A More Intimate Performance with Gregorio Uribe

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¡A rumbear! Returning to our Villa Victoria Center for the Arts after last year’s sold out show, Gregorio Uribe is bringing you another rumba colombiana – this time it with a more intimate twist.

Last October, Uribe and his Big Band celebrated the release of their debut album, “Cumbia Universal” and have enjoyed a successful year ever since – including a sold out show at Lincoln Center and a new monthly residency at the prestigious Ginny’s Supper Club (owned by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelson). However, what many don’t know is that at the same time, Uribe has been cultivating a new sound, working on new music with a fresh format.


He’s still bringing you the same energetic sounds, mixing cumbia and vallenato, but instead of doing this with his 16-piece band, he’s created a just as lively trio. He’s creating a deeper connection to his culture without losing the excitement of his huge ensemble.

In honor of his upcoming performance at our Villa Victoria Center for the Arts on November 10th, we had the pleasure of interviewing him about his roots, his influences, and his identity—and we want to share some of his most insightful answers.


IBA – Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción: What does being “latino” mean to you? How does this affect or influence your music?

Gregorio Uribe: Someone asked me a similar question not too long ago. It’s a really good one. My own somewhat cryptic way of responding to it, I suppose, is that a party isn’t complete without there being a couple’s dance.

IBA: How has your identity as a Latino changed once coming to the United States?

Uribe: It’s been accentuated. It’s become one of the first things with which I identify. Since this is a country in which so many cultures are intertwined, one of the first things we tend to notice and observe in other people are where they’re from. Especially within a city like New York, where you meet someone and you’re immediately trying to guess that from their accent, or the way they look. The most beautiful thing about the United States is how we see Latin Americans from every Hispanic country converge.


IBA: How did you come to decide on studying and moving to the United States? Why Berklee?

Uribe: Ever since I first started making music, Berklee has always been recognized for that area of study. And since I was a kid I knew Juan Luis Guerra—who I consider to be one of the biggest influences in my music—had studied there. I just knew that if I had the opportunity to go there, I would. Especially with the very open and accepting approach Berklee takes with the students’ own needs and desires for experimentation, which is an aspect I found myself very drawn to.

IBA: Where does the name “Cumbia Universal” come from? Could you have called it “Colombia Universal?” Is the album more than just cumbia?

Uribe: Yes, the album’s more than just cumbia. My inspiration for that name comes from the origins and trajectory of cumbia, itself; a traditional Colombian rhythm that then makes its way and spreads through the rest of Latin America, which the countries adapt in different ways. It wasn’t until I came to New York, however, that I came to truly realize and appreciate the beauty and the benefits of the converging of cultures—the way different cultures can adapt elements of another’s and, in that sense, turn it into something universal, which was an idea I thought was quite profound and, in many ways, beautiful.


Gregorio Uribe’s trio-performance is on November 10th, at 8:30 p.m. at our Villa Victoria Center for the Arts. Doors will open at 8:00 p.m. It is sure to be a unique experience full of cultural convergence, great music, and lively dancing you will not want to miss!

For tickets, click here.  

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