If you subscribe to the notion that the holidays are about family and tradition, then Sonora Ponceña’s visit is timed pretty well. Formed in 1954 by Enrique Lucca Caraballo, the legendary Puerto Rican big band is now helmed by Caraballo’s son, Enrique Lucca Quiñonez, Jr.—better known as Papo Lucca. Under Papo’s leadership, the group was on the cutting edge of danceable Latin through the early ’80s and remains commercially successful. Papo’s brand of salsa—both with Ponceña and in projects with musicians like Celia Cruz and the Fania All-Stars—is marked by his spirited piano, an alternately booming and harmonious four-trumpet horn section, and expert call-and-response refrains. Papo may be a salsa legend, but there’s something intimate about a Sonora Ponceña show—before long, the infectious polyrythms and timeless melodies will establish a reassuring home-like vibe.
LA SONORA PONCEÑA PERFORMS AT 9 P.M. AT THE SALSA ROOM, 2619 COLUMBIA PIKE, ARLINGTON. $40-$75. (703) 685-0790.