DonGato Latin Band brings Cuban, Latin music The Palms on Saturday, Dec. 15

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Three years ago, a friend called bandleader and pianist Orlando Ramos and said that a club had a cancellation and needed a salsa band in three days. “I made some phone calls,” recalled Ramos, “and was able to get some local talent and we did the gig. After that they offered us a few more dates, so I called some of the musicians I had performed with in the past and that’s how DonGato Latin Band was born.” While DonGato Latin Band started in a flurry, it’s here to stay. On Saturday, Dec. 15, the Sacramento-based quintet will bring the sounds of Cuba and Puerto Rico to The Palms Playhouse (13 Main St., Winters) for a dance show. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $18 ($14 with student ID). Ramos joined his big brother’s salsa band when he was just 13. After fronting his own band, Latin Kings, while in high school in New Jersey, Ramos joined the best salsa band in town at the time, Orquesta Impacto. With this band, Ramos opened for major salsa artists such as Héctor Lavoe, Willie Colon, Ruben Blades, Celia Cruz, Oscar De Leon, El Gran Combo and many more. After leaving Orquesta Impacto, Ramos again headed his own band, Toque Final (Final Touch), until moving to California in 1996. He played in the SF-based salsa band Conjunto Alegre until forming DonGato in 2015. In addition to Ramos on keys and background vocals, DonGato Latin Band is Barbara Kelbo, Carlos McCoy, Hugo Ochoa and Eddie Vidales. Kelbo, lead vocalist and guicharo (Puerto Rican gourd instrument) player, starting singing professionally at the age of five in her native Puerto Rico. After a record deal and touring all over US and Latin America, she moved to Atwater, Calif. when her husband’s job was transferred. There she performed with many Bay Area Bands until joining DonGato Latin Band in 2015. Award-winning saxophonist and flutist Carlos McCoy has performed with a variety of greats including Bobby Escovedo, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artists The Dells, Jerry Martini (The Family Stone) and Grammy winners Jamie Dubberly and Carlos Caro (Pacific Mambo Orchestra). He was lead alto chair for Disney in 2006 (All American College Band), and has performed at the Vienne, Umbria and Montreux jazz festivals in Europe. In addition to playing in DonGato, McCoy leads his own Latin jazz octet and quintet and is a professor of music at Sacramento State, where he heads the Sacramento State University Latin Jazz Ensemble.  Hugo Ochoa has been performing with Latin and R&B bands for the last 25 years in the San Francisco and Sacramento areas where he has established himself as a top-rated bass player. Eddie Vidales hails from Woodland, and has traveled all over the world playing with various cumbia and salsa bands since the 1970s. Vidales joined DonGato Latin Band as their congas and bongo player. The quintet plays vibrant Cuban music in the style of the Buena Vista Social Club – salsa, cha cha cha and Cuban son – along with some Top 40 classics like “Besame Mucho,” “Sway,” “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps,” “Hotel California” with a Latin beat. The dance floor will be open. DonGato Latin Band released their first album, “Cat’s Out of the Bag,” at The Palms last year. Tickets are available at Pacific Ace Hardware in Winters, Armadillo Music in Davis, Davids’ Broken Note in Woodland, online via The Palms’ website and Eventbrite and at the door if not sold out. For more information, visit palmsplayhouse.com and dongatolatinband.com.]]>

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