Salsa superstar Gilberto Santa Rosa brings his ‘Camínalo’ tour to NYC on his 60th birthday

Gilberto Santa Rosa is celebrating a big birthday in a big way.

On Sunday, the Grammy Award-winning salsa giant brings his latest tour — “Camínalo (”Walk It”) — to the Beacon Theater on Manhattan’s Upper West Side on Aug. 21.

The tour — which kicked off in Puerto Rico in June 2021 before traveling to sold-out houses in a number of Latin American countries and other U.S. cities — marks the return of the popular singer to a New York City stage on a very special day — his 60th birthday.

salsa superstar gilberto santa rosa brings his ‘camínalo’ tour to nyc on his 60th birthday

Gilberto Santa Rosa performs “Bendita Tu Luz” at the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year gala in 2018. (Chris Pizzello/Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Not a bad way to celebrate the date, according to the Puerto Rico native and current resident, who has been known in the Latin music universe as “El Caballero de la Salsa” (The Gentleman of Salsa) for over three decades.

[”It’s] very, very special,” Santa Rosa told Viva. “Because when you go to New York to perform, it’s like going to see family. You carry some history,” he added, referring to the culture and history of his diverse fan base across Latin America and Puerto Rico.

“We have a very nice crowd [in New York City], but they see you as family, not as a star. They come to see somebody from our land,” added the record-breaking performer.

It’s hard to imagine not seeing Santa Rosa as a star, however.

Hailed as one of the pioneers of salsa romantica, Santa Rosa has recorded 30 albums since his solo debut, “Good Vibrations” in 1986. Less than 10 years later, in March 1995, he became the first Puerto Rican singer of tropical music to perform at New York City’s Carnegie Hall.

In 2002 his work was recognized by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) with its prestigious Latin Heritage Award, an honor bestowed upon songwriters and composers who have made unique and enduring contributions to music.

In 2012, a different institution — the United Nations — also recognized the scale of his contributions, honoring Santa Rosa with a Lifetime Culture Achievement Award for his “use of music as an instrument to promote culture for development across the world.”

Santa Rosa is also the winner of a Grammy for best tropical Latin album, for his 2006 critically acclaimed album “Directo Al Corazón” (“Straight to the Heart”), as well as six Latin Grammys — including a Lifetime Achievement Award he received in 2021.

With multiple gold and platinum certifications from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Santa Rosa is currently tied with fellow Puerto Rican salsero Víctor Manuelle for the most No. 1 albums (12) on Billboard’s Tropical Albums charts.

salsa superstar gilberto santa rosa brings his ‘camínalo’ tour to nyc on his 60th birthday

Gilberto Santa Rosa performs in Santo Domingo in 1997. (JOHN RILEY/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

But despite the impressive resume, the prolific musician promises an intimate and interactive show, where fans will hear some of his big hits — such as “Conteo Regresivo” (“Countdown”), “Perdóname” (“Forgive Me”), and “Que Alguien Me Diga” (“Someone Tell Me”) — as well as tracks from his upcoming album, “Debut y Segunda Tanda” (“Debut and Second Round.”)

The album, which comes out in September, will feature “a mix between new songs and crossovers,” and its release is especially exciting for Santa Rosa, because it was conceived during the COVID-19 lockdown months, which “I spent recording, making music,” he told Viva.

The Big Apple stop of Santa Rosa’s “Camínalo” tour, which had to be postponed — twice — because of the pandemic, is designed to give his legions of fans lots of opportunities to sing along and dance while also recognizing the importance of being together once again.

salsa superstar gilberto santa rosa brings his ‘camínalo’ tour to nyc on his 60th birthday

Singer Gilberto Santa Rosa performs during a concert on April 1, 2022 in Mexico City. (Medios y Media/Getty Images)

“We want people to feel our energy and our love for our work because it’s going [to be all about] love and good vibrations,” Santa Rosa said, speaking for members of the band — 11 musicians and three background singers, almost all of them from Puerto Rico — who have been on tour with him since June 2021.

There’s also a trombone player, saxophone player, a keyboard player, a piano player, as well as several people playing Latin percussion, which the birthday boy proudly called “the heart of our music.”

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