Costa Rica has had its own swing orchestra since 1940. This the Orquesta Internacional Lubín Barahona y sus Caballeros del Ritmo, now directed by the founder’s son, Mario Barahona.
The orchestra is so popular and so well know that it is considered an integral part of Costa Rican culture.
The group will perform Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Centro Nacional de la Cultura just east of Parque España from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The concert is free.
The group has come a long way from its founding in Grecia. The musicians, some of whom who now are the third generation, have cut 18 records and have traveled extensively.,
The program next week includes, of course, swing with “Pennsylvania 6-5000,” the Glenn Miller standard that immortalizes the telephone number of New York’s Hotel Pennsylvania where the U.S. orchestra used to perform in the Cafe Rouge.
But there also will be bolero, paso doble and merengue, and the audience is invited to dance, said the Centro de Producción Artística y Cultural of the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.
The ministry affiliate set up the concert as a way to pay homage to the long-time musical group. The ministry said that the orchestra is one of the three oldest in Latin America.
There also are the Orquesta Aragón in Cuba and la Billo’s Caracas Boys in Venezuela. Each is 75 years old having been founded when Glenn Miller was popularizing swing.