A news article about Los Ciegos Del Barrio from the "Republican - American" by Ruth Epstein - October 20th, 2010

Republican - American October 20th 2010 By Ruth Epstein “Los Ciegos Del Barrio” or “The Blind Guys from the Neighborhood” played during the recent beer fest at the Salisbury ski jumps to raise money for the Jane Lloyd Cancer Fund and the Salisbury Winter Sports Association. Los Ciegos Del Barrio band (Loosely translated; The Blind guys from the Hood) had those attending the recent beer fest at the Salisbury Ski Jumps moving to its fast-paced rhythms. But along with the praises and compliments from the listeners came surprise to learn the band’s name is not just a catchy choice: Most of the members are legally blind noted musician Eliot Osborn, who along with his wife, Louise Lindenmeir, created Project Troubador, which seeks to send entertainers to countries throughout the world to work with local community leaders in support of a variety of issues. The couple and George Potts also comprise the “Joint Chiefs”, a popular local band. But back in the late ‘80’s, when songwriter Osborn was trying to support himself, he took a job teaching music at the New York Institute for Special Education, which serves students with disabilities. Osborn helped then, 15 and 16 year olds establish a band and find places for it to play. “They played the Village Gate for a month and Project Troubador took them to Russia,”he said. “Some of them have played in South America and Africa. I started out as their mentor and ended up as a roadie.” The band has a special relationship to the Northwest corner because of Osborn and has played in area towns on many occasions. Osborn talked about the men’s disability, nothing about being blind doesn’t make one musical. “It’s not a help unless there is talent. You’re special if you have both. This band is unique. They listen to each other. After all, you don’t see music, you hear it.” Band leader Alvin Suarez said Osborn “Taught us to be professional musicians.” The three main band members, including Suarez’s twin brother Derek, are legally blind and while they had enough sight to read music as youngsters, they couldn’t do it fast enough. “So we learned it by ear. We’re always teaching each other.” Suarez said more than their disabilities making them unique, is that they are a multi genre group. “And we’re also bilingual.” He talked about the wonderful trips they had throughout Project Troubador. The band will be traveling to Cuba in February. “We basically play 2 to 5 free shows a day in such venues as schools and parks. We’re ambassadors of good will for the people.” While they would love for the music to be their full-time profession, that hasn’t yet happened. They all have other jobs to pay the bills. The New Yorkers enjoy coming up to the Northwest corner, usually playing in the area about 5 times a year. “This is the real deal,” said Jay Bradley, a drummer and music teacher at Webutuck High School in Amenia, NY., who was listening to the band at the beer fest.

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