East Valley entertainers slate special holiday concert

Carmela Ramirez and her band, Carmela y Más, the Latin Holiday Extravaganza at the Musical Instrument Museum Dec. 3. (Courtesy of Carmela Ramirez)

An East Valley resident and her band will give a special concert Dec. 3 at the Musical Instrument Museum.

Carmela Ramirez and her band, Carmela y Más, returns for the fourth time to the Phoenix theater for a family-friendly show entitled “A Latin Holiday Extravaganza.”

This concert will be culturally rich with festive cheer, featuring the Valley’s most-recognized Latin artists.

Ramirez, an Ahwatukee resident and the group’s vocalist, fronts this award-winning band that is known for salsa, merengue, cha cha, cumbia and classic Latin jazz. The nine-piece Carmela y Más delivers a kaleidoscope of Latin/Afro-Cuban rhythms in electrifying performances that have graced many stages across the Valley and internationally.

“It is very exciting to return to the Musical Instrument Museum,” Ramirez said. “The cast is excited to perform a wonderful mix of Latin music and dance with a bit of holiday magic. Put some sizzle in your holidays and come spend this evening with us! We’ll present our Latino heritage with music, dance and holiday traditions that will get you on your feet.”

Joining Carmela y Más will be Tempe-based all-female Mariachi group Mariachi Pasión, Fiesta Mexicana Dance Company, Brenda Del Rio Salsa Dance Co. and JoseCarlos Justiz.

Mariachi Pasión has performed its majestic music for thousands in the Valley and beyond. Fiesta Mexicana Dance Company, the Official Folkloric Dance Company of the City of Phoenix, performs beautiful Ballet Folklorico that celebrates traditional folk dances of Mexico.

Ramirez, an award-winning vocalist, has a long history of moving audiences with a sultry and soulful voice that delivers heartfelt passion of lyrics and drives the band into exciting musical journeys.

For decades, she also has been among the most influential producers in the Valley.

“As a performing artist, I have followed the path of many before me who have used performance platforms not only to entertain, but to communicate,” Ramirez said.

She lends her talents to various community-outreach projects, such as arts and culture, education, health, civics, social justice and special needs.

“If I can open doors of communication through music performance or production, then I have used my talents well,” she said.

Carmela y Más has performed for hundreds of night clubs, concerts and festivals throughout the greater Phoenix area and internationally.

It was featured in concert at the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., the 100th anniversary of the Himeji Castle in Japan and as headliner for the Puerto Peñasco Latin Jazz Festival.

The band has shared the stage with many major recording artists, including Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Arturo Sandoval, Nestor Torres and Claudio Roditi.

As a producer, Ramirez has created a multitude of concerts, community festivals, arts and education projects and mentored youth in the arts. Believing that community thrives in a healthy artistic environment, she uses her platform to build bridges of communication.

Her community work has gained awards, such as Valle Del Sol “Profiles of Success,” City of Phoenix Excellence Awards, NAACP Education Excellence Award and Phoenix Elementary Schools “Star Mentor.”

Ramirez has been inducted into the Raul H. Castro Institute as an “Arizona Trailblazer” and nominated twice for the Gabe Zimmerman Award for Public Service. 