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FRONT PAGE - PRIMERA PLANA
Por Fin! Los Hermanos Arango
In Southern California This Week
It's been a long wait, but Feliciano Arango and Los Hermanos Arango have finally returned after their one-stop tour to Berklee several years ago. Arango is well-known to timberos as the founding bassist of NG La Banda and co-author of two books on bass-playing. But Los Hermanos Arango is an amazing project in its own right, combining Latin jazz with folkloric vocals, percussion and dancing. They'll be performing and doing master classes all week in Southern California. This is the real deal - don't miss it. The opening act for some of the shows is the changüí group of timba.com friend and contributor Gabriel García.
Maykel x 2
Cuando se trata de Cuba, se trata de gozadera
Maykel x 2: Blanco & Fonts @ Don Cangrejo
Maykel Blanco and Maykel Fonts are two of the most internationally recognized names of the younger generation of Cuban artists, both excelling in their genre. Maykel Blanco & Su Salsa Mayor exploded on the international timba scene in 2006 with the release of their first CD “Recoge y vete”. Known to fans as “La Maquina de Cuba”, they have since released three more studio CDs and a live album. Their last release “A toda máquina” has been the band’s most successful CD to date, outselling other albums in a matter of months. With a vibrant live show, including audio-visual accompaniment, Maykel Blanco & Su Salsa Mayor are currently one of Havana’s most popular acts and in great demand on the international tour circuit.
Coming from humble beginnings in a solar in Old Havana, Maykel Fonts has become one of the most sought after Cuban dancers worldwide. At the age of 22 he graduated from the Tropicana dance school and shortly thereafter moved to Milan, Italy. Over the years he has worked as an instructor, choreographer and dancer in commercials and television programs, and he recently choreographed and danced in the award-winning video for Havana D’Primera’s hit “Al final de la vida”. In addition to Cuban dances, Maykel has studied flamenco, hip hop, jazz, classic dance as well as other international salsa dance styles, making him a versatile dancer. But without question the genre closest to his essence is Afro-Cuban rumba.
A few months ago these two young powerhouses of Cuban music and dance united to record “Dale lo que lleva”, available on Planet Records compilation "Latino 56 - Salsa Bachata Merengue Reggaeton". Musically the song is designed to be easily accessible to dancers, the coro Izquierda y derecha (Left and right) falling on the one and the five to match the dancers’ steps. The lyrics refer to the similarities in the development of the two Maykels in their different genres.
On January 18th 2014 Maykel Fonts and Maykel Blanco performed “Dale lo que lleva” for the first time live at Casa de la Música Habana. I was not able to attend the concert, but I did find them both at Don Cangrejo on January 16th, and I took the opportunity to ask them a few questions. The video interview is in Spanish. One of my favourite quotes from the interview came from Maykel Fonts when he talked about how with Cuban music and dance "…there are no barriers. When it comes to Cuba, it’s about enjoying yourself" (…no hay barrera. Cuando se trata de Cuba, se trata de gozadera ). I hope you enjoy the interview and the video for “Dale lo que leva” below.
Entrevista a Maykel x 2
Official Video "Dale lo que lleva"
Havana Rhythm & Dance Festival 2014
Giraldo Piloto & Klímax have just finished their winter European Tour and in only six weeks Piloto will be busy with the 2014 Havana Rhythm & Dance Festival "Guillermo Barreto in memoriam", which will take place March 11 - 16 at venues throughout Havana. This is really an event to see if you will be or can be in Havana during this period. The festival includes competitions in percussion categories as well as in casino dancing, shows by Cuban and international bands and dance companies, as well as masters classes in percussion and dance.The competitions are open to both Cuban and international participants.
For more information in English, including instructions on how to sign up for the competitions, check out our Fiesta del Tambor 2014 link. The official website has been updated, but it is all in Spanish. In the meantime we share with you a video look back at the 2013 Havana Rhythm & Dance Festival.
Tom's Havana Reunión Photos
Click here for Tom Ehrlich's latest gallery, from the amazing December reunion concert of Melón Lewis, Jimmy Branly and Carlitos del Puerto.