Bay Area’s Pacific Mambo Orchestra Wins Grammy

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Michelle Griego joined KPIX 5 in March 2012 as co-anchor of KPIX...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — At the Seahorse Supper Club in Sausalito the joint is jumping, the floor is packed and the music is smoking hot.

Crammed onstage is an unusual sight — a full-blown 19 piece traditional Latin big band called the Pacific Mambo Orchestra or PMO for short.

“Just to start having that many people, that much energy on the stage – it really creates something! You can imagine,” exclaimed co-founder Christian Tumalan.

“You get up and boogie – -for sure ” laughed his colleague, and the other co-founder of the band Steffen Kuehn.

3 years ago, PMO got its start, playing regular Monday night gigs at Cafe Cocomo on San Francisco’s Potrero Hill. Now, the orchestra has scored big. Their very first studio recording is nominated for a Grammy award: for “Best Tropical Latin Album”.

“We’re totally excited and we’re still in disbelief,” said Kuehn.

What’s more extraordinary is how their debut album got made. PMO has plenty of talent and fans, but like many musicians, they have little money and no major recording contract.

However, they’ve got connections online. Thanks to Face book and Twitter, their fan base has grown.

Thanks to Kickstarter, they got their album made. Kuehn and Tumalan went on the world’s largest crowd-funding website, and pitched the idea for an album to everyone and anyone.

“We got a lot of great response from everybody people that we know people that we don’t even know, “said Tumalan.

Online, they raised more than $11,000: enough to pay for the album. What did the investors get in return?

“In our case we promised them to send them a CD once it’s done and they paid us in advance,” explained Kuehn.

As for the competition for Best Latin Tropical Album: its jaw dropping: all the other artists are backed by major record labels. But for PMO, that doesn’t matter. These underdogs have already won:

“This is the new music business. I mean, the big record company is not needed anymore,” said Kuehn.

And besides, just go to one of PMO’s shows, and you’ll see a huge following, a steamy room, and lots of smiling faces.

“The Mambo is back – -for real”, laughed Tumalan.


Seahorse Supper Club

Pacific Mambo Orchestra

Café Cocomo

PMO’s Kickstarter pitch to investors

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