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Orchestra Fuego - Encendido

Latin Jazz

Land O Lakes

Band Description

Orchestra Fuego is a ten piece Salsa band consisting of two lead singers, backup singer, percussionists, brass musicians, pianist, and a base guitarist. The group’s sound has maintained the integrity of what is referred to as “Old School Salsa."

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Artist Biography

About Orchestra Fuego:
You might ask: what Salsa band can get an audience of farmers in plaid shirts and country women in long cotton dresses to get up and dance with bear feet nonstop to their Latin rhythms?  The answer would be Orchestra Fuego.  Since their debut in 2014, Orchestra Fuego has ignited all types of dance floors throughout Florida with their upbeat; high energy performances. Much to their surprise, their music appeals to a wider audience than they anticipated. Marcus Hernandez, musical director and founder of the band states, “We wanted to put our music out there for Latinos to enjoy; but we were amazed at how well received our music has been with all types of people in Florida and around the world.  Our first single release, Encendido, has been downloaded from Miami to Denmark and even Singapore.”  Orchestra Fuego is one of the most newly sought out Salsa groups in the Tampa Bay and Ocala area in Florida. Event Planner, Nic Kalojiannis, comments, “We are a Country Club that hosts hundreds of special events per year that work with many different types of entertainment. Orchestra Fuego is by far the most entertaining, professional, and crowd pleasing that I have ever witnessed. The excitement from all the guests and the pure enjoyment of everyone is easily seen. I highly recommend Orchestra Fuego to all my clients and have included them on our preferred vendor list.” He continues, “Thank you Orchestra Fuego, not only do all the guests always enjoy your music, but myself and staff always look forward to your events.”
Orchestra Fuego started when Marcus Hernandez, piano player, and lead singer, Luis “Torpedo” Aponte, reunited in Florida several years after moving down from New York.  The two performed together in the New York City scene in the late 70’s and 80’s when Salsa was at its peak. Fueled by their mutual interest in Salsa, they started performing together with other members of the original band also living in Florida. “After playing a few gigs,’’ says Marcus, “It became evident early on that the time was ripe to revive the classic Salsa sound.”
Orchestra Fuego is a ten-piece Salsa band consisting of two lead singers, percussionists, brass musicians, pianist, and a base guitarist. The group’s sound has maintained the integrity of what is referred to as “Old School Salsa”, with a similar vibe to bands such as Gilberto Santa Rosa and Tito Nieves, but with a fresh twist. The blend of Afro-Cuban rhythms mixed with Nuyorican flavor sets the dance floor on fire. Their songs are familiar, but have invigorating new arrangements. The percussionist is into rhythms like that of Ray Barretto and Willie Rosario. The pianist, Marcus, is inspired by Papo Lucca.  While the group’s main passion is for Salsa, they also perform a wide variety of other Latin music including Merengue, Bolero, and Cha-cha.
Although Orchestra Fuego is excited about the enthusiastic fan following in North-Central Florida, they want to perform their music to all of Florida and work their way up the Eastern seaboard to New York and beyond. “We just want to get out there and share our music,” remarks Marcus.  In addition to performing live, they are also working on several recording projects.  Their new album, Encendido, is comprised of original songs composed and produced by Marcus Hernandez and Jose Arturo Ortiz, former musical director of Ricky Martin’s band.  “We really enjoy performing and watching others appreciate our music;” states Marcus, “and we are eager to bring our sound around the world.”  They are doing just that since their music is available on iTunes, Amazon.com, CD Baby, JangoRadio.com, and Pandora Radio.

Press Release
Marcus Hernandez
Musical Director and Founder
If Salsa music can be one of the DNA molecules, Marcus Hernandez has it in his veins. His love of Salsa led him to learning and playing the piano at a young age.  In his early years as a musician, he studied under Oscar Hernandez and Gilberto Colon, and more recently with Jose Arturo Ortiz, who was the musical director for the Ricky Martin band. Marcus started playing in New York City during the late 70’s when Salsa music was at an all-time high.  Marcus formed the Salsa group Fuego ‘77 and played at all top venues that included The Corso, Ipanema, Casa Blanca, Casino 14, and the Copa Cabana just to mention a few. Fuego ‘77 opened for mega Salsa artists such as Celia Cruz, Johnny Pacheco, and Hector LaVoe.  In addition to performing with various popular artists such as Adalberto Santiago and Rafael de Jesus, the group recorded under the Alegre label which was a subsidiary of the famous Fania Records.  Marcus composed and arranged eight of the ten songs on the álbum.
Though Marcus has been away from performing music while pursuing an accounting career, his passion for Salsa was always simmering, but has recently been ignited by reuniting with former fellow musician Luis “Torpedo” Aponte, inspiring him to form Orchestra Fuego. Creating lively and refreshing arrangements of classic songs, as well as composing his own original music, is what he is most enthusiastic about.  “Marcus has developed significantly as a musician and band leader,” comments lead singer, Torpedo.  “He has everything needed to make the band successful.  He is doing an awesome job and I admire that beyond words.” His passion for music coupled with his professionalism makes him a pleasure to work with.
Orchestra Fuego was recently invited to audition for the Hit Show, America’s Got Talent; the first Salsa Band ever to be invited. Made it pass round two and although the band did not make it to Hollywood, it was an awesome experience.
Orchestra Fuego was also recently contacted by the producers of the Latin Grammy and have submitted our first album for nomination.
Luis “Torpedo” Aponte
Lead Singer
Torpedo credits Marcus for his inspiration as a musician.  He and Marcus first met when Torpedo relocated from Puerto Rico to New York in the late 70’s. After auditioning, Marcus invited him to be the lead trumpet of his band called Fuego ’77.  He recalls, “Marcus believed in me and took me to the studio to record the trumpet for his new album. From that experience, I became so passionate with performing that this was all I wanted to do.” He later started singing backup with many bands like Rafy Diaz, Tito Rojas, Marvin Santiago, Junior Toledo, Primi Cruz and many others. Until one day Pedro Conga invited him to be a part of his band, La Orquesta Internacional. Since then, he’s both played and sung as part of many bands. 
Torpedo is influenced vocally by Axel Martinez from Pedro Conga’s band and Junior Toledo from Los Compadres. His timing, unique vocal sound, and spontaneous lyrics, sets him apart from other singers. His improvisations come from his concentration of the song’s theme and keen observation of what is going on in the room, which makes his audience connected to what he is singing about.  He makes it more entertaining by adding his infectious humor and vivacious spirit. 
When he first heard Marcus also moved to Florida, he was excited to work with him again after many years. Torpedo states, “It was like a party for me. I was so excited about this. He started me into this musical journey,” he adds, “and put me on the map of this wonderful world of music.  After working with many artists and developing my skills over the years.  It seems to have come full circle now, and at just the right time to be working together again on the same path.” He looks forward to even greater accomplishments with Orchestra Fuego.
Jorge Tamayo
Lead Singer
This Cuban native started his singing career in church at an early age when he came to the United States.  He later joined the group Sal Sumba D’ Gainesville playing timbales and singing back up with lead singer, Luis “Torpedo” Aponte.  After hearing him sing, it was clear to Torpedo that Jorge had the talent and charisma for a lead voice.  Torpedo invited him to sing with him as part of the Sal Sumba band and mentored him.  Their close relationship is evident in the way they relate to each other on and off stage. “He’s like family to me,” states Torpedo.
Jorge sang with other groups in Gainesville before joining Torpedo as lead singer for Orchestra Fuego.  Jorge brings the invigorating sound of Havana in his style of singing.  Because of his background playing the guitar, drums, and timbales, he has a genuine feel for the music, which he demonstrates when he performs in both his movement and timing.  His passionate and expressive singing engages his audience and provides an electrifying presentation.  Marcus comments, “Jorge is in the making to be one of the best and most captivating singers in Salsa. We are very blessed to have him in our band

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