Victor Velez

Víctor Velez is a Puerto Rican percussionist, author, poet, photographer, radio host, local historian and playwright in Fairfield. He is currently a member of Son del Caribe, an 11-piece Salsa orchestra out of Cincinnati that presents authentic 1970’s style big-band salsa dance music, he has recorded seven albums with various artists, written three books and two plays.

Víctor is a native of Puerta de Tierra, Puerto Rico. He grew up in New York City where his interests were as many as his artistic talents. He studied at City University of New York-Brooklyn College. He worked as a photographer for a newspaper and pursued his interest in writing and performing poetry early on. He was also an active musician. His first band was called Salsa Renegades.

He moved to Cincinnati and took an administrative position as Director of the Hispanic center Su Casa for three years. He has written two books: “A Quest for Answers” (2003) and “Conga Blues” (2008), and he is working on a third book “Salsa-nati”,  a history of the development of salsa music in Cincinnati. He has also written a children’s play “If I Were a Tree” and is currently working on a two-act play about Panamenian actor, singer, composer and politician, Rubén Blades. The play is called “Hombre Sin Rostro” (Faceless Man).

In Cincinnati he can be seen regularly performing on congas with Son del Caribe, an 11-piece salsa orchestra directed by Maestro Jaime Morales. The band features authentic 1970’s style big-band salsa dance music that incorporates repertoire from seminal artists in the genre such as Willie Colón, Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, Héctor Lavoe, Celia Cruz and the Fania All-Stars. Velez also performs with other local Latin bands including Latin X-posure and Fiesta del Soul. His conga skills have been featured on seven CDs.

Victor Velez co-hosts “La Hora Latina,” the only bilingual radio show in Cincinnati, with John Sullivan on Sundays 5-7pm on WDBZ 1230AM. The program features in-studio interviews with many local artists and other figures in the Ohio Latino scene. Velez is a local historian of Cincinnati arts, culture, and organizations. A compendium of this knowledge will partly become the subject of his upcoming book about the history of salsa music in Cincinnati.

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