Forever Freestyle 16, Judy Torres, TKA, George LaMond, And More At Lehman Center

March 5, 2024

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in association with Sal Abbatiello of Fever Records presents the Latin-flavored dance music sensation Forever Freestyle 16 on Saturday, March 16, 2024, 2024 at 8 pm EST. 

To Latino teenagers in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Freestyle, a hybrid of Hip Hop and disco, was known simply as “Our Music.”Returning to Lehman Center for the sixteenth year in a row, the concert will feature performances by Judy Torres, TKA, George LaMond, Noel, The Cover Girls, Betty D Of Sweet Sensation, Cynthia, C-Bank, Coro, Safire, and Two Without Hats. Hosted by SAL ABBATIELLO & SPEEDY. Music by DJ LUCHO & DJ WHITEBOY KYS.

Sal Abbatiello, one of the pioneers of Hip Hop, discovered many rappers and DJs such as Grandmaster Flash, Kurtis Blow and Run-D.M.C. at the legendary night club Disco Fever. Abbatiello also owned The Devil’s Nest, a Bronx Latin dance club, where Latin Hip Hop was born and is now called Freestyle. There he discovered Little Louie Vega, TKA, The Cover Girls, Lisette Melendez and many more. He is now known as the “Godfather of Freestyle” and has been promoting Freestyle concerts for over 30 years.

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 Forever Freestyle 16 on Saturday, March 16th, 2024 at 8pm ($125, $95, $75, $60, $50) can be purchased by calling the Lehman Center box office at 718-960-8833 (Monday through Friday, 10am–5pm, and beginning at 4pm on the day of the concert), or through online access at Lehman Center is accessible by #4 or D train to Bedford Park Blvd. and is off the Saw Mill River Parkway and the Major Deegan Expressway.

JUDY Torres, known as the “Queen of Freestyle” was discovered at age 18 in her hometown of the Bronx and quickly became a star with hits such as “No Reason to Cry” (1986) and “Come Into My Arms” (1987).  Her second album produced the hit single “I Love You for All Seasons”, in 2010 she released MP3 album Stay.

TKA is a Latin-influenced Spanish Harlem hip-hop group that garnered success in the early ‘90s with their hit “Come Baby Come.” Other hits include “Maria” (1982),“Tears May Fall” (1987), “You Are The One” (1989) and “Louder Than Love.” Led by K7 (Louis “Kayel” Sharpe), the former lead vocalist of the Freestyle super-group TKA, TKA/K7 also features Tre Duece and LOS. 

George Lamond began singing back-up for his cousin Joey Kid in the Bronx, teaming up later as Loose Touch. His solo debut was “Bad of the Heart” (1990) which earned him a deal with Columbia. In 1992, he released his high-charting single “Where Does That Leave Love”. Lamond became a Latin superstar when his first Latin single “Si Tu Te Vas” quickly reached the top of the charts.

Noel was born in the Bronx of Puerto Rican descent and hit the dance singles charts in 1987 with “Silent Morning” his first Top-10 hit. 1988’s “Like a Child (at play)” became his first #1 single. He topped the dance charts again later that year with “Out of Time” and released the hit song “The Question” in 1990.

Safire released her debut single “Don’t Break My Heart” in 1986, followed by the even bigger hit “Let Me Be The One.” “Boy, I’ve Been Told” crossed over to pop radio and became the #1-selling single in New York for twelve straight weeks. In 1988 she released “Love Is On Her Mind” and the following year she wrote her biggest hit, “Thinking of You”, which peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 becoming one of the most-played records of 1989. In 2000 she released the Michael Jackson/Paul Anka tune “I Never Heard.” After Jackson’s death, a demo tape was made of that song with the same lyrics, and was remixed and released in 2009 as his first posthumous single with the title “This Is It.”

Betty D was a member of the Bronx trio SWEET SENSATION, along with two sisters Maggie and Mari Fernandez. Sweet Sensation was one of the biggest groups in the freestyle genre. The ladies skyrocketed to fame with their 1986 club smash “Hooked On You,” which was re-released in 1988 on their album Take It While It’s Hot that also featured hits such as, “Victim of Love,” “Never Let You Go” and “Sincerely Yours.” In 1989, Mari left the group and was replaced by Sheila Vega. Their 1990 album Love Child included the ballad “If Wishes Came True,” which reached #1 on Billboard Hot 100.

The Cover Girls is a group formed by Sal Abbatiello, owner of the famed club Disco Fever, after an extensive talent search. Made up of eight women, each glamorous and talented, The Cover Girls lit up the domestic and international charts with their first single “Show Me”. Their later releases include popular singles such as “Because of You,” “Wishing on a Star,” “My Heart Skips a Beat,” and “ We Can’t Go Wrong.” Originally from the Bronx, the group released four albums, selling over 3 million records, with 11 charted singles in a row on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart.

Cynthia hails from New York City’s Spanish Harlem and started singing at age sixteen in a group with Safire. Her first album Cynthia (1989) featured the hit singles “Change On Me,” “Endless Nights” and “Thief of Hearts”. A year later Cynthia II was released which included the hit songs “Break Up To Make Up,” “Love Me Tonight” and the hit duet with Johnny O, “Dream Boy/Dream Girl” that made it to the Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. 

Coro got his start in the entertainment business in Television, playing numerous roles in shows such as Miami Vice, and working alongside pop artist,  Stevie B. In 1998, Coro got his big break with the song “Where Are You Tonight,” a huge hit in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., reaching Top-25 on Billboard‘s Club Chart, and #1 on DMA‘s Dance Chart. He is also known for his hit dance songs “Can’t Let You Go” (1990) and “My Fallen Angel” (1991).

C-Bank, an electric studio project by musician, composer, producer, and remix legend John Robie was led by vocalist Jenny Burton, who is best known for their 1983 hit “One More Shot”. 

Two Without Hats, formed by Danny “Holiday” Vargas & Victor Vargas, brought together Bronxites Dazza, Gucci and Kashim to create Two Without Hats in 1987. The group has created hits such as “Try Yazz”, “The Breeze”, and “3 on the Mic”. 

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. is supported, in part, by public funds through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council and the Bronx Delegation. Additional funding is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts with support from the office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. We are thrilled to share that Goya Foods has agreed to renew their sponsorship for this season which will help Lehman Center expand our reach to the community. In addition, we have secured funding from the Howard Gillman Foundation to help grow our programming. The 2024 season is also made possible through sponsorships by Con Edison, Havana Café, Friends of Lehman Center, and our cherished audience members.

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