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Cuban Music News In Brief
Tuesday November 22 2011
Música cubana en las notícias
Los Van Van in Africa - The band is scheduled to perform in Luanda, Angola, for three shows on November 25, 26 and 27 as part of the celebrations of National Independence Day, November 11. Juan Formell and his team were welcomed by the Cuban ambassador to Angola, Pedro Ross, and other figures. Los Van Van created a musical style called "songo" and they are directly responsible for the emergence of our favorite genre (Timba). source
Kings of Salsa dance & theater show - This collaboration between dancer Roclan Gonzalez Chavez of Cuban ballet fame and London producer Jon Lee is heating up the theater scene for those who enjoy live dance performances. The purely music and dance show (no dialogue) features all original music (anyone know who the composer is?) a company of nine dancers and the eight-member band Cuba Ashire plus two vocalists. source
Cuban born, Emmy & Grammy winning composer charged - Cuban born, Julliard School of Music graduate and Emmy & Grammy winning composer -- Fernando Rivas -- pleaded not guilty and was free on $300,000 bond for production, distribution and possession of child pornography in South Carolina. Mr. Rivas composed music for shows like Sesame Street, in which his songs featured singers Celia Cruz, Gloria Estefan and Cyndi Lauper. source
Tiempo Libre has a new website - Now it's easier to find tour dates and news on TL. source
Japan-based Cuban percussionist debuts first solo album - Escuela Nacional de Arte graduate Juan Carlos López debuts his first-ever solo album -- called Dale Coco -- in a night of salsa grooves at club Crocodile in Harajuku, Japan. The album features a track with leading Japanese salsa outfit and Universal Music recording artists Salsa Swingoza. source
Latin Grammy wrap-up - Exiled Cuban singer-songwriter Amaury Gutiérrez won a Latin Grammy this past November 10 and dedicated his award to The Ladies in White movement. Other Cubans henored with Latin Grammy wins were Paquito D’Rivera and Lena Burke, as well as a posthumous award to Israel "Cachao" López. source
Timba News In Review for November 10, 2011
Team Cuba Documentary - Belgrade Festival - Maykel Blanco Videos
¡Timba en Serbia! Ya tu sabes. Can't get tired of saying timba is an international phenomenon. This three day Cuban music & dance festival open with a performance tomorrow from Manolito y su Trabuco on November 11, 2011. World-class dancers and instructors are featured throughout.
Finally! Cool videos from Maykel Blanco's US tour are surfacing on youtube. Maykel's band was TIGHT and very well rehearsed. Here's a take on Esto está from New York's packed S.O.B's show.
Word on the street (pun intended) is that Washington D.C. has a new timba band called TIMBA STREET. They will be playing in New York at the Kennedy Center on November 21rst. A dance floor will be installed. Dance instruction will be provided at 5 p.m. by Casineros. Part of Swing, Swing, Swing. Haven't heard anything yet of quality from Timba Street, mostly partial live segments in need of a tune up.
And this from La Timbera Mayor Michelle White - If you need a serious recalibration, turn up the volume (the audio level is pretty low) on this excellent documentary on the roots of Timba and the famous Team Cuba. For a complete report on the Team Cuba concerts, musicians, etc. see http://www.timba.com/artists/show/teamcuba
This documentary includes concert clips and interviews with Juan Formell, José Luis Cortés, Adalberto Álvarez, Issac Delgado, Manolín El Médico de La Salsa, Paulo FG, David Calzado, Mayito Rivera, Ralph Mercado, Julio Montalvo and José Loyola.
Special thanks to the following people: Richard Ortega López, Kevin Moore, Gabriel Wilder, Curtis Lanoue, Orlando Fiol, Magnus Lindgren and to the people at SF for inspiring me to subtitle this video and make the information available to a wider public and maybe help answer the question "what is Timba?". If you're already a fan, this documentary is an important historical document. If you're not into timba, maybe it will at least give you an idea of why the rest of us are so crazy about it .
LA COLMENITA - Cuban Youth Theater Group
Review & Photo Gallery by Tom Ehrlich
COWELL THEATRE, SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 29, 2011
TOM EHRLICH reporting from San Francisco - view the full story & gallery here
** Notice to the politically paranoid - this article contains this author's honest attempt
at accurately reporting the background information and context for the story of the theater performance, any political biases or interpretations are your own. **
La Colmenita, a group of extremely talented actors/musicians (ages 5 to 15 years old) from Cuba performed in New York City, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco Bay Area. I was fortunate to catch their last show in San Francisco. La Colmenita is a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador. Unicef is a branch of the United Nations which specializes in issues related to children. While in New York, La Colmenita presented a special performance at the United Nations.
During their U.S. tour, they performed various plays which included Abracadabra, which was presented the night I attended. Abracadabra is described as introducing Americans to the Cuban youth perspective on everything from the Beatles and well-loved fairy tales to the plight of the Cuban Five, a group of men who sacrificed their lives to protect the Cuban people from terrorism.
The play is short skits which show interactions in classrooms between teachers and students, blending in musical interludes with the young actors singing, dancing and playing all instruments. The music was salsa and timba (mostly Adalberto Alvarez and Los Van Van songs). These kids smoked (meaning they played at an extremely high and impressive level), especially a young female drum set player who is ready to replace Samuel Formell any day now. The show was a class act in every way - the acting and performing were top notch and the writing of the play and how it was put together were superb.
Abracadabra a sympathic protrayal of the Cuban 5. In case you have not heard, the Cuban 5 are five Cubans who came to the United States and inflitrated some of the anti-Castro organizations in the Untied States which were planning and carrying out actions against Cuba, including attacks and bombings in an effort to topple the Cuban government.
The Cuban 5's mission was to monitor these groups.....read the full story here.
One of the youngest actors in La Colmenita is the grandson of the great Cuban band leader and composer, Adalberto Álvarez. What follows are some photos I took at the joy filled and emotional performance.
Back stage before performance - Kevin Lázaro Pérez Álvarez - grandson of Adalberto Álvarez
This young lady had some mean timba licks.
A Timba Lover's Dream - Festival Cuba All Stars
December 17nth - Lima, Perú - San Marcos Stadium
Insane lineup heads to Lima for an all-out Timba spectacle
Pinch me I'm dreaming....our Perú connect Feri DJ reports on an upcoming concert event of historical proportions. For this great collaboration to happen, the Cuban music agencies held a meeting in Lima with local promoters discussing a hold on all timba tours -- a vision led by Juan Formell of Los Van Van. The lineup is so loaded that a really concentrated effort was needed to assure participation from all the band leaders. Are you READY FOR THIS....
The concert counts with the participation of up to 40 artists of top calibre, among them...
- Juan Formell y Los Van Van (most of the band is coming)
- Adalberto Álvarez, "El Caballero del Son", and his daughter Dorgeris (pianist)
- drummer Giraldo Piloto, leader of Klimax
- Alexander Abreu (trumpet) director of Havana d' Primera
- Maykel Blanco, director of Salsa Mayor.
- singer Leo Vera ex-Irakere & ex-Charanga Habanera, "Hombre casado" & "Mi estrella"
- singer Emilio Frías, "El Niño", from Orquesta Revé
- Lázaro Valdés, pianist & director of Bamboleo
- José Luis Cortés “El Tosco" (flute) director of NG la Banda
- singer of NG fame, Tony Calá
- ex-Bamboleo singer Tania Pantoja
- among others...Can You Believe It!!
Here's the first official video of the event: