Gilberto Santa Rosa is a legendary salsa romántica and bolero singer and bandleader with over 25 albums and six Grammy Awards behind him. Known for his improvisational skills, Santa Rosa was born in Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico on August 21, 1962.
In 1995, Santa Rosa became the first Puerto Rican salsa singer to perform at Carnegie Hall. His most famous version of his most famous song is “Perdoname” from that live recording.
Gilberto Santa Rosa News
Santa Rosa plays the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, New Jersey on Friday, October 29, 2021. From $49
“El Caballero de la Salsa”
Santa Rosa came up in the New York Salsa boom of the 1970s, went solo in the 1980s, and is still going strong. Santa Rosa’s style varies from dance-oriented to romantic. Lately he sounds jazzy.
Santa Rosa is a big fan of Latin legend Tito Rodríguez who was also famous for his boleros (soft romantic lullabies) back in the Palladium Ballroom days of the 1950s. Santa Rosa collects Rodríguez memorabilia and has recorded an album of Rodríguez songs.
On his way up, Santa Rosa recorded with the Tommy Olivencia Orchestra. We would have loved to see that. Olivencia’s orchestra was a salsa school back in the day, the way El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico has been more recently. Olivencia and another Puerto Rican salsa legend Ismael Rivera are from Villa Palmeras, which is sort of the Harlem or The Bronx of Santurce. Many famous artists are from there or lived there. Life is different there because it’s where immigrants live, but it is sacred ground. The bomba and plena are there too.
In 1995, Santa Rosa became the first Puerto Rican salsa singer to perform at Carnegie Hall. The live recording En Vivo Desde El Carnegie Hall (Live from Carnegie Hall) reached number 2 on the Billboard Tropical/Salsa chart and made Perdóname (Forgive me) his signature song.
A Great Live Show
We got to see Santa Rosa perform a Christmas show in the city plaza of Carolina, Puerto Rico in 2019. Wow! He is a great singer with a hot band. He really is a gentleman. It’s a refreshing change from all the salsa bad boys.
Santa Rosa did a troubadour battle with a guest singer. It was charming to hear them tease each other back and forth live like in a rap battle. Puerto Rico does have this troubadour tradition in the mountains. Apparently Santa Rosa is famous for his improvisations.
The band had a great young lady tres player. We danced all night. When it rained, the entire plaza turned into a sea of umbrellas, but everybody stayed. It was magical.
Santa Rosa performs in New York City a lot. It’s worth it to go see him.
The new album “Colegas” (Colleagues) drops September 4, 2020.
August 20, 2020 ~ Santa Rosa celebrates his birthday with the first single from his new album “Colegas.” It’s “La Familia” with Tito Nieves. Eso es.
Santa Rosa always has such a tight band. It’s interesting how he keeps the Puerto Rican sound. Nowadays musicians come out of music school. Sometimes they are so good that they play without soul. Santa Rosa’s band is clean, but it keeps the flavor of the island.
The song is a smart call too because in hard times we retreat into our families. That is how we survive, con la familia. ¡A bailar!
The album “Colegas” is being released on September 4.
Gilberto Santa Rosa in New York City
Friday, March 20, 2020 ~ Santa Rosa plays the Beacon Theatre in the Upper West Side, NYC at 8pm. This show was cancelled to keep New Yorkers safe during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Saturday, November 9, 2019 ~ Santa Rosa plays Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood, New Jersey at 8pm. From $39
Santa Rosa plays the Kupferberg Center for the Arts in Flushing, Queens on Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 8 pm. From $42
Santa Rosa plays the St George Theatre in Staten Island on Friday, October 26, 2018 at 8 pm. From $55
Santa Rosa plays Radio City Music Hall in Midtown, Manhattan on Saturday, April 7, 2018 at 8 pm. $55 – $305+
Santa Rosa plays the NYCB Theatre in Westbury, NY on Friday, October 6, 2017.
Santa Rosa is Grand Marshal of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday, June 11, 2017.
Santa Rosa plays the New Jersey Performing Arts Center – Prudential Hall in Newark, New Jersey on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 8 pm.
Santa Rosa joins the La Salsa Vive show at Madison Square Garden, November 5, 2016.
Santa Rosa returns to Carnegie Hall on Friday, June 3, 2016.
We got to have Thanksgiving dinner in 2019 with the photographer who made this picture, J. Perez-Mesa. He does publicity work for many of Puerto Rico’s biggest stars including Santa Rosa and El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico. Check him out at jperezmesaphotographer.com
To learn more about Santa Rosa, visit www.GilbertoSantaRosa.com