2016 Billboard Latin Music Conference & Awards

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miércoles, 09 diciembre 2015, 11:18 am

Timba for the Holidays

Good Tidings of Great Joy

Just in time for the holidays, two long-awaited timba releases will be dropping in December. First out is Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor with "Que no me quiten la fe", which will be available on December 18th. They are being very hush-hush about the 10 tracks on the album other than the songs we've already heard of such as "Te escapaste" and the title track. Maykel promises us that we'll be surprised.

No me quiten la fe

Calle Real is also back after a six-year wait. On December 21st they will release their third CD - "Dime qué". The album contains an intro and 10 tracks (see below). We've heard some of the new songs in recent live performances. At this point you can really say that Calle Real has a sello . Some things that stand out are the laid-back groove and the unusual harmonies in many of the songs. I really enjoy the role of the horns in the new arrangements as well. ButI will leave the album review for later. For now just remember to save the dates December 18th and 21st!

Dime qué

Track list
Intro
Somos El Team
Donymood
Te Lo Di
Bienvenido
Créeme
Película en color
Hoah!
Oye!
Dime Qué
Entre La Espada y La Pared

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martes, 08 diciembre 2015, 04:27 am

58th Grammy Award® Nominations Announced

Photos from the Latin Grammys® (Septeto, Melón, Alain)

Septeto Santiaguero "El relevo está garantizado"

Early yesterday, the 58th Grammy Award® Nominations were announced. Latin Grammy® winners Septeto Santiaguero & José Alberto El Canario are nominated for Best Tropical Latin Album for their collaborative tribute to Cuban music icons Los Compadres (No Quiero Llanto - read our review here) and singer-songwriter Alex Cuba (real name Alexis Puentes, twin brother of Adonis Puentes) is nominated for Best Lain Pop Album. In Best Latin Jazz Album, Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba is nominated with his record "Suite Caminos". Congratulations to all the Nominees! 

This follows good times in Las Vegas a few weeks ago at the 16th annual Latin Grammys. I had the pleasure of hanging out with Alden González (producer & manager) and Fernando Dewar (leader, tres) of El Septeto Santiaguero, our Beyond Salsa star and pianist extraordinaire Iván "Melón" Lewis (who was nominated for Best New Artist and Best Latin Jazz Album, and also performed in the pre-telecast) and our other Beyond Salsa star, bassist, composer, vocalist and all around virtuoso Alaín Pérez. As anyone who has visited the island and experienced the level of musicianship, it was interesting to get their viewpoints on what we were seeing and hearing at the Latin Grammy show compared to the performances in Cuba. It is a televised event after all, and it was GREAT, but my opinion is that after a while the general tendency to rely on flamboyant and pyrotechnic visual elements and stimulation starts eroding the music and sound. The Kennedy Center Honors have succeeded in staying away from this trap and continue delivering breathtaking musical performances. Also I was sad to notice that the Best Salsa Album category was removed from the telecast and into the not-televised part (the pre-telecast, now called "the premier"). We had one (1) single tropical number in the whole show. Jeez... that wasn't too cool.  

One soundbyte that has stayed with me from that night -- courtesy of Alden -- is that he mentioned that "precisely now that the Buena Vista Social Club is saying goodbye to the stage, Septeto Santiaguero emerges as a world-class group, taking the very best of Cuban traditional music to every part of the world". This is a translation from a Cuban newspaper (source), that leaves out the notion of the "passing of the torch" or "passing the baton". It's much better in Spanish: "...(Alden) aprovechó para agradecer a Alain Pérez y Sonlokos -- competidores cubanos en la misma categoría -- las muestras de admiración y respeto. “Lo más importante es que se ha impuesto la música tradicional cubana y ahora, que el Buena Vista Social Club ya no estará más en los escenarios internacionales, el relevo está garantizado”. Pretty cool. 

Here are some more highlights from the Latin Grammys in Las Vegas:

José Alberto El Canario accepts and thanks el Septeto Santiaguero for their Latin Grammy Award®José Alberto El Canario accepts and thanks Alden Gozález and Fernando Dewar from El Septeto Santiaguero for their Latin Grammy Award®

Latin Grammy® nomination medals presented to El Canario, Alden and Fernando (yours truly on the far left)Latin Grammy® nomination medals presented to El Canario, Alden and Fernando (yours truly on the far left - I had the honor of co-mixing and mastering the record)

Iván Melón Lewis performing at the Latin Grammy® Pre-TelecastIván Melón Lewis performing at the Latin Grammy® Pre-Telecast

Javier Monteverde, Iván Melón Lewis, Michael Lázarus, Fernando DewarJavier Monteverde, Michael Lázarus, Iván Melón Lewis, Fernando Dewar

Con el bárbaro de los bárbaros... Latin Grammy® Nominee Alaín PérezCon el bárbaro de los bárbaros... Latin Grammy® Nominee Alaín Pérez (left)

Latin Grammy® tickets, after-party and program materialsLatin Grammy® tickets, after-party and program materials

2015 Latin Grammy® Winner for Best Traditional Tropical Album2015 Latin Grammy® Winner for Best Traditional Tropical Album

Enough said.

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domingo, 29 noviembre 2015, 05:47 pm

NEW GUINNESS WORLD RECORD FOR RUEDA DE CASINO ESTABLISHED IN HAVANA

NUEVO RECORD MUNDIAL GUINNESS PARA RUEDA DE CASINO ESTABLECIDO EN LA HABANA

ENGLISH:  On Wednesday, November 25, the Cuban newspaper Juventud Rebelde reported that 964 dancers established a new Guinness world record (14 minutes and 58 seconds) for dancing a giant Rueda de Casino en Havana, Cuba.   The previous record had been established in Greece in 2014. You can read the entire Juventud Rebelde article here. 
This is as good a time as any to mention the excellent instructional and historical video Bailar Casino es muy facil, which was made in Cuba about a decade ago.   You can read our review in English here. 

ESPAÑOL: El miércoles, 25 de noviembre, el periódico cubano Juventud Rebelde informaba que 964 bailarines habian establecido un nuevo récord mundial Guinness (14 minutos y 58 segundos) con una gigante Rueda de Casino en La Habana, Cuba. El récord anterior se había establecido en Grecia en 2014. Puede leer el artículo completo en Juventud Rebelde aquí.
Este es un momento tan bueno como cualquier otro para mencionar el excelente video instrucciónal  y histórico Bailar Casino es muy facil, realizado en Cuba hace una década. Puede leer nuestra reseña en Español aquí.

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martes, 24 noviembre 2015, 01:00 pm

Pedrito Martínez Group at Yoshi's

Tom Ehrlich's Photos

As promised, Tom's second PMG gallery from their recent tour.

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