Gilberto Santa Rosa launches double CD

Newly shaven Gilberto Santa Rosa launches double CD
By Angela Gonzalez

Salsa’s Caballero (gentleman) is getting old.

And that’s fine with him.

Puerto Rican singer Gilberto Santa Rosa showed up at the Manhattan release party for his 21st album, “Contraste,” out Tuesday, with a brand new look – in are the eyeglasses, gone are the extra pounds and the trademark mustache.

“With the passing years, you start having trouble with gray hair, and I’m not in favor of dying my hair, let alone my mustache,” said Santa Rosa, 45, at the midtown nightclub Zona Rosa.

“So I thought, instead of fighting [it], I better leave it as a thing of the past,” he added.

“Contraste,” the followup to last year’s “Directo al Corazon,” which won both a regular Grammy and a Latin Grammy, is an ambitious double CD with 17 new songs.

The first CD is devoted to salsa, Santa Rosa’s signature genre, but the second is composed of pop ballads and boleros.

“I hope people like it as much as I do,” he said. “I have the utmost confidence for the songwriters I have worked with, such as Omar Alfano and Jorge Piloto. There are also songs by new people for me, so I’m sure we’ll have a very good combination.”

With a career spanning over 30 years, Santa Rosa is one of the most respected artists in modern salsa. In the early 80s, he recorded with legendary acts Tommy Olivencia and Willie Rosario.

When he launched his solo career in 1986, he was immediately dubbed “Salsa’s gentleman” for his clean-cut appearance and impeccable soneos (improvisations).

The newly shaven Santa Rosa appears on the cover of “Contraste” with his stunning girlfriend of two years Alexandra Malagon, a Dominican model and TV presenter.

Santa Rosa credits Malagon with helping him battle diabetes, with which he was diagnosed two years ago, and the reason behind his slimmer figure.

“She watches after me and scolds me when I cheat,” said the salsero, who last year joined a campaign against diabetes in Puerto Rico, “because I have a sweet tooth and she’s helping me to eat less.”


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