I, and so many others whose hearts beat in clave (salsa and Afro-Cuban jazz’s five-stroke rhythmic pattern originating in West Africa), also grew up loving R&B and listening to radio stations like WWRL and WBLS, in addition to the Latin shows of Symphony Sid, Dick “Ricardo” Sugar, Joe Gaines, Felipe Luciano and Roger Dawson. (I remember taping those programs on a flimsy little reel-to-reel recorder).

The music all derives from that same mighty and magnificent tree that grew in Africa.

Glancing at my collection, I see the Delfonics, Marvin Gaye (listening to the live version of “Distant Lover” as I write this), Tammi Terrell, LaBelle, Ashford & Simpson, Aretha Franklin (I recall, way bac when, hearing a New York radio DJ air “Respect,” then advise, “Aretha Franklin—remember that name!”), the Dells, the Stylistics (saw them at the Cheetah, home of salsa and soul on 52nd & 8th, when they first came in from Philly), Sly & the Family Stone, the Jackson Five (when Michael, God rest his soul, was but a child), Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes featuring Sharon Paige, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Sam & Dave (saw them at the Cheetah, too), SpyderTurner, Al Green, James Brown, the Originals, Bloodstone, Eddie Holman, Rufus & Chaka Khan, Black Ivory, the Intruders, the O’Jays, Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke, Diana Ross & the Supremes, Billy Stewart, the Moments, the Lost Generation, the Chilites, Betty Everett, Jackie Wilson, the Impressions, the Five Stairsteps, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Mary Wells, Spyder Turner, Earth, Wind & Fire, the Emotions, the Four Tops, the Temptations,  Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, Wilson Pickett….and so many more….the list goes on and on.  How lucky we were to grow up with this music.

In that spirit, I add this page, Your R&B Soul Connection, to inform readers about R&B events in the New York-metro area, so that they may continue to enjoy the music of established artists and also support those of the next generation.

—Vicki Solá, Publisher & Editor in Chief, Viva La Música NY Style….Y Más®

Riley "B. B." King


September 16, 1925—May 14, 2015



Saturday, May 30th – IT FEELS GOOD – Return to the Soulful sounds of 1990’s Rhythm & Blues with a Special DEBUT Concert by the groups MINT CONDITION with songslike “Breakin’ My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes)“ and "What Kind of Man Would I Be" and TONY! TONI! TONÉ!, famous for the hits "Anniversary" and “It Never Rains (In Southern California)“. Produced by Lehman Center


Lehman Center for the Performing Arts is on the campus of Lehman College/CUNY at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, NY 10468. Tickets for all shows can be purchased by calling the Lehman Center box office at 718-960-8833 (Monday through Friday, 10am–5pm and beginning at 12 noon on the day of the concert).


Queen Diva performs Sunday, July 6, 2014 , 7 pm at

the Metropolitan Room on 34 W. 22nd St., NYC 10010

(photo courtesy of Ken Curtis)

The “King of Latin Soul” Joe Bataan played to an adoring crowd at The West Gate Lounge in Nyack, New York this past May 31st, delighting patrons with classics like “Sad Girl” and packing the dance floor with his hot dance numbers.

On September 13th, 2013,  the legendary Joe Bataan was presented with a National R&B Music Society Lifetime Achievement Award  for his many years as a pioneer in Latin Soul music.  “In attendance at The Third Annual Awards Show  for the National R&B Music Society, headed by Vanessa Jordan, were many renowned groups and entertainers from around the country,” says Bataan.  “This year, I’ll return to perform live at the Fourth Annual R&B National Music Society Awards to be held in September 2014 at the Resorts Casino & Hotel in Atlantic City.”

NYC! Tired of the snow?! Head out to SOBs for "The Get Down Meltdown", the hottest FREE all night dance party in NYC on Friday night!! SOBs brings you this FREE ALL NIGHT DANCE PARTY to warm you up and meltdown all that snow! With DJ S. DOT spinning the hottest R&B, HipHop, Soca, Reggae, & Caribbean music and $5 Tropical Slushies all night!!!


One the most important soul music groups of the past forty years, The O’Jays, featuring original group members Eddie Levert and Walter Williams, return to Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, on Saturday, January 11th, 2014 at 8 pm. For further info: 718-960-8833.

Many of us who grew up listening to salsa and R&B also enjoy the sounds of Doo Wop. Saturday, January 18, 2014, Sal Abbatiello presents Doo Wop - Rock & Roll is Here to Stay, at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, featuring Fred Parris & The 5 Satins, The Belmonts, former lead singer of the Shirelles, Shirley Alston Reeves, Larry Chance & The Earls, Chiffons, and Danny & The Juniors. Further info is

available at (718)960-8833.

Vicki Solá & Hard Salsa Radio’s Andres Padua (Photo © 2013 by Rosemary Colón)

Hard Salsa Radio’s  Andres Padua and I thank everyone for tuning in to our July 27th special, R&B Meets Salsa in English on Que Viva La Música (89.1 WFDU-FM and  As we've received much positive feedback, we'll be presenting a sequel in the near future! If you missed the show, you can catch it on Facebook--on my updated Vicki Sola Author &DJ page's "R&B Meets Salsa in English" page. (Scroll down after you click on


You can also listen, for the next two weeks, on WFDU-FM’s archives at

When in 1917 citizenship was granted to the people of Puerto Rico, their subsequent arrival in New York City, particularly Harlem, heralded a blending of cultures, igniting a cultural explosion in the 60’s and 70’s, one that produced amazing music and art. East Harlem and West Harlem had one thing in common, THEY HAD SOUL! 


Prepare for another electrifying show, presented by popular demand, when Hard Salsa’s Andres Padua and WFDU-FM’s Vicki Solá bring East Harlem and West Harlem back together, as it was, in a special edition of Que Viva La Música, "R&B Meets Salsa in English®," Saturday, July 27th, 12 noon to 4 p.m. (EST).


To receive information and updates, like this page:

Don't forget to share with your friends. And you can vote for your favorite versions of R&B classics—salsa or original—at

Queen Diva, whose five-octave range voice has been described as “exceptional, outstanding, melodic and beautiful,” per-

forms live in “Strength of a Woman: A Phyllis Hyman Tribute,” Sat., July 6th, 4 p.m. at The Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd Street, New York, New York, 212-206-0440.

Queen Diva

Called “A Singer’s Singer” and often compared to Jocelyn Brown, Minnie Riperton, Heather Small of M People and Phyllis Hyman, the Jamaica, Queens-born Queen Diva, who was raised in Texas but now calls New York, New York her home, cites Aretha Franklin, Martha Wash, Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, Maureen McGovern, Rachelle Ferrell, Melissa Manchester and Toni Braxton as influences.

Recently nominated for the NYC Jazz Fans Decision 2013 Best Female Vocalist in the 1st Annual Hot House Magazine/Metropolitan Room NYC Jazz Fans Decision 2013 Awards, the classically trained Queen Diva is also is the 2013 National Spokesperson for Integrity Beauty Women of Excellence Christian Women Network & 2013 Integrity Beauty Woman of Grace, 2013 GMC TV’s “Most Powerful Voice” Contemporary Gospel Nominee and 2013 SURFACE/CBS/GRAMMY Gig of a Lifetime: Surfacing New Talent Nominee-Mid-Atlantic Region.

She has worked with Terry Ellis of En Vogue, Di Reed of Jade, Min Tonya Lewis-Taylor, Kurt Carr & the Kurt Carr Singers, Donald Lawrence, Ann Nesby with Sounds of Blackness, Jonathan Nelson, Micah Stampley, Shari Jones-Moffet, the Mighty Clouds of Joy, Jaime Foxx, Mike Phillips, Reina, Ayanda Sunshine, Melonie Daniels-Walker, James Fortune & FIYA. And she’s performed in prestigious venues including Toshi’s Living Room & Penthouse, Sullivan Hall, Metropolitan Room, Beaumont Theater in Lincoln Center, Apollo Theater, Wilson’s, Village Underground, Club Groove, Shrine World Music Venue, The Pyramid, NuYorican Poets Café, The Triad, Ashford & Simpson’s The Sugar Bar, The Baggot Inn, Café 101, Harlem’s Billie Black’s Gourmet Soul Restaurant, Sugar Hill Supper Club, Le Bar Bat and Nell’s.

Covergirl for BWW Beauties April 2013 magazine—featured in a four-page spread— Queen Diva was recently featured in Bronze Magazine’s The Curvy Issue and states, “I got the wonderful opportunity to share my journey as a vocalist and Woman of God, as well as my moving desire to perform a Phyllis Hyman Tribute.”

You can check out the amazing, dynamic and charismatic Queen Diva on YouTube, as she sings Oleta Adams’Get Here” at and "What You Won't Do For Love" (as recorded by Phyllis Hyman) at, and of course, at The Metropolitan Room on July 6th!

Joe Bataan

“King of Latin Soul” Joe Bataan, influenced by Doo-Wop and his East Harlem neighborhood’s Latin music, became a major player on the Latin Boogaloo scene with hits like “Gypsy Woman” and “My Cloud.” Bataan and Felix Hernandez (host of WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM’s popular Rhythm Revue show) rock the crowd at SummerStage, in the Bronx’s Soundview Park, Tuesday, July 2nd, from 6-8 p.m. 


Hernandez, who regularly packs New York City’s Roseland with 3,000 fans, will be spinning his unique brand of soul, Motown, funk, salsa and disco classics. The event is free.  Further info is available at

Bataan and his full band come to the Fort Lee Community Center in Fort Lee, New Jersey on Saturday, July 6th, at 7 p.m. for another free outdoor show.  In the event of inclement weather, the show moves to the indoor stage. Bataan’s 7-8:30 p.m. performance is followed by a presentation of the film West Side Story. The evening kicks off the free summer concert series presented by the Fort Lee Film Festival: Music and Movies Under the Stars.

Also in Jersey, the Sounds of Passaic 2013 Summer Concert Series presents Thursday evening shows, 7-9 p.m. On the roster for the Bandshell at Memorial School #11 location are Soulfinger Live (July 25) and Total Soul (Aug. 8). The Hitsville Unlimited Motown Revue plays 3rd Ward Memorial Park (Aug. 1).

The Urban Guerilla Orchestra

The brass driven, nine-piece Urban Guerilla Orchestra, whose members have gigged with the likes of Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys, spice up Midsummer Night Swing at Lincoln Center, Wednesday evening, July 3rd.  The band keeps alive the “TSOP” (The Sound of Philadelphia) tradition of the 70s with the songs of Gamble and Huff written for Teddy Pendergrass, Harold Melvin, MFSB and the Three Degrees. Midsummer Night Swing takes place Tuesdays through Saturdays, June 25—July 13, on the elevated dance floor in Damrosch Park on West 62nd Street, between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues.

Tickets for individual events and passes may be purchased in advance at the Avery Fisher box office or beginning at 5:30 pm on the night of the event at a box office in Damrosch Park. All major credit cards will be accepted. Tickets and passes may also be purchased through CenterCharge, 212-721-6500, or by logging on to Twitter users can sign up to follow Midsummer Night Swing @LCSwing for ongoing news and updates.

SOB’s monthly R&B/Soul showcase Sol Village has launched many young acts into stardom. Over these past ten years, Sol Village has featured artists John Legend, Musiq Soulchild, Erykah Badu, Raphael Saadiq, Common, Floetry, Dwele and more recently Luke James, Bridget Kelly, Laurianna Mae, Allen Stone and Emily King, just to name some. Wednesday, June 26, doors open 7:30 p.m., show begins 8:30 p.m. SOB’s is located at 204 Varick St. at West Houston, NYC. Further info is available at 212-243-4940 and at

Patti LaBellle

Soul superstar Patti LaBelle headlines at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, May 11th, 2013 at 8 p.m., on the campus of Lehman/CUNY in a concert that will benefit Lehman Center and The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore.

“We are delighted to host Patti LaBelle,” says Eva Bornstein, Lehman Center’s Executive Director. “She is absolutely one of my favorites! We presented her in 2007, at the beginning of my appointment as Executive Director.”

An international star for over four decades, two-time Grammy Award winner Patti LaBelle has been described as a true renaissance woman, performing in Broadway musicals, film and television. She has topped the charts multiple times with her groups the Blue Belles and LaBelle, her duet with Michael McDonald, and on her own. Author of seven books, Patti LaBelle has released more than thirty albums and sold over 50 million records worldwide. She has been honored with awards include two Emmy nominations, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and a 2011 BET Lifetime Achievement Award. The electrifying vocalist, who possesses a four-octave range, is currently back in the studio recording a new production.




R&B singer Xavier Lewis and Whiskey Peach are also slated to perform. “Xavier Lewis is a wonderful young man,” says Bornstein. “And he’s a real fan of Patti LaBelle. He’s very grateful that Patti listened to his music and approved his appearance. This is the first time he’ll be heard in the Bronx.”

Queens native Lewis, who grew up in Miami, made it to the semifinals on America’s Got Talent in 2008, and has performed on the Today Show and the Steve Harvey Morning Show. Currently an Atlanta resident, Lewis’s hit “Georgia Clay” was released in 2011.


“This fundraiser is of utmost importance,” says Bornstein. “Like any other organization we are feeling the pinch in this economy. Entertainment is always put aside. It’s absolutely necessary to raise funds to present artists properly. And we are delighted to collaborate with The Children’s Hospital—we’d like to team up with other nonprofits in the Bronx.”

The Spring Gala and Benefit for Lehman Center for the Performing Arts and The Children’s Hospital will be held in Lehman Center’s lobby from 4:30 to 7 p.m. “It’ll be tremendous fun,” says Bornstein. “We’ll have items for auction and great food. Babalu Restaurant is donating refreshments, and we have a celebrity chef, Alex García, preparing hors d’oeuvres. People will be coming in from Miami and all over.”

Gala benefit tickets to An Evening with Patti LaBelle: A Spring Concert are available for both the reception and the concert, the reception only and the concert only. They may be purchased by calling 718-960-8835 or by visiting

Lehman Center is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council. The 2012-2013 season is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, JPMorgan Chase, Con Edison and through corporations, foundations and private donations. ◊◊◊





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