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Sixty-six-year-old Venezuelan salsa singer Oscar D’Leon never seems to get tired of touring. D’Leon, who was with his big band at the Salsa Room in April, will be back there again Sunday night. He’s always energetic on stage: You’d never know the guy known as “the Lion of salsa” had a heart attack in July 2003.
Although D’Leon keeps recording new albums, live he and his combo generally stick to his hits. His band, including congas, bongos, timbales, keyboard, horns, and more, turns many of these numbers into clanging cacophonies of rhythm. Influenced by both Cubans and Puerto Ricans, he can vocalize brashly over these noisy numbers, or emote more slowly and dramatically on the ballads. Sometimes D’Leon ends up joining in on the standup bass himself. I last saw D’Leon and company back in 2007 at the now defunct H2O. That appearance didn’t start till 1:20 in the morning and the powerhouse singer and his band were still going strong at 3 a.m. when the club shut them down. Video footage from April suggests that little has changed for the singer since then.
Oscar D’Leon performs Sunday at 9 p.m. at the Salsa Room, 2619 Columbia Pike, Arlington, Va. (703) 685-0790. $40 ($20 via The Salsa Room Facebook page).