Thoroughly multinational but uniquely North Carolinian, Orquesta GarDel thrills audiences with a high-energy Latin dance music experience. The monstrous thirteen-member lineup replicates the format of a classic Nuyorican salsa dura ensemble – a full deck of horn players, percussionists, and coro singers. Rooted in its own arrangements of songs from the great salsa, cumbia, and merengue artists, this is ultimately not a cover band. In 2011 Orquesta GarDel released its debut EP, Lo Que Tú Querías, which consists entirely of original compositions. As GarDel continues to write, flavors of edgy jazz and funky Cuban timba continue to pour from the stage onto the dance floor. The band tours the southeast, having headlined from Roanoke, VA to Charleston, SC, including appearances at the Lake Eden Arts Festival, Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Art Museum, La Fiesta del Pueblo, and Raleigh-Durham hometown venues like Cat’s Cradle and Motorco Music Hall.
Founded in 2006 by David Garcia, a professor of ethnomusicology at UNC Chapel Hill, and singer Nelson Delgado, Orquesta GarDel’s members straddle multiple generations, combining Latino music veterans with African- and Anglo-American jazzers. The group is currently directed by pianist Eric Hirsh and trombonist Andy Kleindienst.