortega Jr., Borinquen always puts on an electrifying show and then some. Lead trumpet player Bill Ortega Jr. (Director/Trumpet/Corista/Percussionist), is one of the most talented silent destructors in the salsa scene today. His power and pure determination to sound great every time sets the pace for the band and is the root from where the term “Powerhouse” derives from.
Borinquen is one of the few bands who can range from salsa dura to salsa romantica in an authentic fashion, and lead singer Carlos Xavier (www.carlosxavieronline.com), is a main contributor to that. Carlos has been singing with Borinquen for over 8 years and is a sought after vocalist in the bay area. There are not many salsa bands with one front man who can cover a whole nights worth of singing but Carlos does it, and makes it seamless. His ability to authenticate styles comes from his upbringing in all different genres of music, and he is able carefully incorporate the necessary style to each song. Carlos is considered one of the best salsa singers in the “Bay Area” today and Borinquen is proud to have him.
Producer/Piano player, Marco Montoya (www.c2010productions.com), a very talented piano player in the bay area who rapidly grew into the salsa scene within the past 15 years and it’s due to his incredible ear. He’s able to hear a tune and play it on sight. His ear, piano playing style and producing skills is a big factor in why Orquesta Boriquen’s first album titled “El Trombonista” (www.cdbaby.com/cd/orquestaborinquen), was so successful. Writing most of the tunes for the album his style and sound speak for itself. Not only does he make and produce the music, he engineers and owns C2010 Studios where Orquesta Borinquen creates their sound.
Percussionists drive a salsa band and not many do it better than Aaron Routtenberg, Eric Mendez and Ricky Gomez. When Borinquen plays, these three always play, and their tightness and swing show. Aaron has quickly become one of the most sought after musicians in salsa scene. As a Percussionist/Director, he has lead bands to back up big arists such as Jerry Rivera, Tito Rojas, Tito Nieves and Don Perignon just to name a few. His talent alone is the reason why big promoters call on him to back up such great acts. Aaron is a key figure in Borinquen. Eric Mendez, not to be confused for a robot, is the driving force for Borinquen. However, don’t get confused, this robot has major swing. With Eric it is simple, pay attention to his conga solos at the gigs, until you have done so, you won’t be able to comprehend his abilities. Long time veteran in the salsa scene, Ricky Gomez, is the bongocero/campana player for the band, and what a campana indeed. The strongest bongo bell player out there, he plays with nonstop power and passion and it is a sight to see in itself.
Holding down the low end frequencies is Gil Roman on Bass. Of Puerto Rican decent, his roots come out in his playing style like no other. His strong bass sound vibrates the whole stage and keeps the funk alive in his groove.
If you are a fan of Borinquen you know that the horn section is the most unique of all horn sections around. Led by Bill Ortega Jr., the power from this four piece horn section screams Latin soul. Freddy Martinez (Tenor Sax/Corista), has been playing with Borinquen since his early teens. Freddy brings the unique R&B sound to the coros, if that is even possible. A great singer in his own rights, he has been a key element for the band with his sax sound always enjoyed by the audience. Joe Camacho, is a soulful Bari/Tenor Sax player for Borinquen, that always brings the melody. Joe has the soul playing style of great horn section bands such as Tower of Power, Earth Wind and Fire, War and others. Together this horn section encapsulates these bands and they carry that prestige with them on every note played.
Orquesta Borinquen, ladies and gentleman, a band with many talents, much diversity, youth, passion and soul. Catch them at a local venue, festival, club, ballroom or a concert venue near you. The band will have you amazed and you will find yourself at their mercy, musically!
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