Legendary Drummer Papo Pepin Plays TODAY At Bronx Library Center

Papo Pepin and his orchestera will do a 2:30 p.m. set at the Bronx Library Center’s Auditorium (Map and directions).  The legendary musciacian will play selections from his albums “Al Natural” y “Ponte en Vela.”

Photo c/o bandmix.com

The percussionist was born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. He migrated to Brooklyn, N.Y with his family at the age of two. His father “Tono Pepin,” (who later became one of the first bongoceros of a young Tito Puente in the 1950’s,) taught Papo Pepin to play congas at the tender age of three. He recorded his first record at the age of six with his fathers band ” El Gran Combo Haciendo Algo -Darionex.” Papo Pepin moved on to study music at the Conservatory of Music in Brooklyn, while traveling and touring with his fathers band. Papo Pepin records and performs with some of the greatest musicians in the history of Mambo/Salsa music: Tito Puente, Mario Bausa, Machito,Celia Cruz, Ruben Blades, Roberto Roena, Louie Ramirez, Willie Rosario, Bobby Valentin, Kako, Charlie Parmieri, Sofie Hernandez, Danny Rivera,Victor Manuelle, Willie Colon,Mark Anthony, La India.

In fact, it would be easier to say who Papo Pepin has not pounded the skins with then to go through the 100-plus recordings he has actually done. One of his regular jobs was to provide the percussions for “Africando Rhythms” track sessions, and every Sunday he performs with Chico O’Farrell’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Big Band at Birdland in New York. People in the know, speak about him in the same terms as the pioneers of Afro-Cuban percussion; Candido, Mongo Santamaria, Armando Peraza, Patato Valdez, and Francisco Aguabella. Papo Pepin is amongs them. He is the first “port of call ,” when you want the best congero for your session, single-handedly he can make any band swing. There is a whole chapter on him in Vermon Bogg’s book on Afro-Caribbean music.,”Salsiology.”

Papo Pepin has taught percussion workshops in Bronx public schools and has lectured atHostos Community College.

Biography c/o Pearl Instruments.  See one of this author’s favorite Pepin performances below.

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