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domingo, 05 febrero 2012, 03:17 pm

2012 - The Year of the Bass

Feliciano Arango's Note-for-Note NG La Banda Transcriptions

Legendary NG La Banda bassist Feliciano Arango (winner of the timba.com readers' poll in that category) and his co-author, bassist Cherina Mastrantones, have finished their second book (first book here). This one has all the best NG tracks transcribed all the way through and joins Standing in the Shadows of Motown as one of the best bass books every written. I hope to join that list in about a month with a book on Alain Pérez, but more on that laterl  

As someone who has spent far too much time transcribing Cuban basslines, I'm knocked out by the choice of material and the quality of the notation to say nothing of the subject. I rank Arango among the four most creative and inspired tumbao creators - the other three being Humberto Perera, Pedro Pablo Gutiérrez and Alain Pérez. I've got Alain covered - with four books plus audio and video coming soon (also Melón video), and Rob Holland keeps threatening to write a book on Humberto, who's also covered in Roots of Timba. That leaves Pedro Pablo. We only have this. Hopefully Rebambaramba, or someone else, will bring Pedro on tour soon.

Meanwhile, Arango's current group, Los Hermanos Arango, will be "in residence" at Berklee School of Music for 10 days in late February and there are encouraging signs that they may play elsewhere (Chicago perhaps). Their visas are good until July, so if you have any suggested venues, please write in. [Kevin Moore]

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jueves, 02 febrero 2012, 03:45 am

Cuban Music News - In Brief - February 1 2012

Michel Maza arrested - Son Yoruba - Xavier Mili - Habana D' Primera

**BREAKING NEWS - MICHEL MAZA UPDATE**
Michel Maza condemned to 25 years in prison in Lima, Perú
for armed robbery with a concealed weapon.

Recently Harper's Magazine writer Daniel Alarcón wrote a feature about Perú's Lurigancho prison. "All Politics Are Local". Excerpt here = http://harpers.org/archive/2012/01/hbc-90008428

Michel Maza arrested in Lima - The famous ex-Charanga Habanera singer Michel Maza was arrested in Lima, Perú for an alleged hold-up of a taxi driver. Money, a cellphone and a radio were taken with a concealed weapon, a serious charge in Perú that can carry a sentence of up to 25 years. Other charges allege drug use. There is talk that he will be deported to Cuba. source

Live in Havana - The Havana weekly listing is up. Would be great to hear about the new Sello LA, Monica y su Máquina, and Tania Pantojas line-ups. 

Papo Angarica y Son Yoruba - New track Juégala is currently #1 on RADIO TIMBA. The version of "El Jonrón" we have features Tania Pantoja (ex-Bamboleo) but the a new live Azucar Negra version can be heard here = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZ_E1a6hTcI

New single from Miami: Xavier Mili's "Ya Sé Lo Que Tu Quieres" - Grandson of Los Záfiros creator Nestor Mili, Xavier Mili has made Miami his home working with local bands, most notably El Pikete, and on regional television Channel 41. Check out his new single here.

New Habana D' Primera Video Premier (Al fin de la vida) heats up London - One of London's original salsa dance events - El Rumbón Cubano - is featuring HDP's new video of "Al fin de la vida" on February 9nth. Dance teacher Kerry Ribchester directed the video. In related news, the video screening aslo includes Bamboleo’s "La Que Manda (Mujeres)" and Los Van Van’s "Me Mantengo", which was nominated for Music Video of the Year in Cuba's Lukas Awards. 

Upcoming Cuba y Puerto Rico projects...
1- Tres legend Francisco "Pancho" Amat to record album with Andy Montañez
- Cuban musician Francisco Amat, recognized as one of the most talented treseros in the world, plans to record in 2012 a CD with the Puerto Rican singer Andy Montañez. "It is a project we did together some time ago to reflect the musical relationship between the two countries. I expect to complete it before the end of the year", Amat told Prensa Latina. Amat also announced as part of his plans for 2012 the realization of a CD with the Cabildo del Son, a group he founded in the 1990s. source
2- Danny Rivera new documentary "La música es mi aliento" - Puerto Rican singer Danny Rivera and young Cuban instrumentalists make up the cast of documentary "La musica es mi aliento" (Music is my breath), dedicated to the Cuban singer Adriano Rodríguez and directed by local composer Edesio Alejandro. With this film, Rivera, who is also a guitarist and producer, will pay tribute to Adriano Rodriguez. Composer Edesio Alejandro is directing. source 
3- 20-time Latin Grammy winners Calle 13 filming a documentary in Cuba - Puerto Rican reggaetón duo Calle 13 is currently filming a documentary in Cuba, official media said Monday, citing band member René Pérez, a.k.a. "Residente." Pérez said that he traveled to Cuba on a motorboat and that it was "a great experience, a little dangerous but nice at the same time." The duo's new documentary is being directed by Puerto Rican filmmaker Lidy Paoli López. Residente and Visitante attended a concert offered by Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez last Thursday at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana.

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viernes, 27 enero 2012, 04:15 pm

Timba and The United States, Part I: The Globalization of Timba

by Bill Tilford

(La Timba y Los Estados Unidos, Parte I: La Globalización de La Timba)

This is Part I of a series of articles about the status of Timba in the United States, covering both international and U.S.-based groups. para leer este artículo en español oprima aquí

(Photo by Tom Ehrlich)

     The genre called Timba, like Jazz, has been declared dead by some music critics more than once over the past several years.  Like Jazz, it is very much alive,  but our favorite tropical genre does face some of the same challenges for a variety of reasons.  These articles will examine those reasons in depth and discuss some possible ways that the community of musicians and supporters of the music might help address some of these.   We will be covering several topics over time, including the music press, radio, audience tastes, financial risks and other related issues.  
     The first thing that we need to do is point out that while  Timba was born in Cuba, and Cuba remains its epicenter, the genre has also  become a truly international  movement  for three reasons:  
Over the last couple of decades, it has developed an international fan base.   In addition to Cuba, Timba music is now (thanks to both recordings and extensive live tours) popular throughout several Latin American countries, much of Europe, parts of Asia and Africa, and it has a fan base in North America as well. 
Some Cuban musicians that play Timba reside all or part of the time in other countries, and they have introduced the music to both new musicians and new listeners.  
Musical groups that play Timba have been formed in several countries.   In some cases, these groups play very high-quality music  music of high caliber at a very sophisticated level.  Just a few of the  examples are Mayimbe in Peru; Calle Real, La Tremenda, Gilito y su Clave, La Jugada and  Soneros All Stars in  Sweden; Monica y su M.P. in France; Pan Con Timba and Doble Jugada  in the Netherlands;  Contrabando in Belgium; Grupo Danson in Denmark; Jose Torres y Salsa Tropical in Poland,  and El Zorro in Switzerland.   Within the United States, Tiempo Libre, Timbalive and the Pedrito Martinez group play Timba.  Some bands such as Rumbankete now play both Timba and Salsa.    
     What does all of this mean? For openers, after almost two decades, we can safely say that Timba is an established genre rather than a passing fad, and it has a truly global listening audience, as well as a truly global musical community that plays and enjoys the material.   These are important points to remember as we examine the status of Timba within the United States. 

Next:  Timba’s Initial Reception in the United States

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miércoles, 25 enero 2012, 01:31 pm

HERMANOS ARANGOS @ BERKLEE

February 21 & 22

Hermanos Arango @ Berklee

It's like the holidays all over again for bassists! Kevin is hard at work finishing the first book in the Beyond Salsa Bass series, and Feliciano Arango will be giving a clinic at the Berklee College of Music about the role of the bass in Cuban jazz/salsa/timba and his work with the group Los Hermanos Arango on February 22nd at 1:00pm. The night before the clinic, Los Hermanos Arango will perform (February 21st) at the Berklee Performance Center at 8:15pm.

Now as all timba fans know, there is no one better to talk about the role of the bass in contemporary Cuban music. But since there may be some readers who have recently discovered timba and who are not yet on a first name basis with all the major players, here is an excerpt from the announcement by the Bass Department, which is sponsoring the event as part of the Visiting Artists Series.

Feliciano Arango was born in the Guanabacoa section of Havana, Cuba where Yoruba, Abakua and other African traditions are preserved in their most authentic form in the Americas. He was mentored by seminal Cuban bassist Orlando 'Cachaito' Lopez and attended Escuela Nacional de Arte where he studied with the top musicians from around the island. Soon after graduating from ENA, Arango joined the group of legendary pianist/composer Emiliano Salvador who was a leading figure in Cuban jazz through the 1990s. After extensive touring and recording with Salvador, Arango went on to be the founding bassist for N.G. la Banda, whom he performed with for the next fifteen years. With N.G. la Banda, Arango developed a new style of Cuban dance music called 'timba'. He was responsible for leading Cuban bassists in a new approach to playing salsa that greatly enhanced the melodic, percussive sound of the bass. Since leaving N.G. la Banda, Arango has been the top call bassist for jazz, salsa, timba and other forms of Cuban music.

Feliciano Arango now leads Los Hermanos Arangos along with his two brothers Eugenio and Ignacio and sister Cristina. The Arangos are the only Cuban band to use completely unaltered Afrocuban ritual voice/hand drumming as the basis for a modern repertoire that integrates electric bass, keyboards, brass/winds (no drumset).

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