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Roxbury's Uribe to kick off Puente series

Jared Lindh | 7/9/2008, 6:12 a.m.

“I think the music is very thoughtful, you know?” he said. “It’s got some complex harmonies and rhythms.”

New listeners should expect to dance, Uribe added, and dance hard.

“People can look forward to a very, very big sound, and lot of energy tonight,” he said. “The music is very danceable and full of infatuating grooves.”

Uribe says that he first got the urge to play music while watching rock bands like Guns ‘n’ Roses, Nirvana and Aerosmith on television as a child.

“I wanted to be a guitar hero, so I asked my parents for a guitar and started putting bands together with friends,” he said.

At age 14, Uribe’s father moved the family to Australia for an extended business trip. Uribe said he passed the time by teaching himself Colombian folk songs on his accordion. He returned to Colombia two years later to finish high school

“I was away for so long. Learning that music kept me attached to my friends and my home,” said Uribe.

Before enrolling at Berklee in 2003, Uribe and two friends spent six months busking, or playing music on the street for money, as they made their way through South America.

“It was definitely a rewarding and important stage in my life,” said Uribe. “It builds you up. After that, any other performing situation is easier — there’s no stage fright.”

After graduating last spring with a degree in professional music, Uribe moved to Roxbury’s Fort Hill neighborhood, and said he plans to move to New York City this fall.

“My experience has been good,” said Uribe. “Now that I’m done [with school], its nice to be a little more isolated with my own space and my instruments.”

“My goal is to do this 24/7 — to work on my band, my music, my arrangements, and maybe record an album in the next year,” he said.

For Uribe, opening the Tito Puente Latin Music Series is a special validation for his young career.

“My actual teachers from Berklee have performed at this series in the past, and are performing this year — playing here makes me feel like things are on the right track,” he said.

Gregorio Uribe y Su Orquesta kicks off the Tito Puente Latin Music Series at O’Day Park, located at 85 West Newton Street, in the South End. All concerts in the series are free and scheduled to run from 7-9 p.m. For more information, call 617-927-1707, e-mail info@ciaboston.org or visit www.berklee.edu/events.