Gilberto Santa Rosa
Although the Puerto Rican-born "Caballero de la Salsa" has not yet achieved his dream of creating the world's first salsa symphony, he has won the endearing respect and admiration of fans for keeping the tradition of salsa alive. He was initially influenced by the supergroup El Gran Combo while growing up in San Juan and knew from his childhood days that he wanted to be a salsero. He made his first TV appearance at age 12, and by the time he reached his early 20s, Santa Rosa was already respected as a talented sonero via his appearances with various local orchestras. In the years that followed, he honed his craft even further, and it landed him a record contract with CBS in the early '90s. Being with a major label enabled Santa Rosa to spread his music beyond the shores of Puerto Rico, and it also gave him the cachet to try out new things, such as adding lush strings (which came in handy for his 1995 concert at Carnegie Hall) and branching out to different styles, like elegant ballads and boleros, as heard on the 2006 disc Directo al Corazón. So if you'd like to experience salsa music on a higher level, Santa Rosa isn't to be missed.
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