El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, one of the longest-running Latin music ensembles, has gained an international reputation for its salsa music and ethnic beat. The group, whose members hail from the capital city of San Juan, has served as the backup band to the likes of Celia Cruz, La India and Hector Lavoe. Music historians have nicknamed this iconic band La Universidad de la Salsa in recognition of its profound contribution and influence on Latin music. The group continues to tour the world, delivering electric performances in front of energetic, lively crowds.
From San Juan to San Francisco: The Journey From the Island to the Mainland
El Gran Combo recruited many of its original members from a San Juan area band named Cortijo y su Combo. Its founder, Rafael Ihier, moved to the continental US in the early 1960s and accepted a recording contract for playing backup on Joseito Mateo's upcoming album. Ithier contacted his former bandmates from Cortijo y su Combo and began to organize the ensemble that eventually became known as El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico. In May 1962, Ithier became the group's official leader and conductor, and El Gran Combo was formed. The group's first album, Meneame los Mangos, was released in 1963 and earned El Gran Combo international acclaim. Of the original band members, only Ithier remains, but the current ensemble continues to delight audiences of all ages with its steamy salsa beat.
Where can I buy El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico tickets?
El Gran Combo has an international reputation as a top-notch salsa band and has a large following of loyal fans who make for sold-out performances. Buy your El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico tickets at StubHub today to secure the best seats available.
What are some of El Gran Combo's albums?
The group's first album, Meneame Los Mangos, was released in 1963. The second album release, Acangena, reached the No. 1 spot in the US, Panama and Puerto Rico. Some of the group's other best-selling albums include Por el Libro, Universidad de la Salsa and Arroz con Habichuela.
What is El Gran Combo's setlist?
Songs from recent setlists include "Azuquita P'al Cafe," "Asi Son," "No Hay Cama Pa' Tanta Gente," "No Me Olvides Mulata," "La Fiesta de Pillito," "Sin Salsa No Hay Paraiso," "Arroz con Habichuela" and "Aguacero."
Who are the members of El Gran Combo?
Rafael Ithier remains the official leader and joins the band on the piano during select live performances. Willie Sotelo, who joined the ensemble in 2006 as the group's pianist, serves as the band's conductor on tours. Jerry Rivas, Joselito Hernandez and Anthony Garcia perform as vocalists. The other ensemble members include Freddie Miranda (alto saxophone), Luis Maldonado (trumpet), Moises Nogueras (trombone), Freddy Rivera (double bass), Domingo Santos (timbales), Miguel Torres (conga), Richie Bastar (bongo) and Virgil Rivera (alto saxophone).
Has El Gran Combo won any music awards?
Sparked by the popularity and international success of its second album, Acangana, El Gran Combo gained a spot on the exclusive Puerto Rican variety program called El Show de las 12. Acangana became an international hit and earned gold status. The ensemble received the Billboard Latin Music Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002 and the Grammy Award for Best Tropical Album in 2003. El Gran Combo received the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.
What is it like to attend an El Gran Combo concert?
Expect to hear the exotic and sultry salsa sounds of favorite hits and lesser-known treasures. The audience will be predictably excited and, if previous performances are any indication, will jump to its feet to salsa at the band's very first note. El Gran Combo concerts usually last more than two hours, and you can expect this great band to play at least one encore before calling it a night.Back to Top