Untitled from Christian Tumalan on Vimeo.

Two San Francisco Latin big band leaders are heading back today from the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles with more than they brought with them.

The leaders of the Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Christian Tumalan and Steffen Kuehn, are bringing back a Grammy from the music award show Sunday night for their win in the “Best tropical Latin album” category for their album, “Pacific Mambo Orchestra.”

The 19-piece band, which plays salsa, mambo, cha cha and Latin jazz, came together in San Francisco in 2010 and with support of fans on a 2012 Kickstarter campaign were able to fund the creation of the award-winning album.

Co-leader Christian Tumalan, who plays piano for the group, said from LA this afternoon winning was “the biggest honor” and that “I just had to hear the first half of the first word to get all excited and jumping.”

He said hearing his band’s name announced as the winner was “truly an unbelievable experience.” He said it was humbling beating tropical Latin icon Marc Anthony, who was a fellow nominee.

He said it was a challenge to make the album with limited resources and no label. With the support of the Kickstarter, which raised more than $11,000, Tumalan and Kuehn recorded and engineered the album on their own.

“We are doing all this independently,” he said.

He mentioned the exciting moments after receiving the award when he met many music giants including Taylor Swift and Beyonce and Latin pop singer Ricardo Montaner.

Heading back to his home in Oakland today, Tumalan said the next step is to “take this music outside of the U.S.”

He said the group, affectionately known as PMO, went on a national tour in November and wants to reach audiences in Europe, Asia and South America.

He said back at their studio in San Francisco there will be celebrations this week before getting back to making music.

He said fan reactions have been huge since their Sunday night win.

A new PMO album is expected to be released this summer, he said.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

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