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Mambo Music for Your Family: An Interview with Eguie Castrillo

Carnegie Hall's Family Concerts are one-hour, weekend afternoon concerts designed for families with children ages 5–10. On Sunday, January 20, Carnegie Hall presents Mambo Mania, a Family Concert featuring Eguie Castrillo, his orchestra, special guest Gilberto Santa Rosa, and dancers from Masacote Dance Company. In advance of the performance, we asked band leader and timbales player Eguie Castrillo what the audience can expect from this performance and what Mambo Mania means to him.

When did you first start playing mambo music?

I start playing mambo at the age of 14 when I discovered the music of Tito Puente!

What does Mambo Mania mean to you?

Mambo Mania is a concept that I've dreamed of for a long time. It's a Las Vegas–style show with dancers and the sound and excitement of the Big Band era.

What are you looking forward to in performing this concert, and what should the audience look forward to in attending it?

First, I'm looking forward to having fun playing the music that I love and with the musicians that I love and respect! We are going to take the audience in a time machine back to the 50s and 60s, where the mambo drives the lives of thousands of fans and followers. Also, they will learn to dance and feel the beat in an interactive concert.

This concert is a reunion of some very special performer friends of yours. Tell us about them and what it means for you all to perform on the Carnegie Hall stage.

This concert is a very special moment in my life because back in the 90s, I performed at Carnegie Hall with my idol Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, and Arturo Sandoval, as part of Sandoval's Big Band. Now I'm performing with my own band and as a featured artist. On top of that, I will have the blessing to share the stage with some of my old pals from my music school back in Puerto Rico. Gilberto Santa Rosa was one of those students that always and from the beginning stands up as an amazing talent. We both start playing trumpet, but as you see that had a very short life. Humberto Ramirez and Oskar Cartaya are two of my dear brothers that shared the same classroom and music passion with me. Cartaya is the godfather of my son Diego. Arturo Ortiz was responsible for my short adventure in the trumpet world because he is a very talented musician that not only plays the piano amazingly but also play the bass and trumpet as well. He always asked for my trumpet, keeping me from having to practice the instrument. Thanks, Arturo!

Family Concert
A recent Family Concert. Photo by Chris Lee.

Don’t miss the Mambo Mania Family Concert at Carnegie Hall featuring Eguie Castrillo on January 20 live at Carnegie Hall.

Related: Family Concert: Mambo Mania