Orquesta La Paz
Orquesta La Paz: Victor Aday, Band leader/vocalist; Norman Sepulveda, Vocalist; Mickey Rivera, Musical Director/Master percussionist; Diana Oliveras-Tellado, Vocalist; Jose Silva, Vocalist

Since my family migrated to Philadelphia in the fifties, music has always been a part of our lives. Many of our gatherings consisted of live music.  The holidays were especially highlighted by parrandas, a major part of our festivities. I have always been impressed by the talented musicians both local and regional. I have followed their musical and cultural contribution in our community throughout the years. Through La Musica Vive Spotlight I will share images and stories that capture many musical moments.   

Orquesta La Paz was founded in 1972 by Julio Cesar Marrero and Johnny Lasanta in Caguas, Puerto Rico.

In 1973, the band performed a mini tour covering the U.S. Northeast region and Philadelphia. After the tour, half of the band members returned to Puerto Rico. Cesar Marrero and Freddy Ruiz remained in Philadelphia. In 1974 a second version of Orquesta La Paz was established including Angelo Rivera, Ralph Rivera and Victor Aday.

In 1977, Raul Marrero, Entertainer, Songwriter and Composer, approached Orquesta La Paz when they were performing at the Randolph Social Club in Philadelphia.

He offered to take them to New York. That summer La Paz recorded its first album/LP at Broadway Recording Studio for Neon Records Label. The song “Para Comerte a Besos” reached #13 on the New York Hit Parade. In 1978, La Paz was debuted at the Corso Nite Club by the iconic DJ Polito Vega, along with Luis “Perico” Ortiz, Casanova y Su Montuno and Orquesta Broadway.

In 1985 Orquesta La Paz also recorded the CD De Philadelphia Con Amor, “Vas Por Los Caminos”, and “Sin Musica” became regional hits. Orquesta La Paz performed as opening band for many well known bands such as: Tommy Olivencia, El Gran Combo, Oscar D’Leon y Orquesta, La Sonora Ponceña, La Conspiracion, Raphy Leavitt y La Selecta, Ernie Agosto y La Conspiracion, Ray Barretto y su Orquesta, Hector Lavoe y Willie Colon, Justo Betancourt y La Orquesta Borincuba, Larry Harlow y Orquesta, Bobby Valentin, Pete Rodriguez and many others.

 El Tumbao de Orquesta La Paz y Marangeli Mejia at the Jesse Malpica-Bermudez Legacy Fundraiser and Award ceremony at Taller PR.

They were also the house band for the Exodus Club, one of the most popular dance locations at that time. 

In 2001 Julio Cesar Marrero was tragically killed in a hit and run on Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia. On September 30, 2005, a commemorative performance was held at the Polaris Club for Cesar Marrero, Angelo Rivera and Freddy Ruiz.

In 2008, Victor Aday and Ivan Perez from Orquesta La Paz reconnected and began the recording of Déjà Vu. The CD, Déjà Vu was released in 2010. The song “El Vivir del Tumbao” was a major hit.

In 2011, Orquesta La Paz became the first Philadelphia Salsa band to be Pre-Latin Grammy nominated in four categories: song, album, engineer and producer of the year. Orquesta La Paz has been and is one of the leading salsa bands in the Philadelphia and Delaware Valley area with a trajectory of fifty plus years.

On January 25, 2023, Orquesta La Paz reunited and performed live at the Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, as part of Nightlife at the Kimmel.  This was a not-to-be-missed event and marked the final artist booking by the late Jesse Malpica-Bermudez who transitioned on September13, 2022.

More than 300 attendees were at this event despite the inclement weather. The comeback of Orquesta La Paz was well received as the audience danced throughout the evening. Most recently, El Tumbao de Orquesta La Paz performed at the annual celebration of Jesse’s birthday “La Musica Continua” on April 4, 2024, at Taller Puertorriqueño which was sponsored by the Jesse Malpica-Bermudez Legacy Fund.


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