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The Mambo Kings return to the Fox with Camille Zamora

UPDATED: Thu., May 19, 2022

The Mambo Kings and soprano Camille Zamora headline Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox on Saturday night.  (Courtesy)
The Mambo Kings and soprano Camille Zamora headline Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox on Saturday night. (Courtesy)

Back for the first time since 2017, the Mambo Kings, featuring soprano Camille Zamora, are thrilled to be collaborating with the Spokane Symphony again.

The band stayed busy during the pandemic with virtual performances and livestreams.

“We never stopped, which is really a blessing,” pianist and music director Richard DeLaney said. But there’s nothing like a live and in-person performance.

“We have a completely new lineup,” DeLaney said, elaborating on the night’s theme, “Havana Nights.” The final pops concert of the symphony’s 2021-22 season, the concert will begin at Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox at 8 p.m. Saturday.

With a combination of contemporary Latin jazz and Afro-Cuban rhythms, the Mambo Kings’ style is danceable and full of improvisation. Alongside DeLaney, the band includes John Viavattine on flute and sax, Hector Diaz on bass, Tony Padilla on congas and Freddy Colon on drums and timbales.

“It’s full of energy – we’re used to seeing people dance,” he said, joking about a concert a couple of years ago where the dancing got them into trouble.

“It was an outdoor venue, so I told people to get up and dance – and, well, security apparently didn’t care for people standing up and dancing in aisles,” he said. “But we want people to be happy, so we play happy music … it’s rhythmic, it’s melodic. And kids love us, so bring the family.”

Performing in Spokane for the first time, Zamora will join the orchestra onstage for the first half and the Mambo Kings for the second to perform selections from Zarzuela, Spanish musical theater from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, as well as a few more widely known pieces like “Besame Mucho.”

“One of the things that’s so yummy about this whole concert in general is that there’s this sort of through line of rhythm,” Zamora said. “And I think that’s just a characteristic of so much Spanish language music – you have these dance rhythms.

“The first half, you’ll hear some more of the big symphonic writing from Zarzuela, as well as, of course, Spanish operas, but they’re also really dance-driven – they make you want to come out of your seat and at the same time there’s also this amazing vocal virtuosity.”

This kind of music, she explained, is exactly what people need right now. “You know, knock on wood, we’re coming into the post-pandemic era, and we’re looking at what it is that makes life worth living,” she said.

“And I think the experience of just sharing warmth and sharing the harmony, literally and metaphorically being able to be together in person – there’s a sort of high vibrational thing that just happens even on a kind of visceral level.

“We just literally feel better after an evening listening to live music.”

For more information, visit foxtheaterspokane.org or call the box office at (509) 624-1200.

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