Alex Torres Performs at the Chapel



Last Saturday while many students were having a fun night out on the town, the real party of the evening took place in the Chapel with the concert performance of Alex Torres & His Orchestra.

The band, Alex Torres & His Orchestra, is becoming a popular name in the music industry. It is comprised of 13 men based out of Amsterdam, NY, and they just received their first Grammy listing this Saturday, which means that they are in the running for a Grammy nomination. The band plays Afro-Caribbean music in both Spanish and English. They have eight CDs and have been together for 26 years. In that time, they have performed for forner President Bill Clinton at the NY Democratic Convention and also at NY Governor George Pataki’s inauguration.

The band was brought to Colgate to give a concert lecture on African ceremonial music. This is not the band’s forte. They normally play salsa and music with a Latin twist, but are “well versed” in African music, which they sing in the Yoruba language of Nigeria. The first half of the concert was devoted to the lecture, and the second half was their more familiar music. Colgate and the leading band members thought it was important to introduce students to African music because it influences many other musical forms. As Torres explained, the band tried to introduce the audience to “3,000 years of music in just two hours.”

The concert was a hit, but it was unfortunate that the timing and lack of event publicity limited attendance. There was a very poor showing by students, probably because of its unappealing Saturday night timing. However, there was an impressive turnout from the people of Hamilton. There were over 50 people attending, and only about a quarter of them were students.

Sophomore Cassie Harris was impressed by Colgate’s initiative in “bringing more diversepresentations,” she said. Whether it is for music or something else, it shows Colgate is giving their students an opportunity to experience something new.”

The concert started off slowly. The lecture speaker was hard to hear, and the music was not as fun as what came later. According to sophomore Jana Bauerova , “I’m sure the story of the development of the music from Africa thru Cuba to Louisiana was interesting, it just wasn’t the right time for it and it was hard to understand the speaker.” But once they got to their more traditional music, the crowd fell in love. People took to the aisles of the chapel and broke out in dance. Wives and husbands stood up to meringue, little girls got up in groups to salsa, and those seated tapped their feet.

“I loved the music,” stated Bauerova. “They played the kind of music that before you realize it, you are swingingin your seat and tapping the rhythm with your feet or fingers.”

That is exactly what Torres claims they try to accomplish every time the band plays. They play “dance music with so many rhythms and textures,” said Torres. “We want to get at least some part of your body to move.” They are self-proclaimed “party animals on the stage,” and they live up to their claims, because there has possibly never been a group in that Chapel that has had so much fun.