Tonight, Thursday, October 11, the Emmy Award-winning Roni Benise will light up the Arlington with his mastery of the Spanish guitar and the wide range of Latin acts. He will be performing his show, Nights of Fire, at 7:30 p.m. with his world-class group of musicians and elaborately choreographed dancers. It has been described as a celebration of music, love, and life. The L.A. Daily News called it “One hot night!” Here’s why you should go:
1) The variety of Latin styles. A vibrant Cuban number called “Salsa Salsa” is sure to spice up the stage. There is also a Brazilian carnival with masks and colorful costumes, not to mention Spanish flamenco, Cuban salsa, Brazilian samba, and tango. An orchestra will support Benise’s ballads, and an African rhythm group brings an edgy and tribal sound.
2) The supporting musicians. His violinists Jim Sitterly worked with John Tesh and Karen Brigg worked with Yanni. Percussionist Munyungo has worked with scores of prominent artists such as Miles Davis, Sting, and Stevie Wonder, as has drummer Luis Conte, who’s played with Phil Collins, James Taylor, and Madonna.
3) The dancing Gitanas. Bringing dance to the stage are some of the most talented flamenco, Broadway, and De la Guarda dancers, including some who’ve worked with Madonna, Gloria Estefan, and Ricky Martin. The Gitanas have been rigorously choreographed by world-renowned Alex Mango, who’s also worked with Madonna as well as Ballet Hispanico and the Pussycat Dolls.
4) He’s the prince of the Spanish guitar! Benise’s songs move from the sorrowful serenades of “Montserrat” and “Mi Amor” to the hot and spicy numbers “Galleto’s Jam” and “Rockmenco.” No matter what your mood, Benise will strum his way into your heart with his acoustic guitar.
5) It’s a celebration. Benise’s songs strike a cord with all audiences thanks to his message of love and life. As a regular guest at the Arlington, Benise has dazzled Santa Barbara before and is set to do it once more.
6) His Santa Barbara roots. Benise started out playing on the streets of Santa Barbara and still pays homage to his history. Two years ago, he filmed a PBS special in the Arlington. And this time, donations at the performance will go toward the Unity Shoppe (unityshoppe.org), which helps S.B.’s disadvantaged. For $100, you get a VIP ticket, which comes with premiere seating and access to both the sound check and backstage for a meet-and-greet with the artist.