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Los Ciegos Del Barrio: News

A news article about Los Ciegos Del Barrio from the "Republican - American" by Ruth Epstein - October 20th, 2010 - October 20, 2010

Republican - American October 20th 2010
By Ruth Epstein

“Los Ciegos Del Barrio” or “The Blind Guys from the Neighborhood” played during the recent beer fest at the Salisbury ski jumps to raise money for the Jane Lloyd Cancer Fund and the Salisbury Winter Sports Association.

Los Ciegos Del Barrio band (Loosely translated; The Blind guys from the Hood) had those attending the recent beer fest at the Salisbury Ski Jumps moving to its fast-paced rhythms. But along with the praises and compliments from the listeners came surprise to learn the band’s name is not just a catchy choice: Most of the members are legally blind noted musician Eliot Osborn, who along with his wife, Louise Lindenmeir, created Project Troubador, which seeks to send entertainers to countries throughout the world to work with local community leaders in support of a variety of issues.
The couple and George Potts also comprise the “Joint Chiefs”, a popular local band. But back in the late ‘80’s, when songwriter Osborn was trying to support himself, he took a job teaching music at the New York Institute for Special Education, which serves students with disabilities.
Osborn helped then, 15 and 16 year olds establish a band and find places for it to play. “They played the Village Gate for a month and Project Troubador took them to Russia,”he said. “Some of them have played in South America and Africa. I started out as their mentor and ended up as a roadie.”
The band has a special relationship to the Northwest corner because of Osborn and has played in area towns on many occasions.
Osborn talked about the men’s disability, nothing about being blind doesn’t make one musical. “It’s not a help unless there is talent. You’re special if you have both. This band is unique. They listen to each other. After all, you don’t see music, you hear it.”
Band leader Alvin Suarez said Osborn “Taught us to be professional musicians.” The three main band members, including Suarez’s twin brother Derek, are legally blind and while they had enough sight to read music as youngsters, they couldn’t do it fast enough. “So we learned it by ear. We’re always teaching each other.” Suarez said more than their disabilities making them unique, is that they are a multi genre group. “And we’re also bilingual.”
He talked about the wonderful trips they had throughout Project Troubador. The band will be traveling to Cuba in February. “We basically play 2 to 5 free shows a day in such venues as schools and parks. We’re ambassadors of good will for the people.”
While they would love for the music to be their full-time profession, that hasn’t yet happened. They all have other jobs to pay the bills. The New Yorkers enjoy coming up to the Northwest corner, usually playing in the area about 5 times a year.
“This is the real deal,” said Jay Bradley, a drummer and music teacher at Webutuck High School in Amenia, NY., who was listening to the band at the beer fest.

Los Ciegos Celebrate the Music of the Dominican Republic at a Manhattan high School - October 20, 2010

Los Ciegos celebrated the music of the Dominican Republic as part of Hispanic Heritage month. We played in front of a highly energetic crowd of young high school students - a total of two separate shows at the Manhattan Comprehensive High School in Manhattan.

the students were just awesome. The atmosphere reminded us of some of the gigs we played in the Dominican Republic. A great time was had by all.

Los Ciegos Help Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at a Private Engagement - October 15, 2010

It was an honor and priveledge to perform for the good folks from DTCC in downtown Manhattan. We got to educate the audience as well as entertain. We served up some Salsa, Bachata, Merengue and Cumbia to a very lively and receptive audience.

Kudos to Elizabeth Baez for making this happen and to the sound guy for helping us sound so good. The food was great, especially the fried bacalao, chicken and the chuletas. Thank you all for supporting us as we sold out all of our CD stash for the day.

Great job to the singer who gave us a stirring rendition of Gloria Estefan's "Mi Tierra." Keep up the great work. We hope to do it again.

Los Ciegos Bring It Back - October 14, 2010

It was long overdue, but Los Ciegos Del Barrio finally came back to where it all began - the New York Institue for the Blind in the Bronx, NY. As students, Alvin, Derek, Jimmy and Machete all played together as pupils of Eliot Osborne, who to this day, is still the best teacher the school ever had.

We got to play two sets for the student residents and the staff. We reunited with some of the staff who made a huge difference in our lives growing up, including Titi Maria.

It was an absolute thrill to see the next generation and to exchange stories of how things were back in the day when we were students. Our thanks to Alessandra, Roz, David and Earl for making this happen. Our compliments to all of the chefs who whipped up some serious Latino cuisine from different countries. Most of all, thanks all around to all of the students and staff who received us graciously. Hopefully, we'll get a chance to play at this year's prom.

By the way, did you know that we played at the first ever prom? We won't tell you the year, but we sang songs like Bobby Brown's "My Perrogative," New Kids on the Block's "The Right Stuff" and even Milli Vanilli's "Girl You Know It's True." We didn't even have to lip-synch it. Just don't tell anyone that we sang those songs.

Los Ciegos Create Buzz at Salisbury BeerFest - October 10, 2010

Great time at the inaugural Salisbury Beer Fest today. We also heard that we'll be back next year. Yay! Awesome beer, awesome food, awesome people, awesome event equals an awesome time. Thanks, Joe, Dylan, Slade, Eliot, Kyrsten and everyone else who supported us and made this day great. Free beer. A musician's dream. See you next year.

Los Ciegos Play at Private Wedding for a Loyal Fan and Friend - October 2, 2010

Great time at Janeth's wedding in Connecticut. Congratulations to you and your new husband. Many years of happiness and success. Much love to you and our amigas de Colombia.

Los Ciegos Welcome Back the Students of Kean University - September 9, 2010

Nice time at the Patio of Kean University over in Union, New Jersey. The students are really cool and supportive. It was our second time playing for them and we hope to do it again soon. Make it a great school year.

Palisades General Care Medical Center - North Bergen, NJ - August 25, 2010

Great time at the Medical Center as we got to show off our musical diversity. Thanks to Bridges for helping us sound so great and for not making fun of us more than twice between each song. Let's do it again.

Los Ciegos Reach 2000 Fans on Facebook - August 20, 2010

Wow! We still haven't even been on Facebook for a year yet, but we've already reached 2000 fans (6,000 overall). You don't know how much this means to us. To celebrate, you can go to our Facebook page for a free download. Limited Time Only. Thank you for all of your continued support. We're not even famous, but you are helping us climb that ladder. We love you all. Are you ready world? CiegoMania is just beginning!

CiegoMania Hits Milwaukee - August 4, 2010

We had an awesome time playing in front of an outdoor crowd of better than 600, possibly 700 people at the Rotary Outdoor Amphitheatre.

We weren't able to bring the entire group, but we held it down and got some of the best crowd response of the year. Alvin and Derek were also thrilled to be reunited with their dad, Marco Suarez, who was also an accomplished musician and their original musical inspiration. Marco was joined by his mom, Rosa, two of his younger sons, David and Daniel; and David's girlfriend, Trisha. All live in the Madison, Wisconsin area.

People of all races danced at the packed amphitheatre and we even sold all but 4 of the CD's that we brought. We had to hide the last few as we had promised to give them to Marco and the family.

Our thanks go out to Cindy, Dan, Mike, Mark, Wiscraft & the Visionary Media Company. There's some talk about doing this again next year. We'll be ready, willing and able. Shout-outs to George Washington (Yes, that's his real name), Brenda and Jasmine at the airport. We hope Jasmine got home to Denver safely. Thanks also go out to the good folks at Moe's Irish Pub who took care of us. Great burgers!

We will take a breather for a couple of weeks before heading out to North Bergen, NJ on the 25th.

The Ciegos Invade Pittsburgh - July 30, 2010

After a long, grueling drive from New York to Pittsburgh, we played at the Cabaret in Theater Square on Penn Avenue. After a half-hour dance lesson given by Joe Figueroa from Philly, the crowd got to test some of their new moves to the sounds of our usual mixture of salsa, bachata, bolero and merengue.

Unfortunately, we didn't get to enjoy the sights and sounds of Pittsburgh as we quickly had to travel back to New York the next morning. Nonetheless, it was a fun gig and we were treated very nicely.

Our thanks to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust for making us the first out-of-town Latin band to play at the club. Additional thanks to everyone at the club for such a great turnout.

Amherst, MA: The Amherst Common - July 24, 2010

Great time in Amherst today. Thanks to Tommy, Dave, Joan, Lorianne and all the other great talent at the show. We barely beat the pouring rain, lol. Also thanks, Slade for your help. Next stop Pittsburgh PA. Hope you're ready PA!

Morristown, NJ: Mayo Center for the Performing Arts - July 13, 2010

The weather didn’t cooperate, and the ice cream never arrived. But everyone who moved inside the Community Theatre lobby for tonight’s “Party on the Plaza” with Los Ciegos Del Barrio were well pleased.

Great time in Morristown NJ tonight. Thanks to Ed, Lynn and Kevin. Footage to follow. Next stop, Amherst MA on July 24th. We know a huge chunk of our fanbase is from Massachusetts and Connecticut...we're coming back! See you soon.

Jersey city, NJ: Private 4th of July Wedding. Fireworks Outside, Musical Fireworks Inside - July 4, 2010

Great time in Jersey City tonight. We were treated like royalty and the crowd was fantastic! Shouts to Helena and Daniela, who is the biggest Banda Blanca fan, for making sure that we were taken care of.

Congratulations to the happy newlyweds. It was one of the nicest weddings we've ever played - complete with fireworks. Happy Birthday, USA! We were glad to provide you with plenty of musical fireworks with some of our danceable Latin music during the reception.

We can also play for your wedding. Just plan it and look us up here on our web site, Facebook, My Space, Reverb Nation, Twitter or at any of our upcoming events.

Los Ciegos Del Barrio Make a Splash at the Glen Cove Downtown Sounds Festival - July 2, 2010

On Friday, July 2, we had the honor of kicking off the Downtown Sounds Concert Series in Glen Cove Long Island in New York.

It was one of our best shows of the year as a multi-racial crowd of all ages danced and moved to our Latin sounds. We thank Francine Culler for setting this up for us and we hope to have the opportunity to do it again next year. Special thanks to the good folks from the Glen Cove Patch. The people of Glen Cove are just phenomenal.

New York, NY: Fundraiser at Bridgewater's - June 29, 2010

Lots of fun at the private fundraiser. What was the deal with the last-minute insurance policy charge that was sprung on us?

Anyway, it was all for a great cause and we managed not to break anything. We were treated to some great food while we treated everyone to great music. Thanks to everyone involved.

El Barrio, USA: 25th Annual Puerto Rican Day Festival at 116th Street - June 12, 2010

Great time at the 116th St. Puerto Rican festival.. Great sharing a stage with Miosotis as well. We had the crowd jumping until the cops had to shut us down. :( But we appreciated our abridged opportunity to play tonight...quite an experience. Thanks to those that were there, what a turnout! Shout out to Jerry, Juan & Rocio.

And now, a message to the organizers of festivals/shows/events, etc:

We are just one single voice, but we'd like to call on the powers that be of any and every major event/festival to please have a true appreciation for live music and the work that's behind it. It's so easy to put a CD in a machine & either sing or dance along to it, but it's a lot of hard physical work to bring musical instruments, set them up and then play and sing as we entertain. It's fun, but it's very hard work...not to mention all of the years of studying and practice.

In some cases, musicians will travel a long way to do this physical please bare that in mind when booking the acts for your shows, because we love what we do and we have a deep respect for music as a whole. We ask that live music get the support it deserves and that musicians...real musicians...get the same respect in return.

Thanks again and hopefully, we'll get another opportunity to keep entertaining you all the way we have been for our entire career. Que viva Boricua!!!

Brooklyn, NY: Arts in Bushwick show/barbecue - June 6, 2010

Nice time in Brooklyn. Thanks to Joe and Company for a great job entertaining us. Also, thanks to Dia at the grill. It was nice to see you eating towards the end of the night. You needed a break.

Great live music was provided by Everyboy, our good friend Lachi and, of course, Los Ciegos. Lachi and the Ciegos collaberated on a flavorful rendition of Madonna's "Like a Prayer." Next Stop: The Puerto Rican Day Festival at the 106th Street/3rd Avenue stage next Saturday at 5pm.

Washington Heights, USA: The Ciegos Rock Upper Broadway - May 28, 2010

In a last-minute show put together by the good folks from Western Union and Castle Check Cashing on Broadway between 177th and 178th Streets, we played a two-hour set of classic merengue (Perico Ripiao style). We were pleasantly surprised by the turnout and the positive reaction that we got from the crowd that gathered around the front of the Check Cashing place. This event was in honor of Dominican Mother's Day.

Much love to all of the Dominican Moms out there, including Machete's mom who stopped by to say hello to us. We had a great time in Washington Heights tonight. Thanks to Isabel, Vincent, Mike, Elizabeth, Aridia & Julian for their help tonight. Elizabeth even won a $50 certificate from Western Union. Next time, lunch is on her.

Shout outs to Marisela, Andres and that really cool young lady in the SUV that helped our keyboard player get to his cab. Sorry we didn't get her name, but we hope she has fun in DR later this year. We love you Washington Heights!

Bronx, NY: Lavelle School for the Blind - May 22, 2010

We had a great time playing at the Lavelle School today. Shouts to Maureen, Mike, Gary and Jeanette for their help today and the crowd was excellent. We hope to be back soon. Next stop, Brooklyn NY! June 6th! Bushwick, stand up!

Vineland, NJ: Lincoln Specialty Care Center - May 15, 2010

We want to thank Meeka, David and the good folks at the Lincoln Specialty Care Center for having us perform at their very first community event. Nice weather, live music, wonderful people, free raffles, prizes, food and drink and some good young talent. What else could we ask for? A great time was had by all. Hopefully, we can do this again.

Los ciegos Passes Audition/Will Be Playing at 116th Street Festival - May 10, 2010

We just found out that we will be playing the 25th Annual 116th street Puerto Rican Day Festival on June 12 before the Puerto Rican Day parade that weekend. Big shouts to Rocio, Violeta, Calvin, Jerry, Pedro Navaja & all the other artists at the auditions. Can't wait to be there.

This is where it all started and it will be a thrill for Alvin and Derek to play for the old neighborhood. We'll keep you posted with specific times and information as it develops.

It was nice seeing Violetta, who was a classmate of ours at the old East Harlem Performing Arts School. She's always been a sweetheart and she hasn't changed a bit. Hope to see you at the festival. Boricua, stand up! El Barrio, stand up! Los Ciegos Del Barrio are coming back to El Barrio!

New York, NY: The Benny Negro Show - April 28, 2010

It was our second appearance on the popular internet show. Check out the Benny Negro Show on You-Tube. This is a weekly show that features some of the top talents representing a wide variety of genres. This show is full of surprises, so check it out. You can see a live taping at Manny's Sports Bar on 2nd Avenue in New York City every Wednesday night. Even the DJ plays some of the best selections from yesterday and today. We can't say that about every DJ. Thank you Benny Negro and Frankie Bones for having us again. It was a great crowd and there was a lot of excellent talent featured. We also enjoyed some of the best Buffalo wings in the city. Let's do it again.

Union City, NJ: Kean University - April 16, 2010

Great time tonight with the class of 2010 at Kean University. Shout outs to Stephanie, Alexa and especially "Bridges."

Pittsfield, MA: Conte Community School - April 10, 2010

We want to thank Brooke, Eliot, Slade, David, Chris, Jeanette, Elvira, Mariela, Valerie, louise & the folks from Williams College for showing us a great time tonight. We are proud supporters of "El Dia de los Imigrantes" and we'll gladly come back next year. It was also cool crashing Janet's birthday party and surprising some of our most loyal fans from Colombia. Happy Birthday, Janet. We love you.

Speaking of love, much love to our friend, Mayra from California, who is celebrating her 27th Birthday today. Make it a safe, happy and healthy year for you and yours. We'll keep in touch.
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