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Friday, 13 July 2012, 11:12 AM

The New York Mega Timba Concert - Coda

What Does This All Mean For The Future?

(para leer en español oprima aquí)
Story and photos by Bill Tilford, all rights reserved 

“What we have here is a failure to communicate…….”  

As I look at everything that has been happening in the Timba music  concert scene in the United States over the past two years, I am reminded of Aesop’s  fable about the little shepherd boy who cried “wolf”.  For those of you who are not familiar with that story, the short version is that a little shepherd boy falsely warned the villagers about a wolf attack on the sheep in order to bring them running out to the pasture.  After he did this twice, and the villagers came running both times only to learn that there really was no wolf, the villagers vowed to ignore him.  The third time that he cried out, there actually was a wolf, but the villagers ignored him because of the previous false alarms, and the flock of sheep was lost.   In a way, we are faced with a similar problem regarding potential audiences for large Timba concerts in the United States now. There is an atmosphere of understandable skepticism among many of the fans, and those of us who work professionally with the music whether as musicians, agents, promoters, managers, venue owners, writers, media figures etc., will need to put our heads together and try to figure out ways that we might be able to address that skepticism.    This problem was already present before the New York concert, which did at least end with a concert. There was also some collateral damage from this event - a lot of discussion in the industry about possible longer tours by individual bands associated with the concert failed to become actual tours.  

I have seen and heard comments in other places questioning whether some of the bands originally advertised for the May/June 2012 New York concert were ever really signed in the first place.  After examining all of the evidence available to me, it appears that even if all of the original bands had truly been signed and confirmed the number of tickets actually being sold   would still not have been enough to permit a concert of the size originally announced, and it still would probably have been economically necessary for the organizers to “downsize” the concert   ( although I don’t know the actual number of tickets sold, the change from the Armory to the Copacabana would not have been practical if thousands of people had already been buying tickets).   Under these circumstances, it is difficult for me to criticize the fact that a smaller concert was the finished product. However, the handling of the public communications aspects of that process was absolutely horrible.   

Since I am also a brass musician myself, I can tell you that since the same brass section was performing throughout the concert, it was probably a good thing that they didn’t play for six full hours – unless the song list was carefully paced to give them plenty of rest, hour six would not have been pleasant for the musicians or the audience.  But here again, there was a serious communications failure between the organizers and the ticket holders.....click here to continue reading.........  

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Friday, 13 July 2012, 10:10 AM

Great Timba Moments Summer 2012

Pupy & La Revé

Tour season is in full swing in Europe and in some countries they are experiencing summer, while here in Scandinavia only the calender indicates that the summer has arrived. It rarely reaches 70 degrees Fahrenheit and rains almost every day. Fortunately, one constant throughout Europe is the festival season and timba concerts. Each concert has a life of it's own; it is a unique moment in time, and thanks to French DJ extraordinaire Jack El Calvo and Pascualito & FiestaCubana.net, some of the great moments from the current tours by Pupy y Los Que Son Son and Elito Revé y su Charangón are now available at YouTube.

Let's start with Pupy since Los Que Son Son play tomorrow, July 14, at Fiesta in Rome! After getting off to a rough start Pupy is in full swing and rewarding fans for their patience with a new mambo titled Quién me está llamando . I'm not a mambo fan, but somehow Pupy always knows how to please me. Great song! Disfrútenlo!

Pupy y Los Que Son Son estrenando "Quién me está llmando" @ New Morning
video by Pascualito for FiestaCubana.net

And if we are talking about great moments in Timba 2012, check out the video that Jack El Calvo has uploaded: Tirso singing with Orquesta Revé! Need I say more? He has uploaded 3 videos of Revé with Tirso as well as his own video from the Pupy @ New Morning concert, so go to his YouTube channel to watch them all. Here is one example. Candela! Cuida'o que te quema!

Elito Revé y Su Charangon with improvisation by Tirso Duarte & Emilio @ Rignac
video by Jack El Calvo

Elito Revé y su Charangón will be in the Netherlands tomorrow and then heading to Finland for 3 days, 19, 20, 21, at the Pori Jazz Festival before returning to Cuba for a well-earned rest.

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Monday, 09 July 2012, 05:28 PM

BUENA FE & DESCEMER BUENO

LO BUENO QUE TIENE LA HABANA

UPDATE: Buena Fe has announced that they will be back in the US again soon. Details will be released soon at BUENA FE (PAGINA OFICIAL)

Israel Rojas, Yoel martínez / Descemer Bueno @ the filming of "Ser de sol"Israel Rojas & Yoel Martínez of Buena Fe with Descemer Bueno
Photo courtesy of BUENA FE (PAGINA OFICIAL)

There are three categories of people when it comes to Buena Fe. There are those who are already fans, such as myself and a great number of timberos, hence I am stubbornly writing about them here at timba.com. Then there are those who recognize the name of the band and even recognize some of their songs but haven't put two and two together yet. For these people it is a revelation when they finally discover "Oh! That song is by Buena Fe!". And the third category is people who are just about to become Buena Fe fans, and some of you reading this post are in this category.

Buena Fe by Gabriel Davalos fotografoBuena Fe is arguably the most popular of the new generation of troveros. The band was founded as a duo in 1999, and has since grown to include six members and has recorded seven studio albums and released two live DVD/CD sets. Buena Fe also has the flexibility of being able to perform either as a duo or in the larger
     
Photo by Gabriel Davalos -fotógrafo-

format. Their music can be described as trova-fusion. The lyrics are poetry about contemporary Cuban life covering everything from social critique to some of the most gorgeous love songs I've ever heard. They are set to whatever type of music will best transmit the message, so the music varies from pop to rock to son-reggaeton to changüí-pop, to ballads and whatever else they decide to mix together. There is no question that this formula has been successful, taking the founders, Israel Rojas and Yoel Martínez, from Guantanamo to Havana, and from there to Latin America, Europe and the US, and building them a passionate fan base around the world.

Descemer Bueno is an amazingly versatile artist who has had a jazz band with Elmer Ferrer and Roberto Carcassés, was a member of Yerba Buena and co-writer of many of their hits, has worked as a composer, producer and arranger for artists such as Haydée Milanés, Yusa and Enrique Iglesias, as well as composing some of the songs for the soundtrack of "Havana Blues". Descemer released his solo album "Siete Rayo" in 2005 and the CD "Amor y Música" which he recorded with Kelvis Ochoa in 2008. For more of Descemer's music, check out his YouTube channel. He is currently working on another album, which is simply titled "Bueno" and is planned for release in 2012. Descemer is recording with a number of Cuban artists on the new CD, including Buena Fe, and that is what leads us back to the purpose of this post.

This is the first time that Israel and Descemer have worked together. The song they wrote is titled "Ser de sol" and is a beautiful bachata in the style of Juan Luis Guerra. This collaboration has given rise to the idea of doing an entire album together like they did with the CD "Extremistas Nobles" where Buena Fe and Frank Delgado collaborated. This is an excellent idea and I hope it comes to fruition!

Last Monday, 2 July 2012, Buena Fe uploaded the video clip for "Ser de sol" to their Facebook page and to YouTube. I think it is safe to say that it wasn't exactly what fans might have expected. The story was written by director Ian Padrón and isn't exactly the typical love triangle one might expect. I won't spoil the surprise by giving any more away, but there are other interesting elements to this video as well. For example, it seems to be a look at a sort of Yummie lifestyle (Young Urban Martianos), complete with a party on a boat and the consumption of sushi. Another somewhat shocking aspect was the drinking of Cristal beer from Bucanero glasses! Was this double product placement or an attempt to be fair and equal to both brands? ;)

I've said enough. Check out the video below, and I highly recommend that you go to Facebook and visit BUENA FE (PAGINA OFICIAL).  They are the only Cuban band I know of that has nearly daily updates on their page, including a lot of photos and videos. You will  also find live video of the first perfomance of "Ser de sol" as well as  "Making of Ser de sol" video. Click "Like" so you can keep up-to-date on all their activities. I don't think these guys ever take a day off. They are currently touring Granma, despite the cholera problem, and will then move on to Las Tunas. In August they will be back in Europe and I will finally get to see them live at Latinoamericando in Milan! Expect a concert report! Click here for a list of tour dates but keep in mind that your best bet for current info is BUENA FE (PAGINA OFICIAL). You can also visit their YouTube page.

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Sunday, 08 July 2012, 12:39 PM

TOUR UPDATE

Pupy, Manolito, X Alfonso

The summer tour of Pupy y Los Que Son Son was delayed due to paperwork issues that kept them from receiving their visas in time, but better late than never. They are now in Europe and will perform tonight in Paris at New Morning.

Pupy y los que son son - No te dejé por mala - El Noro on lead vocals

We have published a list of confirmed dates for Manolito y Su Trabuco who will be tourng in August. I am thrilled to see that they will be playing in Sweden and Gothenburg's annual Kulturkalaset in Kungstorget on August 16th. That is where I will be! They have more dates pending confirmation so check their Tours page again at the end of July. Manolito is currently working on the new CD "Sin Freno" but it won't be out in time for the tour.

Lázaro "Mayami" Díaz sings the title track from the coming CD "Sin Freno"
lyrics by Alexander Abreu

This year Kulturkalast is a gold mine for fans of Cuban music. X Alfonso will play there on August 17th. If you are en inveterate Timba Geek and don't know X Alfonso's work, he is known for intelligent, profound lyrics combined with a hiphop/soul/funk music, and his videos are always full of beautiful imagery. I'll just let his music and his moving lyrics speak for themselves. We have posted the confirmed dates for his tour which for now are focused on Northern Europe. But there is also more to come in X tour plans so stay tuned!

X Alfonso "De Corazón"

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