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Beyond Salsa Piano - Instructional Series

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miércoles, 09 noviembre 2011, 07:31 pm

Timba News In Review for November 10, 2011

Team Cuba Documentary - Belgrade Festival - Maykel Blanco Videos

Havana en Belgrado

¡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

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 If you're already a fan, this documentary is an important historical document.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 .

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domingo, 06 noviembre 2011, 01:11 am

LA COLMENITA - Cuban Youth Theater Group

Review & Photo Gallery by 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 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.

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miércoles, 02 noviembre 2011, 01:53 am

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

Oprima aquí para leér este artículo en español - We Love Timba de Feri Dj - Perú Report 

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:

For tickets contact - Teleticket de Wong y Metro ( )
Facebook page =

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martes, 01 noviembre 2011, 06:17 am

Cuban Music News - In Brief - November 1, 2011

Haila in NYC - Mayito & Mandy - Manolito - MB Tour

Haila (ex-Bamboleo) has a new album and she will be performing this Friday at S.O.B.s in New York City. Bassist Danny Rojo of PornoSon fame will be directing a group of local heavyweights (anyone have the complete list?).   

Haila NYC 2011 - Cuban Music News

The official Los Van Van website is down = = but after months of rumors that lead singer Mario "Mayito" Rivera left the iconic band (a press release was made on the Los Van Van website), no one has yet to report that they have seen them perform with the alleged new replacement Armando "Mandy" Cantero (formerly of Pupy y los que Son Son among others). Los Van Van performed in Mexico recently without Mayito but Mandy was not present, even though it was reported he was in Mexico at the time.  In related news Mayito has been singing with Monika (Mesa) y la Máquina Perfecta.  

Manolito y su Trabuco are in Hamburg, Germany today then covering Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Serbia and the Netherlands. Cuban music is truly international. Check out the tour page for all the official dates. 

Maykel Blanco's recent, independently produced US tour was well received and attended. The band was really TIGHT and executed consistently with tremendous energy. I really missed their recent hit "Un Kilo" which was not featured in any of the shows. I saw them in 2007 and this is by far the best group configuration, rhythm and horn sections. The pedal and bomba gears were in full, hard-hitting force. The singers delivered pure fun. Hoping they will be back next year for sure. Rumor has it Miami has 2 new singers and one smoking keyboard player. 

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