Orquestra Albany
Orquestra Albany

Orquestra Albany

Founded Founded in 1972 by Sugar Bear in or near Logan Square
Founding story

Founded in Logan Square near Belden and Albany

Formerly known as

La Orquestra Albany 1971-1992

Affiliations Folk Nation — 1978 – 2000 or later;
Insane (North Side) — 1992 – 2000 or later;
Colors Gold and Brown
Primary ethnicities Latino (Puerto Rican)
Symbols Insane Diamond, A, Three Dots, and O
Status Active

The Story of Insane La Orquestra Albany starts out about 1969 when a bunch of kids that went to Darwin Elementary School at 3116 W Belden Ave (Belden and Albany) joined the Latin Kings street gang then started their own Salsa band “La Orquestra Albanies.”  Orquestra is Spanish for Orchestra and we all know what Orchestra means, and if you do not you need to pick up a dictionary.  The name “La Orquestra Albanies” basically says “The Orchestra of Albany Street.”  In 1972 these now high school aged kids decided that they loved La Orquestra Albanies more than they loved the Latin King nation so they left the gang and turned La Orquestra Albanies into their own club that was led and created by Frizzy and Santiago.  Orquestra Albany had no beef with Latin Kings after this creation, they wanted to keep the relationship smooth and, in turn, they would back up Latin Kings if needed.  Being in Logan Square and being near Palmer Square Park made the OAs the target of the Gaylords street gang which was an all white organization that was trying to keep Puerto Ricans out of the neighborhood.  After school the OA kids would hang out on the corner of Albany and Belden that they called “Darwin City.”

By 1974, the OAs had grown beyond high school age and began recruiting younger kids from Darwin Elementary that they began calling “Future Orquestra Albanies.” These kids were placed on the corner of Fullerton and Kedzie while the original senior members hung out at Armitage and Kedzie which was also a big time Latin King section. Another group of senior OAs hung out a block away from the other seniors at Kedzie and Mclean which was known as “Maniac Senior Orquestra Albanies.”  These OAs also shared their territory with the Chicago Player Gangsters.  This did not mean these OAs were part to the Maniac alliance with the Maniac Latin Disciples, it was just a name they chose and at this time there was no Maniac alliance until the end of the 70s.

These Future OAs were put at a busy intersection to handle their own against rival gangs and prove their worth .  The Future OAs were being pressured by the Latin Kings to join up with them and this pressure continued on into a block party that the OAs were throwing.  Latin Kings were invited to the party but were expected to be respectful.  The Latin Kings that arrived at the party were from nearby Armitage and Kedzie which was a pretty big Latin King faction.  The Kings that arrived were cocky and showed no respect to OAs, not only that they were wearing their war sweaters.  Sugar Bear asked them to please remove the war sweaters because it was disrespectful.  The Latin Kings laughed it off and would not comply and tried to just keep partying and that is when the OAs got violent and started swinging on the Kings.  The OAs were getting the better of one or more Latin Kings, so one of the Kings pulled out a gun and shot an OA member dead then they took off.

Right after the murder Anibal “Half Pint” Morales took over as the new leaders of the OAs.  A war now ensued with the Latin Kings due to this murder and disrespect.  After this happened and the OAs were going up against two very large gangs alone, the Latin Kings and Gaylords, the OAs were molded into a force to be reckoned with on the streets after fighting many of battles.  The OAs then got more recognition and more Future OAs began to pop up which brought them a new section at Spaulding and Shubert “Sesame Street.”  These Future OAs were proving themselves to be more ferocious than the senior OAs as they viciously battled Palmer Street Gaylords, Lawndale Gaylords, the Simon City Royals from Drake and Wolfram and Christiana and Wellington and the Taylor Jousters from Sawyer and Altgeld.  In the mean time in the mid 1970s, the senior OAs opened turf at Kedzie and Dickens that were called the “Maniac Senior OAs.”  The junior group at this corner became known as the “Maniac Future OAs.”

Before long, the Darwin School yard was flooded with OAs in the hundreds.  The OAs fostered independence for each of their sections and each section appreciated the independance.  The OAs were very charismatic in the older days and they had no fear of getting into it with their rivals and this brought many starry eyed youths to join.  Along the way of going on a conquest for new turf, the OAs came together with some allies like Spanish Cobras and Imperial Gangsters that also had wars going on with Latin Kings and Gaylords.

The OAs from Kedzie and Dickens became real close to the Imperial Gangsters from Spaulding and Armitage and began called themselves “OA Gangsters” to show their alliance to the IGs. This group also hung out with the Chicago Players of Kedzie and Palmer and eventually found their relationship closer to the Players than the IGs; therefore, they changed their name again at Kedzie and Dickens to “Maniac Orquestra Albany Players.”  The Players and OAs banded together to slug it out with the Yates Brothers Organization (YBO), the Ghetto Brothers Organization (GBO) and the Latin kings from Cortland and Whipple.

In 1978, a unity was made on the streets mainly between Spanish Cobras, Latin Disciples, Imperial Gangsters and Latin Eagles called the “United Latino Organization” (ULO).  These were the four largest gangs up north that were sick and tired of Latin Kings and the “UFO” (United Five Organization).  Rivals such as Gaylords and Taylor Jousters were allied with the UFO.  With all these alliances going on, smaller gangs were able to ally with these bigger groups more or less unofficially and that is how the OAs affiliated with ULO.  It was also at this time that all the different OA gangs consolidated into one “La Orquestra Albany” especially after the death of Half Pint on June 1st 1978 when he was gunned down by Latin Kings.  Right after this happened the OAs got revenge by killing “Queen Lefty” from Armitage and Kedzie who became the first Latin Queen killed due to gang violence in history.  By this point in time the OAs had grown “Darwin City”  to extend from Logan Blvd to Armitage and Kedzie to California, which meant the OAs were claiming Armitage and Kedzie as part of Darwin City which brought vicious gang wars at that intersection but the OAs would eventually not be able to hold down that intersection as their own.

In 1978, the OAs went to expand their turf into the suburbs of Waukegan “Brown Town” and Summit (52nd and Harlem), Illinois.  The OAs were one of the first gangs to arrive in Summit and Waukegan and they especially ruled Summit for some years before other gangs showed up.  The OA’s were also one of the earliest Chicago gangs to colonize in the suburbs in history.

In the same year of 1978, Half Pint was shot to death at Armitage and Kedzie while he was just trying to go to a liquor store, Latin Kings spotted him and started a fight until a King pulled out a gun and shot him.

In the year 1979 as the Insane Family was created on the streets, Orquestra Albany became “Insanes.” This was brought on by OAs being tight with Spanish Cobras.  The Spanish Cobras assisted the OAs into the Folk alliance in 1978 and sponsored them.

In the 1980s, the OAs would continue to grow in Logan Square and would even open a section in Irving Park at Albany and Grace.  As Puerto Rican migration increased in the 1980s in Logan Square, it would add more numbers onto the OAs.

In the year 1992, Latin Lovers had gotten into a war with Orquestra Albanies and were having lots of friction with all other Insanes due to an on and off war between Insanes and Maniacs.  It was the war with the Latin Lovers that Orquestra Albany held personal though.  In November of that year “Ace” and “Flaco” of the Latin Lovers went to resolve the war with the OAs because Maniac Latin Disciples and Maniac Campbell Boys were being roped in while OAs were bringing in Spanish Cobras, Insane Dragons and Insane Campbell Boys.  When Ace and Flaco arrived they were both shot dead on arrival by a young OA, this angered all of the Maniacs and started a war between Maniacs and Insanes outside of Clemente High School.  In the midst of this war two Latin Lovers shot and killed “Luto C” of the Spanish Cobras as he was running to retrieve a shot gun that was stashed in a special location, he was shot in the head as he ran.  The war with the Insanes and Maniacs died out shortly after but there was some bitterness toward the Latin Lovers especially from the OAs.

In the year 1992 when the Insane family became fully official, Orquestra Albany naturally were part of the full fledged Insane Family where they have remained.

1993 was also the year that OAs went into a big war with the Imperial Gangsters. On September 17, 1993 The Imperial Gangsters shot Avilio Lopez in the abdomen, killing him, near Dukes Hot Dogs, this made the war unforgivable and permanent.


Please send in old school pics!

Sections of Orquestra Albanies past and present

Avondale neighborhood

Sections of Avondale

Wellington & Hamlin

Irving Park neighborhood 80s, 90s

Sections of Irving Park

Albany & Grace 80s, 90s

Logan Square neighborhood Established 1972-present years

Sections of Logan Square

Logan to Palmer, Kedzie to California (Darwin City)

Diversey from Harding to Avers (Kosciuszko Park, shared with Spanish Cobras)

Emmett & Sawyer

Schubert from Kimball to Spaulding (Unity Park, Sesame Street)

Kedzie from Armitage to Mclean (Maniac Senior Orquestra Albanies)

Dickens & Kedzie



Hoffman Estates

Summit Established 1978-late 1980s 52nd and Harlem

Waukegan Established 1978 Garden Place & Pine (Brown Town)