Oscar D'Leon

Those who believe Venezuela's most valuable export is good old 100 percent crude black gold, the stuff of which Middle Eastern wars are made, would be incorrect. Though oil has been the South American country's chief export since 1926, it doesn't hold a candle to salsa singer Oscar D'Leon, whose nonstop jam style undoubtedly gets twice the mileage of your trendy Toyota Prius. His fallout might also be comparable. D'Leon's relentless fervor in attacking the stage is legendary the world over, inciting near mayhem, severe dehydration, and scores of fatigued concertgoers. Quite simply, the man doesn't know how to leave well enough alone. One such memorable performance occurred in the Magic City in February 2003 (or maybe it was 2004) at a pre-Calle Ocho show at Bongo's Cuban Café, where the establishment finally had to turn on the lights to tell him it was quitting time, because he didn't seem to get the signals (a red-faced manager tapping his watch from stage left and numerous embattled fans waving tiny, war-worn white flags, though unable to stop dancing), or he just didn't care.

Needless to say, he's a hell of a crowd pleaser. However, it takes certain mental, emotional, and, most important, physical preparation to endure one of his concerts from beginning to end. The result is well worth the training, though.


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