en-us Timba.com http://www.timba.com Cuban Music News. América por su Música 2018
AM-PM (América por su Música), la Fábrica de Arte Cubano (FAC), el Centro Nacional de Música Popular (CNMP)  y la Casa de las Américas presentan un taller especial, Autogestión de la música en entornos digitales, en FAC del 26 al 29 de junio de 2018.  Para más información, visite americaporsumusica.com  Los eventos incluirán la presentación de una nueva revista dedicada a la industria de música en Cuba, Magazine AM-PM.

Fri, 22 Jun 2018 02:22:37 +0000
Coming to Chicago: Jane Bunnett, Chuchito Valdés, Adalberto Álvarez y Su Son 3 groups of special interest are coming to Chicago very soon. 

1.  Jane Bunnett and Maqueque Thursday, June 28-Sunday, July 1 at the Jazz Showcase
Melvis Santa, who was just in Chicago with her own group, Ashedi, will be returning to perform with Maqueque, which always features some of Cuba's most prominent female jazzistas. 

12th Annual Chicago Latin Jazz Festival, Friday, July 13-Sunday, July 15
This year the festival spends Friday and Saturday at the usual Humboldt Park location before moving to Navy Pier on Sunday.   The entire lineup looks interesting, but of special interest is a big band project by  Chuchito Valdés and the Chicago Latin Jazz Collective   Chuchito usually performs here with a smaller combo, but this will be a special big band tribute to his grandfather Bebo Valdés.  Friday, July 13 and  Sunday July 15.  The full schedule can be seen using the link above. 

Finally, at this writing, Adalberto Álvarez y Su Son are scheduled to close this year's Festival Cubano in Riis Park on Sunday, August 12.

Melvis Santa and Ashedi
were at Sabor a Café in Chicago June 16 and 17th for a concert, workshop and Rumba jam.  You can see a photo gallery here. 

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 12:31:28 +0000
HAVANA D'PRIMERA Havana D'Primera European Tour

ENGLISH: Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera are in Madrid tonight where they begin their 2018 European Tour supporting the release of the new and most excellent album "Cantor del Pueblo". The tour will last over one month and will take them to Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands. They will even appear on TV5 in Italy for the Latin Awards on July 8th. Don't miss the chance to catch the new songs en directo. And take some cash with you because they will be selling hardcopy of thier CDs as well as t-shirts and ball caps! Click here for the updated list of concert dates. I leave you with the title track from the new album at Havana D'Primera's official YouTube channel. Subscribe there to keep up with the latest official video.

ESPAÑOL: Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera están en Madrid esta noche, donde comienzan su gira europea 2018 apoyando el lanzamiento del nuevo y excelente álbum "Cantor del Pueblo". La gira durará más de un mes y los llevará a España, Italia, Francia, Alemania, Dinamarca, Suiza y los Países Bajos. Incluso aparecerán en TV5 en Italia para los Latin Awards el 8 de julio. No te pierdas la oportunidad de vivir las nuevas canciones en directo. ¡Y llévese algo de efectivo porque venderán discos físicos de sus CDs, también camisetas y gorras! Haga clic aquí para ver la lista actualizada de las fechas de los conciertos. Los dejo con la canción que da título al nuevo álbum en el canal oficial de YouTube de Havana D'Primera. Suscríbase para mantenerse al día con el último video oficial.

Thu, 14 Jun 2018 15:44:33 +0000
Washington DC Artes de Cuba Fest, pt. 5 Part V covers the latest incarnation of Tiempo Libre:

Thu, 14 Jun 2018 07:52:15 +0000
Washington DC Artes de Cuba Fest, pt. 4 Part IV covers Los Van Van's historic Washington D.C. appearance.

Mon, 11 Jun 2018 19:54:35 +0000
Melvis Santa & Ashedi in Chicago June 16-17

The delightful Melvis Santa returns to Chicago with three master percussionists/rumberos for concerts and workshops.   Whether you are a musician, dancer or just an aficionado of Rumba, this is a don't-miss, and as a bonus, Sabor a Café is an intimate setting with great sound that serves wonderful Colombian food.   

Sun, 10 Jun 2018 12:26:31 +0000
Review: ESCAPE Escapes From the Ordinary...

ENGLISH:  Escape, the debut album by Alberto Lescay & FORMAS, has just been released in both Cuba and several international digital stores.   This project represents the best of the best of the NuJazz movement in Cuba, and its release was accompanied with justifiable fanfare in the media in Cuba as well as a presentation concert in the Museo de Bellas Artes in La Habana, the perfect venue considering that the Lescay family is also distinguished in the plastic arts.  If you speak Spanish, you can listen to Rabio Rebelde's podcast special here:
ESPAÑOL: Escape, el álbum debut de Alberto Lescay & FORMAS, acaba de ser lanzado tanto en Cuba como en varias tiendas digitales internacionales. Este proyecto representa lo mejor de lo mejor del movimiento NuJazz en Cuba, y su lanzamiento fue acompañado con fanfarrias justificables en los medios en Cuba, así como un concierto de presentación en el Museo de Bellas Artes en La Habana, el lugar perfecto teniendo en cuenta que la familia Lescay también se distingue en las artes plásticas. Puedes escuchar el podcast especial de Rabio Rebelde aquí:

ENGLISH:  You can read Bill Tilford's review of Escape, which includes the group's EPK video, here.
ESPAÑOL:  Puedes leer la reseña por Bill Tilford de Escape (incluyendo el EPK  video del grupo) 

Mon, 04 Jun 2018 20:32:57 +0000
Washington DC Artes de Cuba Fest, pt. 3 Here's Part 3 of 5 on this historic Cuban arts festival, featuring Pepito Gómez, Ariacne Trujillo, Yusnier Bustamonte and Benjamin Willis.

Mon, 04 Jun 2018 05:47:44 +0000
Washington DC Artes de Cuba Fest, pt. 2 Here's Part 2 of 5 on this historic Cuban arts festival.

Ariacne Trujillo with Pepito Gómez

Yusnier Bustamante, Benjamin Willis and Pepito Gomez 

López-Nussa Family

Sat, 02 Jun 2018 22:44:18 +0000
PAPUCHO Y MANANA CLUB Papucho y Manana Club

ENGLISH: Pedro Ordoñez "Papucho" y Manana Club open their inaugural European tour tonight at Peña Festayre in Paris. They are one of the most exciting young bands in Havana and have a large following internationally, but this will be the first opportunities that many of us have had to see them en directo! This tour will take them to France and Italy.

Papucho y Manana Club have released two full length CDs "Contra La Pared" (2012) and "Respeta" (2017) as well as an EP - "Mi Manana" - in 2015. Catch them if you have a chance! Everyone I have spoken to who has seen them in Havana has become an instant fan. If you can't make any of the concerts, enjoy the video below from DJ Leonel Rogier.  Click here for the list of concerts

ESPAÑOL: Pedro Ordoñez "Papucho" y Manana Club abre su gira europea inaugural esta noche en Peña Festayre en París. Son una de las bandas jóvenes más emocionantes de La Habana y tienen muchos seguidores a nivel internacional, ¡pero esta será la primera oportunidad que muchos de nosotros hemos tenido de verlos en directo! Esta gira los llevará a Francia e Italia.

Papucho y Manana Club han lanzado dos CD completos, "Contra La Pared" (2012) y "Respeta" (2017), así como un EP - "Mi Manana" - en 2015. ¡Asiste al concierto si tienes la oportunidad! Todo el mundo con el que he hablado y que los ha visto en La Habana se ha convertido en un fanático instantáneo. Si no puedes asistir a ninguno de los conciertos, disfrute el siguiente video del DJ Leonel Rogier. Haz clic aquí para ver la lista de conciertos.


Thu, 31 May 2018 19:49:57 +0000
Review - Hasta Que Salga El Sol JG - Hasta Que Salga El Sol

ENGLISH: Lo prometido es deuda and finally I have published my review of the new release by "JG" Juan Guillermo.In this age of attention spans the length of a Twitter post, I will give a quick sumation here for those who don't have the stamina to read the full review. With his third album JG has established his trademark as el dueño del party with ten fun, upbeat dance tracks. The musicianship is excellent and the arrangements include five very good 100% timba tracks as well as five tropical-timba fusions with a fresh and broad appeal. Click here to read a track-by-track review of "Hasta que salga el sol"

I'm sure everyone has been dancing to "Belleza latina" for the past year, so instead below is a taste from the recording of the track "Ell siempre se va sola" feat. Adalberto Álvarez and Michel Gonzalez Poli. You can also subscribe to JG's YouTube channel where he has uploaded six audio tracks from "Hasta que salga el sol". The album is on sale now at Cubamusic.

ESPAÑOL: Lo prometido es deuda y por fin publiqué mi reseña del nuevo álbum de "JG" Juan Guillermo. En esta era cuando la capacidad de atención se extiende a lo largo de una publicación de Twitter, daré aquí una suma rápida para aquellos que no tienen la energía para leer le reseña completa. Con su tercer álbum, JG ha establecido su sello como el dueño del party con diez pistas de baile alegres y divertidas. La musicalidad es excelente y los arreglos incluyen cinco muy buenas pistas de timba 100%, así como cinco fusiones de tropical con timba con un atractivo fresco y amplio. Haz clic aquí para leer una reseña pista-por-pista de "Hasta que salga el sol"

Estoy seguro de que todo el mundo ha bailado con "Belleza latina" durante el año pasado, así que en lugar de eso es un video de la grabación de la canción "Ell siempre se va sola", feat. Adalberto Álvarez y Michel Gonzalez Poli. También puedes suscribirte al canal de JG en YouTube, donde ha subido seis pistas de audio de "Hasta que salga el sol". El álbum ya está a la venta en Cubamusic.

Tue, 29 May 2018 16:32:52 +0000
Washington DC Artes de Cuba Fest, pt. 1 Click here for the full gallery and report - stay tuned for Parts 2, 3, & 4.

Image may contain: 2 people, people on stage, people playing musical instruments and indoor

Ariacne with Pepito - will she ever tour with her trio??


Sun, 27 May 2018 21:30:19 +0000
CALIXTO OVIEDO y su TIMBA L.A. Este pasado 20 de Mayo en Los Ángeles -- en un festival titlulado Cuban-American Music Festival y localizado en LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes --  muchos amantes de la música latina y cubana fueron testigos del nacimiento de una nueva agrupación timbera aquí en los EE.UU: CALIXTO OVIEDO y su TIMBA L.A. Como saben, Calixto Oviedo Mulens fue el baterista del grupo íconico NG La Banda durante el perido en que porducieron sus más grandes éxitos, incluyendo Santa Palabra, Échale Limón, y El Trágico.


Calixto nos explica: "Hola Michael. Este proyecto, aunque lo tenia en mente hace tiempo, no fue hasta ahora que el organizador del evento Guido Herrera (KXLU 88.9 FM - Alma del barrio) me pidio hacerle un homenaje a NG La Banda, producto de ser cofundador de la misma, como uno de los factores principales a la elaboración de la timba con todo lo que aporté etc. Nada lo demas es historia que conoces. Aquí te presento a los músicos de mi nueva agrupación y nuestras próximas fechas. Le envío un gran saludo a todos los leyentes y seguidores de TIMBA.com".

Próximas presentaciones (next shows) :
2 de Junio - Floridita, Hollywood, Los Ángeles - www.elfloridita.com
9 de Junio - Lacma (Latin Sounds) Los Ángeles - www.lacma.org
Para más información contacte a Calixto aquí.

Músicos de CALIXTO OVIEDO y su TIMBA L.A. (participating musicians) :
Calixto Oviedo - Band Leader, Drums, Timbales - Cuba
Raymanis García - Congas - Cuba
Rayner Fernández - Bongó y coros - Colombia
Azaris Pijuán - Bass - Cuba
Iliana Rose - Piano - U.S.A
Bob Lawrence - Trombone - U.S.A.
Richard Velzen - Trombone - U.S.A.
Leonbardo Govin - Trombone - U.S.A.
Lily Hernández - Cantante - Cuba
Gonzalo Chomat - Cantante - Cuba




This past 20th of May in Los Angeles - at a festival entitled the Cuban-American Music Festival and located at the Plaza of Culture & Arts - many lovers of Latin and Cuban music witnessed the birth of a new U.S.A. based timba group: CALIXTO OVIEDO and his TIMBA L.A. As you know, Calixto Oviedo Mulens was the drummer of the iconic band NG La Banda during the period in which they produced their greatest hits, including Santa Palabra, Échale Limón, and El Trágico.

Calixto explains: "Hi Michael. This project, although I had it in mind for some time, it was not until now that the organizer of the event, Guido Herrera (KXLU 88.9 FM - Alma del barrio) asked me to pay homage to NG La Banda, as I was one of the co-founders and one of the main factors in the development of the timba, with everything I contributed, etc. I want to present to you the musicians of my new group and our upcoming dates. I send a big greeting to all the readers and followers of TIMBA.com".

Sat, 26 May 2018 06:44:24 +0000
TIEMPO LIBRE AT ARTES DE CUBA TONIGHT! As part of the Artes de Cuba festival, Tiempo Libre will be on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center of Washington DC tonight (May 20) at 6pm EDT.  Like all Millennium Stage free concerts, this will be livestreamed:  .  

TIMBA.com's best photographer, Tom Ehrlich, has been at some key performances during Artes de Cuba, and we are looking forward to seeing some of his work in the future. 

Sun, 20 May 2018 17:58:40 +0000

ENGLISH: It is a pity that Juan Formell is not physically with us for this moment, but his spirit and music most certainly are Los Van Van is in concert tonight at the Eisenhower Theater at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC at 8pm EDT (more information here). This is truly an historic moment in US-Cuba cultural exchanges.   
ESPAÑOL Es una pena que Juan Formell no esté con nosotros físicamente para este momento, pero su espíritu y su música ciertamente están. Los Van Van está en concierto esta noche en el Teatro Eisenhower en el Kennedy Center de Washington, DC a las 8pm EDT (más información aquí). Es realmente un momento histórico en los intercambios culturales entre los Estados Unidos y Cuba.

Sat, 19 May 2018 22:07:33 +0000
Tonight, May 18, the López-Nussa family will be in concert in the Terrace Theater at the Kennedy Center as part of Artes de Cubaat 7:30 PM Eastern.   If you are a fan of Cuban Jazz, this is a don't-miss concert. More information is available here. 
Dafnis Prieto is also at Artes de Cuba at 9PM, but we are advised that this is sold out. 

Fri, 18 May 2018 19:59:24 +0000
MAY 11 ARTES DE CUBA CONCERT LIVESTREAM The May 11 Artes de Cuba concert livestream features Orquesta Miguel Faílde and can be livestreamed here at 6pm Eastern US Time:

Fri, 11 May 2018 14:16:22 +0000
DE CUBA PA'L MUNDO ENTERO Adalberto Álvarez y Su Son - De CUba Pa'l Mundo Entero

ENGLISH: The great news keeps coming! "De Cuba Pa'l Mundo Entero" is out today at digital retailers and streaming sites. I have found it at Google play, Spotify, Amazon and Cubamusic but not at iTunes. It may show up there in a couple of hours if you only use Apple products so keep checking! I have just bought my copy and will be listening later today!

ESPANOL: ¡Las buenas noticias siguen llegando! "De Cuba Pa'l Mundo Entero" sale hoy a los minoristas digitales y sitios de streaming. Lo encontré en Google Play, Spotify, Amazon y Cubamusic, pero no en iTunes. Puede aparecer allí en un par de horas si solo usas productos de Apple, ¡así que sigue buscando! ¡Acabo de comprar mi copia y la escucharé más tarde!

Track list:
De Cuba Pa'l Mundo Entero
Duele El Corazón
Para Darte Amor
Los Buenos y Los Malos
Rienda Suelta
Qué será Que Tiene La Habana
Soy yo no busques más
Tu Fiesta de Cumpleaños
El Mal de La Hipocrecia
Si No La Quieres Déjala Que Se Vaya


Fri, 11 May 2018 11:32:19 +0000
Calixto Oviedo y su TIMBA LA Calixto y su TIMBA LA

ENGLISH: Sunday, May 20 the Cuban American Music Festival will take place at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes in L.A. California and Calixto Oviedo y Su TIMBA LA will offer a tribute to NG La Banda, playing songs such as "El Tragico", "Santa Palabra", "La Expresiva" and "Échale Limón", and during Calixto's set they will play only Cuban Timba from the 90's with that unmistakable hallmark. The singers will be Gonzalo Chomat (Ex Conexion Salsera) and Lily Hernandez in a band composed of 10 musicians. Don't miss it timberos from LA!

ESPAÑOL: Domingo 20 de Mayo el festival Cuban American Music Festival se llevará acabo en  LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes in L.A. California y Calixto Oviedo y Su TIMBA LA ofrecerán un homenaje a NG La Banda, tocando temas como "El Trágico", "Santa Palabra", "La Expresiva" y "Échale Limón" además en la hora de concierto se tocará sólo Timba Cubana de la época de los 90 con ese sello inconfudible. Estaran cantando Gonzalo Chomat (Ex Conexion Salsera) y Lily Hernandez en una banda compuesta por 10 músicos. No te lo pierdas timbero de LA!

Thu, 10 May 2018 21:38:58 +0000
MAY 10 ARTES DE CUBA CONCERT LIVESTREAM Today, May 10, the Artes de Cuba Festival presents Adonis Gonzalez & Mauricio Herrera live at 6pm EDT.  The livestream link is here:

Thu, 10 May 2018 19:12:38 +0000

EDIT: "De Vuelta Al Barrio" is now out at Spotify and Google Play!

ENGLISH: Emilio Frás "El Niño" y La Verdad are currently touring Europe promoting their third album: "De Vuelta Al Barrio". Tomorrow they will be at New Morning in Paris. Click here to find a concert near you and bring some cash because you can buy the CD - yes hardcopy! - at the concerts. The album is, in my opinion the best yet, which is saying a lot since the two previous albums are excellent and La Verdad won at Cubadisco with their debut album "Llegó La Verdad"

"De Vuelta Al Barrio" is a feast for dancers. It satiates our appetite with fantastic arrangements that really show the maturity of this young group. I confess that I am not a fan of chachachá, but lo and behold if "Cha Pa' Mi Muchacha" isn't one of the songs I keep coming back to! Well played Emilio, Pachy Jr. and Dayron! 2018 is turning out to be a major year for timba releases, so this album is also in the queue for a review. We will get it up as soon as possible. In the meantime, if you can't make a concert, word is that the digital album will be released at the usual retailers tomorrow, May 10th. Below is a taste of one of the songs from the album: "La Cosa Mala". The official video for this song will be out soon as well.

ESPAÑOL: Emilio Frás "El Niño" y La Verdad actualmente están de gira por Europa promocionando su tercer álbum: "De Vuelta Al Barrio". Mañana estarán en New Morning en París. Dale clic aquí para buscar un concierto cerca de ti y trae algo de dinero porque puedes comprar el CD, ¡sí, una copia impresa! - en los conciertos. El álbum es, en mi opinión, el mejor hasta ahora, lo cual es mucho decir ya que los dos álbumes anteriores son excelentes y La Verdad ganó en Cubadisco con su álbum debut "Llegó La Verdad".

"De Vuelta Al Barrio" es una fiesta para los bailadores. Satisface nuestro apetito con fantásticos arreglos que realmente muestran la madurez de este joven grupo. Confieso que no soy fan de chachachá, pero he aquí que "Cha Pa 'Mi Muchacha" es una de las canciones a las que vuelvo. ¡Buena jugada Emilio, Pachy Jr. y Dayron! 2018 se está convirtiendo en un año importante para lanzamientos de discos de timba, por lo que este álbum también está en la cola para su reseña. Lo publicaremos lo más pronto posible. Mientras tanto, si no puedes asistir a un concierto, se dice que el álbum digital se lanzará en las tiendas habituales mañana, 10 de mayo. A continuación una muestra de una de las canciones del álbum: "La Cosa Mala". El video oficial de esta canción saldrá pronto también.

Track List:
La Princesa de Cayo Hueso
El Primo
Las Manzanas
Tírame La Foto
La Cosa Mala
Cha Pa' Mi Muchacha
Para Ser Cantante
Que Clase Cara
El Nombrecito

"La Cosa Mala"

Wed, 09 May 2018 13:39:32 +0000
MAY 9 ARTES DE CUBA CONCERT LIVESTREAM Here is the link to tonight's (May 9) Artes de Cuba concert at the Kennedy Center.  Caribe Nostrum will be livestreamed at 6pm Eastern US Time:

Wed, 09 May 2018 12:24:02 +0000
ARTES DE CUBA OPENING CONCERT LIVESTREAM The Kennedy Center will be livestreaming the opening concert of this month's Artes de Cuba Festival in Washington on Youtube at 8PM Eastern US Time:


Tue, 08 May 2018 19:51:25 +0000

ENGLISH: We have recently been advised that Cubadisco 2018 is being rescheduled to a later date this year, possibly in September.  Part of the reasoning for this is the extensive Artes de Cuba festival at the Kennedy Center this month, with many of Cuba's most important bands out of the country.  This was to be the year in which the theme would be Música Popular Bailable, a genre of special interest to TIMBA.com, and we will be following future developments very  closely. 
ESPAÑOL: Recientemente se nos informó que Cubadisco 2018 se reprogramará para una fecha posterior este año, posiblemente en septiembre. Parte del razonamiento para el cambio es el extenso festival Artes de Cuba en el Kennedy Center este mes, con muchas de las bandas más importantes de Cuba fuera del país. Este sería el año en el que el tema sería Música Popular Bailable, un género de especial interés para TIMBA.com, y seguiremos de cerca los desarrollos futuros.

As part of the second leg of her 2018 US tour, Daymé Arocena gave an excellent concert at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago on May 2.  You can view a photo gallery with commentary here. 

Mon, 07 May 2018 03:21:31 +0000
JG - HASTA QUE SALGA EL SOL JG - Hasta Que Salga El Sol

ENGLISH: Juan Guillermo Almeida - or just JG - has released his third album "Hasta Que Salga El Sol" internationally on the Unicornio label. It is now available at Cubamusic.com. The single "Belleza latina" featuring Alexander Abreu has been a hit for a year. Other collaborations on the new CD include Michel Gonzales and Adalberto Álvarez on "Ella siempre se va sola", Maikel Dinza who composed and sings on "La Habana la enganchó", Emilio Frias on "La cosa", and El Mola on "La fama pa' la cabeza". A full review will be coming soon. Below is the track list and the video for "Belleza Latina" on the off chance anyone hasn't seen it yet.

ESPAÑOL: Juan Guillermo Almeida - o simplemente JG - lanzó su tercer álbum "Hasta Que Salga El Sol" a nivel internacional bajo el sello discográfico Unicornio. Ahora está disponible en Cubamusic.com. El sencillo "Belleza latina" con Alexander Abreu ha sido un éxito ya hace un año. Otras colaboraciones en el nuevo CD incluyen a Michel Gonzales y Adalberto Álvarez en "Ella siempre se va sola", Maikel Dinza que compuso y canta en "La Habana la enganchó", Emilio Frias en "La cosa", y El Mola en "La fama" pa 'la cabeza ". Una reseña completa llegará pronto. A continuación se encuentra la lista de canciones y el video de "Belleza latina" en caso de que alguien no lo haya visto aún.

Track list:
Vengo de Cuba
Hasta que salga el sol
Ella siempre va sola
La Habana la enganchó
Belleza latina
El cariñoso
La cosa
Voy a mentirle
Tú misma lo dijiste
La fama pa' la cabeza

Mon, 30 Apr 2018 13:55:17 +0000

As part of the second leg of her US Tour, Daymé Arocena will be at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago Wednesday, May 2, followed by Minneapolis on  Thursday, May 3 and St. Joseph, Missouri on Friday, May 4.   Daymé always captivates the audience.

Mon, 30 Apr 2018 04:22:47 +0000
Pedrito Martínez Group in Saratoga Tonight The latest incarnation of PMG will be at Villa Montalvo tonight. Click here for details and tickets.

The Pedrito Martinez Group

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 21:10:23 +0000
Interview with Maykel Blanco 2018 Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor 2018

ENGLISH: "Somos Mayores" the CD/DVD from the 12th Anniversary concert of Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor will soon be released to the international market. It is currently only available in Cuba. The concert was a collaboration with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra and consists of 10 tracks, including the intro and a choreography section in the middle. The combination of the music Salsa Mayor and the Symphony Orchestra works beautifully, it never feels forced, and considering the Cuban tradition of charangas, the inclusion of strings in the arrangements is completely natural and extremely danceable.  When it is released I suspect we will only be able to get the audio part. It is very hard nowadays to get a hardcopy outside Cuba and the digital retailers don't seem to be selling the video files. But we'll just have to see. Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor will be touring South America at the end of April and in the fall they will be in Europe. Hopefully they will bring the hardcopy with them, so take some cash with you if you attend a concert.

Maykel took some time to talk with Timba.com about "Somos Mayores", the Festival de la Salsa en Cuba and other steps he is taking to continue his support of Cuban music and it's international diffusion. Click here to read the interview in English.

ESPAÑOL: "Somos Mayores" el CD / DVD del concierto del 12 ° Aniversario de Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor pronto será lanzado al mercado internacional. Actualmente solo está disponible en Cuba. El concierto fue una colaboración con la Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Cuba y consta de 10 pistas, incluida la introducción y una sección de coreografía en el medio. La combinación de la música de La Salsa Mayor y La Orquesta Sinfónica funciona maravillosamente, nunca se siente forzada, y teniendo en cuenta la tradición cubana de las charangas, la inclusión de cuerdas en los arreglos es completamente natural y sumamente bailable. Cuando se lance, sospecho que solo podremos obtener la parte de audio. Es muy difícil hoy en día obtener una copia impresa fuera de Cuba y los minoristas digitales no parecen estar vendiendo los archivos de video. Pero solo tendremos que ver. Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor hará una gira de Sudamérica a fines de abril y en otoño estarán en Europa. Esperemos que traigan la copia física con ellos, así que llévate un poco de dinero si asistes a un concierto.

Maykel se tomó un momento para hablar con Timba.com sobre "Somos Mayores", el Festival de la Salsa en Cuba y otros pasos que está tomando para continuar su apoyo a la música cubana y su difundación internacional. Haga clic aquí para leer la entrevista en español.

"Somos Mayores" track list:
Que No Me Quiten La Fe
Pa' Que Todo Vaya Alante
Mi Mulata en La Habana
Házte La Que No Me Ves
Siempre Que Llueve Escampa
El negocio
Afloja La Guayaba

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 09:13:47 +0000
Interview with Dorgeris Álvarez Dorgeris Álvarez

ENGLISH: The reknowned Cuban orchestra Adalberto Álvarez y Su Son are currently touring Europe and we took the opportunity to talk with pianist and Adalberto's right-hand, Dorgeris Álvarez about the tour, the new CD "De Cuba Pa'l Mundo Entero", upcoming events and also about her life growing up in a family of famous soneros where she took on the role of pianist for her father's band at the age of 16. If you are in Europe, the band still has four concerts left so check their tours page for a concert near you. 

Click here to read the interview with Dorgeris.

ESPAÑOL: La reconocida orquesta cubana Adalberto Álvarez y Su Son está actualmente de gira por Europa y aprovechamos la oportunidad para hablar con la pianista y mano derecha de Adalberto, Dorgeris Álvarez, sobre la gira, el nuevo disco "De Cuba Pa'l Mundo Entero", los próximos eventos y también sobre su vida mientras crecía en una familia de famosos soneros donde ella tomó el papel de pianista para la banda de su padre a la edad de 16 años. Si estás en Europa, todavía quedan cuatro conciertos, así que visita la página de giras para un concierto cerca de ti.

Haga clic aquí para leer la entrevista con Dorgeris.

Title track from "De Cuba Pa'l Mundo Entero"

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 13:27:22 +0000
Cantor del Pueblo Released! Havana D'Primera - Cantor del Pueblo

ENGLISH: It's been three yeas since the release of the Cubadisco Winning album "La Vuelta al Mundo" and Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera are back with another award-ready CD. "Cantor del Pueblo" contains ten tracks and continues the line of previous CDs, being a timba album but with pan-Caribbean nuances, for example "Tres Dias" slips into 20 seconds of bachata and then back to timba. It works beautifully.

The album has been released by CDBaby in MP3-320 format. It should be up soon at the other digital retailers and streaming sites. A full review will be coming soon, but for now the track list is below.

ESPAÑOL: Han pasado tres años desde el lanzamiento del álbum ganador de Cubadisco "La Vuelta al Mundo" y Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera vuelven con otro CD listo para premiar. "Cantor del Pueblo" contiene diez canciones y continúa la línea de CD anteriores, siendo un álbum de timba pero con matices pan-caribeños, por ejemplo "Tres Días" se entra en 20 segundos de bachata y luego regresa a la timba. Funciona maravillosamente.

El álbum ha sido lanzado por CDBaby en formato MP3-320. Debería estar disponible pronto en los otros minoristas digitales y sitios de streaming. Pronto se publicará una reseña completa, pero por ahora la lista de canciones está a continuación.

Tres Días
La Mujer Piropo
Cantor del Pueblo
Habana Mía
Energías Oscuras (ballad)
Pastilla de Mente
Lamento Yoruba

Sun, 15 Apr 2018 10:37:07 +0000
Tom's Omara Portuondo Gallery Omara Portuondo played Berkeley's Freight & Salvage last week with an all-star group featuring Rolando Luna, Rodney Barreto, Gastón Joya and Andrés Cuayo. Click here for the full gallery

Sun, 15 Apr 2018 07:52:53 +0000
Daymé Arocena & Pedrito Martínez Group US Tours
Daymé Arocena's USA tour in support of her new release Cubafonía is already underway.    A must-see in her own right, and her backing band is a bonus with some of the best of Cuba's new generation of musicians.  One of them, drummer Ruly Herrera, has already won awards in Cuba with his own group Real Project.  Here's a taste of her live......


Pedrito Martínez kicks off his Spring 2018 Tour in Evanston, Illinois, right next door to Chicago.  Pedrito has graced these pages many times and puts on a killer set. 

In other news, Feliciano Arango of Los Hermanos Arango tells us that  they are back in the studio with a new album to come.   More details in the future.  If you aren't hip to this group, they are a fascinating mix of authentic Afocuban roots and modern fusion.   This is them at a concert at Berklee interacting with student musicians a few years ago:

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 03:31:24 +0000

ENGLISH:  The International Rueda de Casino Multi Flash Mob day will take place in various places across the planet on April 7, 2018 at 1600 hours  local time.  Thousands of dancers will be dancing simultaneously for 10 minutes.   To learn more about this event and how you can participate, visit the International Rueda de Casino Multi Flash Mob Day website.
ESPAÑOL:   El Día Internacional de Rueda de Casino Multi Flash Mob tendrá lugar en varios lugares del planeta el 7 de abril de 2018 a las 16:00 hora local. Miles de bailarines bailarán simultáneamente durante 10 minutos. Para obtener más información sobre este evento y cómo puede participar, visite el sitio web de El Día International de Rueda de Casino Multi Flash Mob.

ENGLISH: For your enjoyment, we include two additional videos, one by Grupo Moncada, a passionate  defender of Rueda de Casino in Cuba (above) and the second by Adalberto Álvarez y su Son (below)
ESPAÑOL: Para su disfrute, incluimos dos videos adicionales, uno del Grupo Moncada, un  defensor apasionado de Rueda de Casino en Cuba (por arriba), y el otro del Adalberto Álvarez y su Son (por abajo)

Thu, 05 Apr 2018 18:21:59 +0000
Timba Meets Jazz Cuban Jazz train Europe

Calixto Oviedo, timbero por excelencia, is bringing his Cuban Jazz Train to Copenhagen's legendary Jazzhus Montmartre for three consecutive shows starting tomorrow, April 5-April 7. Calixto has been touring Europe and below you can check out a video of a recent concert at Nefertiti in Gothenburg, Sweden. As always, Calixto is collaborating with the best. Check out the line-up below. Visit Jazzhus Montmartres webpage to book a table and buy tickets.

Calixto Oviedo (drums / Cuba)
Lily Hernandez (vocal / Cuba)
Fredrik Kronkvist (alto sax / Sweden)
Abel Marcel (piano / Cuba)
Yasser Pino (bass / Cuba)
Eliel Lazo (percussion / Cuba)

On April 10th the Cuban Jazz Train will be stopping at Yoshi's in Oakland. Doors open at 7:30pm. Visit Yoshi's website to get your ticket.

Calixto Oviedo
Lily Hernandez
Oscar Hernandez
Oskar Cartaya
Frank Fontaine
Joey D'Leon

Cuban Jazz Train

Wed, 04 Apr 2018 09:10:34 +0000
BUENA FE LIVE CONCERT STREAM Buena Fe will be performing tonight, tomorrow and Sunday at Karl Marx Theater. For the first time, they will live stream the concerts for the first two nights allowing fans around the world to participate. Tonight's concert will stream from Buena Fe's Facebook page at 9:00pm Eastern Time. Tomorrow, Saturday, March 31st, EGREM will live stream the concert from their Facebook page also at 9:00pm Havana time. Don't miss the opportunity to catch this band live! They are one of Cuba's most popular pop/rock bands and their lyrics reflect a trova sensibility. If you aren't familiar with them, take this opportunity to get to know them.

Fri, 30 Mar 2018 22:42:18 +0000
Interview with Aisar Hernandez - 2018 Aisar y El Expresoo de Cuba

ENGISH: I haven't spoken to Aisar Hernandez - bassist and director of El Expresso de Cuba - since January 2016. At that time the band was just recently formed and they were working on recording their first album - the 2017 Cubadisco-winning "Música Cubana, Llegó El Expresso". Aisar has been in Europe for 10 days and I took the opportunity to catch up with him. Click here to read the interview in English.

ESPAÑOL: No he hablado con Aisar Hernández, bajista y director de El Expresso de Cuba, desde enero de 2016. En ese momento la banda se formó recientemente y estaban trabajando en la grabación de su primer álbum - ganador de Cubadisco 2017 "Música Cubana, Llegó El Expresso".. Aisar ha estado en Europa por 10 días y aproveché la oportunidad para ponerme al día con él. Haz click aqui para leer la entrevista en español.

Tú me propones - Akaena Rodríguez lead vocals

Fri, 30 Mar 2018 11:35:54 +0000
San Diego International Cuban Dance Congress 2018 San Diego Cuban Dance Congress 2018

The 3rd Edition of the four-day San Diego International Cuban Dance Congress will take place October 25-28 at the Town & Country San Diego. The event will include concerts, DJs, dance workshops in son, casino, rueda de casino, rumba and cubaton as well as dance performances. They are also bringing back the popular Timba Boat and Timba Mob Bus. The names of the bands and instructors will be announced later, so follow the Cuban Dance Congress Facebook page to stay updated. In the meantime, you can still get passes at a reduced price until March 31.

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 13:43:51 +0000

ENGLISH:   Cubadisco 2018 will take place in June in Havana, Cuba.  The Cuban Institute of Music (ICM)  has announced the bases for the inscription of recordings in the competition.  That announcement is available here...
In the months to come, our Cubadisco 2018 section will carry the most comprehensive coverage available in English (and apart from Cuban sources generally)  
ESPAÑOL:  Cubadisco 2018 tendrá lugar en La Habana, Cuba en  junio.   El Instituto Cubano de la Música (ICM) ha publicado las bases de la inscripción de grabaciones en el certamen. La convocatoria está disponible aquí...
En los próximos meses,  nuestra sección dedicada al Cubadisco 2018 va a contener la cobertura más exhaustiva en inglés (y aparte de las fuentes cubanas por lo general)

Sun, 18 Mar 2018 02:53:03 +0000
TIMBA X2 IN FRANCE ENGLISH: France is the center of Timba in Europe tonight with concerts by two of the greatest exponents of Timba: Pupy y Los Que Son Son in Limoges at the Carnival Salsa Festival, and Lazarito Valdés & Bamboleo in Paris for the 6th Rueda de Casino Festival. I would hate to be forced to chose between those two concerts. 

ESPAÑOL: Francia es el centro de Timba en Europa esta noche con conciertos de dos de los más grandes exponentes de la Timba: Pupy y Los Que Son Son en Limoge en el Carnival Salsa Festival, y Lazarito Valdés & Bamboleo en París para el 6º Festival de Rueda de Casino. No me gustaría tener que elegir entre esos dos conciertos.

Pupy y Los Que Son Son

Pupy y Los Que Son Son will perform in France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland on this tour. If you want to catch them in Spain, today is the last day to buy discounted tickets!
Click here for the tour dates.

Pupy y Los Que Son Son actuarán en Francia, España, Italia y Suiza en esta gira. Si quieres verlos en España, hoy es el último día para comprar boletos con descuento.
Haga clic aquí para ver las fechas de la gira.

"Pasándola bien (Guarchará)"

Bamboleo @Festival de Rueda de Casino

Lazarito Valdés & Bamboleo will be heating up Paris with songs from their recent album "Pa' Que Bailes". Their tour will take them to France, Sweden, Finland, Italy and Germany. Click to find a concert near you!

Lazarito Valdés & Bamboleo calentará París con canciones de su reciente álbum "Pa 'Que Bailes". Su gira los llevará a Francia, Suecia, Finlandia, Italia y Alemania. ¡Haz clic para encontrar un concierto cerca de ti!

"Qué culpa tengo yo" from the CD "Pa'Que Bailes"

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 16:58:17 +0000
JAZZ PLAZA 2018 IN REVIEW Cuarteto de Saxofones de Santiago

ENGLISH:  Bill Tilford attended the Havana portion of Jazz Plaza 2018 (there were concurrent events in Santiago, but one cannot be in two places at once), and in the most comprehensive coverage of the Havana events outside of Cuba, you can find his commentaries, multiple photo galleries and copies of the schedules and the excellent dailies published by Jazz Plaza HERE. 
ESPAÑOL: Bill Tilford asistió a la porción habanera de Jazz Plaza 2018 (hubo eventos simultáneos en Santiago, pero no se puede estar en dos lugares a la vez), y en la cobertura más exhaustiva de los eventos de La Habana fuera de Cuba, puede encontrar sus comentarios, múltiples galerías de fotos y copias de los horarios y los excelentes diarios publicados por Jazz Plaza AQUÍ.

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 03:51:32 +0000
Upcoming Events in Cuba - Part 2 Fiesta del Tambor 2018

ENGLISH: The 2018 Fiesta del Tambor "Guillermo Barreto in Memoriam" kicked off yesterday with concert at El ISA by Arnie Lang and students of the percussion school at El ISA. Today activities get underway with events in locations throughout the city including Teatro Mella and Jardines del Mella. The new cultural center Casa de la Música de Plaza will host a masters class in batucada by Fabiana Cosa followed by the first leg of the percussion competition in the Sala Teatro. In the Sala Grande there will be concerts tonight by Rozaliz y su orquesta and Bamboleo and the Piano Bar Convergencia will feature Joao Donato, Janis Siegel y Nanny Assis and Luan Carlos Marín y su Grupo. There is so much going on that you need to check out the program. Click here to download final version of the PDF.

ESPAÑOL: Fiesta del Tambor "Guillermo Barreto in Memoriam" 2018 comenzó ayer con un concierto en El ISA por parte de Arnie Lang y alumos de la escuela de percisión en El ISA. Hoy se inician actividades con eventos en lugares de toda la ciudad, incluidos Teatro Mella y Jardines del Mella. El nuevo centro cultural Casa de la Música de Plaza acogerá una clase de maestros de batucada de Fabiana Cosa seguida de la primera etapa de la competencia de percusión en la Sala Teatro. En la Sala Grande habrá conciertos esta noche de Rozaliz y su orquesta y Bamboleo y el Piano Bar Convergencia contará con Joao Donato, Janis Siegel y Nanny Assis y Luan Carlos Marín y su Grupo. Están sucediendo tantas cosas que debes leer el programa. Haz clic aquí para descargar la última versión del PDF.

Tue, 06 Mar 2018 14:02:16 +0000
Fiesta Del Tambor 2018 Fiesta del Tambor 2018

The 2018 Fiesta del Tambor Guillermo Barreto en Memoriam begins March 5th and really is a party with so many facets that you are guaranteed to find something for you. The complete program has now been published. Check it out and you can even download it as a PDF if you want to have it with you as you walk around Havana.

Many of the events will take place the the new Cultural Center and Casa de la Musica in Plaza, which houses both a concert venue, a piano bar and also a community center. Click here to read Bill's blog on it.  There are music and dance workshops and competitions, and lots of concerts. How about Bamboleo, Klímax, Manolito y su Trabuco, Aisar y el Expresso de Cuba, Pupy y Los Que Son Son, Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor, Azúcar Negra, Tanja Pantoja, Achy Lang, Charanga Latina, Los 4, Los Van Van, El Niño y la Verdad, Issac Delgado, and Havana d'Primera to name a few. And that doesn't include the jazz and rumba concerts! 

Check out the video below to see how things are already heating up at La Tropical.

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 20:53:23 +0000
Baby Lores Europe 2018 Baby Lores 2018 Tour

ENGLISH: Baby Lores my be best known for his reggaeton songs such as "Déjala ir" with Insurrecto & Clan 537 and "Los besos de tu boca" with El Chacal, but Lores is multifaceted artist. Beginning his career as a child in Cienfuegos, he has a very nice timbre as lead singer, plays piano, guitar and bass and is also a composer, arranger and producer. In 2013 despite his great success as  a reggaetonero, he decided to record more traditional Cuban genres where he collaborated with stars such as Descemer Bueno, Kelvis Ochoa, Omi Hernández, Roldan (Orishas), Alain Daniel, and Alexander Abreu, who also did some of the arrangements on the album. The CD "180 Grados" became available in 2017 at digital retailers and I recommend you check it out!

Baby Lores will begin touring Europe at the beginning of March. Below are a few of the confirmed dates for the tour. You can keep up with the tour dates by following Baby Lores Official Facebook Page.

ESPAÑOL: Baby Lores es mejor conocido por sus canciones de reggaeton como "Déjala ir" con Insurrecto & Clan 537 y "Los besos de tu boca" con El Chacal, pero Lores es un artista multifacético. Comenzó su carrera como niño en Cienfuegos, tiene un timbre muy agradable como cantante principal, toca el piano, la guitarra y el bajo, y también es compositor, arreglista y productor. En 2013 a pesar de su gran éxito como reggaetonero, decidió grabar géneros cubanos más tradicionales donde colaboró con estrellas como Descemer Bueno, Kelvis Ochoa, Omi Hernández, Roldán (Orishas), Alain Daniel, y Alexander Abreu quien también hizo algunos arreglos en el álbum. ¡El CD "180 Grados" se lanzó en comercios minoristas digitales en el 2017 y recomiendo que lo compruebes!

Baby Lores comenzará an gira de Europa a principios de marzo. A continuación se muestran algunas de las fechas confirmadas para la gira. Puedes mantenerte al día con las fechas de la gira siguiendo la página oficial de Facebook de Baby Lores.

March 2, 2018 - Rome, Italy - Energia do Brasil
March 9, 2018 - Naples, Italy - The Square
March 10, 2018 - Ancona, Italy - La Jarana

Buscaré feat. Kelvis Ochoa CD - "180 Grados"

"Déjala ir 2" feat. Alexander Abreu CD "180 Grados"

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 20:14:44 +0000
Chucho Valdés and Gonzalo Rubalcalba will perform as a duo at Smphony Center in Chicago on Friday, February 23, 2018 at 8:00pm.   Although each has a long and storied musical career, this tour is said to be their first time performing as a duo.   More information and tickets are available at the Symphony Center website

Omar Sosa
will be on tour in the United States in  several cities in March including a key stop at the Old Town School of Folk Music  in Chicago on March 15.   This tour is in support of his new release with Seckou Keita, Transparent Water, scheduled for release this month.   We'll say more about that recording closer to the date.  For the Old Town School of Folk Music performane, tickets and more information are available here.  The rest of the tour schedule is available here 
Here is some video of Omar and Sekou performing together:

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 15:57:05 +0000
Upcoming Events in Cuba - Part 1 Festival de la Salsa en Cuba 2018

ENGLISH: Even as the 2018 tour season gets underway, things are heating up in Cuba with a number of great music festivals and events. I will post about them here over the next few days so stay tuned. And remember that if you can't make these events this year, most of them are recurring so you can start planning for next year!

First up is the Festival de la Salsa en Cuba, which begins Wednesday, February 21st. The festival includes dance and music workshops, An excursion in Havana with Papucho, directer of Papucho y Manana Club, as well as fantastic concerts each night in Parque Metropolitano. The opening concert will be held by Wil Campa. Participants can buy complete passes for all events and concerts, concert-only passes or a day pass that is good from 5pm for one day only. The after parties are not included in any of the passes but are something you don't want to miss with animations, DJs, and separate dance floors for traditional versus contemporary music. Foreigners will not be able to attend events this year by buying tickets in moneda nacional, but you can purchase your tickets in advance by following this link.

ESPAÑOL: Mientras la temporada de giras de 2018 se pone en marcha, las cosas se están calentando en Cuba con una serie de grandes festivales y eventos de música. Voy a publicar sobre ellos aquí en los próximos días, así que estad atentos. ¡Y recuerde que si no puedes asistir a estos eventos este año, la mayoría de ellos se repiten cada año para que puedas comenzar a planificar el próximo año!

Primero está el Festival de la Salsa en Cuba, que comienza el miércoles 21 de febrero. El festival incluye talleres de danza y música, una excursión a La Habana con Papucho, director de Papucho y Manana Club, así como fantásticos conciertos cada noche en el Parque Metropolitano. El concierto de apertura se llevará a cabo por Wil Campa. Los participantes pueden comprar pases completos para todos los eventos y conciertos, pases solo de concierto o un pase de un día que es válido a partir de las 5 p.m. durante un solo día. Las after parties no están incluidas en ninguno de los pases, pero son algo que no debe perderse con animaciones, DJs y pistas de baile separadas para música tradicional versus contemporánea. Los extranjeros no podrán asistir a eventos este año comprando boletos en moneda nacional, pero pueden comprar sus boletos con anticipación usando este enlace.

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 11:48:10 +0000
Barbaro Fines y Su Mayimbe Barbaro Fines y Su Mayimbe

ENGLISH: The winter tour season has really gotten underway in Europe now. Tonight BFM begin their tour with a concert in Seville, Spain at Chaney Discotek. They will be on tour for almost a month and this tour includes a lot of first such as tonight their first concert in Andalusia, their first show in the UK in London on March 9th and first time in Israel, March 11th in Tel Aviv. Click here to find a concert near you!

ESPAÑOL: La temporada de las giras de invierno realmente ha comenzado en Europa ahora. Esta noche BFM comienza su gira con un concierto en Sevilla, España en Chaney Discotek. Estarán de gira durante casi un mes y esta gira incluye muchas primeras como esta noche su primer concierto en Andalucía, su primer show en el Reino Unido en Londres el 9 de marzo y la primera vez en Israel, el 11 de marzo en Tel Aviv. Haz clic aquí para encontrar un concierto cerca de ti!

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 18:05:01 +0000
Rumba y Candela 8 Rumba y Candela 8

Rumba y Candela 8 is underway today in Strasbourg, France. It is the first of the Cuban festivals in France in 2018. You can keep up with what is happening in France by following Les Festivals Cubains en France at Facebook

The festival includes dance workshops in afro-cuban and casino as well as parties with live music. Tonight Harold Lopez-Nussa trio wil play. Tomorrow Yanesito & Soneros All Stars and on Sunday Elito Revé y Su Charangón. Click here for the rest of the concert dates for Orquesta Revé.

I was planning to go to this festival myself but was not able to in the end. But since this is the first time that Soneros All Stars have performed down in continental Europe, I asked bandleader, bassist and tresero Yanesito (Jan Miklos Bogdan) a few questions on the eve of the band's departure for France.

Jan "Yanesito" BogdanPhoto courtesy of Soneros All Stars Facebook

Para leer la entrevista en Español haz clic aquí.

How does it feel to finally get down to the continent with your group?

It feels great, but I'm also a bit nervous because the whole band has not played together yet. Everyone has been practicing. But we are musicians who are used to adapting and meeting at the soundcheck to rehearse for a couple of hours and then have a fantastic concert in the evening ... haha! The most important thing in Cuban music is the heart and the rhythm. We're going to have fun!

Tell me about the musicians - It's a must be fun to be reunited with Pepito. Have you worked with Alexander "El Caballo Grande" before?

Yes, I have played with Alex at Nefertiti in Gothenburg together with Raúl Lara y Sus Soneros, that show reminds us of what we are going to do on Friday at RYC8 - musicians from different countries/cities get together and just go for it. It requires a lot from everyone and Alex was fantastic, he's a real sonero.

It's been almost exactly 10 years since I worked with Cesar Pedroso in Egrem studio 101 in Centro Habana to record the album "La Timba Soy Yo". It was the first time I met Pepito. At first everything got a little strange. I had chosen Mandy, Sinsonte and Cristina Azcuy to lead and was still looking for another singer. I didn't want the album to sound too much like Pupy Y Los Que Son Son, so I didn't choose Pepito as lead singer but tried to find someone else. After taking with Pupy, Bombon and Sinsonte (all of whom had an important role in production), we chose Pepito. I already knew that Pepito was awesome, so it was natural to bring him in. I have a very good impression of Pepito, he is not only a singer, he also plays guitar. He keeps up on what's going on in music. And not least, his voice is the style I like, brutal output ... sonero/timba, but he also has the softer and gentler voice that suits boleros. I like him, and look forward to working with him live.

I will also bring Raciel Enrique Garces Espinosa with me on lead and coros. He is a Cuban guy who's lived in Sweden maybe 10 years? I don't know exactly. But I've met him through my "brother" Richard Ortega when we worked with Richard Ortega y La Jugada. Raciel is a sonero I love to work with.

Richard Ortega, he is my "brother". There are some men here in the world who understand how you work, how you think, how you are, and that's the kind of guy Richard is. Richard is a rumbero, and he loves jazz. When I play with him, I feel good. When I play with him, I'm Cuban.

I have also chosen to bring two musicians from Gothenburg, because just like me they love Cuban music and are very good friends: Raúl Lara and Rubens Millet Herrera. I was nominated for a GRAMMY with Raúl Lara for his album "Soy Cubano" in the BEST TROPICAL LATIN ALBUM category. Rubens is a great percussionist that I love working with.

On drums, Michel Ortiz Acosta .- a killer percussionist, killer drummer and a real timbero. He is one of those musicians you always want to bring along.

Of course, I have Sweden's best Cuban brass:
Petter Linde - Trumpet
Filip Olandersson - Trumpet
Nikolas Viisanen - Trombone
Johan Åström - Trombone

If you're not familiar with the Soneros All Stars, check out the latest release "El Que Corta El Bacalao". 

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 20:50:18 +0000
Elito Revé & Su Charangón Elito Revé

ENGLISH: Elito Revé y Su Charangón are in Europe today to begin their 2018 Winter Tour. Tomorrow they play at the Cubayonne festival in Bayonne, France.  The tour takes them to France, Spain, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Check here for concert dates, and even if they won't be visiting your country, it is worth a timba trip to see this line-up. For some of us it is our first opportunity to see El Indio live since his return to the band. And of course Dagoberto, Yera, and the lovely Susel - who you can enjoy in the video below - will also be there.

Other tours that are currently underway in Europe include Jacob Forever and La Charanga Habanera

ESPAÑOL: Elito Revé y Su Charangón están hoy en Europa para comenzar su Gira de Invierno 2018. Mañana tocarán en el festival Cubayonne en Bayona, Francia. La gira los lleva a Francia, España, Alemania, Italia y Suiza. Consulte aquí las fechas de los conciertos e incluso si no van a visitar su país, vale la pena hacer un viaje timbero para ver este grupo de integrantes. Para algunos de nosotros es nuestra primera oportunidad de ver a El Indio en vivo desde su regreso a la banda. Y, por supuesto estarán Dagoberto, Yera y la adorable Susel, de la que puedes disfrutar en el siguiente video.

Otros tours que ahora se están llevando a cabo en Europa incluyen a Jacob Forever La Charanga Habanera.

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 12:07:49 +0000
Estelares sencillos y arte gráfico de Cuba Un verdadero deleite ser testigo de los momentos en que la excelencia musical se une con poderosos elementos artísticos visuales. Aquí les brindo tres caratulas nuevas que se distinguen al igual que los sencillos correspondientes.  

Tema: Loco Por Tí feat Ángel Yos
** Este disco se lanzará este año (2018)
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/08n0RKM3NBf9sbO70GTHym
Tidal: http://tidal.com/track/83751564
Salúdalos en facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rubenpazycheverefusion/

Artista / grupo: RUBÉN PAZ y CHÉVERE FUSIÓN -- Tema: Loco Por Tí feat Ángel Yos


Artista / grupo: ZONA FRANCA
Tema: Sabroso (Remix)
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/5G8neUhgqs15SU5dypY6Yc
Tidal: https://tidal.com/browse/album/79824145
Salúdalos en facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zonafrancacuba/

Artista / grupo: ZONA FRANCA -- Tema: Sabroso (Remix)


Artista / grupo: LA TABLA
Tema: El mundo en equilibrio
** Este disco se lanzará este año (2018)
Salúdalos en facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaTablaCuba/

Artista / grupo: LA TABLA -- Tema: El mundo en equilibrio

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 07:37:28 +0000
ACAS at Freight & Salvage Again Tonight The Afro-Cuban All Stars were amazing last night - only one personnel change. Freight and Salvage is a great venue - wonderful acoustics with a looser, dance atmosphere. Click here for tickets and more info.

Click here for more photos. Full gallery coming soon.

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 20:15:43 +0000
Juan de Marcos and ACAS

ACAS begins its 2018 tour tonight in South Orange, New Jersey. They'll be in the Bay Area at Freight & Salvage next Tuesday and Wednesday.

It will be essentially the same lineup as last year - here's my review of that tour.

Here's the full schedule.

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 20:14:21 +0000
2018 Festival de la Salsa en Cuba Festival de la Salsa en Cuba 2018

The 2018 Festival de la Salsa en Cuba is almost upon us and, as with previous years, I will be unable to attend. Fortunately, the Facebook page shares a lot of good photos and videos, so I will follow along there. Also as with previous years there is an all-star line-up for the nightly concerts as well as music and dance workshops, DJ parties and After Parties. This year also includes an excursion in Havana to important places for Cuban musical and cultural production under the guidance of none other than Pedro Lázaro Ordoñez - better known as Papucho, bassist and bandleader of Manana Club.

Participants can buy complete passes for all events and concerts, concert-only passes or a day pass that is good from 5pm for one day only. The after parties are not included in any of the passes but are something you don't want to miss with animations, DJs, and separate dance floors for traditional versus contemporary music. Foreigners will not be able to attend events this year by buying tickets in moneda nacional, but you can purchase your tickets by following this link.

Concert Schedule  
21st Wil Campa
22nd Yasser Ramos y su Tumbao Mayombe
El Niño y la Verdad
Papucho y Manana Club
Havana D'Primera
23rd Alain Pérez
Adalberto Álvarez y Su Son
Pupy y Los Que Son Son
24th Haila Mompié
Giraldo Piloto y Klímax
El Noro y 1ra Clase
Los Van Van
25th Combinación Cubana
Paulo F.G.
Manolito y Su Trabuco
Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor

For more information check out Festival de la Salsa en Cuba @Facebook. 

Festival de la Salsa en Cuba 2018 program

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 15:45:53 +0000
Inside the Centro Cultural La Plaza de 31 y 2

ENGLISH: During JoJazz 2017, Bill Tilford also had the opportunity to visit the Centro Cultural La Plaza de 31 y 2, which contains the excellent new Casa de la Música Plaza.  For a look inside, here are two photo galleries with commentary:
ESPAÑOL:  Durante JoJazz 2017, Bill Tilford tuve también la oportunidad de visitar al Centro Cultural La Plaza de 31 y 2, que contiene la nueva y excelente Casa de la Música Plaza.  Para un tur virtual, aquí están dos galerías de fotos con comentarios: 

Inside the Centro Cultural La Plaza de 31 y 2, Part 1
Inside the Centro Cultural La Plaza de 31 y 2, Part 2

Sun, 07 Jan 2018 19:05:13 +0000
Juan de Marcos & Afro-Cuban All Stars Afro-Cuban All Stars Tour

ENGLISH: Grammy-winner Juan de Marcos and his Afro-Cuban All Stars begin their 2018 winter tour on Wednesday, January 10th in the frigid North Eastern US with concerts in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. The US leg of the tour will also take them to California and Georgia. The European Tour will run from January 1 through February 1st. Click here for all the tour dates.

The tour is in support of the Afro-Cuban All Stars' eighth Album - "Absolutely Live II - Viva Mexico!" - a CD + DVD released in 2017. You can check out one of the videos from the album below. Don't miss this opportunity to bring some Caribbean heat to your winter!

ESPAÑOL: Ganador del Grammy Juan de Marcos y sus Afro-Cuban All Stars comienzan su gira de invierno de 2018 el miércoles, 10 de enero en el glacial noreste de los EE.UU. con conciertos en Nueva Jersey, Nueva York, Pensilvania y Massachusetts. La etapa estadounidense de la gira también los llevará a California y Georgia. El Tour Europeo se desarrollará desde el 1 de enero hasta el 1 de febrero. Haga clic aquí para ver todas las fechas de la gira.

La gira es en apoyo del octavo álbum Afro-Cuban All Stars - "Absolutely Live II - ¡Viva México!" - un CD + DVD lanzado en 2017. Puede ver uno de los videos del álbum a continuación. ¡No pierda esta oportunidad de traer algo de calor caribeño a su invierno!

Sat, 06 Jan 2018 11:39:54 +0000
Calixto Oviedo European Tour Calixto Oviedo & Cuban Jazz Train

ENGLISH: Calixto Oviedo is returning to Europe for a tour with his Cuban Jazz Train during March and April. We have updated his tours page and will continue updating as more information becomes available. Calixto is busy in the US as well and will be performing with his Cuban Jazz Train in Hollywood at Catalina Jazz Club on January 18th and at Yoshi's in Oakland with his Afro-Cuban Jazz group. You can keep up with Calixto by visiting his official website and his following his Facebook page.

ESPAÑOL: Calixto Oviedo regresa a Europa para una gira con su Cuban Jazz Train durante marzo y abril. Hemos actualizado su página de giras y continuaremos actualizando a medida que haya más información disponible. Calixto también está trabajando mucho en los Estados Unidos y actuará con su Cuban Jazz Train en Hollywood en Catalina Jazz Club el 18 de enero y en Yoshi's en Oakland con su grupo de Jazz Afrocubano. Puede mantenerse al día con Calixto visitando su sitio web oficial y siguiendo su página de Facebook.

Calixto Oviedo & Cuban Jazz Train 

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 17:11:22 +0000
JOJAZZ 2017 SPECIAL FEATURE / ARTICULO ESPECIAL SOBRE JOJAZZ 2017 ENGLISH:  Bill Tilford attended the 20th Anniversary  of  the Concurso de jóvenes jazzistas (JoJazz 2017)  in Havana, Cuba in November at the invitation of the National Center of Popular Music (CNMP).  More than merely a competition for Cuba's finest young Jazz talent, it also provides a glimpse of things to come in Jazz in Cuba.  We are pleased to present the most comprehensive look at JoJazz that you will find anywhere outside of Cuba (possibly inside for that matter - it includes a couple of hundred photos).  For the article, documents and several photo galleries with commentaries, 
ESPAÑOL: Bill Tilford asistió al 20 aniversario del Concurso de jóvenes jazzistas (JoJazz 2017) en La Habana, Cuba en noviembre  por invitación del Centro Nacional de Música Popular (CNMP). Más que una mera competencia para el mejor talento joven de Jazz de Cuba, también ofrece una idea de lo que vendrá en Jazz en Cuba. Nos complace presentar la mirada más completa de JoJazz que encontrará en cualquier lugar fuera de Cuba (posiblemente dentro también, porque incluye un par de cientos de fotos). Para el artículo, documentos y varias galerías de fotos con comentarios, 


ENGLISH: The 33rd Festival International Jazz Plaza will be taking place in Havana from the 17th to the 21st of January using several locations (as always) including Teatro Mella, Jardines del Mella, CIDMUC, Casa de la Cultura de Plaza, and the clubs and hotels always have late night presentations as well.  There is a nice website dedicated to the festival this year:
ESPAÑOL: La 33ª edición del Festival International Jazz Plaza tendrá lugar en La Habana del 17 al 21 de enero en varios lugares (como siempre) incluyendo Teatro Mella, Jardines del Mella, CIDMUC, Casa de la Cultura de Plaza, y los clubes y los hoteles siempre tienen presentaciones nocturnas también.  Hay un sitio web, bilingüe y bien hecho, dedicado al festival este año. 

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 22:20:26 +0000
Tom's Yissy García Photos

It was Yissy García and Bandancha's first trip to the Bay Area and they showed why they are one of the hottest new bands in Havana's music scene. I attended the last of three performances in the area (one show at Cafe Stritch in San Jose. Club Uh in Oakland and the last at Ashkenaz in Berkeley). [Tom Ehrlich]

Thu, 28 Dec 2017 20:40:44 +0000
Interview with Nachito Jr Nachito Jr. Hererra

ENGLISH: Ian Ignacio Herrera López, better known as "Nachito Jr.", has distinguished himself in recent years as one of the young generation of Cuban musicians who are defending the legacy of Cuban dance music. Nachito Jr. comes from a family of renowned musicians named Ignacio, which can lead to some confusion. His father, Ignacio Herrera, played trombone with Orquesta Revé, Los Reyes 73 and Ritmo Oriental while his brother, pianist Ignacio Herrera "Nachito", who currently resides in the US, was a member of Cubanismo for several years before settling in the US. It may seem that Nachito Jr. was always destined to play piano, but the truth is...well, I'll let you read it in his own words in the interview.

Nachito Jr. has worked with a number of timba groups as well as with Roberto Faz, where he had the opportunity to perform with Omara Portuondo. He has been both pianist and musical director for Habana City, Bakuleye, El Noro y 1ra Clase and currently with Yasser Ramos y Su Orquesta. Nachito Jr. also works on arrangements for other artists and is interested in all types of music. On December 23rd there will be a release concert for an album with arrangements by Nachito Jr. for the reggaetonero G Rowell

Click here to read the interview with Nachito Jr.

ESPAÑOL: Ian Ignacio Herrera López, mejor conocido como "Nachito Jr.", se ha distinguido en los últimos años como una de las jóvenes músicos cubanos que defienden el legado de la música de baile cubana. Nachito Jr. proviene de una familia de renombrados músicos llamado Ignacio, lo que puede generar cierta confusión. Su padre, Ignacio Herrera, tocó con Orquesta Revé, Los Reyes 73 y Ritmo Oriental, mientras que su hermano, el pianista Ignacio Herrera "Nachito", que actualmente reside en los EE. UU., fue miembro de Cubanismo durante varios años antes de establecerse en los EE. UU. Puede parecer que Nachito Jr. siempre estuvo destinado a tocar el piano, pero la verdad es ... bueno, te dejaré leerlo con sus propias palabras en la entrevista.

Nachito Jr. ha trabajado con varios grupos de timba, así como con Roberto Faz, donde tuvo la oportunidad de actuar con Omara Portuondo. Ha sido pianista y director musical de Habana City, Bakuleye, El Noro y 1ra Clase y actualmente con Yasser Ramos y Su Orquesta. Nachito Jr. también trabaja arreglos para otros artistas y está interesado en todo tipo de música. El 23 de diciembre habrá un concierto de lanzamiento para un álbum con arreglos de Nachito Jr. para el reggaetonero G Rowell.

Haga clic aquí para leer la entrevista con Nachito Jr.

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 18:15:12 +0000
Los 4 US Concerts in December Los 4 in LA

ENGLISH: Los 4 are already in the US and will be performing in Virginia, New Jersey, and California where Tanja Pantoja will join them for the LA concert at Project. Click here for the concert dates and venues and stay tuned, because we will be updating their tour page if more concerts are added. In the meantime, I leave you with one of their recent hits from "Privilegio 2".

ESPAÑOL: Los 4 ya están en los Estados Unidos y actuarán en Virginia, Nueva Jersey y California, donde Tanja Pantoja se unirá a ellos para el concierto de LA en Project. Haga clic aquí para ver las fechas de los conciertos y los lugares, y manténgase en sintonía, ya que actualizaremos su página de  giras si se agregan más conciertos. Mientras tanto te dejo con uno de los éxitos recientes de "Privilegio 2".

Sat, 25 Nov 2017 16:16:47 +0000
Hacerse El Sueco - The Video La Liga Habanera

ENGLISH: The Stockholm-based timba band La Liga Habanera released their new single "Hacerse el Sueco" early this month and three days later the video was uploaded to YouTube. "Hacerse el Sueco" was composed by bandleader, drummer and now lead vocalist, Max Alton. The arrangement is by Max and Måns Ek. See the full credits below.

Max took on lead vocals on this track, since the subject of the song is a Swede in Havana. The video was filmed in Havana, and it's always a pleasure to see her streets and her people. Check out the video below and you can buy the single at iTunes, Amazon and other digital retailers, as well as on streaming apps. 

ESPAÑOL: La Liga Habanera, grupo de timba con sede en Estocolmo, lanzó su nuevo sencillo "Hacerse el Sueco" a principios de este mes y tres días después el video fue subido a YouTube. "Hacerse el Sueco" fue compuesto por el líder de la banda, el baterista y ahora vocalista principal Max Alton. El arreglo es de Max y Måns Ek. Vea los créditos completos a continuación.

Max tomó la voz principal en esta pista, ya que el tema de la canción es un sueco en La Habana. El video fue filmado en La Habana, y siempre es un placer ver sus calles y su gente. Mira el video a continuación y puedes comprar el single en iTunes, Amazon y otros minoristas digitales, así como en aplicaciones de transmisión.

"Hacerse el Sueco" Recorded in Sthockholm Sweden at Farmer street studios and Belaris Estudios in Havana in 2017.
Lead vocals - Max Alton
Background vocals - Raciel Garces, Cecilia Ferrer, Max Alton and Daniel Baro.
Drums - Max Alton
Congas - Miguel
Timbales and bongó - René Suarez
Guiro - Max Alton
Bass - Alfonso Nuñes
Piano - Måns Ek
Tres - Gunnar Tullberg
Trumpets -Rickard Lindgren
Trombones - Johan Åström
Mix - Måns Ek
Master - Masterton Studios

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 21:11:36 +0000

"#Latino" is the fourth album released by Simon Monserrat & Djeli and their second release of 2017, the first being "#Afro", which dropped in July of this year. The title pretty much sums up the album. It is a trip through the Carribean with stops in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela and Colombia.

Some of the songs are served straight up such as "Oye mi songo" - self-explanitory - and "Mofongo" - a tasty son montuno - while "La rumba que traigo yo" and "Sabiduria antigua" are fusions, the former Cuban rumba with flamenco the latter a very modern cumbia-fusion with rap by MC Rico Pabon. "Suena tu tambo" is a classic descarga which features solos by Richard Ortega (piano), Monserrat (percussion) and Mats Hermansson (trombone) that allow the musicians to show their chops. "Latibonito" is an Afro-Haitian track, something new to me. A much slower song with vocals by Roger Chatelain, it has a melancholy quality with beautiful solos on violin and flute and almost feels like a slow cha-cha-chá as it progresses. "El Quitipla" picks up the pace again with a fusion of Afro-Venezuelan music and lead vocals in Portuguese from Brazilian Simone Moreno.

Monserrat performs most of the percussion on the album and also flute on "Sabiduria antigua". He has collaborated on the album with musicians such as Puerto Rican Jerry Medina, Colombian Roger Martinez and Cuban trumpet player Yuliesky Gonzalez. Monserrat is based in Sweden and the album features many well-known names from the Swedish timba scene such as Thomas Eby, Richard Ortega, Oldrich Gonzalez, and Raciel Garces Espinoso. See the track list below for more information on particiating musicians. I also want to mention Erik Steen who plays a mean flamenco guitar and Santiago Jimenez on violin.

I recommend that you check "#Latino" out at Spotify. It is available for purchase at the usual digital retailers and streaming sites such as iTunes and Amazon. 

Track list:
1. Oye mi songo ft Jerry Medina, Moncho, Thomas Eby
2. Mofongo ft Yuliesky Gonzalez, Oldrich Gonzalez, Roger Martinez
3. La rumba que traigo yo ft Raciel Garces Espinosa, Angeles Gomez, Erik Steen
4. Sabiduria antigua ft MC Rico Pabón, Marina Johansson
5. Suena mi tambo ft Richard Ortega, Raciel Garces Espinosa, Mats Hermansson
6. Latibonito ft Roger Chatelain, Santiago Jimenez, Martin Pålsson
7. El Quitipla ft Simone Moreno, Dekula Kahanga
8. Oye mi songo ft Jerry Medina, Moncho, Thomas Eby (bonus track)

Sun, 12 Nov 2017 18:31:38 +0000
De La Habana a Perú De La Habana a Perú

ENGLISH: Lima, Perú will play host to a weekend of Cuban dance workshops presented by Arturo Rojas and Fredyclan. The workshops will be taught by Arturo, Fredyclan and the divine Yanet Fuentes. This is the first time Fredyclan and Yanet Fuentes  have appeared in Lima. The workshops will range from ladies and men's styling to rumba and afro-cuban to casino and son.

I expect that these names need no introduction to timberos and casineros but for any newbies out there let me present them. Fredyclan is a dancer and choreographer and has also made a name for himself as a singer with hits such as "Yo Vengo de Cuba" ft Alexander Abreu & Havana D' Primera, "Yo Soy Bueno" ft Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco , "Tranquilo Calmao", "La Calle EstáQue Arde" and more.  Yanet Fuentes is a dancer who has appeared in television and film and has even been a choreographer for Shakira. Rounding out the instructors is Peruvian dancer and choreographer Arturo Rojas who is based in Sweden.

ESPANOL: Lima, Perú será la sede de un fin de semana de talleres de bailes cubanos presentado por Arturo Rojas y Fredyclan. Los talleres serán impartidos por Arturo, Fredyclan y la divina Yanet Fuentes. Esta es la primera vez que Fredyclan y Yanet Fuentes han dado clases en Lima. Los talleres van desde styling  de mujeres y hombres hasta rumba y afrocubano, hasta casinos y son.

Imagino que estos nombres no necesiten ninguna introducción a timberos y casineros, pero para los novatos, déjenme presentarlos. FredyClan es bailarín y coreógrafo y también se hizo un nombre como cantante con éxitos conocidas mundialmente comoo "Yo Vengo de Cuba" ft Alexander Abreu y Havana D 'Primera, "Yo Soy Bueno" ft Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco, "Tranquilo Calmao", "La Calle EstáQue Arde" y más. Yanet Fuentes es una bailarina que ha aparecido en televisión y cine e incluso ha sido coreógrafa de Shakira. Completando los instructores está el bailarín y coreógrafo peruano Arturo Rojas radicado en Suecia.

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 22:35:42 +0000
Tom's Revé Photos Click here for the full gallery.

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 05:15:11 +0000

ENGLISH: On a cold, rainy night  27 October 2017 in Stockholm, Sweden, 1000 people sweated and grooved the night away to the music of El Chacal, Havana D'Primera and FClan. The concert was organized by DJ Isra and Ritmico and was the first time I saw El Chacal or FClan and two years since the last time I saw Havana D'Primera. One very important note before posting the link to the concert review: take cash to the Havana D'Primera concert! They are selling CDs, DVDs, t-shirts and ball caps. I had no cash and came home empty handed but with a full heart. Click here for the concert report. 

To find a Havana D'Primera concert near you click here.

The remainnig dates fior El Chacal
03-11  Danzon - Vienna, Austria
04-11 El Diablo Tun Tun - Milan, Italy
05-11 Salsa Na'ma - Brescia, Italy
07-11 Donoma - Civitanova, Italy 
09-11 La Crespa - Modena, Italy
11-11 Sala Zenith - Madrid, Spain
12-11 Suite 191 -  Barcelona, Spain

ESPAÑOL: En una noche fría y lluviosa el 27 de octubre de 2017 en Estocolmo, Suecia, 1000 personas sudaron y pasaron la noche bailando con la música de El Chacal, Havana D'Primera y FClan. El concierto fue organizado por DJ Isra y Ritmico y fue la primera vez que vi a El Chacal o FClan y dos años desde la última vez que vi Havana D'Primera. Una nota muy importante antes de publicar el enlace para la reseña del concierto: ¡lleva efectivo al concierto de Havana D'Primera! Están vendiendo CD, DVD, camisetas y gorras de béisbol. No tenía dinero y volví a casa con las manos vacías pero con el corazón lleno. Haga clic aquí para ver el informe del concierto.

Para encontrar un concierto de Havana D'Primera cerca de ti dale clic aquí.

Las fechas restantes para El Chacal
03-11 Danzon - Vienna, Austria
04-11 El Diablo Tun Tun - Milán, Italia
05-11 Salsa Na'ma - Brescia, Italia
07-11 Donoma - Civitanova, Italia
09-11 La Crespa - Modena, Italia
11-11 Sala Zenith - Madrid, España
12-11 Suite 191 - Barcelona, España

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 19:59:13 +0000
Mano a Mano! If you're anywhere near the Bronx, don't miss the historic pairing of Oscar Hernández and Spanish Harlem Orchestra with the new blazing hot Revé featuring Juan Miguel "El Indio" Díaz, back again and better than ever after twenty years, shown below alongside Carlos Cascante of Spanish Harlem. Click here for Tom's latest SHO gallery.

El Charangón put on one of the best timba shows of the 21st Century last night in Santa Cruz. El Indio spent the whole first set in the shadows, singing flawless inobtrusive coros only to come out at the beginning of the second to put on a master class in singing and showmanship. His presence seemed to push everyone including the crowd to a peak experience. Dagoberto was especially brilliant, taking advantage of a problem with the bass amp to invent a new coro ("el bajo se rompió") and generally dominating the room every time he took the mic. Susel continues to shine and Sinsonte's replacement as the obligatory "vieja" singer, Sergei Yera, is a great fit as well. The new rhythm section (new pianist, new bassist (with a 5-string baby bass!), new timbalero, new tresero, same bongosero, same conguero, same güirero - all names will be in the upcoming gallery of photos) was nothing short of electrifying. The new Santiago-born tresero had a crisp sound that blended perfectly with the rhythm section and infused the groove with copious quantities of ... changüismo (is that a word?). At first I thought it was just that I need to get out more, but everyone there came to the same conclusion - it was a show for the ages - with the straw stirring the drink definitely being El Indio (not Sixto Llorente the ex-Trabuquero, but Juan Miguel Díaz, the brother of the late great conguero Angá). "El Indio de la Revé" as he's often called joined the group along with Yumurí after the great Dan Den schism. He sang on the classic Suave suave and Mi salsa tiene sandunga albums, then set off to Spain for a couple decades, but he's back now with a vengeance. Here's an interesting interview with El Indio, Dagoberto and Elito discussing the new lineup and the history of the group:

                                                           Elito and Dagoberto

Oscar Hernández (piano), Marco Bermudez, Jeremy Bosch, Carlos Cascante

All photos by Tom Ehrlich, taken in Santa Cruz at Kuumbwa Jazz Center (SHO) and Moe's Alley (Revé).

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 06:00:36 +0000
Tom's Revé Photos! Next Show: Tuesday, October 24 at Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz

Click continue reading for the full set of 29 photos from Saturday night's show.

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 07:05:14 +0000
Elito Revé Birthday Celebration at SF Cigar Bar Tonight Here's the link - photos from last night coming soon - Santa Cruz on Tuesday.

Sun, 22 Oct 2017 20:15:53 +0000
Revé y su Charangón in SF and Santa Cruz Elio Revé y su Charangón

Finally! A timba tour that's actually happening! See you there!

Here's the link for Tuesday, Oct. 24th at Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz. For Roccapulco SF tickets tomorrow, Saturday call 415-940-0001.

Sat, 21 Oct 2017 00:48:30 +0000
  The twentieth Edition of the International Competition of Young Jazz Artists (JoJazz)  will take place November 16-19 in Havana, Cuba.  JoJazz is short for Jovenes Jazzistas but is also a play on words (joyas=jewels).   It is a competition rather than a festival and is therefore almost unattended by foreigners, but it is a fascinating event because much of Cuba's young emerging Jazz talent passes through this event on the way to bigger and better things.   You can read an English translation of the official call for contestants here (click on the link) - it explains the stucture of the competition in detail.   You can also view some scenes from last year's JoJazz, which I attended, here, here, here and here.

Brenda Besada Rodríguez of CNMP introducing the Jazz Band Femenina de la ENA, JoJazz 2016

: La vigésima edición del Concurso Internacional de Jóvenes  Jazzistas (JoJazz) tendrá lugar del 16 al 19 de noviembre en La Habana, Cuba. JoJazz es la abreviatura de Jovenes Jazzistas pero también es un juego de palabras (joyas). Es más un concurso  que un festival y, por lo tanto, tipicamente experimenta poca presencia de extranjeros, pero es un evento fascinante porque gran parte del joven talento emergente del Jazz de Cuba pasa por este evento en el camino a cosas más grandes y mejores. Puede leer la convocatoria oficial para concursantes aquí (haz clic en el enlace) - se explica la estructura de la competencia en detalle. También puedes ver algunas escenas de JoJazz del año pasado, a lo que asistí, aquí, aquí, aquí y aquí.

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 02:56:53 +0000
Leonel Limonta and "Voy por ti" Leonel Limonta

ENGLISH: Azúcar Negra's tour agent announced at Facebook that today, Leonel Limonta "El Poeta de la Timba" and director of Azucar Negra, began recording the rhythm section, horns and coros of the song "Voy por ti",  which will be the theme song of an event Limonta is organizing to help the victims of the disaster caused by Hurricane Irma in Cuba. You may recall that in 2008 Limonta also took action and recorded "Así Somos" after Cuba was hit with two hurricanes. "Voy por ti" will include the participation of leading Cuban artists. Among those who have already confirmed their participation in the project are Samuel Formell, Hayla Mompié, Tania Pantoja, Waldo Mendoza, the singers of Anacaona, Dayana La Reguetonera, and Marcos d Alma. Still to confirm are the singers of Los Van Van, Dayan from Pupy y Los Que Son Son, Vania Borges, Osdalgia, Ricardo Amaray and the Rodriguez brothers of Manolito Simonet y Su Trabuco. As the project moves forward, Limonta hopes that more artists will join this worthy cause. All the details about the event, including date and time and venue will be coming soon so stay tuned. 

ESPAÑOL: La agente internacional de Azúcar Negra anunció en Facebook que hoy, Leonel Limonta "El Poeta de la Timba" y el director de Azucar Negra, comenzó a grabar la base rítmica, los metales y los coros de la canción "Voy por ti", que será el tema de un gran evento que Limonta está organizando para ayudar a las damnificados del desastre causado por el huracán Irma en Cuba. Puede recordar que en 2008 Limonta también tomó medidas y grabó "Así Somos" después de que Cuba fue golpeada con dos huracanes. "Voy por ti" incluirá la participación de destacados artistas cubanos. Entre los que ya confirmaron su participación en el proyecto están Samuel Formell, Hayla Mompié, Tania Pantoja, Waldo Mendoza, los cantantes de Anacaona, Dayana La Reguetonera y Marcos d Alma. Aún quedan por confirmar los cantantes de Los Van Van, Dayan de Pupy y Los Que Son Son, Vania Borges, Osdalgia, Ricardo Amaray y los hermanos Rodríguez de Manolito Simonet y Su Trabuco. A medida que avanza el proyecto, Limonta espera que más artistas se unirán a esta valiosa causa. Todos los detalles sobre el evento, incluso la fecha, la hora y el lugar estarán próximos, así que estad atentos.

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 19:01:25 +0000
Cuban Events This Weekend in California ENGLISH:  With of the terrible news in California from the fires, it's nice to be able to post some good news for Californians. With some well-planned logistics you can see Yeni on Friday and Elito y Su Charangón with Mayito Rivera on Saturday.

ESPAÑOL: Con la terrible noticia en California de los incendios, es bueno poder publicar buenas noticias para los californianos. Con la logística bien planificada puedes ver a Yeni el viernes y a Elito y Su Charangón con Mayito Rivera el sábado.

Yeni Valdés

ENGLISH: The San Diego International Cuban Dance Congress will take place this week, October 19 - 22. On October 20th Yeni Valdés will perform with her band. Doors open at 10pm. Tickets from the full congress pass, to party pass to concert tickets for Yeni's show are available at the following link.

ESPAÑOL: San Diego International Cuban Dance Congress se llevará a cabo esta semana, del 19 al 22 de octubre. El 20 de octubre, Yeni Valdés cantará con su orquesta. Las puertas se abren a las 10 pm. Las entradas desde el pase del congreso completo, al pase de fiesta hasta las entradas para el concierto de Yeni están disponibles en el siguiente enlace.

Elito Revé y Su Charangón

ENGLISH: The San Francisco Bay Area Cuban Festival is underway and this weekend October 21st at Roccapulco you can see Elito Revé y Su Charangón and Mayito Rivera. It has been confirmed that the members of the Charangón have ther visas now. This is a concert you don't want to miss! Get your tickets here.

ESPAÑOL: San Francisco Bay Area Cuban Festival está en marcha y este fin de semana 21 de octubre en Roccapulco puedes ver a Elito Revé y Su Charangón y Mayito Rivera. Se ha confirmado que ahora los miembros del Charangón tienen la visa. ¡Este es un concierto que no quieres perder! Compra tu entrada aquí.

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 10:23:20 +0000
Yasser Ramos & 9 Milimetros 3rd Anniversary Yasser Ramos y 9 Milímetros Tour

ENGLISH: Today Yasser Ramos & 9 Milímetros celebrate their third anniversary with a mega-concert at Salón Rosado de la Tropical. They have invited many other artists including Papucho y Manana Club, Maikel Dinza, Azúcar Negra, El Niño, Mandy Cantero, Los 4, and PMM. Yasser has promised to present some new songs as well as having some gifts for the audience. 

The band will be touring Europe in early 2018 to present their first CD "Ni antes, ni después". Stay tuned as the concert dates become available. Yasser & 9 Milímetros are also busy working on new material under the musical direction of Nachito Jr. It will be exciting to see what the combination of Yasser and Nachito Jr. brings to the sello of the band. 

If you haven't yet read the interview with Yasser from July 2017, click here. Below is the most recent official video release by the band, "El Artista" - one of the hits from the new album. 

ESPAÑOL: Hoy, Yasser Ramos y 9 Milímetros celebran su tercer aniversario con un mega concierto en el Salón Rosado de la Tropical. Han invitado a muchos otros artistas incluyendo a Papucho y Manana Club, Maikel Dinza, Azúcar Negra, El Niño, Mandy Cantero, Los 4 y PMM. Yasser ha prometido presentar algunas canciones nuevas, así como tener algunos regalos para el público.

La banda estará de gira por Europa a principios de 2018 para presentar su primer CD "Ni antes, ni después". Estén atentos a medida que las fechas del concierto estén disponibles. Yasser & 9 Milímetros también están sacando nuevo material bajo la dirección musical de Nachito Jr. Será emocionante ver lo que la combinación de Yasser y Nachito Jr. aporta al sello de la banda.

Si aún no ha leído la entrevista con Yasser desde julio de 2017, haga clic aquí. A continuación les dejo con el video oficial más reciente de la banda, "El Artista", uno de los éxitos del nuevo álbum.

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 14:15:27 +0000
OMAR SOSA US CONCERTS Omar Sosa is touring the US with his Quarteto Afrocubano from October 11-17 with stops in Detroit, Albuqueque, Las Vegas, Berkeley and Washington. You can see the full schedule at the omarsosa.com tour page. 

Omar has  also been working on a new project, Creole Spirits, and is using crowdfunding for at least part of the project,   You can learn more in a couple of videos on their indiegogo page

Bay area residents are reminded of the Pablo Menéndez & Mezcla special concert and film premier event at the Brava Theater on Saturday, October 14.   See our original post here. 

Alejandro Falcón's project Alejandro Falcon y Cubadentro is working on an exciting new recording expected to come out in a few months.      Here is a taste of things to come:

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 01:55:08 +0000
Yeni Valdés in Miami Friday, Oct. 13

Yeni Valdés - among the most imitated Cuban vocalists since Celia Cruz - was the first woman in two of Cuba's greatest bands - NG La Banda and Los Van Van, singing with the latter for 16 years. She now lives in Santa Cruz, California with her husband, Erick Barbería, a batá master who played with the legendary Papo Angarica and a multi-talented timbero equally at home with lead vocals and all the percussion instruments. They'll be playing in a star studded show produced by DJ Asho and featuring Timbalive, DJ Walt Digz, DJ Melao and DJ Danis la Clave next Friday, October 13th. Here's are links for venue information and tickets. And here's the press release in downloadable format.

Erick Barbería

DJ Asho

DJ Walt Digz

Sun, 08 Oct 2017 06:53:51 +0000
New Tirso Duarte Instructional Youtubes Tirso is doing a whole series of educational timba piano videos on youtube!

There are nine of these so far. And here's my old video on Tirso and Charanga Habanera:

[Kevin Moore]

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 06:39:25 +0000

Pablo Menéndez & Mezcla
  just arrived in the United States for some special concerts

1. Friday, October 6 at 7:30pm, Pablo Menéndez & Mezcla are perfoming a free concert at the Bates Recital Hall at The University of Texas at Austin, Texas.  Complete details are at the Bates Recital Hall Event Page 

2. On Saturday, October 14, the Brava Theater Center is presenting a concert by Pablo Menéndez & Mezcla hosted by Chuy Varela of KCSM with special guests John Santos, Barbara Dane, John Calloway, Greg Landau, Camilo Landau and others.  The concert will by preceded by the new documentary So Near, So Far, by the award-winning Cuban director Lourdes Prieto and L.A. Chicago David Sandoval.  This documentary is about the life of Pablo Menéndez, Mezcla's leader.  Complete details and tickets can be found at the Brava.org website. 

Incidentally, if you never obtained their 2015 release Pure Mezcla (Direct from Cuba -Live at Yoshi's) - you can still purchase the digital release with special extras on Latinpulsemusic.com

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 01:47:02 +0000
TIMBA THIS WEEK There is a lot going on this week in addition to the regular concert schedule in Havana. First up, Leonel Limonta & Azúcar Negra will hold a press conference today at Casa de la Música Miramar for the release of their excellent new CD "Tonada pa'l bailador". They will also give a concert at CDLM Miramar on Saturday, October 7th.

Azucar Negra Press Conference 2018

This is Azúcar Negra's 7th album and as the rightly claims, it is a brilliant album for the dancers.  You can find the album at the usual digital retailers and streaming sites. "Tonada pa'l bailador" contains 14 tracks and a full review will be coming shortly.

Track list:
Tonada pa'l bailador
Cuando pienso en ti
De fiesta en fiesta
Retomando el son
Por qué me miras así
Mi chica se rebela
La Habana está de fiesta
Tonada pa'l bailador feat. Alexander Abreu
Agua caliente
El tequila feat. El Micha
Pa' que se entere La Habana
Yo necesito de ti feat. Luna Manzanares
Suave, rico y despacito
Maltratando la tela

Havana D'Primera 10th anniversary

Congratulations to Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera who celebrated their 10th anniversary yesterday. They will hold two special concerts this weekend: Saturday the 7th at Karl Marx Theater with surprise guests and Sunday the 8th at Salón Rosado de la Tropical. Their European Tour begins October 12th in Moscow and they will follow up with a national Cuban tour.

Unlike most young bands, Havana D'Primera didn't have a period of "finding themselves" but burst fully-developed on the timba scene. This was in part due to the fact that many of them had already worked together for years in Issac Delgado's band. Alexander's lyrics also made the Havana D'Primera stand out from the masses. It didn't take long for them to become one of the most popular bands both inside and outside of Cuba. During their first decade, Havana D'Primera has released three studio CDs all of which have been at the top of the timba charts and even done well among regular salseros. Still one of Cuba's greatest trumpeters, Alexander is today also highly sought after for collaborations as a vocalist. 

We cannot fail to mention that today is José Luis Cortés "El Tosco"'s birthday. Where would Cuban music be today without NG La Banda? I shudder to imagine. So Happy Birthday El Tosco and thank you for your role in making our music and dance obsession possible.

El Tosco

And across the pond over here in Europe, Maykel Blanco & su Salsa Mayor begin their European Tour tonight in Paris. Click here for concert dates. Here is a recent live clip of the band performing in La Guayabera in Alamar, Havana, Cuba.  

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 17:43:08 +0000
New Casa de la Música in Vedado Casa del la Música de PlazaPhoto courtesy of Giraldo Piloto

ENGLISH: On August 20th 2017 a new cultural center was inaugurated in Vedado at 31 & 2. What could be more auspicious than a new Casa de la Música in the neighborhood known as "La Timba"? Unlike the other CDLM, the entry fee is reported to be 8 CUC for Cubans and 15 CUC for foreigners. So far the concert schedule is not showing up at Suenacubano, but I know that Giraldo Piloto y Klímax played there recently and it was Piloto that was kind enough to send us a photo of the new building. In addition to the Casa de la Música, the new cultural center includes a piano bar, a public library, a bookstore, art rooms and a store among other things. Below is a short report from EGREM's YouTube page.

ESPAÑOL: El 20 de agosto de 2017 se inauguró un nuevo centro cultural en el Vedado a 31 y 2. ¿Qué podría ser más auspicioso que una nueva Casa de la Música en el barrio conocido como La Timba? A diferencia de las otras CDLM, la entrada es de 8 CUC para cubanos y 15 CUC para extranjeros. Hasta ahora el calendario de conciertos no está apareciendo en Suenacubano, pero sé que Giraldo Piloto y Klímax tocaban allí recientemente y fue Piloto quien tuvo la amabilidad de enviarnos una foto del nuevo edificio. Además de la Casa de la Música, el nuevo centro cultural incluye un piano bar, una biblioteca pública, una librería, salas de arte y una tienda entre otras cosas. A continuación se presenta un breve informe de la página de YouTube de EGREM.

Sat, 30 Sep 2017 14:36:21 +0000
HAVANA RHYTHM AND DANCE FESTIVAL 2018 Fiesta del Tambor 2018

ENGLISH: The XVII Edition of the International “Havana Rhythm and Dance Festival" Guillermo Barreto in Memoriam will take place in Havana from March 6 - 11, 2018. As always the festival will include performances by many of Cuba's most popular bands and dance companies as well as competitions in percussion, casino dance, and rumba dance. Masters classes will also be offered in music and dance, including customized classes for groups or individuals. The competitions are open to all ages and both Cubans and international musicians and dancers. If you're interested in competing or would like to attend classes, click here for contact information as well as more detailed information about the event. As the date approaches we'll update with the complete festival program. And I leave you with a new video by Giraldo Piloto & Klímax, below.

ESPAÑOL: La XVII Edición del festival internacional "Fiesta Del Tambor" Guillermo Barreto in Memoriam tendrá lugar en La Habana del 6 al 11 de marzo de 2018. Como siempre el festival incluirá actuaciones de muchas de las orquestas y compañías de baile más populares de Cuba, así como concursos de percusión, y bailes de casino y rumba. Se ofrecerán clases de música y baile, incluyendo clases personalizadas para grupos o individuales. Los concursos son abiertos a todas las edades y tanto para cubanos como para músicos y bailarines extranjeros. Si estás interesado en competir o quieres asistir a clases, haz clic aquí para la información de contacto, así como información más detallada sobre el evento. En cuanto se acerca la fecha vamos a actualizar la página con el programa completo del festival. Y les dejo con un estreno de Giraldo Piloto & Klímax.

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 18:42:53 +0000
Cuban Music Nominees Add Lift To The 2017 Latin Grammys® Aside from the total domination of the Best Traditional Tropical Album category (all the entries are from Cuban artists), there is some very interesting Cuban music representation this year among the 2017 Latin Grammy® nominees. Congratulations to all the nominees! Felicidades a todos los nominados. 

Palabras Manuales - DANAY SUAREZ**

** Danay Suarez Fernandez is a Cuban R&B and rap singer. She has gained attention in Europe, mainly in France. She got her start in the music industry in 2007 with a cold call to Cuban fusion king X-Alfonso. Her work with X-Alfonso led to her discovery a few years later by English DJ and record label owner Gilles Peterson. [source: wikipedia] **

Desde que estamos juntos - DESCEMBER BUENO


Palabras Manuales - DANAY SUAREZ


ADN - ALAÍN PÉREZ ( más información sobre Alaín aquí )
Isidro Infante Presenta... Cuba Y Puerto Rico, Un Abrazo Musical Salsero - Varios artistas**
** Isidro Infante producer in collaboration with BIS MUSIC

Albita - ALBITA
Cuba Sobre Cuerda - BABALÚ QUINTETO

Lo único constante - ALEX CUBA

Presione aquí para nuestra reseña de RAÍZ - Septeto Satiaguero. Raíz - EL SEPTETO SANTIAGUERO - 2017 Latin  Grammy(R) - BEST TRADITIONAL TROPICAL ALBUM - MEJOR ÁLBUM TROPICAL TRADICIONAL



Wed, 27 Sep 2017 07:35:42 +0000
SJ Jazz Gallery 2 Part 2 covers the groups Tom photographed on Sunday, August 13, 2017. The groups include Jazz by 5, Manny Martínez y La Rebeldia, Lili Hernández Orchestra Featuring Calixto Oviedo, Daymé Arocena and Bay Area Salsa All-Stars Featuring Jimmy Bosch.

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 16:57:46 +0000
Alain Perez - ADN Official Video

Alaín Pérez has just uploaded the official video to the title track from the ADN album. Very nice video, excellent song - check it out!

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 16:24:40 +0000

Los Van Van in Montreal
Los Van Van will perform a single concert in Canada tonight at Rialto in Montreal. Don't miss them if you are in Quebec. The megaconcert that was planned for September 30th with Orquesta Revé at Ciudad Deportivo has been postponed until December 1st - weather conditions permitting.

Los Van Van realizarán un solo concierto en Canadá esta noche en Rialto en Montreal. No te lo pierdas si estás en Quebec. El megaconcierto que se programó para el 30 de septiembre con Orquesta Revé en Ciudad Deportivo se ha pospuesto hasta el 1 de diciembre, si las condiciones meteorológicas lo permiten.

Cuba Salsa Fest Lima

Cuba Salsa Fest @Lawn Tennis Tonight
Tonight there is a major concert at Clun Lawn Tennis in Lima celebrating the 29th anniversary of La Charanga Habanera, also featuring Elito Revé y su Charangón, Bamboleo and Pedrito Calvo. 

Esta noche hay un concierto importante en el Club Lawn Tennis en Lima celebrando el 29 aniversario de La Charanga Habanera, también con Elito Revé y su Charangón, Bamboleo y Pedrito Calvo.

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 06:20:01 +0000
Tom's SJ Jazz Photos, Part 1                                                  Angélique Kidjo and Pedríto Martínez

Monterey Jazz was tremendous - those photos coming soon. Here's the first gallery from San José Jazz Summerfest.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 03:41:00 +0000
PRIMERA LINEA POSTPONED TO NOVEMBER ENGLISH: Our hearts are with everyone affected by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey.   Cuba was hit hard by Irma, and Primera Linea, which was to take place this week (see our post of July 4), has been postponed to November 27-30, 2017.  You can see more information and get updates here
ESPAÑOL:  Nuestros corazones están con todos los afectados por el huracán Irma y el huracán Harvey. Cuba fue duramente golpeada por Irma, y  Primera Linea, que iba a tener lugar esta semana (vea nuestro puesto del 4 de julio), se ha pospuesta al 27-30 de noviembre de 2017. Más informacion y actualizaciones están disponibles aquí.


Louisville, Kentucky:  Louisville has a growing Cuban-American musical colony and community, and The Clifton Roots, Jazz and Heritage Festival is presenting local favorite Cosa Seria, led and powered by some very talented Cuban conservatory graduates, on Thursday, September 21, as well as  with pianist Elio Villafranca on Friday, September 22.  More information and tickets are available on the Clifton Center website

Baltimore:  Chuchito Valdés is performing in quartet at An die Musik LIVE! in Baltimore, Maryland on Friday, Sept. 22 at 8pm and 9pm.
The rest of the quartet for these performances includes Rafael Monteagudo on drums, Steve sachse on bass and Julio Matta on Conga. This writer has heard Rafael and Steve with Chuchito in Chicago - this should be excellent. More details and tickets are available on the An die Musik LIVE! website. 

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania:  
Albertico Lescay,
one of the leading lights of Cuba's Nu Jazz movement, has been spending enough time in and around Pittsburgh during his visit (which ends next month) that I won't be shocked if that city starts showing up as a locale of serious interest to fans of Cuban Jazz within a few short years - he has engaged in an ongoing musical dialogue with several progressive Jazz musicians there (including with members of the Afro Yaqui Music Collective, which fuses Jazz and indigenous music).  His next performance in Pittsburgh is on Monday, September 25 at the Frick Fine Arts Building Auditorium at the University of Pittsburgh, and he is presenting the music of Formas with the musicians he has been collaborating with here.     This concert is free and open to the public, and there is a Facebook event page

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 10:03:09 +0000
Monterey Jazz This Weekend! First, tomorrow night Pedrito Martínez joins Gonzalo Rubalcaba at SF Jazz at 7:30 p.m.

This year's Monterey Jazz.has an amazing lineup. The Pedrito Martínez Group plays Saturday at 8:45 at Dizzy's Den and Pedrito also plays Friday in a tribute to Dizzy Gillespie, and Sunday with Angélique Kidjo on the arena stage. PMG absolutely shredded it at SJ Jazz - don't miss it.

 From PMG's 2012 Monterey Jazz performance 

                         Pedrito Martínez Group at this summer's San José Jazz Festival

Pedrito with Angélique Kidjo at San José Jazz Festival

Pedrito with Gonzalo Rubalcaba at last year's SF JAZZ performance

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 19:48:19 +0000
Events of Interest in Miami, New York and Palm Springs Miami, Florida, Saturday, September 9:
Sintesis, one of Cuba's most important Afrocuban Fusion groups,  will be performing at Copper Fest at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 770 Northeast 125th Street, North Miami, Florida..  They are the last of four bands and the festival and are scheduled for 9pm.   Degnis Bofill, one of Cuba's most impressive young percussionists (and a 2016 JoJazz winner as a soloist) will be on tour with them.  More details about Copper Fest can be found on the Copper Fest web page

New York, Saturday, September 9:
Albertico Lescay will be playing with Arturo O'Farrill and Blitz  at the 4th Annual Music on Southern Blvd Festival (Southern Boulevard and 163rd St, NYC)  at 12:30 in the afternoon.  More information is available at the Casita Maria website.  This is an excellent opportunity to hear Albertico,  one of Cuba's rising young Jazz and NuJazz  artists who is visiting a few cities in the Eastern US.  He has been collaborating with a few groups while here, and one hopes that we will eventually be able to see his ensemble, Formas, perform in the United States. 
As for Arturo O'Farrill, he has been doing a lot of impressive work both in the studio and on stage with musicians from Cuba and may now have the most extensive current resume of such projects among Jazz musicians in the US.

Palm Springs, California, Saturday, October 14:
Most of Chuchito Valdes' recent outings in the US have been with a trio,  this is an opportunity to hear him with percussionists Calixto Oviedo and Luis Conte as well as Diego Figueirdo, Carol Welsman and Geraldo Aguillon.   More information and tickets can be found at tickets.psmuseum.org.

Chuchito Valdés, incidentally, will soon release a new album, Sueño que te beso, in collaboration with Juan Poch.  More on this in the future.

Tue, 05 Sep 2017 23:02:16 +0000

For followers of Cuba's  Fusion scene,  Sintesis, founded in 1976, needs no introduction.   They have been one of the most important groups performing Afrocuban Fusion there for decades. They are currently still doing performances in their 40th Anniversary tour, which sadly only includes a couple of dates in the US.  One of those is Friday, August 25, at 8:30pm at the Ford Theatres in Los Angeles.   An extra reason to go see this if you can is that they are bringing percussionist Degnis Bofill with them.  Degnis is one of the most impressive young percussionists in Cuba today (and that is saying a LOT).  He won first place in Solistas Mayores at JoJazz in Havana last year AND 3rd place in Composition.  I have seen him perform with a few groups already,  and he has elevated whatever he was in so far.  Not only do you get to help Sintesis celebrate 40 years of excellence, you'll also get a glimpse of part of Cuba's percussion future. 

Also on the bill is Cuban-born violinist Dayren Santamaria and her band Made in Cuba.  Dayren plays in Los Angeles with several excellent groups.  


Tue, 22 Aug 2017 15:53:52 +0000

ENGLISH: Bill Tilford's shortwave radio program, From the Isle of Music, will have Feliciano Arango, Albertico Lescay and Gizelxanath Rodríguez as special guests along with their music on the next episode.   This program can be heard as follows:

1. For Eastern Europe but audible well beyond the target area in all directions with 100Kw, Sunday 1500-1600 UTC on SpaceLine, 9400 KHz, from Kostinbrod, Bulgaria (1800-1900 MSK)
2. For the Americas and parts of Europe, Tuesday 0000-0100 UTC on WBCQ, 7490 KHz from Monticello, ME, USA (Monday 8-9PM EDT in the US)
3 & 4. For Europe and sometimes beyond, Tuesday 1900-2000 UTC and Saturday 1200-1300 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 KHz from Rohrbach, Germany.
From the Isle of Music is not available for listening on demand but some broadcasts can be heard online during the time of the broadcast using Web SDRs or the WBCQ website  WBCQ.COM (ONLY during the broadcast) if you are not receiving the radio signal.

Soon after, there will be a review of the new album by Los Hermanos Arango, The Arangos World, on this website, along with some additional material that Bill recorded with the Arango family in Cuba that did not air on the program. 

ESPAÑOL: El programa radial en onda corta de Bill Tilford, From the Isle of Music, ofrece como invitados especiales a Feliciano Arango, Albertico Lescay y Gizelxanath Rodríguez con su música en el episodio siguiente.   Se puede escuchar el programa:

1. Para Europa del Este pero audible más allá de la zona objetiva en todas las direcciones con 100Kw, domingo 1500-1600 UTC en SpaceLine, 9400 KHz, desde Kostinbrod, Bulgaria (1800-1900 MSK)
2. Para las Américas y partes de Europa, martes 0000-0100 UTC en WBCQ, 7490 KHz desde Monticello, ME, EE.UU. (lunes 8-9PM EDT en los EE.UU.)
3 y 4. Para Europa y a veces más allá, martes 1900-2000 UTC y sábado 1200-1300 UTC en Channel 292, 6070 KHz desde Rohrbach, Alemania.
From the Isle of Music no está disponible para escuchar en demanda, pero algunas emisiones pueden ser escuchadas en línea durante la hora de la emisión usando Web SDRs o el sitio web de WBCQ, WBCQ.COM  (SOLAMENTE durante la emisión) si Uds no están recibiendo la señal via radio. 

Publicaremos despues una reseña del nuevo álbum de Los Hermanos Arango, The Arangos World, en este sitio juntos con material adicional que Bill grabo con la familia Arango en Cuba y no incluyó en la emision.   

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 08:04:05 +0000
Leoni Europe 2017 Leoni Torres Europe 2017

Leoni Torres begins his European tour on August 27th in Malaga, Spain. He will also visit Italy and Switzerland on this tour. I expect we will be seeing more and more of Leoni since his signing with Marc Anthony's Magnus Media. He became a well-known face and voice in Cuban music during his time with La Charanga Habanera, and his subsequent solo career has kept him at the top  of the Cuban charts.

Leoni's solo career has produced salsa hits such as "Soledad"; his own version of "Idilio"; and the beautiful son "Toda una vida" as well as Latin Pop hits like "Amor bonito"; "Para que un día vuelvas" feat. Pablo Milanes; and of course the "Es tu mirada" feat. Alexander Abreu & Kelvis Ochoa. Most recently he has released a new video of "Si tú me dejas" feat El Chacal. Leoni is also the composer of the hit "Traidora" made famous by Gente D'Zona and Marc Anthony. His sello is beautiful texts that never fall into the trap of trying to curry favor with vulgarity. The arrangements vary between genres but have a strong Cuban flavor often firmly rooted in son.

Leoni is an excellent perfomer with a remarkable voice. Don't miss him if you can make one of these concerts. If you're not familiar with his recent work, check out the videos below.

Concert dates:
August 27, 2017 - Malaga, Spain - Sala La Farandula
August 31, 2017 - Zurich, Switzerland - Escherwyss
September 3, 2017 - Rome, Italy - Latin Palace
September 9, 2017 - Valencia, Spain - Sala Fusion
September 10, 2017 - Pamplona, Spain - Sala Jet Set
September 16, 2017 - Madrid, Spain - Sala Gotham
September 17, 2017 - Barcelona, Spain - Sala Up & Down

Es tu mirada

Toda una vida

Si tú me dejas

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 13:46:40 +0000
Chuchito Valdes News & Brenda Navarrete News Chuchito Valdes, who has graced these pages many times in recent years, is currently on tour in the US, and his next performance is at the Jazz At Five festival on the corner of State and Mifflin Streets in Madison, Wisconsin on Wednesday, August 16 at 4:00-8:00pm.  You can find more information about this free concert at the Jazz at Five Event Page
Chuchito will also be releasing a new album very soon, Sueño que te beso.   This is a collaborative project with Spanish composer Juan Poch, and it will be something of a departure from Chuchito's earlier recorded work.   Chuchito tells us that with the state of heightened tensions in the word right now, he wanted to release something a little mellower to help send a message of peace.   We'll have more about the album when it is ready for release (it is still in its final stages).  
Finally, there is now a Chuchito Valdes website, chuchitovaldes.com

Brenda Navarrete will soon release her debut solo album Mi Mundo, with the digital release coming in September and the physical CD after the first of the year.    At the moment she is on tour in Canada with performances on Friday August 18 at Hugh's Room in Toronto (details and tickets here) and at the Markham Jazz Festival at the MacKay Art Centre on Sunday, August 20 (details here)

(Photo courtesy David Pye)

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 21:48:52 +0000
Casinero Sí o Sí

ENGLISH: In April, Pedrito Calvo Jr. released a new single titled "Casinero Sí o Sí". The video followed in June and both have been very well received by fans of Cuban music and dance. In only 2 months the video at Facebook passed 200000 views and has now passed 300000. We spoke with dancer and now composer Esteban Isnardi about how the song and his collaboration with Pedrito Calvo Jr. came about. Click here for the interview (including a link to the English translation of the lyrics).

ESPAÑOL: En abril, Pedrito Calvo Jr. lanzó un nuevo sencillo titulado "Casinero Sí o Sí". El video siguió en junio y ambos han sido muy bien recibidos por los fanáticos de la música y los bailes cubanos. En sólo 2 meses el video en Facebook pasó 200000 vistas y ya pasó de 300000. Hablamos con el bailador y ahora compositor Esteban Isnardi sobre cómo surgió la canción y su colaboración con Pedrito Calvo Jr. Haga clic aquí para la entrevista.

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 09:05:44 +0000
Calixto Oviedo at SJ Jazz Today (4:30)

Calixto Oviedo and Lily Hernández will be on the SJ Jazz Salsa stage at 4:30 today, Sunday! The Pedrito Martínez Group outdid itself yesterday. Pedrito has added a snare, two cymbals and a hihat, all of which he plays with his hands along with the 4 congas, foot bell and cajón - it's amazing how the hihat works with the "timba conjunto" format. Oscar Hernández with Jimmy Branly also had everyone buzzing and Jimmy sat in with Pedrito to close his set.

timba.com: Bay Area timberos were excited to see that you're playing with ex-Charanga Habanera bassist Ernesto Kindelán, now one of the brightest lights of the Bay Area scene.

Calixto: Ernesto is a very complete and professional musician. I call him every time I come to SF because I love the way he plays the bass - mucho feeling y mucho sabor. He reminds me of Feliciano Arango - he's always in the pocket but plays very freely. I'm planning to use Ernesto with my Latin jazz project as well.

timba.com: Who else is in the current band?

Calixto: Erick Peralto is a young pianist with a great timba style whose way of playing tumbaos really caught my ear. Tiene tremenda clave. Roberto Morris plays trumpet with strength and that magic Cuban flavor and swing that inspires the other musicians. It's a four-man horn section with a young Santiaguero named Maikel and Anibal Seminario on saxes and an American trombonist named Craig Bryant.

About Carlos Caro ... I'm speechless! I think he and Panga Romas are the two most complete percussionists on the planet - they know the roots, the concept of sound and the groove. When I play with Carlos I can relax and never worry about anything. The bongosero, Rayner Fernández, is also a great corista.

And of course, my beautiful wife Lily Hernández on vocals as always.

timba.com: What kind of material are you going to play?

Calixto: We're going to do 1990s style Cuban timba with original songs like Se te va la vida, and Refranes by Richard Ortega. Also some standards like Issac's Dime si te gusta mi compás, Adalberto's De la hipocresía, and Ya no hace falta by Bamboleo.

timba.com: Where have you been playing in LA?

Calixto: Floridita Restaurant in Hollywood, Viva Hollywood, Vibrato Jazz Grill, Catalina Jazz Club and various clubs in Ontario, Newport Beach and Pomona. Sometimes we play under the name Lily La Negra & Orquesta. We're also recording a second CD with our Latin Jazz band.

Sun, 13 Aug 2017 14:35:42 +0000
SJ JAZZ!!                   Calixto sitting in with PMG at the 2014 show - photo by Tom Ehrlich

This year will be the most Latin-oriented SJ Jazz Festival since the legendary 2014 Summerfest, and features several of the same headliners - Pedrito Martínez Group, Calixto Oviedo & Lily Hernández (we'll have an interview with Calixto tomorrow) and Jimmy Bosch - as well a some great funk bands - George Clinton & Maceo Parker - Daymé Arocena - Oscar Hernández and a long string of the best Bay Area groups - Conjunto Karabalí, Carlitos Medrano, Manny Martínez, Pacific Mambo and many others.

Pedrito plays Saturday at 3:00 with his own group and at 6:00 with Angélique Kidjo. Calixto will play Sunday at 4:30. Here's the full lineup.

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 17:33:48 +0000
More About The Afro Yaqui Music Collective & Albertico Lescay

The Afro Yaqui Music Collective was founded in 2014 by Gizelxanath Rodríguez (of Yaqui descent) and Ben Barson, a protege of the late saxophonist Fred Ho, who did pioneering work fusing Asian music and Jazz (Their Friday, August 11 concert is a tribute to him).  The AYMC, which is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,  fuses various forms of indigenous music (not exclusively Yaqui) with Jazz and Hip Hop, and there is a Cuban connection now with Ben Barson recently performing with NuJazz artist Zule Guerra in Cuba and now collaborating with Albertico Lescay, leader of Formas in Cuba, during his visit to the US.   You can see a lot more about this project, which also has a Facebook page, at Ben Barson's website here.   It will be interesting to see how this project and Formas exchange ideas.  

Albertico Lescay, of Santiago but now in Havana, is the leader of Formas, an important group in the NuJazz movement in Cuba.   (Albertico sometimes prefers to use Afro NuJazz because Formas retains more Afrocuban elements than many other groups in this part of the spectrum.) NuJazz in Cuba is a fusion of Cuban music, Jazz and Hip Hop. The strong Cuban foundations and more intricate Jazz patterns in the music distinguish it from what we once called Acid Jazz in the US, but there are parallels in the mixture of genres.  Formas has not yet released an album but has gained significant notice in Cuba. Albertico is currently visiting the US, sometimes playing with the AYMC, sometimes presenting the music of Formas using US musicians (including members of the AYMC). Again, the long-term results of this interchange should be interesting. 

This weekend, you can see these musicians as follows:
Friday, August 11:  Afro Yaqui Music Collective with special guest Albertico Lescay 
Ginny's Supper Club, New York, NY
Saturday, August 12:  Albertico Lescay presents the music of FORMAS with invited guests opening for Villalobos Brothers, part of a benefit performance for migrant justice 
Barnard Vermont


Since Charanga Habenera has been performing as both Charanga Habanera and Charanga Light (a slightly different formation and repertoire), we asked the folks at Festival Cubano which version would be performing in Chicago on Sunday, August 13.   We were informed that it will be the regular Charanga Habanera. 
Festival Cubano runs from Friday, August 11 through Sunday, August 13 with two stages, food, games etc.  You can find everything you need to know on the Festival Cubano website here. 
When you go, be sure to also check out some of Chicago's fine local Cuban-American talent such as Stacie Sandoval and Matanza y su Latin Express. 

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 23:03:43 +0000
Saturday night, Septeto Santiaguero tore the roof off of Martyrs at their Chicago concert.  I know that I may start some arguments and hurt some feelings, but this IS Cuba's best working traditional Septeto right now.  Your can see a photo gallery here.  Meanwhile, they are in Madison, Wisconsin and Minneapolis, Minnesota and Los Angeles next, as follows:
Tuesday, August 8:  North Street Cabaret, Madison, Wisconsin
Wednesday, August 9:  Dakota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 
Thursday, August 10: The Central Park Sessions, Central Park, Madison, Wisconsin
Friday, August 11:  Grand Performances, Los Angeles, CA (with Vocal Vidas)

The a capella tradition is Cuba is not just a man thing - there's Vocal Vidas, a female quartet from Santiago de Cuba.  Well, OK, they cheat just a wee bit - they use a little hand percussion, but other than that, they are a capella, and that does not diminish them at all - their voices are wonderful.   They are out in California right now and very much worth seeing as follows in metro LA: 
Tuesday, August 8:  Herb Alpert's Vibrato  Grill
Friday, August 11:  Grand Performances (with Septeto Santiaguero)


We mentioned recently that Albertico Lescay is visiting the US and performing both as an invited guest with the Afro Yaqui Music Collective and presenting some of the music of his own project, FORMAS, with US musicians.   Here are this week's dates with more to follow in the future:
Friday, August 11:  Afro Yaqui Music Collective with special guest Albertico Lescay 
Ginny's Supper Club, New York, NY
Saturday, August 12:  Albertico Lescay presents the music of FORMAS with invited guests opening for Villalobos Brothers, part of a benefit performance for migrant justice 
Barnard Vermont
Albertico also did a workshop in Pittsburgh at the Pryse Academy in Pittsburgh, an institution that works with refugee youth, presenting his music and discussing the importance of music in cultural identity.   
Albertico Lescay  is an artist to watch.   You'll be hearing a lot more about him within a year. 

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 00:11:36 +0000
Tom's Arango Photos

Here's Tom Ehrlich's gallery from the recent performance of Feliciano Arango and Amistad Cubana at Ashkenaz in Berkeley. 

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 03:17:53 +0000

Septeto Santiaguero comes to Chicago...
Septeto Santiaguero wlll be at Martyrs on Saturday, August  5 courtesy of HotHouse, which has been back in action recently.  This group, which has won more than one Premio Cubadisco and the 2015 Latin GRAMMY® award, is one of the best of its type.  I have heard them in both Santiago and Habana, and they put on a very rousing show.  They have collaborated with a galaxy of stars, but I actually prefer them in concert by themselves as they will be here. Martyrs is a dance hall, so this will be fun.   For more information and tickets, see the Hothouse event page. 
They are touring in support of their newest album Raiz.  
You can read a review in English here or en español aquí

Charanga Habanera comes to Festival Cubano...
At this writing, it isn't completely clear whether this will be Charanga Habanera classic or Charanga Light, but some version of CH is coming to Festival Cubano at Riis Park on Sunday, August 13. Festival Cubano is a 3-day festival (August 11-13) that has now expanded to two stages, lots of food, games and other good things.  They have always been quite good at showcasing Chicago's fine local talent but rather timid for some years about bringing groups based on the island.  Whichever version of CH shows up, kudos to Festival Cubano for inviting a group like CH, especially in these newly-complicated times.
For more information, see the  Festival Cubano website

Roberto Fonseca on TV...
For those of you with access to Chicago's public television station WTTW Prime, Roberto Fonseca's appearance on The Experience with Dedry Jones will be on the air every night August 3-6.  This was recorded 3 blocks from my home, so naturally I was in the studio audience, and this is goooooood.   The WTTW page is HERE

And over in Pittsburgh, Albertico Lescay visits the US, collaborates with the Afro Yaqui Music Collective.... 
What's that, you say?   Well, for openers, Albertico Lescay is the leader of one of the most interesting NuJazz groups in Cuba that you haven't heard much about yet but will over the next year, Albertico Lescay y Formas.   Here's a taste of Formas

Now let's add the Afro Yaqui Music Collective to the mix.  (I know you're going to ask, so yes, Gizelzanath Rodriguez, the band's co-leader and an operatic soprano, is of Yaqui descent.)   This is a group that explores indigenous music and fuses it with Jazz, Funk and Soul.  Here's a taste of what they do:

Put it all together, and what do you get?  Well, if you are in Pittsburgh, you can find out on Saturday, August 5 at the James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy.  Albertico (without Formas) is here to collaborate with the Afro Yaqui Music Collective. More informatiion about this event and tickets are available HERE.   The other coleader of the Afro Yaqui Music Collective, Ben Barson, recently performed with Zule Guerra in Cuba.   Albertico is also giving workshops, there will be more performances, and there will be a lot more to come about all this in the near future.

Last but not least for now, a photo gallery of Bohemia's performance at the City Winery in Chicago is available HERE.   


Thu, 03 Aug 2017 14:07:57 +0000
Jane Bunnett & Maqueque Here's Tom Ehrlich's gallery and report from the recent Bay Area performance of Jane Bunnett & Maqueque.

Here's the rest of the tour, including Richmond, NY, Ontario and British Columbia.

Other news: Pupy cancelled in the Bay Area due to visas, but the rest of the tour looks good; SJ Jazz (Aug 11-14) is packed with great Latin acts (Pedrito Martínez, Calixto Oviedo, Daymé Arocena, Carlitos Medrano, Conjunto Karabalí, Oscar Hernández Quartet, Jimmy Bosch, Pacific Mambo, Brian Andres, Manny Martínez, and others - plus George Clinton and Maceo Parker - much more on this soon; Tom's Arango photos also coming soon).

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 13:53:13 +0000
August Tours in the US David Calzado y su Charanga Habanera

ENGLISH: Tonight at Mojitos in Miami, La Charanga Habanera begin their North American tour with four concerts in the US and three in Canada. On the 12th they will perform at Havana 1957, and David has announced that for this concert they will focus on their "classic" repertoire, i.e. the timba Charanga we all loved back in the late 90s early 2000s. Click here to read David's statement at the Charanga Habanera offical Facebook page.

ESPAÑOL: Esta noche en Mojitos en Miami, La Charanga Habanera comienza su gira norteamericana con cuatro conciertos en los Estados Unidos y tres en Canadá. El 12 se presentarán en La Habana en 1957, y David ha anunciado que para este concierto se enfocará en su repertorio "clásico", es decir, la Charanga timbera a la que todos amábamos a fines de los años 90 a principios de los años 2000. Haga clic aquí para leer la declaración de David en la página oficial de Charanga Habanera en Facebook.

August   2, 2017 - Miami, FL. - Mojitos
August 12, 2017 - Miami, FL. - Havana 1957
August 13, 2017 - Chicago, IL. - Festival Cubano
August 25, 2017 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada - Phoenix Concert Theater
August 26, 2017 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada - Club Soda
August 27, 2017 - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada - Commadore Ballroom

QBan Fest

ENGLISH: This Saturday Qban Fest comes to North America celebrating the 15th anniversary  of Pupy y Los Que Son Son with two concerts featuring and guests Tania Pantoja, Pedrito Calvo, Mayito Rivera and Pepito Gómez. This is a must-see if you are in the vicinity of Washington D.C.  or New York City. The San Francisco concert has been postponed and the promoter has informed fans via Facebook that they are rescheduling and will announce dates for Los Angeles and San Francisco, so check their tours page regularly to keep updated.

ESPAÑOL: Este sábado Qban Fest llega a Norteamérica celebrando el 15o aniversario de Pupy y Los Que Son Son con dos conciertos presentando invitados Tania Pantoja, Pedrito Calvo, Mayito Rivera y Pepito Gómez. Este es un evento obligado si estás en las inmediaciones de Washington D.C. o la ciudad de Nueva York. El concierto de San Francisco ha sido pospuesto y el promotor ha informado a los aficionados a través de Facebook que están reprogramando y anunciará fechas para Los Ángeles y San Francisco, así que compruebe su página de tours con regularidad para mantenerse actualizado.

August 5, 2017 - Washington DC - Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club 
August 6, 2017 - New York City, NY - Highline Ballroom

Los Van Van US Tour 2017

ENGLISH: Formell & Los Van Van also begin their US tour on August 5th at the Latin Festival Por+ Música Miami also fetauring La India, Adalberto Álvarez & Su Son, Laritza Bacallao, Los 4 and Carlos Manuel. The tour will includes New York, Florida, California, Oregan, Washington and Puerto Rico. US audiences will get their first live look at the band with Vanessa Formell filling the rol of female vocalist. Click here for the list of concert dates.

ESPAÑOL: Formell & Los Van Van también comienzan su gira por Estados Unidos el 5 de agosto en el Latin Festival Por + Música Miami, también con La India, Adalberto Álvarez y Su Son, Laritza Bacallao, Los 4 y Carlos Manuel. El tour incluirá Nueva York, Florida, California, Oregan, Washington y Puerto Rico. El público estadounidense obtendrá su prime vistazo en vivo de Vanessa Formell llenando el rol de vocalista femenina de Van Van. Haga clic aquí para ver la lista de conciertos.

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 09:16:15 +0000
BOHEMIA: A NEW TIEMPO LIBRE PROJECT photo courtesy Tiempo Libre    

Jorge Gómez, líder de Tiempo Libre,  habla del nuevo proyecto en español aquí

Tiempo Libre has never been afraid to take risks, whether fusing Bach with Cuban Music, working with symphonies, mixing in other genres of popular music with Timba  and  projects with Joshua Bell and James Galway. They have paid a price of sorts for that path - rather than being the darlings of the less expensive dance halls, they have sometimes had to settle for the likes of the Tonight Show, Live From Lincoln Center, several prestige festivals and three GRAMMY nominations.   They have still been a perfectly danceable música popular bailable band throughout, just maybe a little too uptown at tmes for some of the most hard core Timba purists (which has never stopped open-minded listeners like yours truly from getting into them or most of the dancers either).   

photo courtesy Tiempo Libre

Now comes a new Tiempo Libre project, Bohemia, a quartet that interprets more traditional material from the Cuban songbook.   This isn't the first time that timberos have gone to the traditional songbook- former vanvanero Mayito Rivera for example has delved deep into Rumba and Son. Tiempo Libre itself had its US road debut in Chicago, so it is fitting that Bohemia's road debuts are on Tuesday, August 1 in Minneapolis (Dakota) and Wednesday,  August 2 in Chicago (City Winery). Those of you in those cities will be the first to hear this outside of Miami.   Both of these are among the best venues in their cities for presenting this type of music (I can vouch from experience that the City WInery also has excellent food and drink). 

Jorge Gómez tells us about the new project  in English here

Basically, there will be two Tiempo Libre groups now -the Tiempo Libre that we've known for years, and the Bohemia project.    You can get a taste of  the Bohemia project on their Facebook page here. 

For more information (and tickets) for the Dakota performance, click here....

For more information (and tickets) for the City Winery performance, click here....

Both Tiempo Libre's Bohemia project and the full Tiempo Libre ensemble will be on tour in the weeks to come.  You can see their schedule here.......


Septeto Santiaguero is on the road in the US with engagements in multiple cities in support of their latest album Raiz (you can read a review here), which was nominated in the Raíces Soneras y Campesinas category in Cubadisco 2017.   (Septeto Santiaguero  already has some recent Cubadisco and Latin GRAMMY® awards under its belt.)   
As a Chicagoan, I wish to let my fellow Chicagoans know that Septeto Santiaguero will be performing here on Saturday, August 5 at Martyrs, 3855 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, Illinois:   This is being presented by HotHouse, and you can see more information here.   I have seen them live in both Santiago and la Habana, and they pack a wallop - musically speaking, I actually prefer them live by themselves, as they will be here, to their many collaborations with more "famous" artists.   
You can see an earlier version of the tour schedule here, but there have been some date changes, so be sure to verify before you go

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 18:55:31 +0000
Interview with La Liga Habanera Max Alton & Daniel Baro of La Liga Habanera

ENGLISH: On June 17th La Liga Habanera gave a concert at Fasching in Stockholm and I sat down with director and drummer Max Alton and singer Daniel Baro for a few minutes to talk about their upcoming single "Hacerse El Sueco" as well as the difficulties of rehearsing and recording in Sweden. Since the song is about a Swede in Havana, Max himself sings lead vocals on this track! The video includes a few short teasers from the demo. The single should be out in the fall. The interview is in Spanish with English subtitles.

Max is currently in Cuba and took the opportunity to film a video for the new song. Here is a photo he shared with us from the filming.

Behind the scenbes filming the video to Hacerse el SuecoMax está en Cuba y nos pasó una foto de la grabación del videoclip 

ESPAÑOL: El 17 de junio La Liga Habanera dio un concierto en Fasching en Estocolmo y me senté con el director y baterista Max Alton y el cantante Daniel Baro durante unos minutos para hablar de su próximo single "Hacerse El Sueco", así como las dificultades de ensayar y grabar en Suecia. ¡Ya que la canción trata de un sueco en La Habana, el mismísmo Max canta voz principal en esta pista! El video incluye algunos cortos teasers de la demo. El single debe estar a la venta en el otoño. La entrevista está en español con subtítulos en inglés.

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 17:33:18 +0000
Feliciano Arango in Berkeley Thursday!

The founding bassist of NG La Banda - and the seminal figure in the development of timba bass - playing will be in the Bay Area with his group Amistad Cubana at Ashkenaz on San Pablo Thursday night at 8:00 p.m. Only $15 in advance - a welcome respite in terms of ticket price inflation. It will be Feliciano's first Bay Area performance since the 90s.


Tue, 18 Jul 2017 21:35:22 +0000
Interview with El Noro El Noro Stockholm - 16 June 2017

ENGLISH: On June 16, 2017 El Noro & 1ra Clase held their first performance in Stockholm. After the show I got a chance to sit down with El Noro and talk a little bit about his roots and the band. It wasn't easy. El Noro is a popular guy and there was a steady stream of friends and fans coming backstage for photographs for a good half an hour. Never once did he lose patience, but seemed to enjoy spending time with everyone. Later people were coming and going so often that we had to stop and restart the interview with a guard at the door to keep it from being opened until we were done. That's why we're laughing at the beginning.

I have uploaded pictures from the concert to the photo gallery. Keep an eye out because the official video for "La Receta (La Costurera") will be out very soon and looks like it will be quite funny.

You can watch the video interview with English subtitles  below, or if you prefer written interviews the English translation can be found by clicking here.

ESPAÑOL: El 16 de junio de 2017, El Noro & 1ra Clase realizó su primera actuación en Estocolmo. Después del show tuve la oportunidad de sentarme con El Noro y hablar un poco sobre sus raíces y la banda. No era fácil. El Noro es un tipo popular y hubo un flujo constante de amigos y fans que venían al backstage para tirar fotografías durante una media hora. Nunca perdió la paciencia, pero parecía disfrutar de pasar tiempo con todo el mundo. Más tarde la gente iba y venía tan a menudo que tuvimos que detener y reiniciar la entrevista con un guardia en la puerta para evitar que se abrió hasta que se hizo. Así que estamos reindo cuamdo empieza.

He subido imágenes del concierto a la galería de fotos. Manténgase atento porque el video oficial de "La Receta" (La Costurera) saldrá muy pronto y parece que será muy divertido.

Puedes mirar la entrevista en el video a continuación.

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 18:13:04 +0000
Yomil & El Dany - Europe 2017 Yomil & El Dany Europe 2017

Yomil & El Dany are in Europe now. Their tour begins tomorrow in Rome at Fiesta. They have an intense 10-day schedule with eight concerts in Italy, Spain and Austria. Since 2015 they have been at the top of the Cuban charts and have a large following in Miami and among fans of Cuban urban music around the world with their mix of trap, reggaeton and rap which they call "trapton". Below is the most recent video from their album "Ambidiestros".

July 6 - Rome, Italy - Fiesta
July 7 - Milan, Italy - Latin Festival
July 8 - Naples, Italy - L'arenile
July 9 - Verona, Italy - Latino Lovers Festival
July 13 - Vienna , Austria - Der Garten Prater
July 14 - Andorra la Vella, Andorra - Buda Espai Andorra
July 15 - Barcelona, Spain - Sala Bikini Note new venue!
July 16 - Madrid, Spain - Teatro de Bodevil

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 09:57:13 +0000
PRIMERA LINEA - AN IMPORTANT INTERNATIONAL EVENT FOR CUBA'S MUSIC INDUSTRY ENGLISH:  The second edition of Primera Linea, an event hosted by the Insituto Cubano de la Música and organized by the Ministry of Culture with multiple coproduceers and sponsors, , is a partner event to WOMEX and should be of a high level of interest to international presenters and other members of the music industry.  It will take place in Havana from September 20-23,  2017. This may also be the closest equivalent that Cuba currently has to the APAP event in the United States.   Highly recommended for professionals presenting or working with Cuban music in any country.  Full details can be found at
ESPAÑOL: La segunda edición de Primera Linea, evento  dirigido por el Insituto Cubano de la Música y organizado por el Ministerio de Cultura con múltiples coproductores y patrocinadores, es un evento socio de WOMEX,  y debe ser de alto nivel de interés entre presentadores y otros miembros de la industria musical en todo el mundo  que trabajan con la música cubana. Se llevará a cabo en La Habana del 20 al 23 de septiembre de 2017. También puede ser el equivalente más cercano que Cuba tiene actualmente al evento APAP en los Estados Unidos. Muy recomendable para profesionales que presenten o trabajen con música cubana en cualquier país. Puede encontrar más detalles en 

ENGLISH:  One of the most distinguishing features of Cubadisco is the International Symposium held at CIDMUC.   You can see a photo gallery, read commentary and download my copy of the program here. 
ESPAÑOL: Uno de los rasgos más destacados de Cubadisco es el Simposio Internacional que se celebra en CIDMUC. Usted puede ver una galería de fotos, leer comentarios y descargar mi copia del programa aquí.

Septeto Santiaguero, which has won both Cubadisco and Latin GRAMMY awards as well as regular GRAMMY nominations, is coming to the US in multiple cities from July 19- August 12.  You can see a tour schedule here, and this is their latest video, La canción de la trova.....



Tue, 04 Jul 2017 15:07:49 +0000
Jovenes Clasicos del Son - Europe 2017 Jovenes Clasicos del Son - Madrid

ENGLISH: Los Jóvenes Clásicos del Son are back in Europe for a three month tour that begins tonight in Madrid at Sala Galileo. Tonight's concert is a special tribute to Antonio Machín who passed away forty years ago. We have started a tours page for JCS and will update it as more concerts are confirmed, so stay tuned!

Timba fans will recognize lead vocalist José Antonio Rodriguez "Pepitín" from his time with Maykel Blanco y Salsa Mayor and Manolito y Su Trabuco. If you want to familiarize yourself with the new incarnation of the band, you can purchase their 2016 release "El Bar de Paco". Here is a sample of one of the songs - traditional music and yet with a touch of modernity. You'll see what I'm talking about when you watch the video.

ESPAÑOL: Los Jóvenes Clásicos del Son vuelven a Europa para una gira de tres meses que comienza esta noche en Madrid en la Sala Galileo. El concierto de esta noche es un homenaje especial a Antonio Machín, ya fallecido hace cuarenta años. Hemos empezado una página de giras para JCS y lo actualizaremos a medida que se confirmen más conciertos, ¡así que estad atentos!

Los fans de Timba reconocerán al vocalista José Antonio Rodriguez "Pepitín" de su tiempo con Maykel Blanco y Salsa Mayor y Manolito y Su Trabuco. Si quieres familiarizarse con la nueva encarnación de la banda, puedes comprar su disco de 2016 "El Bar de Paco". Aquí hay una muestra de una de las canciones - música tradicional y sin embargo con un toque de modernidad. Verás de lo que estoy hablando cuando veas el video.

Jovenes Clasico del Son Booking information

Tue, 04 Jul 2017 11:18:13 +0000
Review - Sobreviviente Buena Fe - Sobreviviente (2017)

ENGLISH: Cuban singer-songwriters Israel Rojas and Yoel Martinez - better know as Buena Fe - and their team of musicians won big at the 2017 Cubadisco awards. They took home Best Recording, Best Fusion Album and the Grand Prize. It may not be a coincidence that they were awarded the Grand Prize the same year that Trova was the theme. I have posted my review of "Sobreviviente" in our reviews section. The album is available at digital retailers, via streaming apps and the hardcopy can be purchased online at Amazon and Target.

Buena Fe will be performing tonight at El Sauce in Havana and celebrating two birthdays: Yoel Martinez and Yibran Rivero, the new electric guitarist who joined after the tragic death of Dairon Rodriguez. Yibran is best known for his work with the young trova group D'Corazón. To keep up with Buena Fe follow them at the Buena Fe Official Facebook page. We also do our best to keep up with their tour schedule in our tours section. I leave you with two videos from the album.

ESPAÑOL: Los cantautores Israel Rojas y Yoel Martínez - mejor conocidos como Buena Fe - y su equipo de músicos fueron muy premiados en los premios Cubadisco 2017. Se llevaron a casa Mejor Grabación, Mejor Álbum de Fusión y el Gran Premio. Puede que no sea una coincidencia que se les otorgó el Gran Premio el mismo año que Trova fue el tema. He publicado mi reseña de "Sobreviviente" en nuestra sección de reseñas. El álbum está disponible en las tiendas digitales, a través de aplicaciones de streaming y el disco físico se puede comprar por Internet en Amazon y Target.

Buena Fe se presentará esta noche en El Sauce en La Habana y celebrará dos cumpleaños: Yoel Martínez y Yibran Rivero, el nuevo guitarrista eléctrico que se unió al grupo después del trágico fallecimiento de Dairon Rodríguez. Yibran es conocido por su trabajo con el jóven grupo de trova D'Corazón. Para mantenerse al día con Buena Fe, sígalos en la página Facebook oficial de Buena Fe. También hacemos nuestro mejor esfuerzo para mantener al día su página en nuestra sección de giras. Les dejo con dos videos del disco.

La Tempestad feat. Silvio Rodriguez

Alabanza is dedicated to happiness and the video to Dairon

Sat, 01 Jul 2017 07:58:32 +0000

Chuchito Valdés returns to the Jazz Showcase in Chicago, which also recently presented Jane Bunnett and Maqueque, Thursday through Sunday, June 29-July 2.   By Chuchito's own account, he honed some of his Jazz chops during some time in Chicago in an earlier period in his life, and he always plays a beautiful set (he is fronting a trio this time).  You can find times and tickets here 

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 08:05:55 +0000
El Tren Bala Angelito & El Tren Bala

ENGLISH: This weekend El Tren Bala, which now includes singer Marcelo Villar, will be performing their last shows in Lima before starting their European 2017 summer tour organized by Greco Bayobar. The confirmed dates are posted below and if you know of any others please send an email with the date, city and venue. 

Ángelito & El Tren Bala released their first CD "Mi Historia" at online vendors in 2016 and are only weeks away from releasing the singles "El Rey Del Timbón" and "Todo Está Escrito En Esta Vida". The new album will also include Marcelo on lead vocals.

Ángelito Ramírez & El Tren Bala con Michel Maza

They just finished a concert with Michel Maza last night and took a minute after the concert to record a greeting for the fans in Italy.

Tour dates:
Friday June 30 - Madrid, Spain - Discoteca Prisma
Saturday July 1 - Barcelona, Spain- Discoteca Melao Room
Friday July 7 - Florence, Italy - Latin Forever 2
Saturday July 8 - Milan, Italy - Space 25
Sunday July 9 - Rome, Italy - El Campo Sportivo Atletico 2000

ESPAÑOL Este fin de semana El Tren Bala, que ahora incluye al cantante Marcelo Villar, tocarán sus últimos conciertos en Lima antes de iniciar su gira de verano de 2017 organizada por Greco Bayobar. Las fechas confirmadas se publican a continuación y si conoce otras, por favor envíe un correo electrónico con la fecha, ciudad y lugar.

Ángelito & El Tren Bala lanzaron su primer CD "Mi Historia" en las tiendas digitales en 2016 y están a pocas semanas de lanzar los singles "El Rey Del Timbón" y "Todo Está Escrito En Esta Vida". El nuevo álbum también incluirá a Marcelo entre las voces principales.

Viernes 30 de Junio - Madrid, España - Discoteca Prisma
Sabado 01 de Julio - Barcelona, España - Discoteca Melao Room
Viernes 07 de Julio - Firenze, Italia - Latin Forever 2
Sabado 08 de Julio - Milano, Italia - Space 25
Domingo 09 de Julio - Roma, Italia - el campo sportivo atletico 2000

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 15:17:28 +0000
Photo Galleries: Maqueque, Daymé Arocena
  Daymé Arocena was in Chicago Wednesday and will be in New York Saturday.   A photo gallery of the Wednesday concert is here.  New Yorkers can check her out today. 
ESPAÑOL:  Daymé Arocena estuvo en Chicago el miercoles y va a presentar en Nueva York el sábado.  Una galería del concierto de miercoles está aquí.  Nuevayorquinos pueden disfrutar de ella hoy. 

: Jane Bunnett and  Maqueque are on tour at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago through Sunday.  A photo gallery of the first Friday show is here
ESPAÑOL:  Jane Bunnett y Maqueque estan de gira 4 noches en Jazz Showcase en Chicago hasta el domingo. Una galería del primer show del viernes está aquí. 

During the next two weeks, Bill Tilford's radio program From the Isle of Music features an interview in two parts  with  Bobby Carcassés that they recorded in Bobby's home in May.   Bobby is the creator of Jazz Plaza and one of the most important people  in Jazz in Cuba.  His new album Blues con Montuno won this year's Cubadisco in the Jazz Soloists category.  If you care about Jazz in Cuba, you won't want to miss these episodes.  
ESPAÑOL:  Durante las próximas dos semanas, el programa de radio de Bill Tilford, From the Isle of Music, presenta una entrevista en dos partes con Bobby Carcassés que grabaron en el hogar de Bobby en mayo.  Bobby es creador de Jazz Plaza y una de las personas más importantes en Jazz en Cuba. Su nuevo álbum Blues con montuno ganó esta año un Premio Cubadisco en la categoria Jazz Soloists.  Si te interesa el Jazz en Cuba, no te lo pierdas.  

Sat, 17 Jun 2017 12:19:36 +0000
Jane Bunnett and Maqueque in Chicago

Jane Bunnett and Maqueque are at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago from June 15-18.   Jane always has impressive projects, and this one, an all-female ensemble, features several first-rate jazzistas cubanas, including this year's Opera Prima winner in Cubadisco, Yissy Garcia, on drums.   
Times and tickets are available on the Jazz Showcase website. 

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 09:34:40 +0000
Highlights of Cubadisco 2017, Part I ENGLISH:  Bill Tilford attended Cubadisco 2017 and the International Symposium and will begin sharing analysis, highlights and photos in a few days.   Right now, you can download the official winner's booklet (with many thanks to the Cubadisco Publications team) here.   There is also a photo gallery from the awards ceremony here .  AND, we already have reviews of two TImba recordings that received awards in our reviews section:
Mis 21 Años  by Giraldo Piloto & Klimax, Winner of Música Popular Bailable, Maestros
Música Cubana, llegö el Expreso  by Aisar y el Expreso de Cuba, Winner of Música Popular Bailable, Nuevos Talentos 
.....there will be many more to come as well as commentary, analysis and photos.   Also, Bill Tilford's weekly radio program From the Isle of Music is featuring music from the winners for the next several months (often with interviews of the artists, his guest this week is Giraldo Piloto  of Klimax)
ESPAÑOL: Bill Tilford asistió a Cubadisco 2017 y al Simposio Internacional y comenzará a compartir análisis, resúmenes y fotos en unos pocos días. En este momento, puedes descargar aquí el folleto oficial de ganadores (con muchas gracias al equipo de Publicaciones Cubadisco). También hay una galería de fotos de la ceremonia de premiación aquí . Además, tenemos reseñas de dos grabaciones de TImba que recibieron premios en nuestra sección de reseñas:
Mis 21 Años de Giraldo Piloto & Klimax, Ganador de  Música Popular Bailable, Maestros
Música Cubana, llegó el Expreso de Aisar y el Expreso de Cuba, Ganador de Música Popular Bailable, Nuevos Talentos
..... habrá muchos más por venir así como comentarios, análisis y fotos. Además, el programa de radio semanal de Bill Tilford From the Isle of Music está presentando música de los ganadores para los próximos meses (a menudo con entrevistas de los artistas, su invitado esta semana es Giraldo Piloto de Klimax)

Daymé Arocena is doing a mini-tour of four US cities this week - Chicago on the 15th, Boston on the 16th, New York on the 17th and Croton-on Hudson on the 18th.   She will be bringing at least some of her stellar backing band including two-time Cubadisco winner Ruly Herrera, who in addition to having his own project is also her current drummer.   Here's a taste of why you should go if you can: 

For more information about the concerts, Complete details are here
You can also read our review of Cubafonía in English here and in Spanish here.  

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 08:53:45 +0000
El Noro y 1ra Clase Europe 2017 El Noro y 1ra Clase Stockholm 2017

El Noro y 1ra Clase begin their 2017 tour of Europe next Thursday June 15th at Cabaret Sauvage in Paris. I'm excited because I will get to see the band live for the first time on Friday June 16th in Stockholm! Note: If you're planning to go to the Stockholm concert, buy your tickets in advance because they will not be sold at the door. Click here for the concert dates .

For those of you who have only recently come to timba, here is a short retrospective of El Noro's career. Although he began singing with Doble Impacto, I first met Norisley Valladares "El Noro" in 2007 when he was with Maykel Blanco. His distinctive voice, charismatic stage presence and trademark blond spikes made him instantly recognizable. During his time with Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor, El Noro became a household name among timba fans around the world.

Cuba took note and in December 2007 during a Salsa Mayor national tour, El Noro received a call from Manolito Simonet asking him to join the Trabuco as replacement for Sixto Llorente "El Indio". Honestly, replacing a master-sonero like El Indio is not an easy position to be in, but I went to the second concert El Noro did after joining El Trabuco and was very impressed when the time came for him to sing "Marcando la distancia". He really was able to pull it off, and during his time with Manolito, he also tried his hand at composing. One of his signature songs from that period is "La bomba". Here is El Noro performing "La Bomba" with Manolito in Rome in 2008.

In 2009 none other than César "Pupy" Pedroso invited El Noro to join Los Que Son Son. Here he sang updated versions of "Ni bombones, ni caramelos" and "Parece mentira" and many hits such as "Un loco con una moto", "Seis semanas" and "Dicen que dicen" as well as some of his own compositions: "No te deje por mala", "Esta es mi música" and "La preferencia".

On October 20, 2013 after nearly 4 years with Pupy y Los Que Son Son, El Noro decided to take a big risk and start his own orchestra. Now he could establish his own sello reinterpreting his hits and creating a new repertoire according to his personal musical tastes.

The first CD by El Noro y 1ra Clase - "Sin escalas" - was released in 2015 and was awarded "Best Dance Music - New Talent" at Cubadisco 2016. The album includes a couple of his previous hits "La bomba" feat. Alexander Abreu and "La preferencia", as well as ten new compositions. He chose to only use his own compositions for the first CD.

El Noro has not been idle since then and a new CD is in the works. He has also begun working with other composers. You can find some of his other songs at YouTube such as "3 con 2", "Estoy en 0", "Música diferente", "Pa' lo mal hecho" and "Cinturita."

Summary: For the past ten years El Noro has been one of the most popular and recognizable young singers in Cuba. His career path took him through three important Cuban bands where he learned from each bandleader. His orchestra - 1ra Clase - has already received honors from the Cuban music industry and has completed successful tours of Europe and Peru. If you get the chance to see the band live, don't miss it! I wont!

Sat, 10 Jun 2017 08:17:07 +0000
2017 LOS VAN VAN U.S.A. TOUR Cuba's premier dance band returns to the US with a full lineup featuring three of founder Juan Formell's children: drummer / timbalero Samuel Formell, bassist Juan-Carlos Formell and the newest addition, the family's youngest daughter, lead vocalist Vanessa Formell. We anticipate that her voice, beauty and her energetic style will increase the adrenaline in all shows.

Formell y Los Van Van - 2017 U.S.A. Tour - Direct from Cuba with visas secured - For bookings contact Searock Music at 917.617.5708 & 917.687.2486

After the passing of Juan Formell, the legacy remained in the hands of his son, Samuel Formell. Samuel has been following the footsteps of his father as musical director of the band. On this tour he brings LVV's most recent musical production entitled "Los Van Van son la patria" from Cuba’s Egrem label, a collection of danceable tracks incorporating innovative, contemporary arrangements of Juan Formell’s hits and new compositions from different members of the band.

The orchestra will be in the US in August 15th , 2017 through August 30th, 2017

For presenters interested in including the legendary Pedrito Calvo as guest singer in any show, please contact www.Searockmusic.com (info below) to discuss this in advance. Pedro Calvo is the most recognized singer of Los Van Van in its first 40 years and and one of the most famous interpreters of contemporary Afro-Cuba music.

For group availability, contact:
Ernesto Lago
Tour Producer /Artist Representative
(917) 617 – 5708

Leo Tizol
Tour Producer
(917) 687 – 2486

Fri, 02 Jun 2017 14:45:36 +0000
Rivera y Primera at Roccapulco

Rivera y Primera really did turn out to be la combinación perfecta. Transcending the usual Van Van tribute approach, Mayito and Alexander sang together with obvious preparation on an HdP song, El palo más duro, and Mayito's first  big hit, La sorpresa (Voy a publicar tu foto). Mayito sang Soy todo alone but the band, with Guillermo del Toro switching to drumset, made some very cool changes to the arrangement. The show went two hours and included several new HdP songs as well as a couple of their trademark hits. If you're in SF, LV, LA or Miami, this historic pairing is not to be missed.

Roccapulco's slick new digital backdrop was a big improvement

Avis Tobías was playing with a new ferocity

DJ Walt Digz with DJ Leydis

Fri, 26 May 2017 16:28:30 +0000


Havana d'Primera will be back on the West Coast starting Thursday & Friday, May 25 & 26 at Roccapulco in San Francisco , and this time they have a special guest - ex-Van Van legend, Mayito Rivera.

cuban music, musica cubana

Tue, 23 May 2017 16:30:48 +0000
Distinction for National Culture Maykel Blanco Distinción de la Cultura Natural

English: On the afternoon of May 17th at a ceremony in the José Martí Memorial, the Ministry of Culture awarded the Distinction of National Culture on 74 musicians and promoters.The award was established in 1981 and is conferred upon people or institutions for outstanding contributions to Cuban culture. Many of the names are familiar to timberos: Maykel Blanco, Rolando Luna, Samuel Formell, Alexander Abreu, Orlando "Maraca" Valle, Pedro Lugo "El Nene", Leo Vera and more. Click here for the full list of award recipients and congratulations to all of them.

Español: En la tarde del 17 de mayo en una ceremonia en el Memorial de José Martí, el Ministerio de Cultura otorgó la Distinción de Cultura Nacional a 74 músicos y promotores. El premio fue establecido en 1981 y se otorga a personas o instituciones por destacadas contribuciones a la cultura cubana. Muchos de los nombres son bien conocidos a los timberos: Maykel Blanco, Rolando Luna, Samuel Formell, Alexander Abreu, Orlando "Maraca" Valle, Pedro Lugo "El Nene", Leo Vera y muchos más. Haga clic aquí para ver la lista completa de receptores del premio y nuestras felicitaciones a todos.

Maykel Blanco Distinción de la Cultura Natural

Sat, 20 May 2017 12:10:25 +0000
Havana D'Primera Havana D'Primera S.O.B.s

Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera kicked off their US tour with a concert last night at La Scala in Miami. Tonight they will be at SOB's in New York before heading to the other coast for concerts in California, Oregon, Washington and also Las Vegas. The California concerts will also feature Mayito Rivera . Click here to see the US tour dates.   I leave you with a song I have not stopped listening to since it came out. Click here to buy the "Siempre sí" single at Cubamusic - highly recommended!

Fri, 19 May 2017 03:22:54 +0000
Dairon Rodriguez Lobaina 1984-2017 Dairon Rodriguez Lobaina @Latinoamericando 18 August 2012
Haz clic para leer el artículo en español.

I was going to do a post about Cubadisco at Timba.com today.  In just a few hours we’ll find out who the 2017 winners are. But at about noon CET, my day ground to a halt when I saw the terrible news that Dairon Rodriguez Lobaina had passed away from a heart attack this morning at only 32 years of age. I know he’s not a household name among timba fans but certainly fans of Cuban popular music know Buena Fe, where he was electric guitarist, corista and even rapero for about 9 years. He was also my friend, and like friends and fans he left behind around the world, I am finding it hard to conceive that he is gone.

I first met Dairon in 2012 at 10:00pm in a hotel in Milan. It was the night before the Buena Fe concert at the Latinoamericando festival. The guys were hanging out in the lobby taking advantage of the wifi. Dairon was hungry because earlier that evening he ordered a pizza, ate half of it and wanted to take half back to the hotel room for later. He thought that to speak Italian he just had to say things loudly in Spanish and gesticulate a lot. The result was that the waiter took the other half of his pizza and threw it away. So we ended up going on a late night food run to a nearby gas station and Dairon learned to say “per portare via”.

Dairon was always friendly, laid back and had a great sense of humor. I was once at his home studio in Marianao where he was going to record a song for a new artist. I had to use his restroom and couldn’t help but tease him afterward about how many hair products he had. His response: “Yeah, it looks like a French whore lives here.” He and the guys were always joking around. Here are a couple of typical Dairon moments that I have on film. This is how I remember him.

Dairon always made me laugh

Dairon was also a very talented musician, and in addition to his work with Buena Fe he recorded some solo tracks but never released them on any label that I know of. You can find a few at YouTube as well as hundreds of Buena Fe videos featuring Dairon. I did see him perform “Mírame Madre” - the song he recorded with Javier Milanes for the "Motivos Martianos" project - and captured that on video. He had a beautiful voice. Considering that tomorrow is Mother’s Day in the US and Cuba, it seems the perfect video to leave you with.

Dairon & Javier singing "Mírame Madre"

Dairon made friends wherever he went, and I know that friends and fans around the world were stunned by the news today. The band just got back from a tour of Canada. They are scheduled for a Mother’s Day concert tonight at El Ajibe and are in the running for Best Fusion Album for the 2017 release “Sobreviviente” at the CubaDisco awards tonight as well. That must feel surreal to the band members. My deepest sympathy to Dairon’s parents and family, the band and all his friends around the world. To conclude I leave you with Dairon in his own words from his Facebook account: “I’m a musician, guitarist with the Cuban group Buena Fe. I like to dance, read, challenges (life is the constant surprise of knowing that I exist).”

I would like to invite everyone who knew him to post comments as a tribute to him. We could all share our memories and help one another in the healing process.

UPDATE: Buena Fe won the Grand Prize as well as Best Fusion Album and Best Recording for "Sobreviviente" at Cubadisco tonight. They dedicated the awards to Dairon.

Sat, 13 May 2017 19:56:42 +0000
CUBADISCO 2017: AND THE NOMINEES ARE.... ENGLISH:   Although the formal booklet is not ready yet, the Cubadisco team in Havana (a thousand thank-you's to them!) was kind enough to share the list of nominees in Cubadisco 2017 as well as the schedule of events.   When the final booklet is available, we will also share that with you here. Cubadisco is Cuba's most important music awards program and much, much more- an academic symposium, a commercial fair, and always many wonderful concerts in genres across Cuba's musical spectrum.  
The nominees are available here.     Congratulations to all!
The schedule is available here. 

Aunque el folleto formal no está listo todavia, el equipo de Cubadisco en la Habana (¡mil gracias a ellos!) tuvo la amabilidad de compartir el listado de nominados en Cubadisco 2017 y el horario de los eventos con nosotros.  Les compartir el folleto formal aquí en cuanto este disponible.   
Cubadisco es la premiación musical más importante en Cuba y mucho más - un simposio académico, una feria comercial, y siempre un montón de maravillosos conciertos en todo el espectro musical de Cuba. 
Los nominados están disponibles aquí
¡Felicidades a todos!
El horario está disponible aquí

If you missed the livestream of the International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert from Havana, the video has been posted by the Jazzday.com team.  Enjoy. 

Tue, 02 May 2017 23:28:47 +0000
More About International Jazz Day in Havana ENGLISH:  Many thanks to the Instituto Cubano de la Música for sending us the Spanish-language version of the message of the Director General of Unesco, Irina Bokova, about International Jazz Day, which you can download here,   and  the final program in Spanish, which you can download here. 
As you will notice from the program booklet, there are actually several days of exciting events and concerts. 
Remember also that a live concert is streaming Sunday from Havana here.  

ESPAÑOL:  Muchísimas gracias al Instituto Cubano de la Música, por enviarnos el mensaje de la Directora General de UNESCO, Irina Bokova , acerca del Día Internacional del Jazz, que se puede descargar aquí,  y el folleto libro final del programa, que se puede descargar aquí. 
Como se notará en el folleto libro del programa, en realidad hay varios díás de eventos y conciertos emocionantes. 
Recuerde también que puede ver el concierto de domingo en vivo via Internet aquí.  

ENGLISH:  In honor of International Jazz Day, Bill Tilford's radio program From the Isle of Music will be featuring Jazz recordings from Cuba and an interview in Spanish with Gloria Ochoa , a very important figure in Cuba's music industry today. You can read about when and how to listen live here
ESPAÑOL :  En honor del Día Internacional del Jazz, el programa radial de Bill Tilford, From the Isle of Music , va a proponer grabaciones del Jazz de Cuba además de una entrevista con Gloria Ochoa , una figura muy importante en la industria de música en Cuba hoy.  Puede leer cuándo y cómo escuchar el progama en vivo aquí.  

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 07:42:49 +0000
International Jazz Day in Havana on April 30, 2017 INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY IN HAVANA, APRIL 30, 2017

April 30 is the 5th annual International Jazz Day, and Cuba is the host country for the All Star Global Concert this year!  Actually, there is more or less a week of activities around this day, and more than 50 prominent artists from 14 countries (including, of course, Cuba) are participating.  Best of all, the website http://jazzday.com/concert/   will be streaming a special concert live on the 30th.   For a lot more information, visit the website just mentioned.  The lineup is stunning, and this writer deeply regrets not being there in person.   

New Website for the Instituto Cubano de la Música

The Instituto Cubano de la Música has an excellent new website, and even though they tell me that it is still a work in progress (what website isn't, really?), it already has a lot of useful information. 
Check it out at  http://dcubamusica.cult.cu/

Film:  Esteban by Jonal Cosulluela with musical score by Chucho Valdés

I will be watching this in Chicago this week, but I believe that it is traveling the festival circuit now.   It is the Director's debut, and it is about a boy who is musically gifted.   You can read more

New from BIS Music:  Cuba y Puerto Rico Un abrazo musical salsero

Not the first Cuba-Puerto Rico project by any means, but the promo video looks and sounds promising.    More after this writer has tasted more of it.    


Cubadisco 2017 is coming in a couple of weeks.   Watch for more information soon.


Tue, 25 Apr 2017 22:18:01 +0000
Afro-Cuban All Stars on Fire            ACAS at Kuumbwa Jazz Center - all photos by Tom Ehrlich - full gallery coming soon

The current incarnation of Juan de Marcos and the Afro-Cuban All Stars may be the best in its legendary, star-studded 20-year history. They'll be in LA at the Catalina Bar & Grill tonight through Saturday and in Phoenix on Sunday.

De Marcos quipped that when he started the band he was the youngest member, surrounded by octogenarian legends. Now he's the oldest and he's assembled a blazing hot young band that's as much about innovation as celebrating the past.

Tany Allende, Caleb Michel, Asley Rosell, Marcos Crego, Jiovanni Cofiño

The rhythm section is tight, intense and never too loud - with de Marcos' daughter Gliceria on vibes and synth, ex-Klímax pianist Marcos Crego, ex-Revé musical director Jiovanni Cofiño on bass and a stunning young rhythm section with Arizona-born Caleb Michel on timbales, Tany Allende on congas and newcomer Asley Rosell on bongó.

Juan de Marcos

De Marcos has become an excellent singer and now uses only one additional lead vocalist, Emilio Suárez, who's also started contributing original compositions. 

Juan de Marcos, Laura Lydia González

But what continually blows me away about this band is the horn section. While finding a spot in the band for his younger daughter Laura, de Marcos hit on an idea that works so brilliantly it's a wonder that no other bands have adopted it. Placing a bass clarinet below three trumpets creates a completely unique sound and an ensemble capable of sounding as in tune as three trombones, and as ferocious as the agile, but often unruly combination of trumpets and saxes.

Laura Lydia González

Laura Lydia González combines the accuracy and perfect intonation of a classical player with the bite and rhythmicattack of a percussionist. She also solos on the standard Bb clarinet as I've never heard it played - almost reinventing the instrument. The traditionally straight-laced clarinet tends to be more accurate but less expressive than the sax, but Laura plays with a wailing, soaring tone that sounds more like a soulful trumpet. If you're anywhere near LA or Phoenix don't miss this one.

                   Juan de Marcos, Emilio Suárez, Laura González, Gliceria González

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 03:36:17 +0000
Some Upcoming Events in San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Chicago I.  San Francisco and Santa Cruz:   

Omar Sosa  
will have a 4-night residency with different guests on different nights at SF Jazz Thursday-Sunday, April 20-23. His Cuarteto AfroCubano, John Santos, percussionist Mino Cinelu , who started his career with Miles Davis, GRAMMY® -winning trumpter Joo Kraus and Yosvany Terry are among the guests during the residency, and the final night includes Indian percussionist Trilok Gurtu and Italian trumpeter Paolo Fresu. The trio has played extensively in Europe, but this concert is their debut in North America. 
Omar will also be at Kuumbwa in Santa Cruz  with Gurtu and Fresu on Monday, April 24. 
For more details about the San Francisco concerts, click here.  
For more details about the Kuumbwa concerts, click here.  

Also in Santa Cruz, Juan De Marcos & The Afro Cuban All-Stars will be at Kuumbwa on Monday, April 17.   Full details here.  
And in Chicago......
1.  Movie Night! 

Ya no es antes, a feature film by Lester Hamlet , in addition to having already won some awards as a film, features a soundtrack with music by Harold López-Nussa , Kelvis Ochoa and Haila .  At the AMC River East 21  Friday April 21- Sunday 23. The director, Lester Hamlet, who already has an impressive body of other work, will be present for all three screenings.Complete details here

2.  Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñeiro concerts 

Two of them coming up on May 1 and 2 - full details at Hothouse.net

3. Roberto Fonseca in a television program taping with a live audience at WTTW Friday, May 5 

Live taping of The Experience features an interview with Roberto followed by a performance and an autograph session.  Full details here

Sun, 16 Apr 2017 21:01:29 +0000
Bamboleo Tour Starts Today Cubahinama Festival 2017 - Bamboleo

Congratulations to Lazarito Valdés' who celebrates his birthday today which also happens to be the first concert of the Europe 2017 Spring tour for Bamboleo, tonight in Strasbourg, France at the Cubahinama festival. The tour will take them to France, Italy, England, Switzerland, Tunisia and Serbia. Click here for the list of concert dates .

Felicitaciones a Lazarito Valdés en la ocasión de su cumpleaños, que también es el día del primer concierto de la gira de Europa 2017 para Bamboleo, que empieza esta noche en Estrasburgo, Francia, en el festival Cubahinama. La gira los llevará a Francia, Italia, Inglaterra, Suiza, Túnez y Serbia. Dale clic aquí para ver la lista de conciertos.

Fri, 14 Apr 2017 13:08:11 +0000
Seria de JAZZ AFRO-CARIBEÑO en SUBROSA Nueva York New York City gets a heavy Latin Jazz boost with the announcement of "Eddie Palmieri Presents Afro-Caribbean Jazz Mondays", a new series of musical performances, beginning April 17th running through August 14th, 2017 (every Monday) @ 8pm & 10pm at SUBROSA, located at 63 Gansevoort St, in New York City.

Opening Night: 
Eddie Palmieri Quintet w/ Sp.Invited Guest Joe Locke
Monday, April 17th, 2017 @ 8pm & 10pm

Eddie Palmieri, a restless, yet instinctive artist, embraces the future of his music by unapologetically blazing a distinctive musical path to the delight of fans across the globe. With a musical career that spans over 50 years as a pianist, bandleader and composer of Salsa and Latin jazz, the ten time Grammy® Award winner was honored in 2013 with the NEA Jazz Masters Award, the nation’s highest honor in jazz, recognizing him as a true American musical icon. Palmieri’s new album, “Sabiduria” (Wisdom), will be released in April 2017. “Sabiduria” is a fusion of Jazz, funk and Latin, fused with Afroworld rhythms. Palmieri continues to innovate, and new music will be released in successive volumes commemorating his 80th year along with a tour entitled “EP @ 80.” Palmieri has mentored and toured with countless musicians, many of whom have become leaders in their own right. This celebratory performance will be a mini-reunion for Palmieri’s school of music, featuring over a dozen esteemed vocalists and instumentalists – with an extensive Latin rhythm section including congas, timbales, bongos and maracas. A true powerhouse of brilliance, known for his astute arranging skills and historic compositions, Eddie Palmieri has shown that time is infinite with respect to his repertoire as he continues to thrill audiences throughout the world with his legendary style.

For all media & promo inquiries, please contact:
Jeff Mann | JeffMann@highlineballroom.com
Director of Marketing
BNEG // Office: (212) 997-4555

SUBROSA NYC - An eclectic listening room dedicated to showcasing music, art, and culture. Located in New York’s Meatpacking District, with live music nightly.

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 02:00:36 +0000
Tom's Photos of the SF SalsarReda Festival The 9th Annual SalsaRueda Fest featured Timbalive with two current and two ex-VanVaneros, including new Bay Area resident Yenisel Valdés, who also made her Santa Cruz debut at the Center Street Food Lounge. Here are links to Tom Ehrlich's galleries from the Festival: concert - soundcheck.

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 02:20:19 +0000
Pa' Que Aprendas for Sale Now Pa' Que Aprendas - Tony Moreaux & Asokere

"Pa' Que Aprendas", the first single by Tony Moreaux & Asokere, is now available at CD Baby . Lead vocals are by Henri Benítez Hourrutinier (ex-Pupy y Los Que Son Son) and on piano is Javier Gutiérrez Massó, also known as Caramelo de Cuba -a well-known jazz pianist residing in Spain. Buy your copy now!

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 11:26:54 +0000

ENGLISH:   The 2017 edition of the International Rueda de Casino Multi Flash Mob Day will take place April 1 at 1600 hours local time (4pm local time wherever you are).   Casino dancers all around the world gather in their localities to participate.   For complete details, including how to participate, see the official website at 
ESPAÑOL: La edición 2017 del Día Internacional de la Rueda de Casino Multi Flash Mob  se llevará a cabo el 1 de abril a las 1600 horas locales (hora local de las 4 pm dondequiera que esté). Casineros de todo el mundo se reúnen en sus localidades para participar. Para obtener detalles completos, incluyendo cómo participar, consulte el sitio web oficial en https://flashmob.dileque.si/

ENGLISH:  Bill Tilford's shortwave radio program From the Isle of Music is presenting a few specials of interest to TIMBA.com readers: 
1.  On March 13/14, 17 and 18, an interview in English with music of Pablo Menéndez about Grupo de Experimentación Sonora del ICAIC , a group that profoundly influenced several genres of Cuban Music. 
2.  On March 20/21, 24 and 25, an interview in Spanish (with music)  of Oriente López about the amazing Jazz/Fusion group Afrocuba and his current projects
3.  On March 27/28, 31 and April 1, an interview in Spanish with Juanito Gómez, one of Cuba's most important Casineros, about Rueda de Casino.   With music.    
ESPAÑOL: El programa radial en onda corta de Bill Tilford From the Isle of Music está presentando algunos especiales de interés para los lectores de TIMBA.com:
1. Los días 13/14, 17 y 18 de marzo, una entrevista en inglés con música de Pablo Menéndez sobre el Grupo de Experimentación Sonora del ICAIC , grupo que profundamente influyó en varios géneros de la música cubana.
2. Los días 20/21, 24 y 25 de marzo, una entrevista en español (con música) de Oriente López sobre el increíble grupo de Jazz / Fusión Afrocuba y sus proyectos actuales
3. Los días 27/ 28, 31 de marzo, una entrevista en español con Juanito Gómez , uno de los casineros más importantes de Cuba, sobre Rueda de Casino. Con música.

To listen / Para escuchar:
1. Tuesdays/los martes 0000-0100 UTC (8-9pm  EDT Mondays/los lunes in the Americas):  
WBCQ  The Planet, 7490 Khz
2.  Fridays/los viernes 1100-1200 UTC, Channel 292 , 6070 KHz 
3.  Saturdays/los sábados 1200-1300 UTC,  Channel 292 , 6070 KHz 

Sun, 12 Mar 2017 11:06:52 +0000


ENGLISH:  Even though he is universally recognized by knowledgeable listeners in the United States as one of Cuba's most important pianists and Jazz artists, it has been many years since Ernán López-Nussa has been presented in a festival setting worthy of his stature in a key US city, so his presence at the 10th Anniversary of Miami's Global Cuba Fest is welcome news. The anniversary event takes place March 18 from 7pm-11pm at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium, and the event features several other notable artists. 
You can read a lot more information about the artists, the festival schedule (which includes other dates), and how to by tickets HERE. 
Kudos to FUNDarte for bringing Ernán to Miami!

ESPAÑOL: A pesar de que él es universalmente reconocido por oyentes conocedores de los Estados Unidos como uno de los pianistas y jazzistas más importantes de Cuba, ha pasado muchos años desde que Ernán López-Nussa fue presentado en un festival digno de su estatura en una ciudad importante en los EE.UU., por lo que su presencia en el 10 º Aniversario del Global Cuba Fest en Miami es una buena noticia. El evento de aniversario se llevará a cabo el 18 de marzo de 7 pm a 11 pm en el Auditorio del Condado de Miami-Dade, y el evento cuenta con varios otros artistas notables.
Puedes leer mucha más información sobre los artistas, el calendario del festival (que incluye otras fechas), y cómo comprar entradas AQUÍ.
¡Felicitaciones a FUNDarte por llevar a Ernán a Miami!

Sat, 11 Mar 2017 07:58:22 +0000
Pupy y Los Que Son Son In Europe Pupy y los que son son

Cesar "Pupy" Pedroso y Los Que Son Son are on tour in Europe now and had their first concert last night at the Rueda de Casino Festival in Paris.The tour will take them to Spain, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Belgium. Check out their tours page for all the concert dates.

You can follow them during the tour at the Pupy y Los Que Son Son Facebook Page . Enjoy a look at the fantastic concert from last night!

Sun, 05 Mar 2017 12:55:13 +0000
  From my point of view, the International Symposium held by CIDMUC (the Center for the Research and Development of Cuban Music) which takes place in Havana May 16-18 this year,   is one of the most interesting things about Cubadisco - lectures, debates, demonstrations of instruments etc.   However, it is also held entirely in Spanish, and it is often at a high technical level, so if you are not hispanohablante,  check out the multiple other wonderful things on this website.  My observation (I have attended before) is that those who attend the symposium without knowing the language find themselves  lost very quickly.  However,   if you do undertand Spanish, more details are available in the Spanish version of the post below. 
ESPAÑOL :  Desde mi punto de vista, el Simposio Internacional organizado por CIDMUC (el Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de la Música Cubana), que tendrá lugar del 16 al 18 de Mayo de 2017, es uno de los eventos más interesantes durante la Feria Internacional Cubadisco. Puede leer los detalles aquí.........

Sat, 04 Mar 2017 19:06:41 +0000
Alfredo Rodríguez & Pedrito Martínez

Tom caught these two masters playing as a duo at St. Louis' Jazz at the Bistro and a few days later at the Jazz Standard in NYC. The second gallery is the Pedrito Martínez Group, also at the Jazz Standard, with new full-time bassist Sebastián Natal (a multiple threat talent who also plays piano with La Temáti-K).

Stay tuned for video pending approval of the artists. Also coming from Tom are photos from the historic 9th Annual San Francisco Salsa Rueda Festival with Timbalive backing a Van Van tribute lineup of Pedrito Calvo, Robertón, Samuel and Yeni.

Sat, 04 Mar 2017 03:04:25 +0000
Buena Fe - Sobreviviente Sobreviviente - Buena Fe

Today at Karl Marx Theater in Havana, Buena Fe begin the 3-day celebration of the release of their 9th studio album "Sobreviviente". Just four hours after they went on sale, tickets were sold out for all three concerts. The new album incudes collaboration with Silvio Rodriguez on the track "La tempestad", which has already been released as a video clip. Also guesting on the album are Luna Manzanares, Frank Delgado and Vincent Alejandro Trigo of D'CoraSon, who also contruíbuted to the arrangements.

If you can't make the concerts in Cuba to pick up a hardcopy, the digital album is on sale starting today at the usual digital retailers and streaming sites such as iTunes and Spotify . The physical album will go on sale internationally March 31st at international on-line sellers. You can pre-order the physical CD at Target and Amazon now.  I am listening to the digital album now but already pre-ordered the hardcopy. I am excited just to see the full CD sleeve, because the artwork is by the famous Cuban artist Roberto Fabelo .

Buena Fe will also hold a mega-concert on March 17th at the University of Havana stadium before embarking on a national tour from the end of March throughout April. In May they will hold three concerts in Canada: May 5 - Toronto at Opera House Toronto, May 6 - Montreal at South Beach, and May 7 - Vancouver at Russian Hall . Check out the current list of concert dates for Buena Fe in our tours section . You can also keep up on the latest by following Buena Fe at Facebook.

Track list:
Sin Arrepentimiento
Dijo el Diablo
La Tempestad - feat. Silvio Rodríguez
Si Nos Dan un Filo
Bolero Sangriento
De Ti Depende
Lágrimas Tras Cebollas
Una Mujer - feat. Luna Manzanares
Hipibano - feat. Frank Delgado & Vicente Alejandro Trigo Junco

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 10:45:37 +0000
Pa'lante y Con Fe - Video Pa'lante y Con Fe

Alain Almeida y La Constelación de Cuba have released the video to the title track from their debut album "Pa'lante y Con Fe" at YouTube. Their debut album was released in September of 2016 on Cubamusic .Enjoy!

Alain Almeida y La Constelación de Cuba han lanzado en YouTube el video de la canción "Pa'lante y Con Fe".  El álbum de debut fue lanzado en septiembre de 2016 por Cubamusic . ¡Disfrute!

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 03:49:17 +0000
Adalberto Álvarez y Su Son Adalberto Álvarez y Su Son

Timba.com wishes to congratulate Maestro Adalberto Álvarez and all of the musicians who have been part of this important group over the years on the 33rd anniversary of Adalberto Álvarez y Su Son . They will be celebrating with a concert tonight at the Festival de La Salsa en Cuba . Also performing tonight are Anacaona — who just celebrated their 85th anniversary — and relative newcommers Alexander Abreu y Havana D'Primera.

Timba.com desea felicitar al Maestro Adalberto Álvarez y a todos los músicos que han formado parte de este importante grupo a lo largo de los años en la ocasión del 33o aniversario de Adalberto Álvarez y Su Son . Estarán celebrando con un concierto esta noche en el Festival de La Salsa en Cuba . También esta noche estarán Anacaona — quien acaba de celebrar su 85o aniversario — y los relativamente recién llegados Alexander Abreu y Havana D'Primera.

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 08:54:08 +0000
Música Cubana, Llegó El Expresso

Música Cubana, Llegó el Expresso

Today is the worldwide digital release of the debut album by Aisar y El Expresso de Cuba "Música Cubana, Llegó el Expresso".! If you're in Havana you can celebrate with the orchestra at their concert tonight at Gran Teatro de La Habana from 9am - 2am. Only 5 CUC so don't miss it! February 28th will be the release for the press and on March 5th, the hardcopy will become available - probably only in Cuba to begin with.
You can purchase the digital CD now at:

The album contains eleven tracks including updated versions of the four songs that they released as demos previously. Although Aisar has a long list of hits that he wrote during his 10 years as Musical Director of Elito Revéy su Charangón, he chose to use a new material for El Expresso de Cuba to define the band as a completely new project. He sees their repertoire as a compendium of all expressions of Cuban popular dance music with lyrics that reflect the way of life of Cubans.

Track list:
Llego el expresso
La manteca
Cuando beso tu boca
El son del dinero
Tu me propones
Ahora es cuando es
Amor oculto
El patio
No me canso
La tía
El solar

Aisar y El Expresso de Cuba just celebrated their first anniversary on January 21 and the band still has all the original members, despite the high level of turnover in general in Cuban orchestras. He attribuites his to a strong sense of family among the bandmembers. You can catch them live in Havana 6 times a month. They have the following standing gigs: Wednesdays at El Diablo Tun Tun 5-9pm, matinee at Café Cantante the first and third Friday of each month from 4-8pm, the second and fourth Friday of each month from 9pm-2am in the Salon Tablao of the Gran Teatro de La Habana, and the second Saturday of each month from 10pm-2am in Los Jardines del 1830 with the Rueda de Casino project.

Aisar y El Expresso de Cuba

Bass & director
Aisar Hernández Segundo

Eric Eduardo Broche Vidal
Akaena Rodríguez Armentero
Wilmer Muñoz Pérez
Jorge Luis Peres Llamares
Omar Claramont Alfonso,
Joel Enrique Sagó Bell
Hendry Drake González
Rafael Ernesto Nocedo González
Yuniel Camilo Ibáñez
Osmany Moya Prat
Yosvani Bárbaro Nelson Caliste
Bongo & cowbell
Rafael Lesmes Armentero
Miguel Pena Martínez

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 04:53:09 +0000
Festival de la Salsa en Cuba 2017 Festival de la Salsa 2017

The second annual Festival de la Salsa in Havana, Cuba starts today. It is a week-long event with dance workshops, music workshops, shows and of course great parties with Havana's hottest new bands and favorite veteran bands as well as Cuban and international timba DJs. It also includes unique events such as a trip to Las Terrazas outside Havana with singer Norisley "El Noro" Valladares. The events take place at Hotel Comodoro and Parque Metropolitano. How's this for a concert line-up?


Haila y su Grupo
Yasser Ramos y 9 Milímetros
Enrique Álvarez y su Charanga Latina

Monica Mesa y su Grupo
Papucho y Manana Club

Paulo F.G. y su Élite
Lazarito Valdés y Bamboleo
Los Van Van

El Noro y 1ra Clase
Pupy y Los Que Son Son

N.G. La Banda
Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor

Tanja Pantoja y su Orquesta
Adalberto Álvarez y su Son
Havana D'Primera

If you're like me and were not able to make it this year, mark your calendar now so you can go next year. It will be back again in February 2018!

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 04:53:07 +0000
 Congratulations to Chucho Valdés and the rest of the team involved in Tribute to irakere (Live in Marciac), which was awarded the GRAMMY®  for Latin Jazz this month.   It is a stellar recording, and you can read our review in English here. 
ESPAÑOL:  Felicidades a Chucho Valdés y a todo el equipo involucrado en Tribute to Irakere (Live in Marciac) , que fue galardonado con el GRAMMY® en Jazz Latino este mes.   Es una grabación estelar, y nuestra reseña en español está disponible aquí


The 2017 Cubadisco Awards will take place May 2017 (approx May 13-21 with some events outside this time period).  This year's theme will be Nueva Trova.  We will have many more details in the weeks to come.  You can read a translation of the convocation here. 
ESPAÑOL:  Los Premios Cubadisco 2017 tendrán lugar el mayo de 2017 (approx 13-21 de mayo con eventos adicionales fuera de esas fechas).  Vamos a compartir mucho más información en las semanas que vienen.   La convocatoria está disponible aquí. 

ENGLISH:  Happy 85th Anniversary to Orquesta Anacaona, Cuba's premier all-female dance band! Their musical style has evolved with the times, but they are still going strong with a new generation of performers.   May they have 85 more!
ESPAÑOL:  Feliz 85º Aniversario a la Orquesta Anacaona , la banda de baile femenina más importante en Cuba. Su estilo musical ha evolucionado con los tiempos, pero siguen siendo fuertes con una nueva generación de artistas. Que tengan 85 más!
Para leer más sobre la orquesta, tenemos una sección dedicada a ella aquí


Sun, 19 Feb 2017 12:24:04 +0000
Calle Real Concert Report Calle Real @Fasching 2017

On Friday, February 10, 2017 Calle Real kicked off the 2017 tour season with a sold-out concert at Fasching in Stockholm. Tonight they play the new DR Koncerhuset in Copenhagen. From the intimacy of Fasching in Stockholm to a 1000-person venue with a big stage. Wish I could catch the concert tonight. Calle Real has more planned for the spring as well as some dates left to confirm. Click here for the confirmed dates and check back because there is more to come and we'll publish dates as soon as they are confirmed.

Click here to read the concert report including three videos!

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 11:09:18 +0000
"Making Of" - VAMO' HACERLO - Ángel Yos y La Mecánica Loca Paris, France based Cuban singer songwriter Ángel Yos is about to release his new album entitled VAMO' HACERLO (Let's Do It!). Click on the album cover below to visit his official website. The album is a collaboration of French and Cuban musicians recorded in both locations. All recodings in Cuba were engineered and mixed by Amaury Pérez, the trombonist famius for his work with Habana D'Primera. Here is PART 1of the "Making Of" for this new record.

For International and European Pre-Sale Click Here
Para la Pre-Venta Inetrnacional y Europea Haz Click Aquí

El cantante cubano basado en París, Francia -- Ángel Yos -- está a punto de lanzar su nuevo álbum titulado VAMO 'HACERLO (Let's Do It!). Haga clic en la portada del álbum para visitar su página web oficial. El álbum es una colaboración de músicos franceses y cubanos grabados en ambos lugares. La ingeniería y bragación en Cuba fué ejectucado por Amaury Pérez, el trombonista famoso por su trabajo con Habana D' Primera. Aquí está la PARTE 1 del "Making Of" para este nuevo disco.

In related news the new record will be available in hard copy for the first time this Saturday at the upcoming concert in Bayonne. Here's the info:

As part of the first edition of the Cubayonne Festival, we invite you to take a direct flight to Havana with this great concert evening which will take place in the space Saez of the House of Associations of Bayonne! SATURDAY, FEBRARY 18.

Featured: Angel Yos y la Mecanica Loca! 
This group is currently recognized as the inescapable figure of the Timba in France, already holder of several danced tubes on all dancefloors timberos: A la Loco Titi, La Moda Cubana, Terrorista ...

As a special bonus his new album VAMO' HACERLO! will be available as a pre-release!

Angel Yos & LML brings us into his world salsero with pieces mixing power and subtlety, rumba and funk, timba and salsa romantica. A musical richness to the height of the 13 musicians of the group. To animate the before and the after, a recognized DJ of the scene Salsa: Axel Cubadicto! 

21h: early evening with DJ Axel Cubadicto 
22h00: Concert Angel yos are the Mecanica Loca 
0:00 to 2:00: Following the lively evening by DJ Axel Cubadicto 
Price: 15 € presale, 20 € D-Day in Ticket office 
For tix see website: http://www.cubayonne.fr/inscription/
Possibility of fpasses for the salseros who wish to participate in the day classes!
Drinks and snacks services during the evening. 
For more Information call 07 60 34 78 61 or email cubayonne@gmail.com

Ángel Yos y la Mecánica Loca

Como parte de la primera edición del Festival de Cubayonne, os invitamos a tomar un vuelo directo a La Habana con esta gran velada de conciertos que tendrá lugar en el espacio Saez de la Casa de Asociaciones de Bayona! SÁBADO, 18 DE FEBRERO.

Destacados: Angel Yos y la Mecanica Loca!
Este grupo es actualmente reconocido como la figura ineludible de la Timba en Francia, ya titular de varios tubos bailados en todas las pistas de baile timberos: A la Loco Titi, La Moda Cubana, Terrorista ...

Como un bono especial su nuevo álbum VAMO 'HACERLO! Estará disponible como pre-lanzamiento!

Angel Yos & LML nos trae a su mundo salsero con piezas mezclando poder y sutileza, rumba y funk, timba y salsa romantica. Una riqueza musical a la altura de los 13 músicos del grupo. Para animar el antes y el después, un reconocido DJ de la escena Salsa: Axel Cubadicto!

21h: baila con DJ Axel Cubadict
22h00: Concierto Angel Yos y La Mecánica Loca
0:00 a 2:00: baila con DJ Axel Cubadict
Precio: 15 € preventa, 20 € Día en taquill
Para tix ver el sitio web: http://www.cubayonne.fr/inscription
Posibilidad de psses para los salseros que deseen participar en las clases diurnas
Servicios de bebidas y aperitivos durante la noche.
Para más información llame al 07 60 34 78 61 o email cubayonne@gmail.com

Ángel Yos y la Mecánica Loca

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 03:58:19 +0000
CuJazz Ensemble de Andrés Fernández realiza gira de Cuba

Led by Cuban trombonist Andrés Fernández, the CuJazz Ensemble is a new musical project that brings together talented Costa Rican musicians, receiving the cubop legacy of greats like Dizzy Gillespei, Chino Pozo, Frank Emilio Flynn and Machito.

Two cultures united by the same musical language exposing their experiences with a universal approach.

The Cujazz ensemble combines Andrés Fernández's original compositions with jazz standards from the 1940s, sprinkled with influences from Afro-Cuban jazz, bebop, cooljazz, modern jazz, plus elements of Latin American music and the Caribbean.

Danceable, intellectual, full of chants and colors that immerse you in the journey of a musician who was born in Cuba and has enriched his language throughout the world.

Andrés Fernández: trombonist, singer & composer
Eduardo Montero: pianist & composer
Erick Monge: drumset & composer
Nelson Segura: bass & composer
Kendall Berrocal: congas & minor percussion


CuJazz Ensemble

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 16:55:43 +0000
Fiesta del Tambor 2017 Program Fiesta del Tambor 2017

Giraldo Piloto has published the program for the 2017 Havana Rhythm and Dance Festival. The inauguration party will take place March 6th at Casa de la Música Miramar at 11:00pm with Giraldo Piloto & Klímax and Aisar y El Expresso de Cuba. During the week there will also be concerts in Miramar by Manolito Simonet y Su Trabuco, Pedrito Calvo y La Justicia, Adalberto Álvarez y Su Son, Maykel Dinza y Soneros de la Juventud, Pupy y Los Que Son Son and Elito Revé y su Charangón. Hotel Riviera will host jazz groups all week long, while more timba can be had at Salon Rosado de La Tropical with Van Van, El Niño y la Verdad and Maykel Blanco y Salsa Mayor on Saturday the 11th and Havana D'Primera, Paulo FG y su Élite , Leonel Limonta y Azúcar Negra and Giraldo Piloto y Klímax on Sunday the 12th. The rumba and Afro-Cuban concerts will be in the gardens of the Teatro Mella.

The percussion classes and competition will be held all week in Sala Avenida and the major percussion performances and the finals for the dance and percussion competitions will all take place at Teatro Mella. This is a fantastic event with so many facets of Cuban music and dance to enjoy at once. Don't miss it if you can be in Havana in March!

Click here for the full program including venues and times.

For questions about tickets for the various event you can write to
Sra. Darlenys eventos2@paradis.artex.cu

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 13:37:13 +0000
La Clave Cubana Timbera - La Chismosa Clave Cubana Timbera - La Chismosa

La Clave Cubana was founded in 2000 in Buenos Aires, Argentina as an 8-man band that played traditional Cuban repertoire. In 2014 they were reborn as La Clave Cubana Timbera , a 15-man band performing their own compositions with more updated arrangements. Today the single "La Chismosa"   from their upcoming debut album "Llegó La Clave", has dropped at Cubamusic.com. It will also be available soon at the other on-line and streaming sites such as iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon and Spotify. You can check it out in the video also released today.

La Clave Cubana Timbera band is under the direction of tresero Eduardo Suárez "El Guajiro" with pianist Hubert Garcia as the musical director. They write the arrangements while the compositions are by this duo and vocalist Geovanny Ruiz Perez. See below for the list of musicians and the instrumentation.

To keep up on the latest you can follow La Clave Cubana Timbera at their Facebook page .

Band members
Eduardo Suárez "El Guajiro", tres & coros. (Cuba)
Hubert García, piano & coros. (Cuba)
Yoedis Oconor, baby bass. (Cuba)
Erick Ricardo Hernandez, keyboard, coros. (Cuba)
Geovanny Ruiz Pérez, vocals. (Cuba)
Daniel Vera, vocals. (Cuba)
Fernando Cruz, vocals. (Cuba)
Eddy Gomez, vocals, coro & minor percussion. (Cuba)
Cristian Ceccardi, congas. (Argentina)
Choco Drumss, timbales. (Cuba)
Moises Quiroz Gomez, trombone. (Peru)
Gabriel Leonetti, trombone. (Argentina)
Javier Sedeno, trombone. (Venezuela)

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 17:11:31 +0000
Calle Real on Tour Calle Real

Tour season 2017 is getting underway in Europe, and first up is Calle Real who will be giving three concerts in February - the first right here in Stockholm this Friday February 10th at Fasching. The 11th they will be at Nefertiti in Gothenburg and the 17th they will perform i Copenhagen in Studie 2 at DR Koncerthuset. They already have concerts booked in May and more on the way. You can keep an eye on their tours page as more dates are confirmed or follow Calle Real at their official Facebook page.

Make sure to take some extra cash with you because they will have their CD  "¿¡Dime Qué?!" on hand. It was released in mid December 2015 and was one of the CDs I listened to most throughout 2016. Click here for my full review.

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 16:12:44 +0000
Yeni Leaves Van Van Yenisel Valdes by Tom Ehrlich para leer el articulo en español haz cliq aquí

The news has been all over Facebook since Sunday - Yenisel Valdés is leaving Los Van Van to begin a new life with her husband Dancer, singer and percussionist Erick Barbeira. The newlyweds will be settling down in California, and Yeni's relocation is what caused her to leave the orchestra. Timba.com wish them both much happiness in their new life together. It will certainly be interesting to see what she does with that voice of her in La Yuma. Bay Area watch out! Kevin, are you paying attention?

During her career, Yeni had to face down tough, macho audiences that were not receptive to seeing a woman in timba bands such as NG La Banda and later Los Van Van. But her combination of grace and humor on stage with that incredible voice earned her the respect and love of the Cuban and international audiences. Where once people thought Maestro Juan Formell was crazy to bring in a woman after the departure of the iconic Pedrito Calvo, now they mourn her leaving and can't imagine Van Van without La Van Vanera.

But the world moves on, and while Yeni has an exciting new life to begin, bandleader and drummer Samuel Formell has the unenviable job of deciding what to do now. Maybe he will find another amazing talent from Cuba's seemingly endless fountain of musical geniuses. Or maybe he'll decide that no one can fill her high heels and stick with three voices. As always, changes in Cuban orchestras fill me both with sadness and yet also a sense of excitement and possibility.

Yeni, I want to leave you with a short clip from an interview I did with Juan in January of 2008. He was talking about how he decided that to fill the space left by Pedrito's departure he would add two singers to the band - Lele and yourself. And here is what he had to say about you. Congratulations and best wishes - Michelle .

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 15:34:56 +0000
El Niño y La Verdad Europe 2017 El Niño y La Verdad Europe 2017

As promised we have published all the date of the winter tour, which begins with a concert in Essen, Germany on February 11th. The band will visit, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Switzerland. Click to find a concert near you.

Although they will be promoting their latest CD "Más Duro" on this tour, we know they have been performing new songs in Havana. Here is a little taste of the percussion section during the reprise of the new hit "El Profesor", courtesy of Matias Loyttyniemi. I recommend checking out his YouTube account because he has a lot of nice video from various concerts from last year.

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 11:35:29 +0000
Fiesta del Tambor 2017 Fiesta del Tambor 2017

It's almost time for the  16th Annual Havana Rhythm and Dance Festival - "La Fiesta del Tambor - Guillermo Barreto In Memoriam" . This year's festival will take place the second week of March in Havana and will feature guest artist Aldo Mazza. As with previous years the festival includes percussion and dance classes, performances and competitions. The percussion competition is open to all ages as is the Casino competition. There is also a Rumba dance competition for 15 years and older. Winners of the percussion competition will receive new instruments from brand such as  SABIAN, GON BOPS, PEARL, REGAL TIP, SONOC, and EVANS. Most events will be held in the following venues: Teatro Mella, Teatro Karl Marx, Sala Avenida, El Salón Rosado de La Tropical, Jardines del Teatro Mella and Hotel Palco.

There will also be concerts by the most popular timba and rumba groups, such as Orquesta Revé, Klímax, Paulo F.G., Havana D'Primera, El Niño y La Verdad, Manolitoy Su Trabuco, Azúcar Negra, Bamboleo, Maykel Blanco y Salsa Mayor, Osain del Monte, Yoruba Andabo, Los Papines, Rumberos de Cuba and more! If you can be in Havana for the festival, do it! For all the information (in Spanish) check out the Havana Rhythm and Dance Festival Official homepage. For information about tourist packages and lodging contact:

Roberto Risquet Redonet Valdés
Especialista Comercial Eventos
Paradiso Turismo Cultural
Email: eventos3@paradis.artex.cu
Email: redonetrisquet@yahoo.com
Tel: +(537) 8365381 / 8383908

And just in case you missed it, here is the most recent video released by Giraldo Piloto & Klímax!

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 09:19:54 +0000
El Que Corta El Bacalao Drops Today! El que corta el bacalao - Soneros All Stars

Timba 2017 continues to deliver. Today Soneros All Stars release a new CD - "El Que Corta El Bacalao". For this album tresero, bassist, arranger, producer Jan Miklos Bogdan collaborated with singers Emilio "El Niño" Frias, Pascual "Sinsonte" Matos and pianist Wilfredo "Pachy Jr." Naranjo to bring dancers and aficionados of Cuban music a non-stop dance album. "El Que Corta El Bacalao" is going to be a favorite of DJ and dancers this year. Click here for my full review of "El Que Corta El Bacalao".

In related news, Yanesito & Soneros All Stars are beginning to rehearse for an upcoming tour. When we have more information about the when and where of any concert dates, we'll post an update. In the meantime, enjoy the new album. It is available at all the large digital retailers, via music apps and at CDbaby , where you can even order a hardcopy.

Track list  
El Que Corta El Bacalao
Lo Siento
Tú No Eres Popular
El Panadero
Vengo De Cuba
Nunca Pensé

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 04:45:26 +0000
Pa Que Aprendas - Tony Moreaux & Asokere Tony Moreaux & Asokere

Tony Moreaux is working on his first CD with his new group Asokere , based in Copenhagen. He has come a long way from his childhood in Guantanamo where his father is maraquero and singer with Changüí Guantanamo. Tony studied percussion at the Music Conservatory Esteban Salas in Santiago de Cuba and his timba career began with Carlos Manuel y Su Clan. In the year 2000 Tony relocated to Copenhagen, Denmark where he worked with orchestras such as Grupo Danson. He later became a member of Juan D'Marcos' Afro-Cuban All stars and toured the world extensively. Tony has now formed his own orchestra - Asokere. Last year they performed as a backing band for Tito Nieves on his European tour, and they are currently hard at work finishing their first album.

In 2016 Asokere released their first single "Pa' que aprendas" and Tony recently took time off to tell us a little about the band and their debut album slated for release later this year. Follow Asokere at their Official Facebook Page .

The CD will have 10 songs so that Cuban music lovers can enjoy themselves and dance to the music that I bring with Asokere. Our music style is popular dance music using different genres such as son, son montuno, pilón, cha cha chá, songo ... well it will  have a range of Cuban rhythms and a lot of rhythmic folkloric elements, which I am very interested in doing, since of course I have always been interested in the Yoruba religion. That's why my band's name is: Asokere. Asokere is a song to Eleggua in the Yoruba religion, and I, as Son of Eleggua, was interested in that song and from there came the name of the band.

The band members are Cubans and Danes. The singer is Henry Benitez better known in Cuba as "El Jerry" (ex-Pupy y Los Que Son Son singer). The pianist is Javier Gutiérrez Massó (El Caramelo de Cuba). Several of the members are involved in writing the arrangements, but I always put something of myself into the arrangements and the way in which I want to interpret the songs. This is to say it's always a collective work, because we all have different ways of thinking and of feeling the music.

The first single "Pa' que aprendas" is by the trumpet player Oslen Ceballo, an excellent arranger and trumpet player. The next songs that I will begin to record have arrangements by Maykel "Cuchilla" Garcia (pianist and member of Pupy y Los Que Son Son) and also arrangements by two magnificent musical producers and arrangers - Mauricio Cecilio Diaz and Roniel Alfonso Mella. I hope everyone enjoys it and that you like everything I bring, which is simply dance music for the dancers.

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 05:41:19 +0000
NEW FROM SEPTETO SANTIAGUERO: RAÍZ ENGLISH:   Septeto Santiaguero is about to release a new recording, Raíz .  You can read our review here. 
There will also be an opportunity to hear a couple of  songs from the new album on Bill Tilford's radio program From the Isle of Music the week of January 30. 

ESPAÑOL:  Septeto Santiaguero está al punto de lanzar una nueva grabación, Raíz . Nuestra reseña está disponible aquí. 
También hay opportunidad de escuchar un par de canciones del nuevo álbum en el programa radial de Bill Tilford, From The Isle of Music , durante la semana del 30 de enero.     

 January 26 marks the first anniversary of the passing of Miguel Angel Rasalps "Lele" , who sang with Elio Reve , was a founding vocalist with Los Van Van , and made many wonderful recordings with Los Reyes 73 in the 1970s.  On January 23, 27 and 28, the radio program From the Isle of Music will air a radio tribute with special guest Ricardo Delgado , saxophonist with Los Reyes 73 during the 1970s, with a heavy emphasis on the music of Los Reyes 73
ESPAÑOL :  El 26 de enero es el primer aniversario del fallecimiento de Miguel Ángel Rasalps "Lele", quien cantó con Elio Reve , era vocalista fundador de Los Van Van y hizó muchas grabaciones maravillosas con Los Reyes 73 en los años 70. Los días 23, 27 y 28 de enero, el programa radial From Isle of Music emitirá un tributo radiofónica con el invitado especial Ricardo Delgado , saxofonista de Los Reyes 73 durante los años 70, con un fuerte énfasis en la música de Los Reyes 73. 

ENGLISH:  Juan-Carlos Formell and his side project Son Radical gave a performance in Chicago on January 13.    A small photo gallery is available here. 
ESPAÑOL:   Juan-Carlos Formell y su proyecto paralelo Son Radical dió un concierto en Chicago el 13 de Enero.   Una pequeña galería de fotos está disponsible aquí. 


Sun, 22 Jan 2017 12:44:15 +0000
Bomba y Cuchara La Liga Habanera - Bomba y Cuchara

Timba 2017 is starting with a bang with "Bomba y Cuchara" – the new single by La Liga Habanera, one of Stockholm's favorite timba bands. The band held a concert at Fasching in Stockholm last Saturday and today their new single – "Bomba y Cuchara" featuring Lesmer Solenzar on lead vocals – dropped at CDBaby.com. "Bomba y Cuchara" will soon be at other digital retailers such as iTunes and Amazon as well.

It is a hard-hitting timba arrangement that kicks off with a great piano tumbao and includes clever use of light reggaeton drums from about 1:20 to 1:37 for fans of a more urban style. It works very well. A torrid dance track to usher in the new year. Click here to listen to a preview.

Credits: Drums and timbales Max Alton. Composed and arranged by Max Alton. Lyrics by Lesmer Solenzar and Max Alton. Lead vocals Lesmer Solenzar. Background vocals Pablo Cepeda, Max Alton, Cecilia Ferrer. Trumpets Petter Linde. Trombones Peter Fredriksson. Piano and arrangements Oldrich Gonzales. Bass Alfonso Nuñes. Congas Pablo Cepeda. Recorded in Farmer street Studio Sweden Stockholm. Mix by Måns Ek.

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 16:58:49 +0000
Con Eleguá y con Orula - ESTRENO El Niño y La Verdad Europe 2017

Emilio Frias "El Niño" y La Verdad have just uploaded their new video "Con Eleguá y con Orula". Emilio did a live Facebook chat beforehand from Panama where they are currently doing promotion. You can check it out at the band's official Facebook site - this is the one they want people to follow to get all the latest news, so be sure to click "Follow". El NIño y La Verdad will be touring Europe from February 15th through March 5th promoting their 2nd CD - "Más Duro". Next week we'll post all the concert dates. For now, enjoy the latest video.

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 13:27:41 +0000
Gerardo Contino Rings in the New Year with Cuba Caliente

As the holiday season has given way to the New Year, the Cuban music scene of Gotham forges ahead into 2017. The past year has been a fruitful one for NYC, with acts such as Maykel Blanco and Los Van Van making appearances in and around the metro area. However, with the blank slate of the coming year looming overhead, the effects of what 2017 will have to offer has yet to be determined.

Always in search of new endeavors to explore, New York’s very own Gerardo Contino breaks into 2017 with a revamped version of Cuba Caliente, held at Gonzalez y Gonzalez on Mercer Street in Greenwich Village. Contino hosted the event for the summer months of 2016 before embarking on a six-week residency in Doha, Qatar. Upon returning to NY, Los Habaneros in tow, he has once again set his sights on being at the helm of promoting Cuban culture in the Big Apple.

Noticing a need to draw a wider and more diverse audience into the fold, Contino decided to revisit the idea of Cuban Caliente from a new and different angle. Originally billed as a community-networking event for Cubans in New York City, Contino now aims to use the event to appeal to a new public market instead of only promoting to the Cuban community and Cuban dance enthusiasts. Through a regular rotation of original local acts as well as promoting a “more inclusive vibe” in comparison the many dance socials already existing in NYC, he intends to present Cuban music to a far more expansive crowd.

Taking this concept into the musical realm, 2017 sees Contino’s music taking on a new from as well. In the years following his 2013 release of the hard-hitting Cuban Salsa tour de force “Somos Latinos”, Gerardo has issued several singles that have fused Cuban music with everything from Brazilain Samba to Colombian Vallanato. His new original single “Año Nuevo” is an anthemic depiction of the very idea that Cuba Caliente aims to represent, a fusion of pop and world music with an unimistakable Cuban core for anyone with an open mind. The video, shot at the last Cuba Caliente just before the New Year, can be viewed below.

Scheduled to occur most Wednesdays, Cuba Caliente will be held this month Los Habaneros on January 18 and 25 at Gonzalez y Gonzalez located at 192 Mercer St, New York, NY 10012. Doors will open at 9pm, music starts at 10pm and the party ends at 1am. Cover at the door is $10. More information on calendar dates and rotation of bands can be found at Cuba Caliente and Gonzalez y Gonzalez’s respective websites.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 22:10:11 +0000
Tom Ehrlich's Pedrito Martínez Gallery

Click here for the full gallery of Pedrito's recent tour with Yunior Terry on bass.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 22:09:53 +0000
Ban Rarrá in the Bay Arrreá!

Click here for Tom Ehrlich's breathtaking gallery of photos from Ran Rarra's recent SF residency.

Sun, 08 Jan 2017 21:20:17 +0000

ENGLISH:     On December 22, 2016, we lost a giant of Cuban Jazz and Timba, saxophonist/flautist Carlos Averhoff.  Born in Matanzas on December 6, 1947, and classically trained, he became part of Irakere and also performed with NG La Banda , Issac Delgado 's group and Emiliano Salvador among others.    He spent his final years in Miami, where he was a Professor of Music at the Florida International University School of Music and Professor of Saxophone at Miami-Dade College.   HIs legacy will live on not only in his recorded music but also in the music of his many students.   Carlos Averhoff Jr. , his son, has also emerged as a saxophonist of distinction. 
ESPAÑOL:    El 22 de diciembre de 2016, perdimos a un gigante de Jazz cubano y Timba, el saxofonista / flautista Carlos Averhoff. Nacido en Matanzas el 6 de diciembre de 1947 y formado clásicamente, se unió con  Irakere y también se presentó con NG La Banda , el grupo de Issac Delgado y Emiliano Salvador entre otros. Pasó sus últimos años en Miami, donde era Profesor de Música en la Escuela de Música de la Florida International University y Profesor de Saxofón en el Miami-Dade College. Su legado vivirá no sólo en su música grabada, sino también en la música de sus muchos estudiantes. Carlos Averhoff Jr. , su hijo, también ha emergido como un saxofonista de distinción.

ENGLISH:   Days 3 and 4 of JoJazz are now available here and here.  
ESPAÑOL :  Ahora están disponibles días 3 y 4 de JoJazz   aquí y aquí.   

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 20:25:32 +0000
Havana D'Primera Closes 2016 in Miami

Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera will close 2016 with two concerts in Miami. They now have their visas and will perform on December 30th at 9:00pm at The Place of Miami . If you haven't made your New Year's Eve plans yet, why not book a table at Havana 1957 - Brickell where you can ring in the New Year with a concert by Alexander and the guys.

Personally I have been watching the official video for "Siempre sí" over and over again. Havana D'Primera always delivers.

Wed, 28 Dec 2016 11:40:45 +0000
MORE SCENES FROM JOJAZZ 2016 ENGLISH:   Scenes from Day 2 of JoJazz 2016 are now available here. One of the winners of JoJazz 2016, conguero/percussionist Degnis Bofill, can be seen  performing with José Portillo & Cauce here:

You can hear an interview with Degnis Bofill in Spanish and more music on the shortwave radio program From The Isle of Music this week.  For more information, see the From The Isle of Music Facebook Page. 
 Más escenas del día 2 de JoJazz 2016 estan disposibles aquí. Un ganador de JoJazz 2016, conguero/percusionista Degnis Bofill, aparece con José Portillo & Cauce arriba. Se puede escuchar una entrevista con Degnis Bofill y más musica en el program radial en onda corta From the Isle of Music esta semana.  Más información está disponible en la página Facebook de From The Isle of Music.  

Juan-Carlos Formell will be visiting from Cuba in January and performing with Son Radical in the Midwest on the following dates: 
Friday, January 13th- Chicago: Mambo Cafe 9 pm
Saturday, January 14th- Galesburg, IL: Knox College Winter Jazz Series, Kresge Hall, Knox College, Galesburg, IL 7 pm
Sunday, January 15th- Iowa City, Iowa: Iowa City Yacht Club 8 pm

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:17:41 +0000
ENGLISH:   Jazz Plaza is coming this week and will take place in both La Habana and Santiago de Cuba this year.  The addition  of Santiago de Cuba is an exciting development because Santiago has a small but very impressive and thriving Jazz scene of its own.    You can see some scenes from the last three Jazz Plaza events in various parts of the website.   The colloquium this year is dedicated to the late Leonardo Acosta , Cuba's most important Jazz critic,  who passed away recently.   
You can see most of this year's roster in a video on the Jazz Plaza Facebook Page. 
Bill Tilford still has some unpublished material from Jazz Plaza 2015 that will be published in the near future. 

ESPAÑOL: Jazz Plaza viene esta semana y tendrá lugar en La Habana y Santiago de Cuba este año. La adición de Santiago de Cuba es un desarrollo emocionante porque Santiago tiene una pequeña pero muy impresionante y próspera escena de Jazz propia. Puede ver algunas escenas de los últimos tres eventos de Jazz Plaza en varias partes del sitio web. El coloquio de este año está dedicado al difunto Leonardo Acosta, el crítico de jazz más importante de Cuba, fallecido recientemente.
Bill Tilford ya tiene algún material inédito de Jazz Plaza 2015 que se publicará en un futuro próximo.
Puede ver la mayoría del roster de este año en la página Facebook de Jazz Plaza. 

ENGLISH:  We begin a short series of pieces about JoJazz, the competition that helps ignite the career of so many of Cuba's best young Jazz musicians. 

You can read the first piece about JoJazz 2016, which includes the winners, the program, and an audio interview in Spanish with the founder, Alexis Vázquez, here. 

You can view the first photo gallery here. 

ESPAÑOL:  Comenzamos una breve serie de artículos acerca de JoJazz, el concurso que ayuda a encender la carrera de tontos de los mejores jóvenes jazzistas en Cuba.

Puede leer el primer artículo sobre JoJazz 2016, que incluye los ganadores, el programa, y una entrevista grabada en español con el fundador, Alexis Vázquez, aquí. 

Puede ver la primera galería de fotos aquí. 


Sun, 11 Dec 2016 22:16:59 +0000
Los Van Van - GRAMMY Nomination La Fantasia - GRAMMY Nomination 2016

The 2017 GRAMMY nominees were announced this week. From the Cuban side Chucho Valdes was nominated in the Best Latin Jazz category for “Tribute to Irakere: Live in Marciac” and Los Van Van was nominated for "La Fantasia" for Best Tropical Album. Timba.com wishes them both good luck. the winners will be announced on February 12th.

El Tren is facing competition from Fonseca - "Conexión, Grupo Niche - "35 Aniversario", La Sonora Santanera  - "En Su 60 Aniversario" and José Lugo & Guasábara Combo - "Dónde Están?". If I may campaign for Los Van Van for just a moment, beyond the fact that "La Fantasia" is an excellent album (click here to read Bill's review) , it is special to Cuban music fans because it is a tribute to the late Juan Formell. "La Fantasia" includes some of the last songs in which Juan Formell was involved as composer and arranger. Moreover, the title track features Juan Formell himself on vocals. Formell originally recorded the song as a demo for Luna Manzanares, but after he passed Samuel decided to use his father's vocals and record it on the new album together with the children's choir of Alejandro Garcia Cartula.

Los Van Van also happen to be starting a short US tour tonight at Howard Theatre in Washington D.C. See all the dates below.

Concert Dates:
December 8, 2016 - Washington D.C. - Howard Theatre
December 9, 2016 - New York, NY. - B.B. King Blues Club and Grill
December 10, 2016 -San Francisco, CA. - Roccapulco
December 11, 2016 - Los Angeles, CA. - Conga Room

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 05:42:21 +0000
12 Years of Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor Maykel Blanco @Teatro Nacional de Cuba 12 Anniversary Concert Maykel Blanco outside the National Theater after rehearsal
photo courtesy of Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor Official Facebook page

Tonight Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor celebrate their 12th anniversary with a concert in Sala Avellaneda at Teatro Nacional de Cuba. The tickets went on sale November 15th and were sold out in just two hours. Maykel has prepared something different this time working with the National Symphony Orchestra in a presentation of their most recent CD "Que no me quiten la fe". Let's hope they also film and upload some of the concert for those of us who  can't attend. Congratulations to Maykel and Los Mayores! In the meantime we can enjoy a taste of their concert from the 2016 Festival de la Salsa  in Havana.

Sat, 19 Nov 2016 05:47:26 +0000
Ahora Es Cuando Es Aisar y El Expresso de Cuba - Ahora Es Cuando Es

#SaveTheDate Friday, November 25th Aisar y El Expresso de Cuba will release the first single "Ahora Es Cuando Es" from their upcoming album "Musica Cubana Llegó El Expresso" on the Bis Music label. The single will be available worldwide at all the typical digital sources, such as iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Deezer and more. This is a must have for all DJs and timberos.

If you are in Cuba, don't miss your opportunity to see Aisar y El Expresso de Cuba live! You can catch them every Wednesday at the matinee at El Diablo Tun Tun from 5:00pm-9:00pm, the first and third Friday of every month at Café Cantante , and the second Saturday of every month at Los Jardines del 1830 from 10:00pm.

The planned release date for the full album is set for December 22 in Cuba. We are very excited about this debut album. This is the real thing ! There's no question that Ahora es cuando es!

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 15:19:21 +0000
La Charanga Habanera in the US La Charanga Habanera - Vivito y Coleando

Just a reminder that Thursday November 17th at 8pm Eastern Time the 17th Latin Grammy Awards will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year's Cuban nominations are:

David Calzado y Su Charanga Habanera
Best Contemporary Tropical Album
Vivito y Coleando

Jacob Forever
Best Urban/Fusion Performance
Hasta Que Se Seque el Malecón

Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñeiro 
Best Traditional Tropical Album
El Más Grande y Universal

Gente De Zona
Best Tropical Fusion Album

Omara Portuondo
Best Latin Children's Album
Canciones De Cri Cri “El Grillo Cantor”

Timba.com wishes good luck to all the nominees.

 Following the awards, David Calzado y su Charanga Habanera will do a short US tour with concerts in California, Florida and Texas. Click here for the concert dates. 

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 14:26:29 +0000
Timbasa & Martha Galarraga

Timbasa is the latest brainchild of Václav Greif, the young Czech Republic virtuoso who was responsible for the sessions that resulted in the Alain Pérez volumes of the Beyond Salsa series.

Václav wrote the material after years of studying Afro-Cuban folkloric music with various masters, including the legendary Piri López of Los Chinitos and Máximino of Rumberos de Cuba. After assembling a group of Czech and Slovakian musicians, he invited the extraordinary Cuban singer Martha Galarraga, who now lives in France where she works with Omar Sosa and others. Here are the full bios of all the participants.

After a series of concerts, Timbasa recorded all of the material live in one day. Here are some clips from the sessions.

Sun, 13 Nov 2016 13:50:42 +0000
Tom Ehrlich's Monterey Jazz Galleries, Part III Click here for the full gallery

Claudia Villela

Sat, 12 Nov 2016 00:21:35 +0000
JoJazz Takes Place Next Week ENGLISH   : The 19th Edition of JoJazz will take place between November 17-20 in Havana. Many of the excellent Jazz recordings reviewed on this website, especially those in the The Jazz Young Spirit  series from Colibrí, are by winners of this competition, and if you attend a lot of concerts by young Cuban Jazz artists, you have probably seen several winners on stage.   This competition is international and enrolls contestants almost up to the last minute.  YOU CAN READ THE OFFICIAL CONVOCATION HERE.  
The radio program From the Isle of Music   will rebroadcast  music from past winners of JoJazz and interviews with the founder, Alexis Vázquez  , and the director of many of the large ensembles of young artists, Joaquín Betancourt  ,   during   the weeks of November 21 and 28.  (Next week features Harold López-Nussa. )  This program airs Monday nights on shortwave on WBCQ The Planet, 7490 KHz at 8pm Eastern time (US) and Tuesdays at 1900 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 KHz (shortwave) from Rohrbach, Germany. Tunein.com carries a live stream of WBCQ The Planet. 
We will share the highlights of JoJazz with you in December. 
ESPAÑOL:     Quizas aún más importante para el desarrollo de jóvenes jazzistas en Cuba es JoJazz, un concurso para los artistas entre 16-30 años de edad. La 19ª edición de JoJazz se llevará a cabo entre noviembre 17-20 en La Habana. Muchos de las excelentes grabaciones de Jazz reseñadas en este sitio web, especialmente los de la  serie de Colibrí  El joven espiritu de Jazz,  son por los ganadores de este concurso, y si usted asiste a una gran cantidad de conciertos por los jóvenes jazzistas cubanos,  es probable que haya visto varios ganadores en el escenario. Este concurso es internacional y se inscribe concursantes casi hasta el último minuto.  EL TEXTO DE LA CONVOCATORIA  ESTÁ DISPONIBLE AQUÍ.   
El programa radial From the Isle of Music   repetirá sus episodios con la  música de  ganadores anteriores de JoJazz y entrevistas con el fundador, Alexis Vázquez  , y el director de muchos  grandes ensembles de artistas jóvenes, Joaquín Betancourt  , durante las semanas del 21 y 22 de noviembre (Próxima semana contará con Harold López-Nussa .). Este programa se transmite en onda corta lunes por la noche en WBCQ El Planeta, 7490 KHz a partir de las 8 pm hora del Este (Estados Unidos) y los martes a las 1900 UTC en el Channel 292, 6070 KHz (onda corta) desde Rohrbach, Alemania. Tunein.com lleva una transmisión en vivo (no en demanda) de WBCQ El Planeta.
Compartiremos lo más destacado con uds en diciembre. 

Yissy Garcia , a past JoJazz award winner, recently released this new video: 

Another past JoJazz winner, Ernesto Vega , is currently in the studio doing videos with Richie Kaye , a singer/guitarist/songwriter who works in several genres.  Richie was kind enough to share their first video with us for your enjoyment.   You can read the bios of both Richie and Ernesto on Richie's website: 

(photo Sam Kuslan)

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 06:25:28 +0000
Orquesta LA TABLA De Cuba So coooolll... check out this new video from an rising-star group: Orquesta LA TABLA de Cuba. It  feature's the band's new hit "El Panadero" from their upcoming album. 

Orquesta LA TABLA de Cuba

Orquesta La Tabla was founded in 2007 by bassist, arranger and composer Yadiel Bolaño. Since its inception, the band counted on young musicians that graduated from music schools in Cuba, where they were influenced by jazz, art and of course different styles of Cuban music. Their first CD -- self-titled -- La Tabla de Cuba, was recorded on the Colibrí label and includes thirteen tracks plus a video clip "El Chance" and the "making of" of this recording , audiovisual both under the direction of Angel Alderete. In 2016 they began working on their secind album and released its first single "El Panadero" (the bread baker) along with a video by acclaimed director Joseph Ros.

Orquesta LA TABLA de Cuba

Orquesta LA TABLA de Cuba

For more info and pics on LA TABLA be sure to check out their group page plus photos and galleries. Bien caliente te lo traigo pa'l gusto del mundo entero!

Tue, 01 Nov 2016 00:42:01 +0000
Monterey Jazz Festival 2016 - Part 2 Click here for Part 2 of Tom Ehrlich's Monterey Jazz Festival report.

John Santos

Mon, 31 Oct 2016 23:49:18 +0000
Yoruba Andabo European Tour Yoruba Andabo Europe 2016

Yoruba Andabo are in Italy where they start their European Tour tonight in Florence, Italy. The band is also promoting a new album. Two singles "Rumba con amor" and "Salsa, timba y guaguancó" have already been released and are available at Cubamusic, iTunes and Amazon. The list of confirmed concerts so far is:

Oct 28 Florence, Italy
Oct 29 Helsinki, Finland
Nov 4 Modena, Italy
Nov 6 Brescia, Italy
Nov 9 Berlin, Germany
Nov 11 Warsaw, Poland
Nov 12-13 Belgrade, Serbia
Nov 20 Rome, Italy

More dates will be confirmed within the next day or two so stay tuned and enjoy "Con un estilo diferente" from their new production.

Fri, 28 Oct 2016 12:44:29 +0000
Monterey Jazz Festival 2016 - Part 1 Click here for Tom's report and gallery from September's Monterey Jazz Festival. (also videos)

Zahili González Zamora

Alfredo Rodríguez

Quincy Jones

Fri, 28 Oct 2016 02:47:12 +0000
COMING SOON: JAZZ PLAZA & JOJAZZ 2016 ENGLISH :   The 32nd International Jazz Festival of Havana, also known as Jazz Plaza, will take place from December 15-18 in Havana, and, for the first time, in Santiago de Cuba as well.  In addition to adding Santiago de Cuba, which has a small but thriving Jazz scene of its own, other firsts for the festival are a nice festival website  and more intensive participation by international sponsors. 
For more about the Jazz scene in Santiago specifically, I had the pleasure of speaking with Robier González Garbey , Director of the wonderful Iris Jazz Club, in December.  You can hear a recording of that (in Spanish) here.     I also spoke with Raydelis Guibert , an agent for the Iris Jazz Club; you can hear that conversation here.    There is a LOT of background noise in both, but also a lot of interesting information. 
Other items about Jazz Plaza 2015 and Jazz Plaza 2013 can be found elsewhere in this blog and in the photo galleries. 

El 32º Festival Internacional de Jazz  de La Habana, también conocido como Jazz Plaza, se llevará a cabo a partir del 15-18 de diciembre en La Habana, y, por primera vez, en Santiago de Cuba también. Además de la adición de Santiago de Cuba, que tiene una pequeña pero próspera escena del jazz de sus propios, otras novedades para el festival son una muy buena página web para el festival  y la participación más intensa de los patrocinadores internacionales.
Para más información acerca de la escena del jazz en Santiago específicamente, tuve el placer de hablar con Robier González Garbey, Director del maravilloso Iris Jazz Club, en diciembre. Se puede escuchar una grabación (en español) aquí. También hablé con Raydelis Guibert, un agente para el Iris Jazz Club; se puede escuchar la conversación aquí. Hay un MONTÓN de ruido de fondo en ambos, pero también una gran cantidad de información interesante.
Otros artículos sobre Jazz Plaza 2015 y Jazz Plaza 2013 se pueden encontrar en otro lugar en este blog y en las galerías de fotos.

ENGLISH : An event perhaps even more important for the development of young Jazz artists in Cuba is JoJazz, a competition for young Jazz artists between 16-30 years of age.   The 19th Edition of JoJazz will take place between November 17-20 in Havana. Many of the excellent Jazz recordings reviewed on this website, especially those in the The Jazz Young Spirit series from Colibrí, are by winners of this competition, and if you attend a lot of concerts by young Cuban Jazz artists, you have probably seen several winners on stage.   This competition is international and enrolls contestants almost up to the last minute.  YOU CAN READ THE OFFICIAL CONVOCATION HERE.
The radio program From the Isle of Music will feature music from past winners of JoJazz and interviews with the founder, Alexis Vázquez , and the director of many of the large ensembles of young artists, Joaquín Betancourt ,   during the next two weeks.     This program airs Monday nights on shortwave on WBCQ The Planet, 7490 KHz at 8pm Eastern time (US) and Tuesdays at 1900 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 KHz (shortwave) from Rohrbach, Germany. Tunein.com carries a live stream of WBCQ The Planet. 
ESPAÑOL:   Quizas aún más importante para el desarrollo de jóvenes jazzistas en Cuba es JoJazz, un concurso para los artistas entre 16-30 años de edad. La 19ª edición de JoJazz se llevará a cabo entre noviembre 17-20 en La Habana. Muchos de las excelentes grabaciones de Jazz reseñadas en este sitio web, especialmente los de la  serie de Colibrí  El joven espiritu de Jazz, son por los ganadores de este concurso, y si usted asiste a una gran cantidad de conciertos por los jóvenes jazzistas cubanos,  es probable que haya visto varios ganadores en el escenario. Este concurso es internacional y se inscribe concursantes casi hasta el último minuto.  EL TEXTO DE LA CONVOCATORIA  ESTÁ DISPONIBLE AQUÍ. 
El programa radial From the Isle of Music contará con música de  ganadores anteriores de JoJazz y entrevistas con el fundador, Alexis Vázquez , y el director de muchos  grandes ensembles de artistas jóvenes, Joaquín Betancourt , durante las próximas dos semanas. Este programa se transmite en onda corta lunes por la noche en WBCQ El Planeta, 7490 KHz a partir de las 8 pm hora del Este (Estados Unidos) y los martes a las 1900 UTC en el Channel 292, 6070 KHz (onda corta) desde Rohrbach, Alemania. Tunein.com lleva una transmisión en vivo (no en demanda) de WBCQ El Planeta.



Tue, 25 Oct 2016 08:18:53 +0000
Issac & Pedrito Redux

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 02:43:20 +0000
Los Van Van 2016 Los Van Van Europe 2016

Los Van Van return to Europe next week for a tour that takes them to Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. El Tren begins its tour the 19th in Madrid and ends November 5th in Paris. Los Van Van will also be performing in Washington D.C. on December 8th at the Howard Theatre. Click here for the list of tour dates.

Sat, 15 Oct 2016 14:28:27 +0000
Elito Revé y Su Charangón Elito Revé y su Charangón Europe 2016

Elito Revé y Su Charangón are back for round 2 of their Anniversary Tour in Europe. They will be appearing at a number of important fall Cuban festivals in eight countries, kicking off in Stuttgart, Germany at Festival  de Cuba on Friday the 14th and appearing in my hometown of Stockholm Sweden Saturday the 15th at Festival  A Lo Cubano . As always El Charangón de Elito Revé is a favorite of Cuban music fans, and the strength of their latest album "60 Aniversario" proves that the Charangón will be on top for a long time.

Click here to find a concert near you! I leave you with a little taste from "60 Aniversario" - "El Peluquero" - funny and a bit risqué, and as always great for dancing.

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 10:59:36 +0000
Tom Ehrlich's San José Jazz SummerFest Gallery                                                                       Henry Cole

Click here for the full gallery.

Alfredo Rodríguez & Co.

Thu, 06 Oct 2016 00:33:50 +0000
Harold López-Nussa US Tour is Underway

Harold López-Nussa ,   part of the formidable López-Nussa family of Jazz greats, is now on tour in the US with his trio, which includes his brother Ruy Adrian López-Nussa on drumes and Alune Wade on bass.        Dates are as follows: 

October 4:   Gateway City Arts, Holyoke, MA
October 5:  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
October 6-7:  Ramapo College, Mahwah, NJ
October 8: Kennedy Center Jazz Club, Washington, DC
October 11: Dizzy's Club Coca Cola, NYC, NY
October 13:  The Side Door, Old Lyme, CT
October 14:  Bric Festival, Brooklyn, NY
October 15:  Chris Jazz Café, Philadelphia, PA
October 16: Yocum Institute of Arts, Wyomissing, PA
October 18:  Dakota, Minneapolis, MN
October 19: SPACE, Evanston, IL
October 20: Conservatory of Music, Milwaukee, WI
October 21-22: Dirty Dog, Detroit, MI
October 23: Baur's, Denver, CO
October 27: Blue Whale, Los Angeles, CA
October 28:  Chickie Wah Wah, New Orleans, LA 

You can click through to more details on the Harold López-Nussa website .  There is a new CD out, El Viaje , which we will eventually review. 
Hopefully  someone will eventually bring his uncle Ernán and his father Ruy up here the same way,   In the meantime, if you are serious about Jazz, take the time to check this out.  You'll be glad that you did.

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 22:26:44 +0000
Jacob Forever Europe 2016 Urban music artist Jacob Forever is riding a wave of success. A long-time member of Cuba's first line of reggaeton artists, Jacob was part of Gente D'Zona until his departure in 2013. While it must have stung to see GdZ conquer the international scene a year later with "Bailando", Jacob wasn't far behind and achieved international success on his own after the release of his mega-hit "Hasta que se seque el malecón" .  It reached 10 on Billboard's Hot Latin Chart and was nominated for a 2016 Latin Grammy. Jacob himself was nominated as New Artist of the Year and Favorite New Artist - Urban in the 2016 Latin American Music Awards . He is currently working on a video for his new single "Necesito ayuda" .

Jacob is signed with Sony Music Latin and wil release his 4th CD on the label. Meanwhile, he has been performing in Miami and appearing on Latin television programs. On September 24th he surprised fans by inviting  his ex-partner from Gente D'Zona - Alexander Delgado - to join him as special guest singing "Hasta que se seque el malecón" at a concert at Mokai in Miami.

Having recently toured Canada, Europe is next on his list. Jacob's tour begins October 14th in Naples and currently consists of 10 confirmed dates with more to come. To keep up with all the latest news, follow him at Facebook.

Jacob Forever Europe 2016

Tue, 04 Oct 2016 11:22:57 +0000
RIP Pedrito Fajardo cuban music, musica cubana

We lost another great Los Van Van musician this week. Pedrito was a charter member of Charanga Habanera, switching over to Van Van in about 1996. In addition to being a fine violinist and percussionist, he was one of the great dancing musicians of all time. When he did his violin bow dance with Van Van he visually captured the joy of music better than anyone I've ever seen.

cuban music, musica cubana

Pedrito was also one of the most genuinely warm and kind human beings in the world of Latin music. He will be sorely missed.

Here's a recent clip.

Click here for more of Tom Ehrlich's photos.

cuban music, musica cubana

cuban music, musica cubana

Sat, 01 Oct 2016 01:02:18 +0000
Interview Thomas de Paula Eby Thomas de Paula Eby - Camaguey photo used by permission
© Thomas de Paula Eby

Calle Real' s lead singer, Thomas de Paula Eby, released the single "Camaguey" on August 8, 2016, which immediately caused timberos to fear that he is leaving Calle Real. Timba.com sat down with Thomas in the studio where he is finishing the mixing of his solo album. We talked about his plans with Calle Real, the single, the video and the album. The tracks are listed below but not in any particular order. 

The Ones
Before we all dry out
They never look into my eyes/Mirame a los ojos
It's just me (Rumbita)
We Are
Fill your heart with pride
Down The Line
Lost Moments

Musicians participating on the album:
Thomas de Paula Eby-Leadvocals, guitars, percussion, mallets (SE)
Andreas Unge-Bass, Guitars, Percussion (SE)
Gunnar ”El Dony” Thullberg-Tres, Guitars (SE)
Gustav Lundgren-Guitars, Cavaquinho (SE)
Felipe ”Babuca” Grimaldi-Guitars (BR)
Sebastian Notini-Percussion (SE/BR)
Fredrik Gille-Percussion (SE)
Zamba N´Dokh M´Baye-Tama (SN)
Harry Wallin-Drums (SE)
Brady Blade-Drums (US)
Per Eklund-Drums (SE)
Jesper Nordenström-Piano (SE)
Bel Barbosa-Accordion (BR)
Giba Conceicao-Cuíca (BR)
Alexande Vieira-Coro (BR)
Raquel Vieira-Coro (BR)
Melo-Coro (SE)
Tilde de Paula Eby-Coro (SE/BR/CU)
Naemi de Paula Bjuhr-Coro (SE)
Bianca Ward-Coro (SE)

More information

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 08:15:26 +0000
Two Fantastic Pedrito Martínez Podcasts My favorite Cuban musician, interviewed by my favorite Cuban music writer and interviewer! And the excerpts and audio quality are exquisite.


Sun, 18 Sep 2016 20:22:35 +0000
Tom Ehrlich's Alfredo Rodríguez Gallery

Here's the final installment of Tom's coverage of SFJAZZ Cuban Piano week.

Sat, 17 Sep 2016 03:09:48 +0000

After 24 years of operation, Descarga.com has ceased operations and posted a farewell message on their website.  For many years, especially their early years, they were the most important source of hardcopy CDs of Cuban music in the United States, but they were much more than that - album reviews, articles, in the early years they even had a wonderful newsletter until it eventually went the way of most newsletters in this industry as people began reading less and watching video more.  I was a customer myself for many years (admittedly less so in recent times, but that had more to do with my own circumstances than with theirs). In the 90s, they were even written up in some articles about e-commerce as being in the vanguard of Internet businesses.  

They weren't done in by a competitor doing the same things that they did, but rather by the changing patterns of how many people now consume music (including, unfortunately, the free file-sharing which is gradually destroying the chances for physical recordings to be sold effectively in the marketplace anywhere other than concerts and impairing digital sales in our genres as well). 

Congratulations to Bruce Pollin and the Descarga operation for many years of excellence. This is a sad day for the Tropical Latin music industry and for Latin Jazz as well. 


Fri, 16 Sep 2016 01:03:41 +0000
LEONI TORRES - BAJO LA PIEL Leoni Torres - Bajo La Piel European Tour 2016

Leoni Torres has arrived in Europe where he will begin his September/October 2016 tour "Bajo La Piel" with a concert at Salsa Republica in Barcelona, Spain on Sunday September 18th.

There has been much speculation in the media lately concerning Marc Anthony's interest in Leoni. In the meantime his European tour will include the following dates, among others.

September 18 Barcelona, Spain
September 22 Madrid, Spain
September 23 Paris, France
September  25 Montpellier, France
September 29 Naples, Italy
September 30 Rome, Italy
October 2 Zurich, Switzerland

Stay tuned for more concert dates or click here to follow Leoni at his official Facebook page .

I think most timberos are familiar with his recent hits "Es tu mirada" and "Para que un día vuelvas". Most recently he released the video for the single "Soledad", another collaboration with Yeandro Tamayo featuring Leoni in a more cinematic role than before and also starting his partner of 12 years Yuliet Cruz.

Thu, 15 Sep 2016 15:55:31 +0000
A Fabulous Live Timba YouTube Channel

Click here for the full list. Also Liga Habanera, El Noro, Maikel Blanco, etc.

Wed, 14 Sep 2016 17:34:08 +0000
New Ivan Melon Lewis Project Ivan 'Melon" Lewis brings the US debut of a new project, the Cuban Swing Express , to the North Beach Bandshell  (7275 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach) from 7-10pm, Thursday, September 9.   It's  free (suggested donation $5.00), and the repertoire has been announced as a very eclectic mix of composers including some of Melon's own works.  This is a 10-piece band consisting of Cuban musicians living in Europe.   
For more information, visit

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 19:00:31 +0000
Various Events of Interest This Week Pedrito Martinez Group , City WInery
Chicago, Illinois
Wednesday, September 7 

The PMG has become a regular here and in the NYC flagship location; in fact, City Winery has even made a custom wine a couple of years ago (we are not sure whether it is still available).   

 Habanarte , Various Locations
 Havana, Cuba
 September 8-18

This is the third edition of an extended festival of the arts; in edition to concerts, there are events designed to sponsor collaboration between artists, producers and managers.  This edition will feature a forum sponsored by WOMEX in addition to the other events.  Art on La Rampa , an exposition of arts and crafts that also features textiles, footwear, jewelry, ceramic, garden furniture and other items for sale along with books, multimedia and photography presentations, already in progress in the Pabellon Cuba, has been extended until September 18 this year to permit visitors to enjoy both events simultaneously.
Habanarte has not updated its website for 2016 but does have a Facebook Page

and on the radio....

From the Isle of Music,   a shortwave radio program dedicated to all genres of Cuban Music (even Cuban chamber music), has a short segment with special guest William Roblejo this week; it includes a special theme that he recorded for this year's Habanarte . This week also includes a segment with special quest Maria Ochoa , sister of Eliades Ochoa . She has an interesting career of her own. For several weeks, Guido López Gavilan has been on the program narrating selections from one of Cubadisco 2016's Gran Premio winners, Caribe Nostrum . From the Isle of Music has a Facebook Page with complete program information including how to listen. 
During the two weeks following, the program will feature some of Timba 25 , a forthcoming EGREM release dedicated to a quarter century of Timba. 

Mon, 05 Sep 2016 09:54:31 +0000
Pa'lante y Con Fe Pa'lante y con fe - portada

Next week Alaín Almeida y La Constelación de Cuba will release their first CD "Pa'lante y Con Fe" on the Cubamusic label, and the album could not be more appropriately named. It has really been an effort of heart and soul as the band struggled to overcome problems that delayed the release for over a year.

The original plan was to release the CD in March 2015, but the band faced problems with both time and financing (the project was self-financed). Alaín spoke with Timba.com about the reasons for the delay of the album.

Alain: Sometimes I had time to record but not the money, and sometimes I had the money but not the time. Here the work schedule is really rough. We average 12 presentations a week. We start playing Wednesday and don't stop until Monday morning. We only have Monday and Tuesday to rest.

The delay was also caused by situations that we have had to face in the collective. At first the orchestra wasn't mine. I just joined the group to make music and continue my career. One day because of differences with of the owner of the orchestra, the musicians and I decided not to continue working with him. But he owned the instruments, and when we broke the association with him, we had to take a loan of 20 000 soles (about 6000 USD) to buy our instruments.

We played to pay off the instruments ... one thousand soles a week. For 20 weeks the money that we could have used to record and other things, had to be used on  the new instruments. From April to late October we were paying one thousand soles a week. After we paid the instruments off, we were able to resume recording.

Making music is a constant struggle. This CD is a dream come true. I've been writing songs since I was 12 or 13, and I have never sold a song or given my songs to anyone. I've been waiting for a moment like this. It's a dream that has motivated me all my life, why I became a singer and why I'm here. It's a great blessing from God.

Timba.com is happy to congratulate Alain Almeida & La Constalación de Cuba on their first album, "Pa'lante y Con Fe". The album will be available next week at all the digital retailers and the band will also press CDs, mainly for the Peruvian audience.

Sat, 03 Sep 2016 15:32:26 +0000
Melón Lewis Quartet with Pedrito Martínez Here's Tom Ehrlich's second gallery from SFJAZZ's historic Cuban piano festival, this time featuring Melón Lewis's quartet with Jimmy Branly & Román Filiu.

Click here for my series of books on Melón's timba career with Issac Delgado.

Fri, 02 Sep 2016 02:30:27 +0000
Gonzalo & Pedrito The photos are starting to come in from SFJAZZ's historic Cuban Piano Week series. Click here for Gonzalo Rubalcaba with special guest Pedrito Martínez.

Sun, 28 Aug 2016 20:17:43 +0000
ANGELITO RAMÍREZ & EL TREN BALA Angelito Ramírez & el Tren Balá Angelito Ramiíez & El Tren Balá working on a new album

Angelito Ramirez & El Tren Balá released their first CD "Mi Historia" on the Cubamusic label in February this year, but they are already working on their second album, which will be titled "El Rey del Timbón" and is expected to reach the market early in 2017. They plan to release three singles before the album drops: "El rey del timbón", "Todo está escrito en esta vida" and "Farandulera".

Mi Historia Mi Historia ©Cubamusic 2016

The band has uploaded a video of "Farandula" from one of the rehearsals to give fans a glimpse of what is coming. You can find many other live videos of Angelito & El Tren Balá at YouTube from their numerous performances in Lima.

A first look at the new song "Farandulera" from the upcoming CD "El Rey del Timbón"
recorded during a rehersal

El Tren Balá is a mix of Cuban and Peruvian musicians:
Director/Songwriter/Composor: Angelito Ramírez (Perú).
Piano/musical directorl: Martín Villanueva "Tripio" (Perú)
Vocals: Maikel Orizondo (Cuba), Renato Fernández (Perú).
Horns: Rudy (Trompeta), Denis (Trombón), Roger (Trombón), Juancito (Saxofón) all Peruvians
Drums & Timbal: Manuel Moreno "Hueso" (Cuba).
Congas: Felito Silva (Cuba).
Baby Bass: Reynier Perez (Cuba).
Güiro: El Baby (Cuba)
Keyboard: Yordanky Hernández "El Rubio" (Cuba).

For more information contact
Contracts | (+51)956748871 | Renzo Rey (Representative)

Angelito Ramírez

Wed, 24 Aug 2016 16:30:17 +0000
Cuban Piano Week at SFJAZZ The festivities start tonight with Rebeca Mauleón & Friends. It's billed as a Listening Party, with Rebeca playing classic tracks and talking about the history of Cuban music as well as playing live with a variety of special guests.

Rebeca Mauleón

Tomorrow, Thursday, will be Gonzalo Rubalcaba with Pedrito Martínez, who also plays with Fabián Almazán and Aruán Ortiz Friday. 

Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Pedrito Martínez will also play with both halves of an incredible Saturday double bill featuring Beyond Salsa hero Melón Lewis on Saturday (Román Filiú and Jimmy Branly will also be with Melón) opening for Alfredo Rodríguez, and finally, on Sunday with Harold López-Nussa and Aldo López-Gavilán.

Melón Lewis

Alfredo Rodríguez

Pedrito Martínez

Wed, 10 Aug 2016 16:25:30 +0000
Maikel Blanco Coming to San Diego in October

Click here for Kay Torres' full report on the San Diego Cuban Dance Conference.

Sat, 30 Jul 2016 20:06:31 +0000
San José Jazz Summer Fest Coming - August 12-14

Get ready for another San José Jazz Summer Fest.

Click here for more info.

Some highlights of the Afro-Caribbean music presented:

La Máquina Insular from Puerto Rico lead by Hector Tito Matos playing traditional and modern plena

Sotrón - new latin fusion group from the Mission District of San Francisco

The legendary Sergio Méndez and Brazil 2016 

Miguel Zenón Quartet - one of the best Latin jazz groups in the world today

La Mixta Criolla - Bay Area based band playing a mixture of Cabibbean music

Pirulo y La Tribu - new high energy salsa/timba group from Puerto Rico

Alfredo Rodríguez Trio with vocalist Ganavya Doraiswamy - outstanding Cuban piano trio with a beautifully unique vocalist

Jane Bunnett and Maqueque - group of great Cuban women musicians with the incomparable Canadian jazz saxophonist Jane Bunnett

Harold López-Nussa Trio - another outstanding Cuban pianist and his trio

A salsa stage featuring many outstanding local salsa groups such as Jesus Díaz y au QBA, Vissión Latina, Avance and Bay Area Salsa All-Stars  

Mon, 25 Jul 2016 02:29:58 +0000
Chicago Latin Jazz Festival 2016 Tom was on hand at this summer's Chicago Latin Jazz Festival in Humboldt Park to photograph the John Santos Sextet. Click here for the full gallery.

Sun, 24 Jul 2016 21:32:46 +0000
Pupy & El Noro @ Cubadisco 2016 En La Habana durante Cubadisco 2016

ENGLISH:   El Noro will be a special guest on the radio program From the Isle of Music  Mon-Tues, July 18-19.  For more information, see the From the Isle of Music Facebook page .  The program will also feature a couple of songs from his new album SIn Escala
ESPAÑOL:  El Noro será el invitado especial en el progama radial From the Isle of Music Lun-Mar 18/19 de Julio. Pará más información, vea la Página Facebook de From the Isle of Music   El programa va a proponer un par de temas del nuevo álbum Sin Escala


Sun, 17 Jul 2016 21:50:20 +0000
Hennes Latin Stage Hennes Latin Stage 2016

Tomorrow marks a very special edition of Hennes Latin Stage at the International Four Day Marches in Nijmegen, Netherlands. Hennes Latin Stage celebrates ten years of bringing the best in Cuban music in a free concert for an international crowd . But that's not all! The Four Day Marches are celebrating their centennial this year and the headliner for Hennes is Elito Revé y Su Charangón who are celebrating 60s years. If you're in The Low Countries, stop by and catch a concert. Orquesta Revé will perform Monday 18th - Wednesday 20th.

Henri van Woerkum - Hennes himself - took some time out of the preparations to answer a few questions for Timba.com

How does it feel to have reached the 10 year marker?

Proud, very proud. We started small scale and are now operating with 30 hardworking volunteers. Without them it would no be possible.

Do you have any reflections about the festival over the years or about the conjunction of the three anniversaries: Hennes 10 years Nijmegen marches 100 and Revé 60?

We are very proud to celebrate Orquesta Revé's  60th anniversary with our 10th. BTW... this will be their 3rd time rocking here at Hennes Latin Stage, multiple days.  Because of the 4 day marches, the city of Nijmegen (170.000 inhabitants)  is loaded with people, more or less 1.000.000 . A percentage pass our free festival, some stay and come back for it the next year. This is how our audience grows.

Why did you choose the unique format of featuring the same band for more than one night in a row?

These famous Cuban bands have a large repertoire. They can easily fill three nights without being boring. For the bands themselves, when they are on tour in Europe, it is good to be 3 days in succession in the same place on weekdays and not weekends.  We take good care of them. Good hotel. Good food, and since two years ago even Cuban food.

Hennes Latin Stage Hennes Latin Stage as seen from above

Sun, 17 Jul 2016 15:03:05 +0000
Cubadisco at 20
  Cubadisco 2016, the 20th anniversary edition,  took place in Havana in May.  Bill Tilford was there (as was photographer Patrick Bonnard from France), and during the weeks to come, he will be posting reviews of the recordings, galleries from the events and other items.  Visit our Cubadisco 2016 section for album reviews, concert photos, documents and more. 

Elito Revé receives a Gran Premio (photo Patrick Bonnard)

ESPAÑOL : Cubadisco 2016, la edición del 20 aniversario, tuvo lugar en La Habana en mayo. Bill Tilford asistió el evento (fotógrafo Patrick Bonnard de Francia también) y durante las próximas semanas, él va a publicar reseñas de las grabaciones, galerías de los eventos y otros artículos. Visite nuestra sección de Cubadisco 2016 para reseñas de álbumes, fotos de conciertos, documentos y más .

Mon, 04 Jul 2016 15:25:19 +0000
Bembé Maykel Blanco & Su Salsa Mayor
Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor are in Rovinj, Croatia tonight at the Croatian Summer Salsa Festival. I have been hearing fantastic things about this festival and may just have to go next year. After tonight they will play Munich and Zurich. In August Maykel and the Mayores will be in Buenos Aires. Click here for tour information.

Maykel has also released the first official video from the Havana Festival de la Salsa held this February. That's another festival I need to go to next year. Enjoy!

Fri, 01 Jul 2016 14:31:32 +0000
Orquesta Revé Begins 60th Anniversary Tour Elito Revé y su Charangón Europe 2016 The VIII National Changüí Festival ends today in Guantanamo and Elito Revé y su Charangón begin their European Summer Tour on Saturday July 2nd at  the Festival Couleur Cafe in Brussels. The tour will close with three days at Hennes Latin Stage in Nijmegen July 18-20th. Click here for the tour dates . And if you don't find one near you this summer, don't despair! They are already booking dates for an Autumn tour in November including my own town of Stockholm!

This is a special tour as 2016 marks the 60th anniversary of Orquesta Revé. They recently released the CD "La salsa tiene mi son" with remakes of many of the orchestra's greatest hits featuring illustrious guest artists, such as Gilberto Santa Rosa and El Canario. In honor of the imminent tour they released a new single last week called "Que el sol salga" featuring the lovely and talented Susel Orietta Gómez better know as "La China". Dale clic to listen.

Mon, 27 Jun 2016 17:10:53 +0000

ENGLISH: Septeto Santiaguero will perform at Lincoln Center's Midsummer Night Swing on Tuesday, June 28 at 6:30 PM.   A performance venue of this caliber in the United States is long overdue for this group, whose album No Quiero Llanto won a Latin GRAMMY® last year.  If I were in New York, I would be there.   For complete details and tickets, see the Lincoln Center's event page. 

ESPAÑOL :  Septeto Santiaguero se presentará en el Midsummer Night Swing del Lincoln Center el martes, 28 de junio a las 6:30 PM.  Un lugar de actuación de este calibre en los Estados Unidos es largo atrasado para este grupo, cuyo álbum No Quiero Llanto ganó un GRAMMY Latino®  el año pasado.  Si yo estuviera en Nueva York, estaría allí.  Para obtener todos los detalles y entradas, consulte la página de eventos del Lincoln Center.

To see a gallery of their May 2016 concert at the Teatro Nacional in Havana / Para ver una galería de fotos de su concierto del mayo 2016 en el Teatro Nacional en La Habana, 
Click Here / Haga click aquí

Sun, 26 Jun 2016 10:35:52 +0000
Buena Fe Begin US Tour Buena Fe Photo courtesy of Buena Fe @Facebook

Tonight Buena Fe , Cuba's most popular trova-fusion band, kicks off their US tour with a concert at the James L. Knight center in Miami. From their humble beginnings as a duo in Guantanamo, Buena Fe has grown to become a mega-group on the island, with a fan base spanning ages 9 to 90 and a faithful international following as well. This year Buena Fe is working to increase their exposure throughout the Americas, and the US tour will include some firsts such as their first concerts in Puerto Rico, Houston and Tampa. Later this year they will tour Argentina and possibly Chile.

Musically Buena Fe mix pop and rock with just about anything they want: changüí, son, rumba, reggae. But what really makes Buena Fe stand out are the lyrics. Descendants of the Nueva Trova movement, they always have a message that is worth listening to whether they deliver it in a ballad or via double entendre in a changüí. Recent collaborations with timba and reggaeton bands include "La Carta" with Alain Daniel, "Esa mujer" with Orquesta Revé, "Cuba isla bella" with Orishas, and Los 4 who recorded a timbaton cover of Buena Fe's first hit "No juegues con mi soledad".

If you are unfamiliar with their music check out their Vevo page: BuenaFeVEVO . I wil just give you a sample of one of my favorites Pi 3,14 - which has now entered the vernacular as a popular refrain that you can hear in "Yo vengo de Cuba" by F Clan and Havana D'Primera. Click here for the list of tour dates and venues.

Buena Fe on social media

Sat, 25 Jun 2016 05:35:58 +0000
Wil Campa Canadian Tour Starts Today Wil Campa

Wil Campa kicks off his Canadian Tour in Medicine Hat, Alberta tonight. He will be in Canada until mid August. Click here for a list of the tour dates .

Thu, 23 Jun 2016 19:38:55 +0000
Cuba Isla Bella A few weeks ago when Orishas announced they were getting back together they really made my day. This is my kind of Cuban urban music with intelligent lyrics and a taste of son and Cuban music traditions combined with modern hip-hop. Today they released their first new single,  "Cuba Isla Bella" featuring a pantheon of guest artists from various genres: Buena Fe, Descemer Bueno, Issac Delgado, Leoni, Waldo Mendoza, Laritza Bacallao, Gente de Zona and Pedrito Martínez. You can buy the single at digital retailers such as iTunes and Amazon.

Orishas will follow up the release of the new single with a US tour. Click here for the tour dates . Now sit back and enjoy "Cuba Isla Bella" and join me in hoping for a renaissance of Cuban hip-hop!

Fri, 17 Jun 2016 18:50:56 +0000
Pedrito Martínez Group CD Release Today

Here's Tom's third gallery from the recording session. And Part II if you missed it.

Here's a link to the new album just released today.

Sat, 11 Jun 2016 01:19:57 +0000
VIII National Changüí Festival Elio Revé Matos @ La Loma del Chivo

June 23th - 27th Guantanamo will again play host to the National Changüí Festival. This year the festival is dedicated to three important anniversaries: the 100th year anniversary of the birth of tresero and founder of the group Changüí Guantanamo - Chito Latamblét, the 60th anniversary of Orquesta Revé, and the 25th anniversary of Los Morenos del Changüí. It is also dedicated to the Guantanamo Diaspora - especially the artists and musicians.

So what does the festival have to offer?

The main activities are:
• Contest for best new Changüí song in honor of Pedro Speck.
• Competitions for treseros, bongoceros, marimbuleros and dancers.
• Rafael Inciarte Seminar: Seeds, Parallels and Projections of Changui
• Meeting Families, Musicians and traditions.
• Traditions in projection
• Changüí and Cumbancha, now. The World's Longest Changüí.
• Tributes, dances, community changüí parties, exhibitions, audiovisual materials.

The concerts will include the participation of Elito Revé y su Charangón, Oderquis Revé and Pancho Amat y su Grupo. There are usually also timba groups participating, but I haven't seen a list yet. If you are in Cuba I strongly recommend making a trip to Guantanamo for this event. While there you should also try to attend some of the community Changüí parties. I went to la Casa del Changüí in Yateras in 2007 and it was really a wonderful experience. I have posted some of my pictures from Guantanamo and Yateras for your viewing pleasure.

The contact information to sign up for all of the events is below, but many events are also free or just require payment of the entry fee to the Casa del Changüí.

Registration fees:
National Participants 50.00 CUP
Foreign participants 50.00 CUC

Paradiso Agency. Artex
Email: paradiso@scgt.artex.cu

Elito Revé y su Charangón perform Fresquecito from their 50th anniversary at the
3rd National Changüí Festival in 2007

Wed, 01 Jun 2016 10:28:59 +0000
Pedrito Martínez Habana Dreams Sessions, Part II Click here for Tom's full gallery.

Sun, 29 May 2016 14:30:55 +0000
Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor Europe 2016 Maykel Blano & su Salsa Mayor in Rome Photo courtesy of Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor Official Facebook page

Te escapaste

Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor are in full swing with their Summer 2016 tour of Europe . They have played three gigs in Italy where Dancer/Singer Maykel Fonts joined in performing his duet "Dale lo que lleva" with Maykel B and adding some spice to "Bembé" with his world renowned rumba moves. Tomorrow Maykel B and the boys will be at the "I am Cuban All Star Festival" in Corfu, Greece and they will be in my own town of Stockholm, Sweden this Friday May 27th where they will appear with our own Calle Real!

Calle Real in turn has already performed several concerts this year in Ethiopia and France. Both bands released their latest CDs in December of 2015. Maykel Blanco released his fifth studio album "Que no me quiten la fe", which is also Cuba's first Blu Ray disc and Calle Real finally gave fans a long-awaited third album "Dime que?!". Both are excellent CDs and highly recommended. Stay tuned for the reviews (I apologize for falling behind in that). In the meantime you can enjoy a little concert video of both bands performing songs from their new CDs.

Maykel Blanco & Calle Real May 27 Stockholm Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor & Calle Real in Stockholm May 27

Calle real - Te lo di

Mon, 23 May 2016 09:53:46 +0000
Los Van Van Return To New York & New Jersey As part of this year's Concert Cruises, S.O.Bs in New York is presenting Los Van Van in a special concert on the Infinity Yacht, Friday July 1, 2016. This is a 21+ show with doors opening at 9pm.

** For tickets click here or on the flyer below **

Los Van Van in New York - Infinity Yacht

The following day you can see Los Van Van in New Jersey at Schuetzen Park located at 3167 Kennedy Blvd. North Bergen, NJ 07047. Doors open at 8pm.

** For tickets click here or on the flyer below **

Los Van Van in New Jersey - Schuetzen Park

Sat, 21 May 2016 15:18:08 +0000
La Charanga Habanera US Tour Charanga Habanera @BBKing New York

David and the boys are back in the USA with their first concert tonight at Twelve in Miami. At the top of the eastern seaboard you can catch them Sunday May 22nd at B.B. Kings in New York City. Click here to book your tickets in advance. 

If you can't make either of these concerts, click here to find one near you!

David's personal invitation to B. B. King's

Fri, 20 May 2016 16:41:52 +0000
Orquesta Revé - 60th Anniversary Concert Elito Revé y su Charangón - 60th Anniversary

Tonight at Salon Rosado de la Tropical in Havana, Elito Revé y su Charangón will give a concert to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the charangón. It is also a part of the festivities surrounding Cubadisco 2016, which is appropriately themed Música Bailable this year. I hope our own Bill Tilford is able to attend this event and give us a first-hand account. This is a must-see concert for anyone who is in Havana. Special guests include Juan Carlos Alfonso, Issac Delgado, Mayito Rivera, Mandy Cantero, Paulo FG, Haila, Christian & Rey, David Blanco and Grupo Moncada.

The anniversary concert comes right on the heels of the release of "La salsa tiene mi son", which we have been awaiting for years. You can find it at digital retailers and if you're in Havana I bet they'll be selling in hard-copy at the concert.

Timba.com congratulates Elito and all of the members of the charangón - past and present - for their 60 year anniversary.

Elito Revé y su Carangón - La Salsa Tiene Mi Son Available now at online retailers!

Fri, 20 May 2016 07:57:20 +0000
Charanga Habanera US Tour Starts Friday! La Charanga Habanera Los Chamacos de La Charanga Habanera - photo courtesy of Linda van der Eems

David Calzado y su Charanga Habanera start their US tour in Miami on Friday May 20th with a concert at Twelve Club. I haven't seen them live since 2013 and there have been some changes since then such as Andy Fornet joining on timbales and the singer line-up is now Leisdel Gonzales Castillo, David Montes de Oca, Alexis David Zamora, Heikel Valdes and Chico de la Rosa.  The tour will also take them to California, Washington State, Texas, New York and New Jersey. Click here to find a concert near you.

To catch up with the band check out the new promotional video "A Lak Lak". Special thanks to Linda van der Eems for keeping everyone updated with "La última".


Tue, 17 May 2016 14:51:07 +0000
The Habana Dreams Sessions: Pedrito Martínez Group Tom has posted 8 videos and the first of 3 galleries from the 2015 Havana recording session that produced the Pedrito Martínez Group's second CD, Habana Dreams, to be released on June 10.

Click here for the photo gallery

Click here for an index of the videos 
(don't forget to like & subscribe)

Sun, 15 May 2016 02:06:45 +0000
SF Dance Alert!

Santiago based dancer master Jorge Luna Roque is bringing his amazing all-star rueda troupe to the Brava Theatre in San Francisco next weekend, May 21st & 22nd. As you can see in the clip above, these guys are amazing. 

Saturday, May 21st 
Vip Pre-Party 6:30-8:00 
Show 8:00-9:30 
Dance party at Brava 9:30-11:00
Sunday, May 22nd
8:00-9:30 Show

Click here for tickets

Click here for the full press release.

Fri, 13 May 2016 03:27:53 +0000
Siempre Que Llueve Escampa Siempre que llueve escampa

Maykel Blanco & Su Salsa Mayor have just released their new video for "Siempre que llueve escampa" - one of my favorite songs from the brilliant album "Que no me quiten la fe" . It is quite funny and the first time the band has done an animated video. Enjoy the video and get ready to catch the band live on their European tour, which begins in Rome on May 20th. Click here for all the concert dates.

Mon, 09 May 2016 15:21:09 +0000
Issac & Pedrito Tomorrow - Symphony Space, NY

                                   Click here for Information on Sunday's New York Show

Click here for Tom Ehrlich's Gallery from last weekend's SF Show

Click here for Kevin's Moore's review of the SF Show

Sat, 07 May 2016 14:31:29 +0000
Aisar Hernandez & El Expresso de Cuba Aisar & El Expresso de Cuba Havana Premier

Aisar Hernandez & El Expresso de Cuba will have their Havana debut tomorrow at 9:00pm in the Salón Juan Formell at El Sauce. The band performed previously this year in Varadero and has been busy with television and radio appearances, but this will be the first chance for the Havana audiences to see the band live. We at Timba.com are very excited to see what Aisar & El Expresso have in store for us. They recently signed an exclusive five-year contract with Bis Music, and we can expect their first CD, "lLlegó el Expresso",  to drop soon. If you're in Havana don't miss this historic first concert.

Thu, 05 May 2016 14:17:38 +0000
Issac & Pedrito Martínez Group Coming to NY

Click Here for Information on Sunday's New York Show

Check this space for Tom Ehrlich's Upcoming Photo Gallery

Issac Delgado and the Pedrito Martínez Group supplied a historic launch for this year’s Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, a 75-show, summer long series of free daytime concerts with exquisite sound in a gorgeous and relaxed setting. The second and final show in this mini-tour will be on May 8th at Symphony Space in New York City.

Issac Delgado’s bands have always been like finely tuned engines. After carefully choosing and integrating each component through months of rehearsal and touring, he takes to the stage with the steely control and yet reckless abandon of a Formula 1 racecar driver.

Most of the players in such a musical engine play the roles of cylinders, stroking in perfect and predictable synchronization. But like an engine, a great band also needs spark plugs – one or more explosive musicians who add bursts of creativity and unpredictable surges of adrenaline and aggressivity at just the right times. Sparking the first great Issac band were Giraldo Piloto, Tony Pérez and Andrés Miranda; next came Melón, Jimmy Branly and José Miguel; then the epic 1997 incarnation with Alain Pérez, Melón and Georvis Pico; then the Y2K powerhouse featuring Los Yoeles, Páez and Domínguez; then the great unsung 2000 band with Frank Rubio and Bombón Reyes.

Of course, the spark plug analogy applies to some extent to all the great bands: Van Van with Samuel Formell; El Trabuco with Riverón; the great late 1990s Charanga Habanera with Tirso Duarte, Yulién Oviedo and Orlando Mengual; their Bamboleo counterpart with Ludwig Núñez and Rafael Paceiro; and of course Paulito’s astounding combination of the aforementioned Yoeles, Sergio Noroña and Tomasito Cruz. We can hear this same “spark plug” dynamic at work in with bongosero Agustín Gutiérrez in the late-1920s Sexteto Habanero and Lilí Martínez in Arsenio’s legendary conjunto, to say nothing of the litany of great quinto and Iyá players of the folkloric realm.

But with the exception of Miles Davis, no one has assembled more of these monstrous bands than Issac, and he’s apparently got himself a new one in Havana, with his phenomenal pianist son Issacito and several young studs even I haven’t heard of, fresh out of La ENA – la nueva nueva generación.

In 1999, Issac had a dozen historically great bands chomping at his heels, but by the early 2000s, the timberos’ dreams of world conquest had come under withering attack at the hands of reguetón, sequencers, DJs, crippling emigration from Havana, the Bush Administration, and the MP3-driven collapse of the global recording industry. And there was further damage of the self-inflicted variety. Far too many jazz and Latin recordings of recent years suffer from what I call DTS: Dream Team Syndrome. Think how much of your hard drive or CD shelf is consumed with generic albums featuring all of your favorite legends; all playing together; all playing one rumba, one chachachá, one timba barn-burner and one danzón; all sounding remarkably like hundreds of other albums you’ve bought (all right, stolen) (all right, downloaded, possibly with some sort of minimal online monetization scheme involved).

It was in this depressing, debilitating, and very much ongoing musical environment that the rapidly shrinking number of actual working bands began to shrink rapidly in size: from four percussionists to two; from five horns to two; from dedicated coristas and tecladistas to utility men performing multiple roles. But out of this forced austerity, something extraordinary emerged: it was called The Pedrito Martínez Group. Birthed through a process of hundreds of gigs at a small mid-town Manhattan restaurant called Guantanamera, PMG was not a big engine stripped down for better mileage; it was a new kind of vehicle, built from the ground up to produce even more explosive energy at a fraction of the decibel level and with a clarity and precision of interlocking parts impossible with a 14-piece orquesta. If its mammoth predecessors relied on cylinders and spark plugs; PMG had only spark plugs – four of them – spitting fire into every beat. Gone were the horns; gone were the interlocking bells; gone were the guitar and second keyboard. PMG wasn’t even a conjunto – just congas with cajón, a dramatically reimagined hand bell, bass and piano – and yet the quartet played with the power of Van Van and the creative spark of one of Issac’s legendary timba big bands. 

Dream Team Syndrome notwithstanding, the idea of Issac Delgado & Son putting this new type of race car through its paces seemed like something that might just work brilliantly. And so it did. PMG is precisely the type of hyper-creative and wildly improvisational but rock solid rhythm section that Issac has spent his career soaring over. This may or may not herald the dawning of the next great era of Cuban music – probably not – but even if it never happens again, this Sunday's show is not something that should be missed by any sane New York Cubanophile (yes, an oxymoron, I know). [Kevin Moore] [video by Tom Ehrlich-more photos coming shortly]

Recording and Touring News: 

1. PMG’s latest album, Habana Dreams, which features Issac on the title track, is due out in a month but advance copies will be on sale at the New York show. Ned Sublette’s liner notes alone make it worth acquiring this one the old-fashioned way.

2. Issac’s latest album, Made in Havana, is also due in about a month.

3. Issac’s Cuban band is in the visa interview stage and likely to begin touring the US later this year.

Mon, 02 May 2016 22:04:00 +0000
Pedrito Martínez Group with Issac Delgado!

Wow - either one of these artists would be big news, but together it's a revelation. Issac is famous for his improvisation and his ability to soar over some of the greatest rhythm sections in Cuban music history and as we all know, PMG makes the short list in that particularly category. It's a marriage made in heaven at one of the great outdoor venues. Click here for more info.

Sun, 01 May 2016 01:24:39 +0000
Cuba on Tour

Juan de Marcos and the Afro-Cuban all Stars kick their East Coast Tour off tonight at Landmark Theatre in Port Washington, New York. Juan de Marcos is known for working with the highest caliber musicians. This year's line-up featuresEmilio Suárez on lead vocals. The band will play 12 gigs so check out their updated list of tour dates to find a concert near you.

Manolito y su Trabuco Tour 2016

If you're in Europe you can catch Manolito y Su Trabuco at Kursalon in Vienna on the second day of their month-long European tour that will take them to ten countries. Click here to find the Trabuca date nearest you!

A taste of some first class timba from their latest album "No puedo parar"

Fri, 29 Apr 2016 14:34:58 +0000
An Iris Blooms in Santiago
ENGLISH:   Santiago has a relatively small but EXTREMELY impressive Jazz scene, and its epicenter is the Iris Jazz Club, right next to the Plaza de Marte.  It was modeled after the best Jazz clubs in both Cuba and other countries including the United States, and both the ambience and the sound are very impressive. 
ESPAÑOL:  Santiago tiene una escena relativamente pequeña pero extremadamente impresionante del Jazz, y su epicentro es el Iris Jazz Club, justo al lado de la Plaza de Marte. Fue modelado segun los mejores clubes de Jazz en Cuba y otros paises incluyendo Estados Unidos, y tanto el ambiente y el sonido son muy impresionantes. 

ENGLISH:   The building had a few previous lives and began operating as a Jazz club in 2012.  It has live music six nights per week and features both local talent and groups from Havana and beyond.  (Arturo O'Farrill performed there one night during my sojourn in Santiago). 
ESPAÑOL : El edificio tenia unas vidas anteriores y empezó sus opercaciones como un club de Jazz en 2012.  Se presenta música en vivo seis noches cada semana y cuenta con talento local, grupos de la Habana y más allá. (Arturo O'Farrill toco allí durante mi estancia en Santiago). 

ENGLISH: There is a cafeteria, Jazznamá, and a bar dedicated to Emiliano Salvador
ESPAÑOL :  Hay una cafetería, Jazznamá, y un bar dedicado a Emiliano Salvador

ENGLISH:  I had the opportunity to record my conversation with the Director of the Club, Robier González Garbey, about the history of the club and the Jazz Scene in Santiago.  You can listen to that conversation (in Spanish) here. 
I did the same with the agent for the club, Raydelis Guibert, and you can listen to that conversation (also in Spanish) here. 
ESPAÑOL :   Tuve la oportunidad de grabar mi conversación con el Director del Club, Robier González Garbey, acerca de la historia del club y la escena jazzistica en Santiago.  Puede escuchar la conversacíón en español aquí. 
Hice lo mismo con el agente para el club, Raydelis Guiber, y puede escuchar la conversacion (también en español aquí)

ENGLISH:  For a closer  look inside the club, see two photo galleries:  Albertico Lescay & Formas ,  and Arturo O'Farrill and Others  and the review of Ivan Acosta
ESPAÑOL :  Para ver más de cerca el interior del club, vea dos galerías:  Albertico Lescay & Formas y Arturo O"Farrill and Others  y la reseña de Ivan Acosta

Wed, 27 Apr 2016 21:57:56 +0000
Daymé Arocena click here for full gallery

Daymé Arocena and her group, all living in Cuba, consists of Daymé on vocals and small percussion, Jorge Luis Lazarga on piano and Rafael Aldama on bass.  This young trio, all in their 20's, performed at The New Parish in Oakland California on April 3, 2016, played music which was an organic mixture of Afro-Cuban folkloric music, soul, salsa and jazz. [Tom Ehrlich]

Mon, 25 Apr 2016 02:04:59 +0000

ENGLISH:  Cubadisco 2016, Cuba's premiere awards program for recordings plus a week-long concert series, symposium and trade fair, will take place from May 14-22, 2016 and various locations in Havana.   This year's theme is Música  Bailable, and the Country of Honor is Mozambique.   We eagerly anticipate some special edition recordings in genres like Timba and can't wait to see what happens this year. 

In the meantime, we have prepared something special in the aftermath of Cubadisco 2015; our Cubadisco 2015 section now contains pages with links to reviews and videos of many of the nominees, especially in the dance music and Jazz categories.   This is an opportunity to dive deeper into these wonderful recordings, and the videos are (usually) excellent.   
You can visit the English language version of the section here. 

A program on shortwave radio which your servant hosts, From the Isle of Music, is dedicated to several different genres of Cuba's music and also features interviews with the artists in addition to the music.   One of the stations that transmits the program is in Germany, the other in the United States. 

ESPAÑOL: Cubadisco 2016, el programa de premiaciónes más importante en Cuba para la música grabada, además de ser una serie de conciertos durante una semana, un simposio y una feria comercial, tendrá lugar del 14 al 22 de mayo de 2016, en varios lugares de La Habana. El tema de este año es Música Bailable, y el País de Honor es Mozambique. Esperamos con muchisimo entusiasmo algunas grabaciones de edición especial en géneros como la Timba y no podemos esperar a ver qué va a pasar este año.

Mientras tanto, hemos preparado algo especial en las secuelas del Cubadisco 2015; nuestra sección de Cubadisco 2015 ahora contiene páginas con enlaces a reseñas y videos de muchos de los nominados, especialmente en la categorias de música de baile y el Jazz. Es una oportunidad para profundizar más en estas maravillosas grabaciones y los videos son (usualmente) excelentes.
Se puede visitar la versión en español de la sección aquí.

Un programa radial de onda corta, de lo cual su siervo es presentador, From the Isle of Music, se dedica a multiples géneros diferentes de la música de Cuba y también cuenta con entrevistas a los artistas, además de la música. Una de las emisoras que transmiten el programa está en Alemania, la otra  en los Estados Unidos.

Wed, 20 Apr 2016 22:22:41 +0000
Cubanismo Gallery From Tom Ehrlich

Click here for the full gallery.

Sat, 02 Apr 2016 16:56:47 +0000
El Baile de la Palangana - Video

Emilio Frias "El Niño" y La Verdad are currently touring Venezuela but yesterday they released the official video for "El baile de la palangana", a whimsical song that has been popular at concerts for months now. The new CD is going by the working title "Más Duro" and as we have mentioned before, it features a number of guest artists such as El Canario Issac Delgado and Alexander Abreu. The band will be touring Europe in May-June and will visit at least nine countries. Stay tuned. We will soon update the tours page with the full list of confirmed concerts.

Thu, 31 Mar 2016 13:51:40 +0000
Tom Ehrlich's Photo-Report on La Rumba Q' Tumba

[click here for the full gallery] For the past two years, DJ Leydis has been bringing a “little bit of Cuba” to the San Francisco Bay Area. Once a month, currently at The New Parish in Oakland, California, DJ Leydis and a group of her friends present a Cuban House Party (called La Rumba Q' Tumba), with DJs Leydis and Walt Digz spinning hot timba dance music, alternating with live performances by Bay Area rumberos. [Tom Ehrlich]

Sun, 27 Mar 2016 22:31:06 +0000
Cubanismo all Weekend at SF JAZZ!

After their successful show at Yoshi's last year, Cubanismo is back for a string of big concerts at SF JAZZ: tonight, Saturday and a Sunday matinee. Click here for the details. And here's Tom Ehrlich's gallery from the 2015 show.

Fri, 25 Mar 2016 19:23:02 +0000
Bábaro Fines y su Mayimbe in Europe Bárbaro Fines y su Mayimbe Europe 2016

Bárbaro Fines y suu Mayimbe - Te Vi Nacer

On the heels of the release of "Te Vi Nacer" - their third and hottest CD yet - Bárbaro Fines y su Mayimbe are in Europe and will kick off their month-long tour tonight with a concert at Palacio de la Salsa in Riccione, Italy. The tour will take them to Italy, France, Spain, Germany and Sweden.  Click here to find a concert near you. The band is also planning a tour of the US later this year, so stay tuned for more information.

Emilio Frias "El Niño" y La Verdad in Venezuela

Emilio Frias "El Niño" y La Verdada in Venezuela

Also touring right now Emilio Frias "El Niño" y La Verdad are in Venezuela for three weeks. We have updated the tours page so check it out. We know that El Niño y La Verdad have been in the studio working on their next release, so stay tuned for updates about the new CD, which features a number of guest artists including José Alberto "El Canario" and Alexander Abreu.

Thu, 24 Mar 2016 09:41:20 +0000
¡Cubanismo! hits the SF Jazz Center tomorrow "History was made earlier this week when President Obama became the 2nd sitting American president to visit Cuba in nearly 90 years, and while all eyes (and ears) continue to await the results of the recent thaw in US-Cuban relations, it is clear that the Bay Area has had a long-standing love affair with Cuban music for decades." -- Pianist & Composer Rebeca Mualeón, form an interview with Jesús Alemañy of ¡Cubanismo!, performing at the SF Jazz Center this week March 24-28. Click here to read the full interview. 

Jesús Alemañy & ¡Cubanismo! March 24-27 @ the SF Jazz Center

Jesús Alemañy & ¡Cubanismo!
March 24-27 @ the SF Jazz Center
7:30 pm every night
201 Franklin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Click HERE for tickets
Box office 415-788-7353

check out and listen to ¡Cubanismo! on youtube

¡Cubanismo! founder Jesús Alemañy came to fame as a brilliant 15-year-old trumpet player for the iconic Cuban group Sierra Maestra – the band that led to the formation of Buena Vista Social Club – and carries on in that fiery Cuban tradition. Alemañy’s all-star orchestra plays sizzling dance tunes full of swaggering horn charts and wild polyrhythms that recall the vintage big-band son sound of the 1940s and 50s, embracing traditional rumba, cha-cha, danzon and pa’ca rhythms arranged in the classic descarga, or “jam session” style. Their 1996 self-titled debut album was a global smash, listed in the Top Ten lists of Billboard, Latin Beat, and Afropop Worldwide that year. In the two decades that followed, ¡Cubanismo! have toured the world relentlessly, while releasing a series of recordings that have expanded the venerated son sound to incorporate influences from American music, in particular the swampy, second-line rhythms of New Orleans, as well as the dancehall sounds of Jamaica. Since its beginning, ¡Cubanismo! has been a proving ground for many of Cuba’s greatest young musicians including pianist Alfredo Rodríguez and bassist Carlitos del Puerto, and the current incarnation is no exception, presenting a blazing ensemble of horns, rhythm section and percussion that transforms a concert hall into a hot night in Havana. 

Jesús Alemañy & ¡Cubanismo! March 24-27 @ the SF Jazz Center

Wed, 23 Mar 2016 15:37:30 +0000
Ian Stewart Reviews Mike Eckroth's Piano & Rhythm

Click here for Ian's review of this exciting new album with a Who's Who list of New York-based guest musicians: Dandy Rodríguez, Pedrito Martínez, Pepe Espinosa, Rubén Rodríguez, and many more.

Mon, 21 Mar 2016 19:46:56 +0000
Ivan Acosta y su Grupo De Cuba Somos
ENGLISH:  One of the mainstays of the small but impressive Jazz scene in Santiago de Cuba is Ivan Acosta and his Grupo De Cuba Somos.   I had the opportunity to meet him, record an interview and listen to his music in December.   You can read a review, see some photos and listen to the interview (in Spanish) here.  You can also listen to the interview and some music by the group on the radio program From the Isle of Music on Monday night, March 21; for more information, see the From the Isle of Music Facebook page. 
ESPAÑOL:  Uno de los pilares de la pequeña pero impresionante escena del jazz en Santiago de Cuba es Ivan Acosta y su Grupo De Cuba Somos. Tuve la oportunidad de conocerlo, grabar una entrevista y escuchar su música en diciembre. Usted puede leer una reseña, ver algunas fotos y escuchar la entrevista (en español) aquí. Tambíen pueden escuchar la entrevista y la música del grupo en el programa radial From the Isle of Music el lunes, 21 marzo; para más infomación, visiten la página Facebook de From the Isle of Music

Sun, 20 Mar 2016 22:50:34 +0000
Conga Pa' Cerrar Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera have just released the official video clip for the single "Conga pa' cerrar" from their latest album "La vuelta al mundo". This is another blazing arrangement by these masters of Timba and cubanía . They have been working on their new CD and in February released a little teaser of the new song "Siempre sí" on the Havana D'Primera Facebook page . This month they perform in Venezuela, next month Peru, and Alexander has also recorded on the upcoming CD by Emilio Frias "El Niño" y La Verdad. 2016 is going to be a great year for timba releases!

And here is the teaser of "Siempre sí".

Sat, 19 Mar 2016 16:11:51 +0000
More Interesting Events in the US ENGLISH:  On Friday, March 18, a stellar collection of artists from Cuba will be performing at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas: TelmaryYissy Garcia & Bandancha, Dayme Arocena, X Alfonso y La Flota, Kelvis Ochoa. This is a "do not miss" lineup.   
ESPAÑOL:  El viernes 18 de marzo, una colección estelar de artistas de Cuba se presentará en el South by Southwest Festival en Austin, Texas: Telmary, Yissy García y Bandancha, Dayme Arocena, X Alfonso y La Flota, Kelvis Ochoa.   Se trata de una "no se lo pierdan " alineación.

And in Chicago.....

Master percussionist Joaquin "El Pulpo" Pozo will be in town to teach some master classes and to perform as a guest artist with the Angel d'Cuba Septet.   
The classes are:
1. Thursday, 3/17, 7:30pm:  Latin Music School, 2725 W. Division, Chicago,
Facebook page for event:  https://www.facebook.com/events/987941537947443/
2.  Saturday, 3/19, 12-2 PM;  Worlds of Music Chicago, 4161 N. Damen
For more information, see http://www.worldsofmusicchicago.com/#!events/c7bs

The performance with the Angel d'Cuba Septet 
Friday, March 18, 8:30pm
Old Town School of Folk Music
4544 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago
For more information, see:


Angel d'Cuba's group is also sporting Roy McGrath on saxophone and Edwin Sanchez on keyboards.  This could be a great show.  

Thu, 17 Mar 2016 00:10:53 +0000
Pedrito Martínez Group with Issac Delgado!

Wow - either one of these artists would be big news, but together it's a revelation. Issac is famous for his improvisation and his ability to soar over some of the greatest rhythm sections in Cuban music history and as we all know, PMG makes the short list in that particularly category. It's a marriage made in heaven at one of the great outdoor venues. Click here for more info.

Mon, 14 Mar 2016 20:50:06 +0000
Cuba Está de Moda Yulién Oviedo has just released his new video for "Cuba está de moda" and it couldn't have arrived at a more propitious time with visits later this month by President Obama and The Rolling Stones who will give a free concert. An enjoyable salsaton with fun coros and even a tip of the hat to the US national anthem. Well played Yulién, well played.

Mon, 14 Mar 2016 14:39:51 +0000
Some Interesting Events in the US This Weekend Miami:  This weekend, Global Cuba Fest returns to Miami. This year's theme centers on Cuban artists in Spain.  Of special interest to TIMBA.com readers is the March 12 concert by Ivan Melon Lewis, who has made his mark in both Timba and Jazz.  For more information and tickets, see http://www.fundarte.us/fundarte_event.php?id=221 

New York:
 On Saturday, March 12, Cuban Jazz giant Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Esperanza Fernández, one of the world's leading Flamenco singers, present Flamenco Meets Cuba (Oh Vida! A Tribute to Beny Moré and Manolo Caracol).  This will take place at Roulette in Brooklyn.   For complete details and tickets, visit 

Here is a video of Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Esperanza Fernández together:

Wed, 09 Mar 2016 23:32:58 +0000
Encuentro Internacional Danzónero Miguel Failde
Este encuentro, que tiene lugar del 30 de marzo al 3 de abril en la Ciudad de Matanzas,  incluye clases, conciertos, talleres, un concurso de composición y mucho más.   El tribunal de premiación incluye maestros como Joaquín Betancourt Jackman, Maria Victoria Oliver y Alejandro Falcón
Para ver la convocatoria y aprender más acerca del encuentro, haga clic aquí
Para escuchar un anuncio radial, haga clic aquí

El 30 de marzo se lanzará el nuevo álbum Llegó la Failde por Orquesta Miguel Failde (EGREM 2016). El lanzamiento tendra lugar en un evento especial desde la Tropicana Varadero, en vivo por TV Cubana. Pueden escuchar una entrevista con Ethiel Failde, Director de la orquesta,  en el programa radial From the Isle of Music el lunes, 7 de marzo en las Americas entre 7-8pm EST en WBCQ, 7490 KHz (onda corta), escuchable via Internet durante la hora del programa (y solamente durante esa hora) también. 

Sun, 06 Mar 2016 22:37:37 +0000
SalsaRueda Festival Photos from Tom Ehrlich

Tirso Duarte and Timbalive tore it up at the amazing 8th annual San Francisco SalsaRueda Festival

Tue, 23 Feb 2016 00:12:54 +0000
Tirso Duarte & Timbalive

(photos by Leonel Rogier) Tirso Duarte returns to California for the first time since November, 2000 at the 8th annual San Francisco Salsa Rueda Festival at the Hotel Whitcomb in San Francisco, backed by Timbalive (Saturday night). Timbalive will also - as they do each year - play their own show of original material Sunday night to close the festival.

I'll be giving a lecture on Tirso and his piano style on Saturday afternoon (4:30 to 6:00). Here's a youtube video to give you a preview of some (but not all!) of the content:

Sat, 13 Feb 2016 01:40:21 +0000
New Timbalive Release / Nuevo Lanzamiento de Timbalive ENGLISH:  Timbalive has a new release, Gasolina de avion, with a number of guest appearances including Descemer Bueno, Robertón, Los 4, Maykel Fonts and others.  You can read the review in English and watch the official video here. 

:  Timbalive tiene un nuevo lanzamiento, Gasolina de avion, con un montón de invitados incluyendo Descemer Bueno, Robertón, Los 4, Maykel Fonts y otros.  Puede leer la reseña en español y ver el video oficial aquí. 

ENGLISH: For those who love most styles of Cuban music in addition to Timba, a new radio program, From the Isle of Music, features almost everything including Timba, Traditiional Son, Jazz cubano, Fusion, Rock, even a little classical.  More importantly, the program includes interviews (sometimes in English, sometimes in Spanish) with different Cuban artists each week. The program airs every Monday night in the Americas (Tuesday morning in Europe and Africa) on WBCQ, 7.490 MHz on shortwave (it also streams on the Internet during the hour of the broadcast). For more info, visit the WBCQ website or the From the Isle of Music Facebook page. The latter mentions the special guest for each upcoming program. 

ESPAÑOL: Para los amantes de la mayoría de los estilos de la música cubana, además de la Timba, un nuevo programa radial, From the Isle of Music, cuenta con casi todo, incluyendo la Timba, Son traditiional, Jazz cubano, Fusión, Fock, incluso un poco Clásica de vez en cuando.. Más importante, el programa incluye entrevistas (a veces en Inglés, a veces en Español) con diferentes artistas cubanos cada semana. El programa se transmite todos los lunes por la noche en las Américas (martes por la mañana en Europa y África) en WBCQ, 7.490 MHz en onda corta (también disponible via Internet durante la hora de la emisión). Para obtener más información, visite el sitio web de WBCQ o la página Facebook de From the Isle of Music. El último menciona el invitado especial para cada programa siguiente.

ENGLISH: Finally, The 8th Annual San Francisco Salsa Rueda Festival takes place February 11-14 at the Hotel Whitcomb in San Francisco.  Among many other things, Tirso Duarte will perform with Timbalive, and Kevin Moore will present a lecture about Tirso Duarte.  Complete festival details can be found here. 
ESPAÑOL:  Por último, el 8° Festival de Rueda de Salsa en San Francisco tiene lugar de 11 a 14 febrero en el Hotel Whitcomb en San Francisco.  Entre muchas otras cosas, Tirso Duarte va a actuar con Timbalive, y Kevin Moore va a dar una conferencia acerca de Tirso Duarte.  Todos los detalles del festival se puede encontrar aquí. 

Mon, 08 Feb 2016 06:28:14 +0000
Carnaval Cubano

MAYITO RIVERA - Carnaval Cubano 2016
Posted by Carnaval Cubano on Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Today marks the beginning of the annual Carnaval Cubano in Wroclow, Poland. The Carnaval includes concerts by FClan on Friday and Jose Torres y Salsa Tropical featuring Mayito Rivera on Saturday. You can see a short clip from one of their rehearsals above. In addition to the concerts, parties and dance shows at night, by day you can take part in dance and music workshops, lectures, a culinary presentation and on Sunday don't miss the noon screening of "The Black Roots of Salsa: The Emancipation of Cuban Rumba". Click here for the full program.

Thu, 04 Feb 2016 06:02:48 +0000
Reviews, Reviews, Reviews...../ Reseñas, reseñas, reseñas....

ENGLISH:  EGREM has been very productive with some excellent new Jazz releases, all of which are worth listening to.  You can read reviews in English in our Reviews section
ESPAÑOL:  La EGREM ha estado muy productiva con unos excelentes lanzamientos del Jazz, todos los cuales que valen la pena escuchar.  Puede leer reseñas en Español en nuestra sección Reseñas. 
ENGLISH: Also,  a review of Gotas de Sabor by Magic Sax, Santiago de Cuba's answer to Habana Sax
ESPAÑOL:  Además, una reseña de Gotas de Sabor por Magic Sax, el equivalente santiaguero de Habana Sax

ENGLISH: Eliades Ochoa & Barbarito Torres entertained Chicago last weekend, you can read about it and view photos here. 
ESPAÑOL:  Eliades Ochoa y Barbarito Torres entretenieron Chicago el pasado fin de semana, puede leer al respecto y ver las fotos aquí.

Tue, 02 Feb 2016 21:25:41 +0000
TIMBA LA Calixto Oviedo - Soultone

Get ready salseros of Los Angeles! Calixto Oviedo and TIMBA LA are bringing classic 90s timba to the land of LA Style Salsa. Calixto has put together a team of ten musicians to offer the City of Angles an authentic taste of what timba was like when the Havana scene was at it's most creative. The rhythm section is drums with timbales, congas, bass and piano. The horns are two trombones and two trumpets, and the vocals are by Julio César Bouza (Orquesta Reve and Tumbao Habana) and Lily Hernnández. TIMBA LA will have their debut performance on Saturday March 6th at La Trattoria 25. Book your table now!

Sun, 31 Jan 2016 13:58:30 +0000
Tom Ehrlich's Septeto Nacional Gallery Septeto Nacional, a Cuban music institution since 1927, performed to a sold out crowd at Brava Theater in San Francisco on January 17, 2016, playing their exquisite form of son. Six out of the seven were members of Septeto Nacional, but because of visa problems of their tres player, Iván Camblor, band leader, composer and tres player played with the group. Iván, who is originally from Cuba, lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and leads a local son group, Pellejo Seco. Tito González, local Cuban sonero, also sang vocals on a couple of songs.

Click here for the full gallery.

Fri, 29 Jan 2016 02:35:54 +0000
Some Things to Come in Havana in 2016 I was at Jazz Plaza in Havana (and also in Santiago de Cuba) in December, and in the near future I will be sharing a lot of what I learned and experienced.  For the moment, there are a number of important events during the next few months in Havana that deserve your attention:

1st Carnaval de la Salsa,  25-28 February, 2016. 
Maykel Blanco
is the producer of this street festival, which has a pretty stellar lineup:

For more information, there is a Facebook Page: Carnaval De La Salsa En Cuba

La XV Fiesta del Tambor Guillermo Barretto  (1-6 Marzo 2016, Habana) es un concurso y festival que atrae a más de 1000 músicos. 
El Centro Nacional de Música Popular convoca a la XV Edición del Concurso y Festival Internacional Fiesta del Tambor “Guillermo Barreto in Memoriam”, que se realizará en la Habana, del 1 al 6 de Marzo de 2016 y contará como sedes principales al Teatro Mella, Teatro Karl Marx, Sala Avenida, El Salón Rosado de La Tropical, Jardines del Teatro Mella
En este evento participarán importantes músicos y percusionistas nacionales e internacionales, las principales bandas de música popular bailable de Cuba, las compañías danzarias más destacadas del país, grupos de jazz, y grupos folklóricos, añadiendo que se impartirán Clases Magistrales de Percusión y Danza.
Como parte de las actividades del evento se realizarán dos Concursos Internacionales, uno de Percusión abierto a todas las edades y a todo el público, y el segundo de baile Casino también con carácter nacional e internacional para mayores de 15 años. Los ganadores de estos concursos recibirán premios de instrumentos musicales de firmas nacional e internacionalmente reconocidas como GON BOPS, SABIAN, PEARL, REGAL TIP, SONOC, EVANS, etc., y además la Cadena Hotelera Sol Meliá, la Agencia Paradiso y los sponsors del evento aportarán importantes reconocimientos tales como: estadía en sus instalaciones, diplomas acreditativos, etc.
La Agencia PARADISO es la receptora del evento.
Giraldo Piloto
Presidente Fiesta del Tambor

Para más información, el sitio web es http://www.fiestadeltambor.cult.cu/

Cubadisco 2016  (May 14-22, 2016) & 1st Fiesta Mundial de Casino "Casino de Todos" (May 19-22, 2016), both in Havana Cuba

Cubadisco is part music awards (which carry the same level of prestige in Cuba that the GRAMMY awards carry in the United States), part symposium, part trade fair, part concert series, and this year the theme is Música Popular Bailable (Popular Dance Music),  Parallel with the event will be the 1st Fiesta Mundial de Casino, which will include workshops, dance parties and exhibitions. 
For more information in English, click here. 
Para más información en Español, haga clic aquí. 

In the near future, the Organizing Committee will be putting out a call to dance schools and casino groups that may wish to participate in the festival.   If you have a school or group that would like to inquire about participating, The President of the Organizing Committee is Juan Gómez, and his email cubadisco.acad@cubarte.cult.cu

En un futuro próximo, el Comité Organizador publicará una convocatoria para las escuelas de baile y grupos de casino que deseen participar en el festival. Si usted tiene una escuela o grupo que desea preguntar acerca de la participación, el Presidente del Comité Organizador es Juan Gómez, y su correo electronico es cubadisco.acad@cubarte.cult.cu 


ENGLISH:   Beginning February 1, yours truly (Bill Tilford) will be doing an hour-long radio program every Monday night from 8-9 PM EST called From the Isle of Music, dedicated to most of the genres of music that you can hear in Cuba.  More information @
From the Isle of Music
ESPAÑOL: A partir del 1 de febrero,  su servidor (Bill Tilford) va a hacer un programa radial de una hora todos los lunes por la noche de 8-9 PM EST llamada From the Isle of Music, dedicada a la mayoría de los géneros de la música que se puede escuchar en Cuba. Más información @ From the Isle of Music

Sun, 24 Jan 2016 22:49:30 +0000
Llegó Aisar Hernandez Aisar Hernandez photo by Roberto Ruiz
Aisar Hernandez in the studio
Photo ©Roberto Ruiz. Used by permission

Today Aisar Hernandez, director, composer, arranger and bassist of El Expresso de Cuba – the newest group on Havana's popular dance music scene – held a press conference about this fledgling musical project. Sadly, Timba.com was not there. But Aisar did take time out of his busy schedule to do an interview for Timba.com. I also want to give a special thanks to Roberto Ruiz for allowing us to use some of his photos to bring some visuals to the interview.

For those of you who may be new to Timba, Aisar was musical director of the great orchestra Elito Revé y su Charangón for ten years, during which time they released the hit CDs "Fresquecito", "De que estamos hablando" and "La aplanadora de Cuba". In 2008 he also released four songs under the name El Expresso de Cuba, but Aisar stayed with Revé until December 2015 when he announced he would finally start his own band.

Knowing Aisar's talent as a composer and arranger and his command of Cuban popular dance music ranging from timba to more traditional music such as son, I have great expectations for this band. In the interview Aisar tells us not only about the band and how we can expect it to differ from the Charangón, but also about what it takes to be a good band leader and the difficulties of starting  a new orchestra in times such as these.
Click here to read the English translation of the interview.

Dale cliq aquí para leer la entrevista en el español original.

Thu, 21 Jan 2016 17:30:08 +0000
Septeto Nacional Returns to the US (Updated) UPDATE: The Sunday show was sold out and a clinic (with lots of performing) has been added for Monday. Click here for more details.

Septeto Nacional will be in New York at Lehman College on January 16th (Orquesta Broadway opens) and at Brava Theatre in SF on the 17th. Stay tuned for other dates.

Sat, 09 Jan 2016 21:15:34 +0000
Pepito Gomez New Single Pepito Gomez - Como le digo que no

One of the most iconic young Cuban voices is back with a new single. Pepito Gómez has released "Como le digo que no" as a single at CD Baby. The song is his own composition with an arrangement that combines the New York sound with Cuba. Pepito gave us a little interview.

Michelle: Tell us about the new single.

Pepito: I composed this song for people who are in love. When a relationship starts, your friends and family start giving their opinions, and even if people say that this relationship isn't right for you or that this partner is not for you, it's too late to say no to what is already in your heart. Neither age difference, nor color, nor race matter when there is love.

Michelle: Is this just a single or part of a future CD?

Pepito: This song is a single from a series of songs that I have composed with the intention of recording a CD in 2016. My goal is to go to sing in Europe to the audience that I haven't seen for a little while, and that write asking when I can go. I think this year will have the opportunity to return.

Michelle: Which musicians were involved in the recording?

Pepito: The song was recorded by musicians from different countries such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, Peru and New York. We have the opportunity o live together and bring to the music a little bit of flavor from every corner of the world. I am very happy that it is like this and that music serves to unite countries and musicians - that people can enjoy it and feel happy.

Michelle: Are you working on other projects as well?

Pepito: I have also a project that will involve several orchestras. I have already spoken with some directors who have said yes. I think it will be interesting if everything turns out as we plan. I think there's no doubt that the people who will enjoy it the most will be the dancers.

Click here to buy "Como le digo que no"

Bass:  Daymar Calvario  ...Cuba
Piano & Arrangement: Junito Davila .. Puerto Rico 
Congas: Mauricio Herrera Tamayo  ... Cuba 
Timbal: Bobby Allende ... Puerto Rico
Bongo: Jhair Sala  ... Peru 
Trumpet: Anibal Martinez  ...Puerto Rico
Trombone: Hommy Ramos  .... Puerto Rico
Coros: Carlos Acevedo y Papote Jimenez .... Puerto Rico
Lyrics , Music, Electric Tres & Production : Jose "Pepito" Gomez ... Cuba 
Mix & Mastering: Rolando Alejandro  ....Puerto Rico
Recording engineer: Adam Perez .... Dominican & Puertorican
Recorded in: Allerton Estudio Bronx NY 
General Production: Guararey Entertainment... NY

Tue, 29 Dec 2015 15:13:22 +0000
Carnaval de la Salsa Carnaval de la Salsa - Havana

Maykel Blanco isn't content just maintaining his own band Salsa Mayor at the top of the charts year after year, as with their new release "Que no me quiten la fe" (review coming soon). He has also dedicated himself to finding new ways to promote Cuban music and dance, both on the island and internationally.

Part of this endeavor is the 1st annual Carnaval de la Salsa, which will take place in Havana from February 25-28. The program (which is still subject to change) includes concerts by the most popular timba bands in Cuba: Los Van Van, Issac Delgado, Klímax, Manolito y su Trabuco, Paulo FG, Tanja Pantoja, Havana D'Primera, Pupy y Los Que Son Son, El Niño y La Verdad, Elito Revé y Su Charangón, Bamboleo and of course Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor.

That is more than enough to make the Carnaval de la Salsa a must-attend event for any timba fan. But Maykel hasn't forgotten the dancers who want to work on their cubania . By day you can take part in workshops with well-known Cuban dance instructors and the special participation of Maykel Fonts.

For the parties, Maykel (Blanco) is also bringing in international DJs such as Jack El Calvo (France), El Samurai (Italy) and Patricia La Peruana (France), as well as Cuba's best-known timba DJ  - Mandy. There will  be comparsas every day, so this really is going to be an amazing event. I am tempted to ask for vacation, even though I just got back from Cuba three weeks ago. Book your plane tickets now before the prices go up! We will keep you updated, and don't forget to follow Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor at Facebook .

Mon, 28 Dec 2015 06:05:37 +0000
¡¿Dime Qué?! Calle Real's third CD is available today at on-line digital retailers, just in time for Christmas!

Dime Qué - on sale now!

It has been a long road - six years to be exact - but with patience, dedication and faith the guys from Calle Real will celebrate the release of their third album with a release party tonight at Scala Theater in Stockholm, Sweden. I happen to be out-of-town as often seems to be the case when we have timba events in Stockholm, so I will not eb able to report on the party. But I have already bought the CD and can recommend it as an important addition to any timbero's collection, be you DJ, dancer or simply someone who likes to listen. If you're lucky enough to be at the concert tonight or catch them in concert next year - bring some extra cash and pick up a hardcopy! Stay tuned for the full album review!

Mon, 21 Dec 2015 08:24:45 +0000
JAZZ PLAZA & OYE MI CANTO ENGLISH:   Jazz Plaza 2015, the 31st Edition of Havana's international Jazz Festival, will take place from December 17-20 in multiple venues in Havana.  This event includes classes, lectures and exhibits in the daytime along with multiple concerts every night in multiple venues in the city. This year's theme is Genres that Influence Jazz, and in addition to an excellent roster of Jazz artists, there will be a few invited guests from other genres including ZZ Top  and Kenny G  You can read a lot more about Jazz Plaza at the Decubajazz website. 
ESPAÑOL:    Jazz Plaza 2015, la 31a edición del Festival Internacional Jazz Plaza, se celebrará del 17 al 20 diciembre en múltiples sedes en La Habana. Este evento incluye clases, conferencias y exhibiciones durante el día junto con múltiples conciertos cada noche en multiples lugares en la ciudad.  El tema de este año es Géneros musicales que influyen en el Jazz, y además de una excelente lista de artistas de jazz, habrán unos invitados de otros géneros como ZZ Top  y Kenny G.  Pueden  leer mucho más sobre Jazz Plaza en  el sitio web Decubajazz.

ENGLISH:  Before that, the third edition of the vocal competition Oye Mi Canto concludes at the Complejo Cultural Heredia in Santiago de Cuba on Saturday, December 12.  This competition has been in progress since September. 
ESPAÑOL : Antes de eso, la tercera edición del concurso vocal Oye Mi Canto concluye en el Complejo Cultural Heredia en Santiago de Cuba el sábado, 12 de diciembre.  Este concurso ha estado en progreso desde septiembre.

Thu, 10 Dec 2015 09:02:42 +0000
Timba for the Holidays 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
Somos El Team
Te Lo Di
Película en color
Dime Qué
Entre La Espada y La Pared

Wed, 09 Dec 2015 11:18:47 +0000
58th Grammy Award® Nominations Announced 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.

Tue, 08 Dec 2015 04:27:12 +0000
NEW GUINNESS WORLD RECORD FOR RUEDA DE CASINO ESTABLISHED IN HAVANA 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.

Sun, 29 Nov 2015 17:47:07 +0000
Pedrito Martínez Group at Yoshi's As promised, Tom's second PMG gallery from their recent tour.

Tue, 24 Nov 2015 13:00:31 +0000

ENGLISH:  Timbalive, one of the best and most authentic Timba groups in the United States, has just released a new single, Todo lo que tu quieras.   This will be followed in a few weeks by their new album, Gasolina de avion.  Timbalive has two new vocalists: Eylen Temon, a former member of Orquesta Anacaona, and Michel Marcos.  While we await the new album, you can purchase the single on iTunes here. 
ESPAÑOL: Timbalive, uno de los mejores y más auténticos grupos de Timba en los Estados Unidos, acaba de lanzar un nuevo single, Todo lo que tu quieras. Esto será seguido en unas semanas con su nuevo álbum, Gasolina de avion. Timbalive tiene dos nuevos vocalistas: Eylen Temon, un ex miembro de la Orquesta Anacaona, y Michel Marcos. Mientras esperamos el nuevo álbum,  puede comprar el single en iTunes aquí.

Photo: Darron Jones

ENGLISH:  A student orchestra from ISA and the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic collaborated in an excellent concert in Chicago last week.  You can read a full review here. 
ESPAÑOL: Una orquesta estudiantil de  ISA y el Chicago Jazz Philharmonic colaboraron en un excelente concierto en Chicago la semana pasada. Puede leer una reseña completa aquí.

ENGLISH:  Finally, congratulations to Cuba's Latin GRAMMY winners Pablo Milanés (Lifetime Acheivement Award), Septeto Santiaguero (Best Traditional Tropical Album), Silvio Rodríguez with Calle 13 (Best Short Form Music Video); cubanos Paquito d'Rivera (Best Latin Jazz Album) and Alex Cuba (Best Singer Songwriter Album); and of course TIMBA.com's Michael Lazarus, who co-mixed and mastered the Septeto Santiaguero album and mixed the winner in Best Children's Album, Mister G. Mike was in Las Vegas for the ceremonies, so we'll wait to hear from him before we say more.   
ESPAÑOL: Por último, felicidades a los ganadores cubanos del Latin GRAMMY:  Pablo Milanés (Premio de la Excelencía Musical), Septeto Santiaguero (Mejor Álbum Tropical Tradicional), Silvio Rodríguez con Calle 13 (Mejor Video Musical Versión Corta); cubanos Paquito d'Rivera (Mejor Álbum de Jazz Latino), Alex Cuba (Mejor Álbum Cantuator); y por supuesto Michael Lazarus de TIMBA.com, quien co-mezcló y masterizó el álbum de Septeto Santiaguero y mezcló el ganador en Best Latin Children's Album, Mister G.. Mike estuvo en Las Vegas en las ceremonias, por lo que no vamos a decir más hasta que el regrese. 

Sat, 21 Nov 2015 20:27:40 +0000
JOJAZZ & JAZZ PLAZA IN CUBA ENGLISH:  From November 19-22,  JoJazz 2015,, the 18th International Competition of Young Jazzistas, will take place in La Habana, Cuba. This event is a combination of competitions and concerts with two age ranges: 16-20 and 21-30, and for many years  it has proven to be a critical moment in the emergence of some of Cuba's best young Jazz tallent.. Joaquín Betancourt Jackman, a key figure in JoJazz, always assembles a special Jazz band which has made some interesting recordings in previous years. You can read a lot more about JoJazz at the Decubajazz website. 
ESPAÑOL: Del 19-22 noviembre, JoJazz 2015, el 18 Concurso Internacional de Jóvenes Jazzistas, se llevará a cabo en La Habana, Cuba. Este evento es una combinación de competencias y conciertos con dos rangos de edad: 16-20 y 21-30, y durante muchos años ha demostrado ser un momento crítico en la aparición de algunos de los mejores talentos jovenes del Jazz en Cuba. Joaquín Betancourt Jackman, una figura clave en JoJazz, siempre monta una banda especial de Jazz que ha hecho algunas grabaciones interesantes en años anteriores. Pueden  leer mucho más sobre JoJazz en el sitio web Decubajazz.

ENGLISH:  Jazz Plaza 2015, the 31st Edition of Havana's international Jazz Festival, will take place from December 17-20 in multiple venues in Havana. We'll have a lot more to say about this event, which includes classes in the daytime along with multiple concerts every night, closer to the date.  This year's theme is Genres that Influence Jazz, and in addition to an excellent roster of Jazz artists, there will be a few invited guests from other genres including ZZ Top and Kenny G You can read a lot more about Jazz Plaza at the Decubajazz website. 
ESPAÑOL:  Jazz Plaza 2015, la 31a edición del Festival Internacional Jazz Plaza, se celebrará del 17 al 20 diciembre en múltiples sedes en La Habana. Vamos a tener mucho más que decir acerca de este evento, que incluye clases durante el día junto con múltiples conciertos cada noche, más cerca de la fecha.  El tema de este año es Géneros musicales que influyen en el Jazz, y además de una excelente lista de artistas de jazz, habrán unos invitados de otros géneros como ZZ Top y Kenny G. Pueden  leer mucho más sobre Jazz Plaza en el sitio web Decubajazz.

ENGLISH: We don't have the inside track on who will win at the Latin GRAMMY awards, which will be announced on November 19, but one thing will definitely happen:  Pablo Milanés will be among the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award on November 18. One thing that many younger people don't know about Mr. Milanes is that in addition to his stellar solo career, he was also a member of the Grupo de Experimentación Sonora del ICAIC (GES), one of Cuba's most important progressive ensembles in its day. Congratulations to Mr. Milanés!
You can watch the presentation of the awards on Latingrammy.com;  remember that most of the genres of greatest interest to many of us are NOT covered on the network television broadcast
ESPAÑOL:  No tenemos "la pista interior" para quién va a ganar en los premios Latin GRAMMY, que se anunciarán el 19 de noviembre, pero una cosa sin duda va a pasar: Pablo Milanés será uno de los ganadores del Premio a la Excelencia Musical en noviembre 18. Uno cosa que muchos jóvenes no saben sobre el Sr. Milanés es que, además de su carrera como solista estelar, él era también un miembro del Grupo de Experimentación Sonora del ICAIC (GES), una de las más importantes agrupaciones progresistas de Cuba en su día. ¡Felicidades a Sr. Milanés!
Pueden ver la presentación de los premios en Latingrammy.com; recuerden que la mayoría de los géneros de mayor interés para muchos de nosotros NO están cubiertos en la teledifusión de red. 


Wed, 18 Nov 2015 01:37:16 +0000
Tom Ehrlich's Pedrito Martínez Group Photos Click here for Tom's gallery. PMG opened for Irakere at Sonoma State in Rohnert Park (see previous post). Photos from PMG's Yoshi's gig will be up soon. Also keep an eye out for their upcoming second CD, Havana Dreams, featuring Issac Delgado, Telmary and Descemer Bueno.

Tue, 17 Nov 2015 00:58:21 +0000
Tom Ehrlich's Irakere Photos

Click here for Tom's gallery of photos from Irakere's performance at Sonoma State. Pictured above are Gastón Joya, Dreiser Durruthy and Rodney Barreto.

Sat, 14 Nov 2015 20:48:03 +0000
ENGLISH:  The Chucho Valdés Irakere 40 tour gave an explosive concert at Symphony Center in Chicago on November 6 before moving on to Michigan.  You can read Bill Tilford's  review, which includes some photos, here. 
A few cities remain in the tour:  See our tour listing here.

ESPAÑOL: La gira de Chucho Valdés Irakere 40  dio un concierto explosivo en el Symphony Center en Chicago el 6 de noviembre, antes de pasar a Michigan. Pueden leer la reseña por Bill Tilford, que incluye algunas fotos, aquí.
Quedan algunas ciudades en la gira: Pueden ver nuestra lista de ciudades aquí

ENGLISH:  The excitement in Chicago is far from finished - on Friday, November 13, the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic will present Scenes From Life:  Cuba!, part of a much longer and broader exchange between the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and the Universidad de las Artes (ISA), one of Cuba's premier music education institutions.   This concert will include invited students from ISA. Watch the video below to learn more about the history of this wonderful project, and to purchase tickets for Friday's concert,  see the Auditorium Theatre website here

ESPAÑOL: La emoción en Chicago está lejos de haber terminado - el viernes, el 13 de noviembre, el Chicago Jazz Philharmonic presentará Scenes From Life: Cuba!, parte de un intercambio mucho más largo y más amplio entre el Chicago Jazz Philharmonic y la Universidad de las Artes (ISA), una de las instituciones de educación musical más importantes en Cuba. Este concierto incluirá estudiantes invitados de ISA. Pueden mirar el vídeo a continuación para obtener más información sobre la historia  de este maravilloso proyecto, y para comprar boletos para el concierto del viernes, consulten el sitio web del Auditorium Theatre aquí.

Sun, 08 Nov 2015 22:06:46 +0000
PMG's 2nd CD Recorded in Havana The Pedrito Martínez Group recorded their second CD in Havana last month, with guest stars Issac Delgado, Telmary, Román Díaz and Descemer Bueno (pictured below). Many more photos coming. Click here for the full gallery.

Sun, 08 Nov 2015 03:36:14 +0000
CD REVIEW / RESEÑA DE CD: TRIBUTE TO IRAKERE ENGLISH:  Some of you have been or will be fortunate enough to see the Irakere 40 tour in concert, which means that you may have this scorching new disc already.  For the benefit of everyone else, you can read our review here. 

ESPAÑOL: Algunos de ustedes han tenido o van a tener la suerte de ver la gira de Irakere 40 en concierto, lo que significa que ya pueden poseer este nuevo disco, que está en fuego. Para beneficiarse a todos los demás,  pueden leer nuestra reseña aquí.




Tue, 03 Nov 2015 22:59:29 +0000
Wil Campa in Havana Tom's photo series continues ...

Mon, 02 Nov 2015 16:38:03 +0000
Tom's Excellent Cuban Adventure

Wil Campa playing for several thousand frantic fans in Cienfuegos - click here for the full gallery - more coming soon.

Meanwhile, Irakere continues this week at SFJAZZ.

Fri, 30 Oct 2015 19:32:39 +0000
Irakere in Santa Cruz Tonight   photos by Tom Ehrlich - Sonoma State University - Oct. 25

Irakere and Pedrito Martínez played an incredible double bill at Sonoma State on Sunday. The new Irakere = hosted by Kuumbwa Jazz Center at Santa Cruz's El Río Theater -consists of a beefed up horn section with an extra trumpet and an insanely great rhythm section consisting of Gastón Joya on bass, Rodney Barreto on drums, Yaroldy Abreu on congas and an amazing batalero/folkloric vocalist named Dresiner Durruthy.

Tue, 27 Oct 2015 02:16:04 +0000

ENGLISH:  As the Chucho Valdés "Irakere 40" tour continues, it is worth taking a moment to remember a few reasons why Irakere is so important in the history of modern Cuban Jazz and dance music: 

1.  Irakere put Cuba back on the radar of Jazz fans around the world after it had more or less vanished from it for a time.  It's not that there wasn't any Jazz in Cuba, but it had no longer been getting serious  international attention until Irakere came along. 
2.  Many of Cuba's most important modern artists such as José Luis Cortés, César López and Maraca (to name just three of many) spent time in Irakere. In addition to being a world class ensemble in its own right, it was also an influence upon many of the important band leaders to come.  
3.  Irakere was taken equally seriously as a Jazz band and a dance band.  Before them, nearly everyone was perceived primarily as one or the other.   This made it possible for some subsequent artists such as Maraca to follow suit. 
4.  We take the use of batá drums in Jazz for granted now, but Irakere used these in a pioneering way. 
5. Almost a decade before anyone was using the word Timba for a musical style, Irakere was performing its precursors, and that music still holds up today. Without Irakere's musical DNA, Timba as we know it today would have been something different if it existed at all. 

The next stops for this tour are in Rohnert Park,  Santa Cruz and  San Francisco.  Yes, it is a new generation of musicians with Chucho.  So was the original once upon a time.  Arturo and Paquito did not start out as famous names either.   Don't miss this. 

ESPAÑOL: Mientras que la gira de Chucho Valdés "Irakere 40"  continúa, vale la pena tomar un momento para recordar algunas razones que Irakere es tan importante en la historia del Jazz y la Música Popular Bailable en Cuba: 

1. Irakere puso Cuba de vuelta en el radar de los aficionados de jazz de todo el mundo después de que el país había más o menos desaparecido de eso por un tiempo. Por supuesto había el Jazz en Cuba, pero el género no había estado recibiendo la atención internacional en serio hasta Irakere llegó.
2. Muchos de los más importantes artistas modernos cubanos como José Luis Cortés, César López y Maraca (por nombrar sólo tres de muchos) pasaban un tiempo en Irakere. Además de ser un grupo de clase mundial en su propio derecho,  fue una influencia sobre muchos de los líderes de agrupaciones importantes por venir.
3. Irakere fue tomada por igual en serio como un ensemble de jazz y un grupo bailable.  Antes de ellos, casi todo el mundo se percibía principalmente como uno u el otro. Esto desarollo hizo posible que algunos artistas posteriores como Maraca pudieron seguir su ejemplo.
4. Tomamos el uso de tambores batá en Jazz por hecho ahora, pero Irakere utilizaba ellos en forma pionera.
5. Casi una década antes de que alguien estaba usando la palabra Timba para un estilo musical, Irakere tocaba sus precursores, y la música aún mantiene hasta hoy. Sin ADN musical de Irakere, Timba como la conocemos hoy en día habría sido algo diferente si existiera en absoluto.

Los próximos lugares en esta gira están en Rohnert Park, Santa Cruz y San Francisco. Sí, es una nueva generación de músicos que trabajan con Chucho, pero este grupo siempre fue una incubadora importante desde el principio. Tampoco comienzaron Arturo y Paquito como nombres tan famosos. No se lo pierdan.   

ENGLISH:  Yoruba Andabo, one of Cuba's most exciting Afro Cuban folkloric ensembles, is performing in  Chicago  this week.  If you have the good fortune to be near the city, this is another event worth experiencing. 

Yoruba Andabo, uno de los más emocionantes conjuntos folklóricos afro cubanos de Cuba, está presentando en Chicago esta semana. Si tiene la suerte de estar cerca de la ciudad, este es otro evento que vale la pena experimentar.

Sun, 25 Oct 2015 19:16:43 +0000
Pedrito Martínez Group @Yoshi's Saturday Tom Ehrlich just returned from Havana where he photographed The Pedrito Martínez Group recording their second CD with a variety of guest artists including Issac Delgado, Telmary, Román Díaz and Descemer Bueno.

Pedrito's band will play Yoshi's, Oakland at 7:30, Saturday, Oct. 24 and open for Irakere in Rohnert Park on Sunday. Irakere plays Santa Cruz (no opening act) on Tuesday, Oct. 27.

Fri, 23 Oct 2015 15:50:47 +0000

ENGLISH:  The Chucho Valdés tour of the United States, titled Irakere 40,  begins in Los Angeles today.   This tour uses a tremendous younger generation of Cuba's musicians (with the exception of Chucho himself, of course), honors the 40th anniversary of Irakere's work as a free-standing ensemble, and supports the release of the new CD Chucho Valdés Tribute to Irakere, which was recorded live at the Marciac Jazz Festival.  The clip above is this group live at Marciac.  

: La gira de Chucho Valdés en EEUU, titulada Irakere 40, comienza en Los Ángeles hoy. Esta gira utiliza una generación más joven de tremendos músicos cubanos (con la excepción del mismo Chucho por supuesto), rinde homenaje al 40 aniversario de trabajo de Irakere como un grupo independiente, y apoya el lanzamiento del nuevo CD Chucho Valdés Tribute to Irakere, que fue grabado en vivo en el Festival de Jazz de Marciac. El clip arriba es este grupo en vivo en Marciac.

For those of you who would like to go a LOT deeper into Irakere's  history, the documentary above is an excellent treatment of the original group.  The young musicians in the current touring group are profoundly influenced by Irakere.  You can see the entire US tour schedule here. If you are anywhere near one of the cities on the list, do not miss this.   (Kevin Moore asks that we remind those of you in or near Santa Cruz that it is one of the cities in the tour.) 

ESPAÑOL: Para aquellos de ustedes que les gustaría ir MUCHO MÁS profundamente en la historia de Irakere, el documental de arriba es un excelente tratamiento del grupo original. Los jóvenes músicos en el grupo de gira actual son profundamente influenciados por Irakere. Pueden ver toda la programación de la gira de Estados Unidos aquí. Si están en cualquier lugar cerca de una de las ciudades en  la lista, no se lo pierdan. (Kevin Moore pide que recordemos a aquellos de ustedes en o cerca de Santa Cruz que es una de las ciudades en la gira.)

ENGLISH:  Today is officially the Día de la Cultura Cubana in Cuba.  All of us here would like to take this moment to thank the Cuban people for its wonderful cultural contributions to the world, especially in music. 
ESPAÑOL: Hoy es oficialmente el Día de la Cultura Cubana en Cuba. Todos nosotros  nos gustaría aprovechar este momento para agradecer al pueblo cubano por sus maravillosas contribuciones culturales al mundo, sobre todo en la música.

ENGLISH:  Finally, Telmary Díaz is in Madison Wisconsin this week as part of the Passing the Mic Hip Hop Arts Festival.  She is participating in lectures, roundtables and performances including a concert on Saturday the 24th.  
ESPAÑOL:  Por último, Telmary Díaz está en Madison, Wisconsin esta semana como parte del Passing The Mic Hop Hop Arts Festival. Ella está participando en conferencias, mesas redondas y actuaciones que incluyen un concierto el sábado (24).



Tue, 20 Oct 2015 22:15:33 +0000
Yeni Valdés, Maikel Dinza & Sergio Vargas I had a little chat today with Luisin Martí, executive producer and president of Oye Mi Musica Records , and he told me about a few projects that they will release next year. Yeni Valdés of Los Van Van is recording her first solo album! The first single is called "Ya no me llevas de la mano".

Yeni - Ya no me llevas de la mano Yeni Valdés single "Ya no me llevas de la mano"
coming soon by Oye Mi Musica Records

Don't worry, Yeni is not leaving Los Van Van. Luisin tells us "It is nothing related to what people are used to hearing Yeni sing with Los Van Van. It's a salsa dance track and recording is currently underway in Havana and Puerto Rico with the participation of outstanding artists such as pianist José M. Lugo of Guasabara Group. The album will have 10 salsa songs and some surprises".  Luisin has promised to bring us back un cachito pa' huele when he gets back from Havana.

Another Oye Mi Musica project is Maikel Dinza's album "Regalando corazones" with the very sexy cover below. They expect to release it in January/February 2016. I've heard a number of his songs that are up at YouTube and am very much looking forward to his album.

Maikel Dinza Maikel Dinza - "Regalando corazones" should be released in early 2016

In 2016 Oye Mi Musica will also release a CD by Dominican singer Sergio Vargas. It is a collection of boleros he recorded in Cuba. Stay tuned for more info!

Sergio Vargas Dominican Sergio Vargas singing "Boleros en La Habana"

Sun, 18 Oct 2015 16:15:32 +0000
¡BAÍLALO! Baílalo Cuban Dance & Music Convention

Saturday October 24-28, Isla Margarita, Venezuela will host the ¡Baílalo! Cuban Dance and Music Convention. It is an initiative of dance schools and organized by Kala Entertainment. The Congreso is eight days of Cuban dance workshops with parties every night featuring the best DJs and the top Cuban orchestras. Check out the poster above to see the dates and artists. There will also be a couples dance competition. We found out about it a bit late so I don't know what packages are still available, but I imagine at least the day passes must be. Click here to check out the convention packages . This is supposed to be an annual event so hopefully we'll be able to get the word out a little earlier next year. For now we leave you with the promotional video from their Facebook site.

¡Báilalo! video promocional 2015

Video promocional de el congreso ¡Báilalo! Margarita 2015. Protagonizado por las diferentes academias de baile de la isla de Margarita en el estado Nueva Esparta. Organiza Kala Entertainment.

Posted by Bailalo - Margarita 2015 on Sunday, October 11, 2015
Sun, 18 Oct 2015 05:07:21 +0000
Early Grammy(R) Action for Cuban Artists The 58th Grammy(R) Awards process began today with the release of the official Entry List to it's academy members. Thankfully, this first round ballot acknowledges some truly great records by Cuban and Cuban music artists alike.

We begin with the already 2015 Latin Grammy(R) nominated and Cubadisco Winner "No Quiero Llanto - Tributo a Los Compadres" (click to read our review), a Tropical Latin double CD collaboration between world-wide salsa star José Alberto "El Canario" and El Septeto Santiaguero. The New York Times reported "The album, which came out earlier this summer as a double CD, reupholsters old music with relentless technical perfection." Sweet. 

Timberos del NorteOther notables in contention under Tropical Latin are Austin, Texas mega-timberos Timberos del Norte with their self-titled debut album, Singer Xiomara Laugar "Tears & Rumba", and Miami's Tiempo Libre "Pánamericano", Sonlokos "Locos Por El Son", and Leslie Cartaya "Llévame Contigo". 

Next we move to Latin Jazz -- a notoriously fierce and culturally important category -- where a not-to-be named album of midi sequences was somehow embarrassingly included under Latin Jazz in the Latin Grammys(R) and is fortunately not present here. Said controversy was avoided. Instead, we have a story of very interesting bedfellows.

Before getting to that we begin with Pure Mezcla, a live release from Pablo Menéndez & Mezcla. The record got a shining review in All About Jazz, who called it "Rare and beautiful music." Read it here. Another musician who left their soul in Cuba is Australian saxophonist Paul Van Ross, who recorded "Mi Alma Cubana" in Havana with the participation of slamming players including master percussionist José Luis Quintana "Changuito". Next we visit NATURA, by bassist and now residing in Denmar Yasser Pino & The Latin Syndicate. Interestingly, the entry list also includes records from fellow players of his Latin Syndicate: percussionist Eliel Lazo "Eliel Lazo & The Cuban Funk Machine" (in which Yasser also performs) and drummer extraordinaire Calixto Oviedo "Como Suena". More on Calixto soon as he will play a CD release concert in New York at SUBROSA on Monday November 30. For tix and more info click here. Dang... they could form a grammy nominee band. Are we talking after-party? I hope so. 

Notable Cuban artists in Latin Jazz - 58th Grammys (R)

It is also important to note that one of TIMBA.com's favorite pianists -- Iván "Melón" Lewis -- who is already nominated for Best New Artist and Best Latin Jazz in this year's Latin Grammys (R), has a great record on the entry list "Ayer y Hoy". Here's a reminder why... enjoy!

More Grammy(R) news to come as we dig deeper into the list and report on other notable entries. ¡Que viva la música cubana!

Fri, 16 Oct 2015 03:54:04 +0000
SÓLO SE VIVE UNA VEZ Havana D'Primera & Los 4 in Stockholm

Tomorrow - October 13th in Madrid - Havana D'Primera begin their Autumn European tour, which will take them to 27 cities in 12 countries. Click here to find the concert closest to you. Los 4 are also currently on tour and will be in Bologna tomorrow. For the remaining Los 4 concert dates, click here . Both groups are at the height of popularity in their respective genres and both have relatively new albums they are promoting.

Here in Stockholm Cuban music fans will be blessed with a joint concert by Havana D'Primera and Los 4 on October 23rd. It will be the concert of the year and they are calling the event "Sólo se vive una vez". It will be held at Quality Hotel Friends and the technical details are in the hands of Stockholm's best light and soundmen. I will - of course - be reporting on it. Doors open at 8:00pm and close at 03:00am. It is simply going to be awesome!

Due to the popularity of the event the promoters and the hotel have arranged special pricing for concert-goers who are traveling to the concert from other countries or cities. For information on how to take advantage of the special pricing, click here. The pre-concert tickets are nearly sold-out, so get yours before the price goes up. To book concert tickets now click here. VIP tickets are also available for those who want to hang with the bands.

To whet your appetite I leave you with two recent videos. The first is "Regalito de Dios", is one of the most popular songs from Havana D'Primera's album "La vuelta al mundo".  The second is a recent collaboration between Los 4 and La Charanga Habanera "Lo que tengo yo". You've gotta love the Star Wars intro!

Havana D'Primera "Regalito de Dios"

Los 4 & La Charanga Habanera "Lo que tengo yo"

Mon, 12 Oct 2015 14:35:22 +0000
Photo: Francis Vernhet

ENGLISH : One of the most important ensembles of all time in Cuban Jazz AND Cuban Popular Dance Music is Irakere .   Although its first recording, Bacalao con pan , was made in 1973 while it was still a sub-group of the Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna , it officially became a free-standing group in 1975 (hence the Irakere 40 ) and began to shake the world with its music from then until 2005, when it disbanded. One of the reasons that I am writing these lines today is that Irakere 's music kept me riveted to the shortwave radio in the 1970s, when Cuba's radio stations regularly broadcast their newest releases.  Here is a surviving video fragment of Bacalao con pan from the period that will help you understand the excitement of the time if you weren't around back then:

ESPAÑOL : Uno de los ensembles más importantes de todos los tiempos en el Jazz cubano y la Música Popular Bailable es Irakere . Aunque su primera grabación, Bacalao con pan , se hizo en 1973 cuando todavía era un subgrupo de la Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna , se convirtió oficialmente en un grupo independiente en 1975 (de ahí el Irakere 40 ) y comenzó a sacudir el mundo con su música desde entonces hasta 2005, cuando se disolvió. Una de las razones por las que estoy escribiendo estas líneas hoy en día es que la música de Irakere me mantuvo remachada a la radio de onda corta en la década de 1970, cuando las emisoras en Cuba emitian regularmente sus nuevos lanzamientos. Aquí está un fragmento de vídeo sobreviviente de Bacalao con pan de la época que les ayudarán a entender la emoción del momento si ustedes no estuvieron allí en aquellos tiempos:

ENGLISH:   Now,  Irakere 's founder Chucho Valdés , who celebrated his 74th birthday on Friday, has assembled a special 10-piece group consisting of his Afro Cuban Messengers and five of the best young Cuban Jazz trumpeters and saxophonists for a tour and CD release.   The tour in the United States will take place from October 20-November 16 (including Kevin Moore's favorite city of Santa Cruz, where they will be at the Rio Theatre for the Performing Arts ).  You can see the entire US tour schedule here.  You can also watch a video of this group in action at the Lugano Jazz Festival: 

ESPAÑOL : Ahora, el fundador de Irakere , Chucho Valdés , quien celebró su 74o cumpleaños el viernes, ha reunido a un grupo especial de 10 músicos que consiste en sus Afro Cuban Messengers y cinco de los mejores jóvenes trompetistas y saxiofonistas del Jazz cubano para una gira y un lanzamiento de CD. La gira en Estados Unidos tendrá lugar a partir del 20 de octubre hasta el 16 de noviembre (incluyendo la ciudad favorita de Kevin Moore, Santa Cruz, donde estarán en el Rio Theatre for the Performing Arts ). Pueden ver toda la programación de la gira de Estados Unidos aquí. También pueden ver un video de este grupo en acción en el Festival de Jazz de Lugano:

ENGLISH : A new CD, Tribute to Irakere (Live at Marciac)   will also be released on October 20 (Jazz VIllage/Harmonia Mundi), and we will review it here in the near future.  The roster for Irakere 40 includes Chucho Valdés (piano); Gastón Joya (bass); Rodney Barreto (drums); Yaroldy Abreu (percussion); Dreiser Durruthy Bombalé (batás & vocals); Manuel Machado , Reinaldo Melian & Carlos Sarduy (trumpets); Ariel Bringuez (tenor sax) & Rafael Aguila (alto sax).  
We'll be sharing more about Irakere and its role in modern Cuban Jazz and popular dance music during the weeks to come. In the meantime, Kevin Moore's history and discography of Irakere in the Timbapedia is worth visiting here. 

ESPAÑOL : Un nuevo CD, Homenaje a Irakere (Live at Marciac) también se dará a conocer el 20 de octubre (Jazz Village / Harmonia Mundi), y lo vamos a reseñar aquí en un futuro próximo. Irakere 40 incluye a Chucho Valdés (piano); Gastón Joya (bajo); Rodney Barreto (batería); Yaroldy Abreu (percusión); Dreiser Durruthy Bombalé (batás y voz); Manuel Machado , Reinaldo Melián y Carlos Sarduy (trompetas); Ariel Bringuez (saxo tenor) y Rafael Aguila (saxo alto).
Estaremos compartiendo más sobre Irakere y su rol en el Jazz cubano moderno y la música popular bailable en las semanas venideras. Mientras tanto, la historia  y discografía de Irakere por Kevin Moore en la Timbapedia vale la pena visitar aquí .

Sun, 11 Oct 2015 16:33:44 +0000
Timba y Salsa There is no question that Cuba está de moda with all the celebrity visits these days - most recently Mick Jagger. Who knows? Maybe Los Van Van - often called "The Rolling Stones of Cuba" -  will feature the Rolling Stones as guests on their next album, which is rumored to be a collaboration with both Cuban and international artists. But enough of my fantasias.

In the meantime, we have some very successful Timba/Salsa collaborations such as Marc Anthony and Gente D'Zona with a salsaton "La gozadera" and Septeto Santiaguero's third Latin Grammy nominated album "No quiero llanto - Homenaje a Los Compadres", which features a number of leading salsa artists from different countries. Amusingly, Bill just posted on it shortly before I did, so I will just direct you to scroll down and check out his post including video. You can also click here to read his full review of the Cubadisco-winning album. On November 19th we'll see if the third Latin Grammy nomination is the charm for the septeto.

Closest to my heart I am pleased to say that the official video of "Muévete pa quí" by Elito Revé y su Charangón featuring Gilberto Santa Rosa is now being promoted in Cuba, having recently been featured on Piso 6. While I feared that Gilberto's romantica voice wouldn't suit the sound of the Charangón, he really did a fantastic job and it is a version I highly recommend to dancers and DJs.

But the TImba/Salsa collaboration goes both ways. Here in Scandinavia Tito Nieves recently performed in Norway backed by a team of leading timberos residing here in Europe. The musicians adapted beautifully to Nieves style. The band included: Tony Moreaux, Peter Ehler, Jorge Egües, Richard Ortega, Yaser Morejon, Oslen Ceballo, Adam Rapa, Jakob Johansen, Andres Mena, Yemi Valdés and Henry Hourrutinier. 

With the normalization of relations between the US ands Cuba and the recent Sony licensing agreement with EGREM, I expect we will see international collaborations snowballing. Van Van and the Rolling Stones...it could happen.

Tito Nieves with Tony Moreaux & Friends in Norway

Thu, 08 Oct 2015 14:08:07 +0000
Hecho en Cuba: New Release by Manolito Simonet & Dominic Miller ENGLISH:  As the future unfolds, we will be seeing more collaborative projects between Cuban artists and artists in other countries.  On Thursday, October 8, Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco and Dominic Miller will unveil their new album Hecho en Cuba at the Fábrica del Arte. Dominic Miller is perhaps best known for his work with Sting, and this new album includes some of his compositions arranged in a style suitable for Manolito.  You can read more about the background of that project in Spanish here.   
You can also hear some of Manolito's observations (in Spanish) in his studio in May 2015 here. 
ESPAÑOL: Como el futuro se desarrolla, vamos a ver más proyectos de colaboración entre artistas cubanos y artistas de otros países. El jueves, 8 de octubre,  Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco y Dominic Miller darán a conocer su nuevo álbum Hecho en Cuba en la Fábrica del Arte. Dominic Miller es quizás mejor conocido por su trabajo con Sting, y este nuevo álbum incluye algunas de sus composiciones en un estilo que cabe bien el sonido de Manolito.
Puede leer más acerca de los antecedentes de ese proyecto aquí
También puede esuchar unas observaciones de Manolito en su estudio en mayo 2015 aquí

ENGLISH:  Septeto Santiaguero is on the short list of Cuban ensembles that deserve a quality tour of the United States and have not had one yet.  They are one of the very best traditional Son groups in Cuba, and they have 3 Cubadisco awards (including this year for No Quíero Llanto - Tributo a Los Compadres) and 3 Latin GRAMMY nominations (also including this year, for the same album). Presenters in the United States:  When are you going to rectify this oversight????  I have seen them live in Cuba without guest stars, and they are the real thing.

Septeto Santiaguero está en la lista corta de los grupos cubanos que merecen una gira de calidad de los Estados Unidos y no la han tenido hasta ahora. Ellos son uno de los mejores grupos que tocan el Son tradicional en Cuba, y tienen 3 premios Cubadisco (incluyendo este año para No Quiero Llanto - Tributo a Los Compadres) y 3 nominaciones al Latin GRAMMY (también incluyendo este año para el mismo álbum).  A los presentadores en los Estados Unidos: ¿¿¿¿Cuando van a rectificar esta omisión???? He visto el grupo  en directo en Cuba sin estrellas invitadas, y ellos son la cosa real.

Wed, 07 Oct 2015 21:58:19 +0000
The Afro-Cuban All Stars & Los Hermanos Arango
ENGLISH:  Juan de Marcos & The Afro-Cuban All Stars gave concerts in Madison and Brookfield, Wisconsin during the weekend.  Bill Tilford attended the concert in Brookfield, and you can see the photo gallery and review here. 
ESPAÑOL:  Juan de Marcos & The Afro-Cuban All Stars dieron conciertos en Madison y Brookfield, Wisconsin durante el fin de semana.  Bill Tilford asistió al concierto en Brookfield, y puede ver la galería de fotos y reseña aquí.  

ENGLISH:  Los Hermanos Arango will give a concert at the Catalina Jazz Club in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 15. This group, which offers a potent mix of folklore, Fusion and Jazz, deserves a lot more attention than it receives in the United States.   A video with some highlights of their performance at the Berklee College of Music follows.  You can read about the history of the group and view more videos  at their website here.  
ESPAÑOL:  Los Hermanos Arango van a dar un concierto en el Catalina Jazz Club en Los Angeles el jueves, el 15 de octubre.  Este grupo, que ofrece una mezcla potente de folklore, Fusión y Jazz, merece mucho más atención que recibe en EEUU.  Un video con vetas de su presentación en el Berklee College of Music sigue.  Puede leer más acerca de la historia del grupo y ver más videos en su sitio web aquí. 

Los Hermanos Arango @ Berklee:


Sun, 04 Oct 2015 18:51:11 +0000
This Weekend: Juan de Marcos & The Afro-Cuban All Stars in Wisconsin ENGLISH: As part of his residency at the University of Wisconsin, Juan de Marcos is performing with The Afro-Cuban All Stars on Friday, October 2 at the Overture Hall in Madison, Wisconsin and on Saturday, October 3 at the Wilson Center in Brookfield, Wisconsin.   Both shows start at 8PM.   This ensemble is a spectacular interpreter of styles from the Buena Vista type to more modern Cuban popular dance music.   This is one of the don't-miss concerts in the Midwest this year. 

ESPAÑOL: Como parte de su residencia en la Universidad de Wisconsin, Juan de Marcos está realizando con The Afro-Cuban All Stars el viernes 2 de octubre en el Overture Hall en Madison, Wisconsin y el sábado 3 de octubre en el Wilson Center en Brookfield, Wisconsin . Ambos espectáculos comienzan a las 8PM.  Este ensemble es un espectacular intérprete de estilos,  del tipo de Buena Vista al estilo más moderno de la música popular bailable cubana. Es uno de los "No se lo pierdan"  eventos en el Medio Oeste de este año.

For more  information & tickets / para más información y boletos: 
The Wilson Center  Overture Hall

ENGLISH:  One of the best new Cuban Jazz albums this year comes from Ivan "Melon" Lewis. So far, his new release Ayer y Hoy has been nominated for a Cubadisco (Jazz Cubano) and  a Latin GRAMMY (Latin Jazz and Best New Artist).    You can read our review here. 
ESPAÑOL:  Uno de los mejores nuevo albumes de Jazz Cubano este año viene de Ivan "Melon" Lewis. Hasta ahora, su nuevo lanzamiento Ayer y Hoy ha sido nominado para un Cubadisco (Jazz Cubano) y un  Latin GRAMMY (Latin Jazz y Mejor Nuevo Artista). Puede leer nuestra reseña aquí. 

:  Within a few days, Gema Corredera, one of the best and most versatile voices on stage today, will release a wonderful new tribute to Marta Valdés, Feeling Marta. You can read our review here. 
ESPAÑOL:  En unos pocos días, Gema Corredera, una de las mejores y más versatiles voces en el escenario hoy, va a lanzar un nuevo tributo maravilloso a Marta Valdés, Feeling Marta. Puede leer nuestra reseña aquí. 

ENGLISH:  The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition on WSLR continues to feature new music from Cuba as part of each program. The latest show, which is archived for another week, includes  the music of Brenda Navarrete, who in addition to her work with Interactivo has her own fascinating Jazz and folkloric music projects (she is, among many other things,  an extremenly accomplished percussionist including batá).   You can also hear a conversation (in Spanish) that she recorded with Bill Tilford in Habana in May 2015 here. 

ESPAÑOL:  The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition en WSLR continua a ofrecer nueva música de Cuba como parte de cada programa.  El último show, que está disponible para la escucha en demanda una semana más, incluye la música de Brenda Navarrete, que además de su trabajo con Interactivo tiene sus propios proyectos en el Jazz y la música folclórica (ella es, entre muchas otras cosas, una percusionista muy consumada incluyendo batá).  También pueden escuchar una conversación (en Español) que ella grabó con Bill Tilford en la Habana en el mayo de 2015 aquí. 

Sun, 27 Sep 2015 23:12:39 +0000
BFM European Tour Bárbaro Fines y su Mayimbe

Bárbaro Fines y su Mayimbe are on the third day of their European tour that will take them to France, Italy, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain. The band is as popular as ever with dancers and are performing the new hit "Te vi nacer". Click here to find a concert near you!

Bárbaro Fines y su Mayimbe están en el tercer día de su gira europea que les llevará a Francia, Italia, Alemania, Finlandia, Suecia, Suiza y España. La banda es tan popular con los bailarines como siempre y está tocando el nuevo hit "Te vi nacer". Dale clic aquí para encontrar un concierto cerca de ti!

Mon, 21 Sep 2015 12:51:36 +0000
Juan de Marcos González Residency at UW-Madison   (photo:  Aaron Granat)

In September and October, Juan de Marcos González , whose resume includes Sierra Maestra , Buena Vista Social Club , Ruben González , Ibrahim Ferrer, and the Afro Cuban All Stars , will be in residency at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.  There will be a series of lectures, workshops and concerts, and there will be some interesting special guests such as Telmary Diaz during the series.  For the complete schedule aof concerts and workshops, the residency page is here. 

Sun, 06 Sep 2015 15:58:09 +0000
Jane Bunnett & Maqueque, Palo! & Orquesta El Macabeo in the Midwest

Jane Bunnett & Maqueque, Palo! & Orquesta El Macabeo will all be in the Midwest the weekend of September 4-6, and all are don't-miss acts.  For more information and videos, see the Report From Chicago page.  (Palo! is in Louisville, but it's driveable).  Maqueque's drummer, incidentally, is Yissy Garcia, whose new single Última noticia we just posted recently. 

For those of you who are serious fans of Cuban Jazz, The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition has been including music by Cuba's most important Jazz artists along with interviews that yours truly (Bill Tilford) did with some of them in La Habana in May.   Frankie Pineiro, the host, puts together one of the best playlists on the planet, and you'll hear some new and recent Jazz from Cuba that you won't hear in other places, at least not yet.  You'll also be treated to the best Latin Jazz from everywhere else. The most recent guest was  Yasek Manzano, one of the most interesting Jazz artists in Cuba today.  Check out the Facebook Page to learn how to listen on demand; this program is on the front line of what's happening along with enough history to add perspective. 

Mon, 31 Aug 2015 19:46:46 +0000
Tom Ehrlich's Cubanismo Photos Cubanismo made a triumphant return to the US touring circuit this month. Click here for Tom's gallery.

Tue, 25 Aug 2015 02:38:03 +0000
New Single by Yissy Garcia & Bandancha ENGLISH: Yissy Garcia & Bandancha is one of the most refreshing new musical groups in Cuba.  Labels and categories are always hazardous, but their style is similar to what we once called Acid Jazz in the US with a more sophisticated Jazz element.   A new album will be coming out in the future, and they have released a single, Última noticia, in advance.

You can listen to it here.

This is a great time to be a Chicagoan. Several exciting and important concerts are coming to the area soon. You can read more here. 

ESPAÑOL: Yissy García & Bandancha es uno de los nuevos grupos musicales más refrescantes en Cuba. Las etiquetas y las categorías son siempre peligrosas, pero su estilo es similar a lo que una vez llamamos Acid Jazz en EEUU con un elemento más sofisticado de Jazz. Un nuevo álbum saldrá en el futuro, y han lanzado un sencillo, Última noticia, por adelantado.

Puede escucharlo aquí.

Sun, 23 Aug 2015 09:57:03 +0000
Chicago's Festival Cubano Brings Miguelito Cuni Jr & Pedrito Calvo ENGLISH:  The 2015 edition of Chicago's Festival Cubano included Miguelito Cuni Jr. and Pedrito Calvo, the first musicians still living in Cuba to perform at this event. Click here for photos and video. 

ESPAÑOL:  La edición 2015 del Festival Cubano de Chicago incluyó a Miguelito Cuni Jr. & Pedrito Calvo, los primeros músicos que aún viven en Cuba para actuar en este evento.  Haga clic aquí para fotos y video. 

Wed, 19 Aug 2015 14:51:09 +0000
"Dime qué" Thomas Eby, Gunnar Thullberg & Rickard Valdés of Calle RealThomas Eby, Gunnar Thullberg "El Dony" & Rickard Valdés of Calle Real

Last night Calle Real performed at the 2015 Stockholm Kulturfestival and we got the first sample of what is coming on the new album "Dime qué" - Calle Real's first new album in seven years! We will soon upload a concert report including some concert video! They performed 4 new songs, and let me say that fans will not be disappointed. In my opinion there is some particularly cool bass and horns in the new songs, but more on that later.

Before the show the guys took a few minutes to tell us a little about the new CD and upcoming concert dates. 

Sun, 16 Aug 2015 09:08:11 +0000
Los Van Van click here for Tom Ehrlich's full gallery


Los Van Van gave us - as always - a powerhouse groove, tremendous charisma, and an endless repertoire of timeless hits from their 45 years at the top of the Cuban charts. The three young additions - Mandy Cantero on vocals, Pancho Chibás on piano and Yoel Cuesta on congas - were all extremely exciting and made it clear that even without Juan Formell, Van Van is still growing and improving, and in no danger of becoming a heritage act. I would dearly love to hear these new members in a better acoustic setting. The band played a long, powerful set - plus encore - to thunderous applause. That it occurred hours after the US flag was raised in Havana for the first time in 60 years added greatly to the ambience. There were at least 2000 in attendance - no small feat. It's one thing to get 500 people four nights in a row, because the core fans are likely going to attend every show - but 2000 separate individuals at one show was a new high for the Bay Area. Overall then, it was a great success, marred only by shockingly bad sound (see below for more on this). Hopefully Vegas and the other upcoming tour dates will provide sound to approach the quality of the music.


On Sunday, Van Van will double with Los 4 at Sam's in Las Vegas. The rest of the tour (ABQ, Miami, Denver, NY and Puerto Rico) is here.


As no other suitable venue was available, the concert was scheduled in a large hall designed for classical music. Sound reinforcement for a timba concert is a daunting task. I've only heard what I would call "perfect" sound at three venues: Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Yoshi's Oakland, and the main SFJAZZ facility, the latter often going beyond "perfect" and venturing into the realm of "magical". I had high hopes about this show, because Davies Symphony Hall would appear to have similar characteristics to SFJAZZ's Robert Miner Auditorium - high ceiling, multiple balconies, and large amounts of obscenely expensive state-of-the-art architectural features designed to create world-class sound. I went in expecting to hear timba with Deutsch Grammophone clarity, but sadly, the sound was really, really bad. It wasn't the worst sound I've ever heard - it had no distortion and wasn't oppressively loud or grating to the ears. Thus, it wasn't in the same universe of sonic pain that we experienced, for example, at the Oakland appearance of Gente d'Zona, or at Café Cócomo on a regular basis. The problem at Davies was that only a thin slice of the frequency range was clear. The güiro was fantastic, and I thought the congas were as well, although I talked to some congueros who didn't agree. Other than that, everything else was pure mud - not distorted - not too loud - just mud - hard enough to hear the pitches, much less the timbres. When I heard Yeni Valdés sing at Yoshi's SF in 2010, her huge, luxuriously resonant voice sent chills down my spine and brought tears to my eyes. At Davies, I could barely make out what she was singing - it was that muddy. And I was dying to hear the details of Mandy Cantero's singing, especially on what looked like an epic and very personalized version of Soy todo. Alas. Hopefully they'll be back soon at a better venue - ideally SFJAZZ's Robert Miner Auditorium on Franklin Street.

Sun, 16 Aug 2015 03:24:37 +0000
A Visit to the Studio of Manolito Simonet
ENGLISH:  In May, Manolito Simonet was gracious enough to permit Bill TIlford to visit him and record an interview (in Spanish) at his home/studio in Vibora Park.  They conversed about a variety of topics including a new recording that you haven't heard yet (No Puedo Parar), upcoming tours and much more.  

For more in English (photos, audio, etc), click here.    
Manolito y su Trabuco are including a tour of the United States in their plans this year, and we will be sharing a lot more about him and the group in the weeks to come. 

ESPAÑOL:  En mayo, Manolito Simonet tuvo la amabilidad para permitir a Bill Tilford que visite a él y grabe una entrevista (en español) en su casa / estudio en Víbora Park. Ellos conversaron acerca de una variedad de temas, incluyendo una nueva grabación que ustedes no han oído todavía (No Puedo Parar), próximas giras y mucho más.

Para más en español (fotos, audio, etc.), haga clic aquí.
Manolito y su Trabuco está incluyendo una gira por los Estados Unidos en sus planes de este año, y vamos a compartir mucho más sobre él y el grupo en las semanas venideras

ENGLISH:  First,  Los Van Van; then, Buena Vista Social Club, and now (Sunday) Pedrito Calvo and Miguelito Cuni Jr.  These two are at Festival Cubano.  For more information, visit their website. 

ESPAÑOL:  Primero, Los Van Van; entonces, Buena Vista Social Club, y ahora (domingo), Pedrito Calvo y Miguelito Cuni Jr.  Los dos estarán en el Festival Cubano.  Para más, visite su sitio web. 


Sat, 15 Aug 2015 18:46:46 +0000
LOS VAN VAN cuban music, musica cubana

Por fin - Van Van hits the West Coast for the first time in many years. The LA show is advertised as having Pupy and Changuito sitting in. The SF show will be at Davies Symphony Hall. See you there!

Thu, 13 Aug 2015 19:36:14 +0000
At Last: Los Van Van in Chicago
ENGLISH:  After an absence worthy of Homer, Los Van Van finally returned to Chicago. 
ESPAÑOL: Después de una ausencia digna de Homero, Los Van Van, finalmente, regresó a Chicago.
More here / Mas aquí

Mon, 10 Aug 2015 23:28:05 +0000
Inside the Museo Nacional de la Música

ENGLISH:  The Cubadisco 2015 section of our website has just been updated to include a special article about the Museo Nacional de la Música, one of Cuba's cultural treasures. 
ESPAÑOL:  La sección Cubadisco 2015 de nuestro sitio web ha sido actualizado para incluir un artículo especial acerca del Museo Nacional de la Música, un tesoro cultural de Cuba.  

Sun, 09 Aug 2015 13:55:03 +0000

"The undisputed king of Cuban dance orchestras and one of the most influential forces ever in Afro-Cuban music" -- Los Angeles Times

2015 Los Van Van USA Tour

Formell y Los Van Van 2015 United States Tour

Thu, 06 Aug 2015 05:19:14 +0000
Los Van Van: US Tour Begins Friday
 The Los Van Van US Tour begins Friday in Washington DC with stops in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Denver, San Juan and Miami.  I saw them in Havana in 2014, and they are as excellent as ever.   See our TOURS page for links.   
ESPAÑOL: El gira de Los Van Van en EEUU comienza el viernes en Washington DC con conciertos en Nueva York, Chicago, Los Ángeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Denver, San Juan y Miami. Los vi en La Habana en 2014, y son tan excelente como siempre. Vea nuestra página de GIRAS para enlaces.

ENGLISH:  On Saturday, August 8, Los Van Van and Pablo Menéndez and Mezcla will appear together in a homage to Juan Formell during a prerecorded segment of 23 y M on Cubavision. The program starts at 7pm Eastern US time.  There are a few ways to stream Cubavision Internacional, one of which is here.   Worth watching these two bands playing together.
ESPAÑOL: El sábado, 8 de agosto,  Los Van Van y Pablo Menendez & Mezcla aparecerán juntos en un homenaje a Juan Formell durante un segmento pregrabado del programa 23 y M en Cubavisión. El programa comienza a las 19:00 (7pm) hora del Este de EE.UU.. Hay un par de maneras de ver Cubavisión Internacional a traves el Internet, una de las cuales esta aquí. Vale la pena ver los dos grupos tocando juntos.

ENGLISH: Pablo Menéndez & Mezcla, who released the new album Pure Mezcla in February, have been attracting a lot of attention lately.  Also on Saturday from 9am-10am Eastern US time, you can listen to a prerecorded interview of Pablo, his sister/tour manager Nina Menéndez and Bill Tilford (Pure Mezcla's Producer) along with a few songs in Janet Howard's wonderful program  Up Front  on WSHA, 88.9 FM, Shaw University public radio.  You can listen via the Internet here. There will also be a special segment about Pure Mezcla on WSLR next week; more about that in a few days. 
ESPAÑOL: Pablo Menéndez & Mezcla, que lanzaron el nuevo álbum Pure Mezcla en febrero, han estado atrayendo mucha atención últimamente. También el sábado de 9 a.m.-10 a.m. hora del Este de EE.UU., se puede escuchar una entrevista pregrabada de Pablo, su hermana / gerente (de giras) Nina Menéndez y Bill Tilford (Productor de Pure Mezcla) junto con algunas canciones en el maravilloso programa de Janet Howard, Up Front, en WSHA, 88.9 FM, la radio pública de la Universidad Shaw. Puede escuchar a través de Internet aquí. También habrá un segmento especial sobre Pure Mezcla en WSLR la próxima semana; más sobre esto en unos pocos días.


I have not had time to write about it yet, but I have listened to Horizontes, the new CD by Chuchito Valdés.  If you are in or near Los Angeles and love Jazz, you will definitely want to see this concert and buy the CD. For more information, see the Catalina Jazz Club website.  

:  No he tenido tiempo de escribir sobre ello todavía, pero he escuchado Horizontes, el nuevo CD de Chuchito Valdés. Si usted está en o cerca de Los Ángeles y es un amante de Jazz, sin duda deba ver este concierto y comprar el CD.  Para más información, visite el sitio web de Catalina Jazz Club

Wed, 05 Aug 2015 19:52:33 +0000
Scenes From Cubadisco 2015, Part III ENGLISH:  Part III of Scenes From Cubadisco 2015, a multipart series about this year's event, is now available here.  This includes a look at Estudios Abdala and a concert in honor of the centennial of the birth of Chano Pozo.
ESPAÑOL:  Parte III de Escenas de Cubadisco 2015, una serie en multiples partes acerca del evento de este año, ya está disponible aquí. Incluidos: una mirada a los Estudios Abdala y un concierto para honrar el centenario del nacimiento de Chano Pozo.

Mon, 03 Aug 2015 22:25:48 +0000
Calixto Oviedo Presents Calixto Oviedo - Como Suena

Tonight At Catalina Jazz Club Calixto Oviedo & his Cuban Jazz Train will present their new album "Como suena" with two sets starting at 8:30pm. The CD will be available for purchase at the concert for $10. Click here for tickets and more information. If you can't make the concert tonight, you can still order a signed copy of the CD from the Cuban Jazz Train website. From August 1st it will also be at CD Baby in digital format. Here's another look at what you can expect tonight and on the CD.

Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:10:02 +0000
Scenes From Cubadisco 2015, Part II ENGLISH:  Part II of Scenes From Cubadisco 2015, a multipart series about this year's event, is now available here.  This includes the International Symposium and the special reception for participants from other countries. 
ESPAÑOL:  Parte II de Escenas de Cubadisco 2015 , una serie en multiples partes acerca del evento de este año, ya está disponible aquí.  Incluidos: el Simposio Internacional y la recepción especial para los participantes extranjeros.   

ENGLISH: You may not be able to purchase it yet, but you can hear part of the wonderful new album Ruy Löpez-Nussa presenta La Academia on The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition on WSLR.  on their next program, which airs on Tuesday, July 28.  Visit the program's Facebook page for more details about when and how you can listen (yes, the station can be heard via Internet).  This album was nominated for a Cubadisco award in 2015 in the Cuban Jazz category.
ESPAÑOL:  Puede ser  que no sea capaz de comprarlo todavía, pero se puede escuchar parte del maravilloso nuevo álbum Ruy López-Nussa presenta La Academia en The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition en WSLR. en su próximo programa, que se emite el martes 28 de julio. Visite la página Facebook del programa para obtener más detalles acerca de cuándo y cómo se puede sintonizar (sí, la emisora está disponible a través de Internet tambien). Este álbum fue nominado para un premio Cubadisco 2015 en la categoría de Jazz cubano.

Sun, 26 Jul 2015 22:52:59 +0000
Cubanismo Returns to Yoshi's CUBANISMO

Cubanismo toured the US many times in the late 90s and early 00s with great success, but then dropped off the map. They're finally back in the game, playing Yoshi's (Oakland) on Sunday. The current lineup has several interesting timba musicians as well as Jesús Alemañy's usual cast of legends: Papiosco, who played brilliant and innovative congas with Klímax and on the Michel Maza albums; Cristóbal Verdecia, of Paulito FG and Havana d'Primera on bass; and Antonio Portuondo "Pachá", who played timabales with Issac, Pedrito Calvo and ACAS.

Fri, 24 Jul 2015 23:25:29 +0000
Laritza Bacallao - Sólo se vive una vez Laritza Bacallao - Sólo se vive una vez

Laritza Bacallao was born into one of Cuba's prominent music families. Both her grandfather and her father were singers with Orquesta Aragón, and as a child she toured and sang with the band on more than one occasion. Laritza also received formal music education attending the music schools Manuel Saumel and Guillermo Tomás. Add to this a natural talent and a powerful, versatile voice and you have the makings of a star.

While her family represents the best in Cuban traditional dance music, Laritza’s music is Pan-Caribbean electronica that freely mixes rhythms from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. In 2014 she released her first CD “Sólo se vive una vez”, Cubadisco 2015 winner in the category “Opera Prima”. She recently toured the US where she was nominated in Premios Juventud 2015 as “Revelation of the Year” and is currently touring Europe with Chacal & Yakarta.  Click here to read my review of “Sólo se vive una vez”.

Thu, 23 Jul 2015 16:10:26 +0000
Plena Libre Returns to Kuumbwa

Plena Libre returns to Kuumbwa Jazz Center on August 7th. If you're not already a plena freak, consider that it's probably the single best way to get your head around the mysteries of clave alignment in timba. Plena Libre is one of the leaders in the recent wave of modernized plena groups from Puerto Rico.  Here's the rest of the tour.

Wed, 22 Jul 2015 21:04:25 +0000
Hennes Latin Stage 2015 Hennes Latin Stage on the river Waal

For the 9th consecutive year Dutch entrepreneur Henri van Woerkom (HENNES) has organized his free Cuban party on the river Waal in Nijmegen. It is a beautiful and intimate festival with participants traveling from far and wide to take enjoy the music. What could be bettr than a week-long Cuban party featuring DJs and live bands? The 2015 edition started Saturday and ends on Friday the 24th with a concert by Nils Fischer's Timbazo, who recently released their second CD - "Rumberos a montón" - to much acclaim.

One of the things that makes Hennes Latin Stage so unique is the fact that the headline band plays three consecutive nights. This year that band is El Niño y la Verdad, who are on their second European Tour and a must-see band for all Cuban music fans.

Rumours are already spreading that Hennes has big plans to celebrate the 10th Edition next year. Moreover, their 10th Anniversary coincides with the 100th Anniversary of 'the international 4 day marches Nijmegen', so expect a double celebration. If you're like me and can't make it this year, mark your calendars for the 3rd week in July 2016: 10 years Hennes Latin Stage anniversary! A great line-up is guaranteed!
Hennes gladly welcomes foreign guests in person !
As always… FREE entrance !

Here is the full 2015 schedule:
Saterday 18 july 2015:
06.00 PM: Dj Joost
08.00 PM: Orquesta Salsabor

Sunday 19 july 2015:
06.00 PM: Dj Lady Kizz & Dj Sigi
08.00 PM: Tomi y su Timbalight

Monday 20 july 2015:

06.00 PM: Dj Eric B
08.00 PM: Barbara y VaiVen Cubano

Tuesday 21 july 2015:

06.00 PM: Dj Leslie
07.00 PM: Barbara y VaiVen Cubano
10.00 PM: Emilio Frias El Niño y La Verdad

Wednesday 22 july 2015:
06.00 PM: Dj Leslie
07.00 PM: Pedro & his cuban experience
10.00 PM: Emilio Frias El Niño y La Verdad

Thursday 23 july 2015:
06.00 PM: Dj Joost & Lady Kizz
07.00 PM: Pedro & his cuban experience
10.00 PM: Emilio Frias El Niño y La Verdad

Friday 24 july 2015
06.00 PM: Dj Joost
08.00 PM: Timbazo

Henri van Woerkom (HENNES) organizer of Cuban festival "Hennes celebrates his annual party and everyone is invited."

Tue, 21 Jul 2015 13:44:35 +0000
Pedrito Martínez Group on the West Coast

Click here for the full gallery of both the SF JAZZ and Kuumbwa Jazz Center shows.

Tue, 21 Jul 2015 02:16:11 +0000
Scenes From Cubadisco 2015, Part I

ENGLISH:  Bill Tilford participated in Cubadisco 2015 in Havana, Cuba in May.  The first in a series of pieces about Cubadisco 2015 is now available here. 
ALSO:  You can hear Bill's interview in English of Jazz pianist Alejandro Falcón, who won two Cubadisco awards this year, in the radio archive of The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition with Frankie Pineiro on WSLR until Tuesday, July 28, when the show will run his special segment on the music of Ruy López-Nussa & La Academia.  The show before ACJE bleeds into the first two minutes of the archive, but stay with it.  You can listen here - look for the July 14 program
ESPAÑOL: Bill Tilford participó en Cubadisco 2015 en la Habana, Cuba en mayo.  El primero en una serie de articulos sobre Cubadisco 2015 ya está disponible aquí. 
TAMBIÉN: pueden escuchar la entrevista por Bill (en Inglés) de Jazz pianista Alejandro Falcón, quien ganó dos premios Cubadisco este año, en el archivo de radio The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition con Frankie Piñeiro en WSLR hasta el martes, 28 de julio, cuando el programa pondrá su segmento especial sobre la música de Ruy López-Nussa y La Academia. El programa antes del  ACJE sangra en los primeros dos minutos del archivo, pero quédense con ello. Pueden escuchar aquí - busque el programa de 14 de julio.

Sun, 19 Jul 2015 21:00:48 +0000
El Tren Cubano is Coming to Chicago

Por fin, a team of presenters has banded together to bring Los Van Van to Chicago!  They are coming to Thalia Hall on Sunday, August 9 at 8PM.  If you need me to tell you why this is a must-go, you must have stumbled onto the wrong website by accident. And yes, even with the loss of Juan Formell, they are still in a class all their own.  For tickets and details, see the Thalia Hall website. Needless to say, there are other US cities on the itinerary, which we think we have here. 

But hey, there's more!  For you traditionalists, the Adios Tour for the Buena Vista Social Club is coming to Ravinia on Wednesday, August 12 at 8:30pm.   Tickets and details at the Ravinia website. Supposedly this is their last trip out, but then I was at Flaco Jimenez Jr's "retirement concert" in Denton, Texas about a decade ago, and the last time I checked he was still playing.  These things happen when you are dedicated to your art. But why take a chance, eh?   

Tell you what, just take the whole week off.  Festival Cubano is happening Friday-Sunday, August 14-16, and that lineup includes Pedrito Calvo, Miguelito Cuni Jr.  and many others. Even the non-Cuban artists like Jose Alberto "El Canario" and Luis Enrique have for the most part been working with Cuban artists recently.  Full details at the Festival Cubano website. 

But Bill, what about RIGHT NOW, you ask?  Got you covered.  This Friday and Saturday,  the Chicago Latin Jazz Festival in Humboldt Park is happening. Complete details are at the Jazz Institute of Chicago's website.  I'll let Mr. Papo Vazquez explain why you should attend: 

Next case. 

Before you go, check out the photo gallery and interview with Jorge Gomez of Tiempo Libre, which was just here.  They tore up the block, and I think they made it to Madrid before they could be arrested for it....

Tue, 14 Jul 2015 19:05:54 +0000
Oderquis Revé Free Download! Oderquis Revé

Oderquis Revé is celebrating his 66th birthday by giving us all a gift. A new single recorded for the 500th anniversary of Santiago de Cuba is available for free download at El Ratón Rabioso's ReverbNation page . I did it first thing this morning and it was a great vitamin kick to start the day!

Oderquis Revé está celebrando su 66o cumpleaños, dándonos todo un regalo. Un nuevo single grabado para el 500 aniversario de Santiago de Cuba se encuentra disponible para descarga gratuita en la página de El Ratón Rabioso ReverbNation. Descargué el tema hoy por la mañana y fue una gran injección de vitamina para empezar el día!

Mon, 13 Jul 2015 10:41:07 +0000
Meet Ángel Batule Ángel Batule Ángel Batule music producer & DJ

If you've been listening to contemporary Cuban dance music at all over the past few years you have heard one name shouted out by a wide variety artists - "¡Batule!" Ángel Batule - also known as  "Batule DJ" - is a member of the hugely popular Cuban group Los 4 and also one of the most sought-after music producers, arrangers, composers of the new generation of Cuban musicians.

When the reggaeton craze first swept Cuba, it seemed that the younger musicians were leaving Cuban musical traditions behind. But recent years have seen a move back towards cubanía - a return to the Cuban talent for taking something foreign and making something Cuban out of it. Batule's music is a prime example of this. Having a father who was a sound engineer and a mentor named Tirso Duarte , Batule learned about the complexities of Cuban dance music and combined these with the beats that make the younger generation move - becoming a key figure in the timbaton movement. Although the songs rely heavily on electronic reggaeton beats, they also may incorporate rumba, salsa and even gears such as bomba.

To satisfy my own curiosity, I got in touch with Batule who is just finishing up a tour of Peru with Los 4. He agreed to do a little interview so we at timba.com could get to know the man behind the shout-out "¡Batule DJ!" Click here to read the interview in English .

Dale clic aquí para leer la entrevista en español.

Ángel Batule at work

Sun, 12 Jul 2015 12:08:57 +0000
More PMO Photos from Tom Ehrlich Click here for Tom's gallery on PMO's show at Stern Grove.

Sat, 11 Jul 2015 15:31:47 +0000
JG - Que no me controlen JG - Que no me controlen Juan Guillermo "JG" is on a roll. In addition to being everywhere on the radio and in video in successful collaborations such as "Hello Baby" by Cándido Fabré with Larizta Bacallao and "Subasta de amor" with Osvaldo Montero, his second album was nominated in Cubadisco 2015 for Best Popular Dance Album by a New Group.

With "Que no me controlen" JG has established his own sound. It is youthful, positive, fun and above all very danceable. Guest artists include Kelvis Ochoa, La Charanga Habanera and Los Extraterrestres. It has a wide appeal with a mix of timba, timba romantica, tropical fusion and timbaton.  I highly recommend it for dancers and DJs. Put this on at parties and watch the dance floor fill up! Click here to read the review .

Dale clic aquí para leer la reseña en español.

JG said the band will begin recording their third CD titled "Sí, soy yo" in December. For now I leave you with the 2014 Lucas Award-winning video "Que no que no".

Sat, 11 Jul 2015 11:47:36 +0000
HdP - La Vuelta al Mundo Havana D'Primera La Vuelta al Mundo Release Concert

Tonight at 9pm in Havana's Teatro Nacional Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera officially release their album "La Vuelta al Mundo". Guests at the concert will include Carlos Vareles, Osain del Monte and salsero Luis Enrique, who shares vocals the title track with Alexander. The album was released oustide Cuba by Pafata Productions and won both a Grand Prize and Best Dance Music Album - Maestros at Cubadisco 2015. I don't know if this official release concert marks the release of the Cuban version of the CD on the Unicornio label or if we still have to wait for that to become available. In any case, Teatro Nacional is the place to be tonight if you find yourself in Havana. For more information about the Pafata release and speculation about what may yet be to come, checkout Bill's review . If you don't have "La Vuelta al Mundo" yet, you can buy it from the digital retailers such as iTunes, Amazon and CD-Baby.

Havana D'Primera La Vuelta al Mundo

Fri, 10 Jul 2015 14:10:23 +0000
Como Suena - Record Release Event Como Suena - Cuban Jazz Train Click the link for the Cuban Jazz Train homepage

Calixto Oviedo's second Latin Jazz CD will drop July 30th with a Record Release Event at the prestigious Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood. The event begins at 8:30pm and will feature special guests. You can buy your tickets in advance .

Amazingly the album has not leaked to the public yet, but those who have heard it during production have given rave reviews. For example, independent journalist Angel Lopez says:

In 2015 Calixto Oviedo brings us a CD of pure Cuban Jazz in his second independent Jazz production. While we have only heard a few songs from this CD, even un-mixed they already carry the promise of a big prize. What artistry by this legendary drummer, timbalero, conguero, composer and bandleader - in short a living legend of all the best we have in this Latin world! I promise you will love it. Please follow him. He is one of the greatest musicians of Cuba and one of the most innovative drummers of all time. The compositions are masterful; there is guaracha, afro, Pilón - a little of everything for your enjoyment. Don't miss it Los Angelinos  - Como Suena .

Calixto Oviedo

Thu, 09 Jul 2015 16:55:28 +0000
Septeto Santiaguero & Alejandro Falcón in Cuba
While in Cuba in May, BIll Tilford had the opportunity to attend several concerts by important Cuban groups.   Photo galleries with commentaries are now available of two Cubadisco award winners: Septeto Santiaguero (here) and Alejandro Falcón (here).  On Tuesday, July 14, Alejandro Falcón will be the featured guest on The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition, a radio program in English hosted by Frankie Pineiro in which BIll Tilford participates,  on WSLR.  To learn more, you can visit the program's Facebook page here. 

Check out our Reviews section for some new CD reviews.  Also, two items of interest in Chicago and South Florida:  In Chicago, Tiempo Libre will be at the Square Roots Festival on Sunday July 12.  In the Sarasota, Florida area, tres phenomenon Renesito Avich will be giving a series of lessons and concerts during the next few weeks.  For more information about these, visit http://renesitoavich.com/

Mientras en Cuba en mayo, BIll Tilford tuvo la oportunidad de asistir a varios conciertos de importantes agrupaciones cubanas. Galerías de fotos con comentarios ahora están disponibles de dos ganadores de premios Cubadisco: Septeto Santiaguero (aquí) y Alejandro Falcón (aquí) . El martes, 14 de julio,  Alejandro Falcón será el invitado especial en The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition,  un programa radial en inglés conducido por Frankie Piñeiro en el que BIll Tilford participa, en WSLR. Para obtener más información, puede visitar la página de Facebook del programa aquí.

Eche un vistazo a nuestra sección de Reseñas para algunas nuevas reseñas de CD. Además, dos itemes de interés en Chicago y el sur de Florida: En Chicago: Tiempo Libre tocará en el Square Roots Festival el domingo,  12 de julio.  En el área de Sarasota, Florida, fenómeno del tres Renesito Avich va a dar una serie de lecciones y conciertos durante las próximas semanas. Para obtener más información acerca de ellos, visite http://renesitoavich.com/

Wed, 08 Jul 2015 22:25:42 +0000
Tom Ehrlich on PMG & PMO Mala maña is a brilliant new arrangement from PMG's new pianist Edgar Pantoja:

Tom also filmed Pedrito's unaccompanied conga tour de force at the Santa Cruz show:

And here's the first installment of photos from PMO's soundcheck at Stern Grove:

                                     Braulio Barrera and Omar Ledezma of Pacific Mambo Orchestra

More PMO photos (from the concert itself) will be posted later this week.

Mon, 06 Jul 2015 03:21:59 +0000
Radio Interview in English With Ernán López-Nussa ENGLISH:  On Tuesday, June 30th, The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition will run an interview in English of Ernán López-Nussa (seen here at the Cubadisco 2015 awards ceremony holding the latest of a growing collection of prizes) that Bill Tilford did with him last month in Havana. The program will also feature music from his latest album, Invencíon Lekszycki (you can read our review here), which won the Cubadisco for Jazz Cubano this year.  The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition runs from 1400-1600 UTC (10am-Noon Eastern in the US) on WSLR, and you can stream it here or listen on-demand for two weeks following the show. 
More CD Reviews:  See the Reviews section for some new reviews of CDs. 
ESPAÑOL: El martes, 30 de junio,  The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition pondrá una entrevista en Inglés de Ernán López-Nussa (visto aquí en la premiación Cubadisco 2015 con su último premio en una creciente colección) que Bill Tilford hizo con él  última mes en La Habana. El programa también contará con la música de su último disco, Invención Lekszycki (puede leer nuestra reseña aquí), que ganó el Cubadisco para Jazz Cubano  este año.The Afro Cuban Jazz Edición se transmite desde 1400-1600 UTC (10am-mediodía hora del Este en los EE.UU.) en WSLR, y se puede sintonizar el programa aquí; también  puede escucharlo en demanda durante las dos semanas después.
Mas reseñas de CD: Vea la sección Reseñas para más nuevas reseñas de CD.

Sun, 28 Jun 2015 18:29:13 +0000
Tonight El Niño y La Verdad & El Canario Emilio Frias "El Niño" y La Verdad & El Canario in concert

The long-awaited date has finally arrived! Emilio Frias "El Niño" y La Verdad celebrate their 2nd Anniversary at Salon Rosado de la Tropical Benny Moré with the great José Alberto "El Canario" . Other guest artists include Manolito Simonet , Alexander Abreu , Septeto Santiaguero and Osain del Monte .

El Canario arrived Thursday and has been rehearsing with the band since then, so get ready for an amazing concert! I can't tell you how much it hurts that I was not in Havana this weekend. Tonight is also the final concert of three for the presentation of "Soy" - Buena Fe's new album at Karl Marx Theater. But more on that later.

Below you can enjoy a clip from rehearsal uploaded by Emilio to facebook yesterday. To all the timberos in Havana - enjoy the concert! To El Niño y La Verdad - happy anniversary!


Posted by Emilio Frias on Saturday, June 27, 2015
Sun, 28 Jun 2015 09:36:30 +0000
Cubans To Come To Chicago's Festival Cubano Now that Miami practically has a commuter culture of bands from Cuba coming up to play festivals and concerts without serious incidents, cultural events in cities like Chicago have been long overdue to catch up.  Therefore, it is a great pleasure to share the news from today's press conference held by the organizers of Chicago's Festival Cubano at the 90 Miles Cafe:  the performance lineup for the final day of the festival will include Pedrito Calvo and Miguelito Cuni Jr.    Pedrito sang for years with Los Van Van before starting his own band, La Nueva Justicia ,  As for Miguelito Cuni Jr ., he has been performing with Conjunto Chappottin.
The lineup also includes José Alberto "El Canario" .  It would have been even better to see him with Septeto Santiaguero , with whom he recently released No Quiero Llanto , but it is still nice to see him on the bill.  
Congratulations to Festival Cubano for finally crossing the bridge.  I'm  already looking forward to next year when the conversations will progress to which are the most worthy acts from Cuba rather than whether it''s time to start bringing some.  In the meantime, I look forward to Pedrito and Miguelito.
This is the sixth edition of Festival Cubano, and advance discounted tickets are now available at
You can see some pictures from the press conference in the Report From Chicago entry for July 23. 

Tue, 23 Jun 2015 22:50:43 +0000
Tiempo Libre: Back (with a k) to Havana OK, so Tiempo Libre didn't go back to Havana physically, but musically, their new recording, Panamericano, which will be released June 30, for the most part recaptures the feel of that wonderfully rowdy Timba band we all first met a decade ago.  As a lead-up to the CD release, they have rolled out two videos.    Here's the first one:  

To see the second one, go to my sneak preview of Panamericano, which you can read here
Tiempo Libre has some key tour dates coming up in July:
July 9-10:  Subrosa, NYC
July 12: Square Roots Festival, Chicago
July 19-30:  tour of Spain incl. Festival de Segovia
August 13, 2015: Pershing Square, LA
October 10-November 15:  Winnestad Theatre, Portland, OR*
* This is a five week run of a new musical, Cuba Libre. 
November 19-25: Tour of UK including London Jazz Festival

Miguel Zenón at the
Jazz Showcase in Chicago, Thursday, July 25-Sunday, July 28
No, it's not Cuban music, but it is some truly fascinating Latin Jazz happening in the US right now, so I'm going to cheat and sneak it in here.  Mr. Zenón brings his quartet to this four-night stand (two shows nightly plus a matinee on Sunday), which includes himself on sax, Henry Cole on drums, Luis Perdomo on Piano and Hans Glawischnig on bass.  These guys are deep. You can read my review of his last recording, Identities are Changeable, here. 

Mon, 22 Jun 2015 21:49:02 +0000
Pedrito Martínez in the Area

The most innovative timba band in the world has finally returned to California. You can see them in two shows at SF Jazz on Sunday, June 21st, and at Kuumbwa in Santa Cruz Monday night, June 22nd..

Sun, 21 Jun 2015 01:59:53 +0000
Pacific Mambo Orchestra + Sheila E, Marlow Rosado & Salsamania Is there a better way celebrate this upcoming Father's Day, Sunday June 21? I don't think so. The Stern Grove Festival continues its series of FREE concerts with the home team PACIFIC MAMBO ORCHESTRA plus special guests Sheila E, Marlow Rosado and the Salsamania Dance Company.

Concert starts at 2pm. Be sure to get there early to get a good spot. Be prepareed to arrive extra early if you need to grab a parking space. Bring your sunscreen, plenty of water and chairs. Capacity is 10,000 people.

¿Hay una mejor manera de celebrar este Día de los Padres, domingo 21 de junio? No lo creo. El Festival Stern Grove continúa su serie de conciertos GRATUITOS con el equipo natal la PACIFICO MAMBO ORCHESTRA más invitados especiales Sheila E, Marlow Rosado y el grupo de baile Salsamania.

El concierto comienza a las 2 de la tarde. Asegúrense de llegar temprano para conseguir un buen lugar para poner sus sillas. Estén preparados para llegar más temprano si necesitan estacionarse. No se olviden de traer su sombrero, agua y lociones para portegerse del sol. La capacidad es de 10,000 personas.

Thu, 18 Jun 2015 20:07:04 +0000
Radio Waves and New CD Reviews ENGLISH:   Pablo Menéndez of Mezcla on PRI
Earlier this year, Steve Paulson of To The Best Of Our Knowledge, a program on Public Radio International, interviewed Pablo Menéndez of Mezcla in Havana, Cuba. This segment, which aired on May 24,  is part of a longer program about Cuba and Cuban-American relations.  You can listen to that interview here.  Mezcla's most recent album, Pure Mezcla, was released in February, and you can read a "meta review" of that album here
ESPAÑOL: Pablo Menéndez de Mezcla en PRI
A principios de este año, Steve Paulson de To The Best Of Our Knowledge, un programa en Public Radio International, entrevistó a Pablo Menéndez de Mezcla en La Habana, Cuba.  Este segmento, que se emitió el 24 de Mayo, es parte de un programa más largo acerca de Cuba y las relaciones cubano-americanos.  Puede escuchar esta entrevista en inglés aquí.   El álbum más reciente de Mezcla, Pure Mezcla, se lanzó in febrero, y puede leer una "meta-critica" del álbum aquí.  
ENGLISH: Special Cuban Jazz and Fusion segments on The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition
Frankie Piñeiro has had one of the best Latin Jazz programs on radio for many years now, The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition, which airs every other Tuesday morning from 10am-noon Eastern Standard TIme on WSLR, (you can stream it on the Internet) and I will have the pleasure of sharing the new music coming out of Cuba with him in the weeks to come in a segment called Bill's Bag.   Tuesday,  June 16, the program will include an interview with Melvis Santa along with some music from her recent recordings. Then, in future shows (beginning June 30), there will be interviews with Cuban Jazz greats like Ernán López-Nussa, Alejandro Falcón, Yasek Manzano and others along with their most recent recordings which I brought back from Cuba. Frankie's program is "must hear" radio without me (yes, he includes some Timba and some Rumba in his playlists), but now you have two reasons to listen. 
ESPAÑOL:  Segmentos especiales de Jazz y Fusion cubano en la Afro Cuban Jazz Edition
Frankie Piñeiro ha tenido uno de los mejores programas de Jazz latino en la radio desde hace muchos años, The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition, que se emite cada dos martes por la mañana de 10 am-mediodía hora estándar del Este en WSLR, (se puede escuchar en Internet) y tendré el placer de compartir la nueva música que sale de Cuba con él en las próximas semanas en un segmento llamado Bill's Bag. El 16 de junio, el programa incluirá una entrevista con Melvis Santa, junto con un poco de música de sus recientes grabaciones. Luego, en los programas futuros (a partir de 30 de junio), habrá entrevistas con grandes del jazz cubanos como Ernán López-Nussa, Alejandro Falcón, Yasek Manzano y otros, junto con sus grabaciones más recientes que he traído de Cuba. El programa de Frankie es "hay que escuchar" radio sin mí (sí, él  incluye algunos Timba y algunos Rumba en sus listas también), pero ahora usted tiene dos razones para escuchar.
SPEAKING OF MELVIS SANTA.....  she'll be at Zinc Bar in NYC on Thursday, June 18 at 9pm and 10:30pm.  Details HERE.  She'll be leading a quartet.  I heard her in a small group setting in May in Chicago - this is worth checking out.

See our Reviews section for several new CD reviews of recent Cuban recordings
Vea nuestra sección Reseñas para muchas nuevas reseñas de recientes grabaciónes cubanas. 

Sun, 14 Jun 2015 19:33:48 +0000
Oderquis Revé New Single Oderquis Revé - Vacúnala & La Vida

Today Orderquis Revé y Su Changüí have released two singles: "Vacúnala and "La Vida". The songs are available at iTunes, Amazon and other digital retailers worldwide. This is the first fruit of the new Tumbao Republika label based in Antwerp, Belgium and founded by two dedicated promoters of Cuban music. The single is a teaser for the album that will drop at the end of the year. 

Oderquis' music has all the raw power of changüí and the new songs are sizzling dance tracks, so buy yours now! As a friend of mine pointed out - "You can barely get a napkin at Starbucks for under $2". Get ready to be seeing a lot more about Oderquis Revé y su Changüí here at Timba.com as their long overdue section will soon be published.

If you still need convincing, here is a little taste of "Vacúnala" during a rehearsal in Havana. Enjoy!

Vacunala - ESTRENO 2015

Vacunala ....sonando en el local de ensayo de OderquisA partir de hoy a la venta por iTunes y todos las mayores plataformas digitales - un sencillo con 2 temas : VACUNALA + LA VIDA

Posted by Oderquis Revé y su Changüi on Monday, June 8, 2015
Mon, 08 Jun 2015 15:16:48 +0000
Back From La Habana
 Cubadisco 2015 was an intense and wonderful experience, and I have returned with a massive quantity of photographs and recordings.    In the near future I will begin sharing photos and observations here and the best of the Jazz recordings on the radio along with many reviews of recordings of different genres here.   Most of this will appear in the Cubadisco 2015 section

:  Cubadisco 2015 fue una experiencia intensa y maravillosa, y he regresado con una enorme cantidad de fotografías y grabaciones.  En un futuro próximo  voy a empezar a compartir fotos y observaciones aquí y lo mejor de las graciones de Jazz en la radio unto con muchos reseñas de grabaciones de diferentes géneros aquí.  La mayor parte aparecerá en la sección Cubadisco 2015. 

Mon, 01 Jun 2015 18:18:02 +0000
Llegó La Verdad - Cubadisco Winner 2015 Llegó La Verdad - caratula Winner of the Cubadisco 2015 Award
Best Popular Dance Album by a New Group

"Llegó la Verdad" was released in Spetember 2014 and nominated for three awards in Cubadisco 2015: Popular Dance Music by a New Group , Opera Prima and Best Recording . They faced stiff competition from the likes of  Alaín Pérez, JG, Alaín Daniel and Laritza Bacallao but took home the prize for Popular Dance Music. I can only agree with the judges decision. "Llegó la Verdad" has been at the top of my playlist for the past nine months. It is rare these days to find an album where you don't skip at least one or two songs. But El Niño y La Verdad have produced a killer dance album that is a true representation of all that is best in Cuban dance music. Click here for the review.

Aquí es el enlace para le la reseña en español.

Sat, 30 May 2015 12:21:55 +0000
Two New Singers for Salsa Mayor On May 19th Maykel Blanco announced at Facebook that singer Alexis David Zamora Garrido will be leaving Salsa Mayor. Word has it that Alexis David will be joining David Calzado y Su Charanga Habanera. Today Maykel announced that he has signed two singers: Yunier Pérez Enrique and Alejandro González Casanova who we know from Azúcar Negra. The announcement said that they will be recording their first TV program with Los Mayores today, and their first performance with the band will be in the middle of June. We wish Alexis David our best in his new role with the charangueros and are excited to see and hear the new Salsa Mayor with a four man front line!

Maykel Blanco presents new singers Yunier Pérez and Kasanova
Photo courtesy of Maykel Blanco @ Facebook

You have heard Kasanova singing lead on "Un beso y una flor" and "Maltratando la Tela" among other songs.

Alejandro González Casanova

Yunier is the voice behind the hit "A bailar con tacones" studied at El ISA.

Yunier Pérez Enrique
Yunier - also known as "El Chino"

Wed, 27 May 2015 15:31:07 +0000
Ian Stewart Reviews Peliroja Another promising development in the New York renaissance.

Wed, 20 May 2015 18:15:16 +0000
Cubadisco 2015 Bill is currently in Havana for Cubadisco and other events and will get back to us with a full report. In the meantime, the Cubadisco 2015 awards have been given and I'll just mention those closest to our hearts at Timba.com.

Havana D'Primera 2015 Cubadisco Awards
Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera won big, taking home the Best Dance Album award as well as Grand Prize, which they shared with Digna Guerra (choral music). These awards come as no surprise to anyone who has listened to Havana D'Primera's new CD "La vuelta al mundo". It is an exceptional album of which a review will be forthcoming from Bill after he gets back from Havana.

Trece RemixIf you missed it, Havana D'Primera has just released a remix of the song "Trece", available at CDBaby. A rap section has been added to the song. In terms of lyrics "Trece" is by far the most "urban" song Havana D'Primera has done. It makes references to the "charada china" or "la bolita" throughout the song. Doce, trece, cincuenta and noventa y seis each take their meaning from this popular yet unofficial lottery. Like many of you, I was ignorant of the whole charada, so I will share here the meanings of these numbers and it will give a whole new dimension to the song. 
12 - prostitute
13 - peacock (or a conceited man)
50 - police
96 - old prostitute

El Niño y La Verdad Cubadisco 2015

Another winner at the 2015 Cubadisco Awards was Emilio Frias "El Niño y La Verdad" who won Best Dance Album by a new group. I have to say that I am so glad Cubadisco had this category because honestly I would have found it very difficult, if not impossible to choose between "Llegó la verdad" and "La vuelta al mundo". My own review of the brilliant debut album by La Verdad will be published soon. "Llegó la verdad" was also nominated for Opera Prima (Laritza Bacallao took that category) and Best Recording, which went to Maykel Bárzaga for "Cuba now danzón". 

Septeto Santiaguero

Septeto Santiaguero took home the award for Best Traditional Son with their magnificent album "No quiero llanto - Tributo a los Compadres" featuring José Alberto "El Canario". Here is SuenaCubano's full list of winners while we await Bill's return with all the gossip from the event and what's up in Havana. Timba.com congratulates all of the 2015 Cubadisco winners!

Fri, 15 May 2015 08:42:42 +0000
OFFICIAL BOOK OF CUBADISCO 2015 AWARD NOMINEES ENGLISH: Thanks to the Publications Department of Cubadisco, you may download the official book of Cubadisco 2015 nominees here.  It is free but only available in Spanish. 
ESPAÑOL:  Gracias al Departamento de Publicaciones Cubadisco,  puede descargar el libro oficial de nominados premio Cubadisco 2015  aquí. Es gratis, pero sólo está disponible en español.

Melvis Santa was given a warm welcome at Sabor a Café in Chicago - you can view a photo gallery here.   
ESPAÑOL:   Melvis Santa se le dio una bienvenida afectuosa en Chicago en Sabor a Café -puede ver una galería de fotos y el comentario aquí.

Sun, 10 May 2015 20:25:00 +0000
Just Watch It - The Doors Are Opening

Sat, 09 May 2015 06:09:38 +0000
PACIFIC MAMBO ORCHESTRA - New Single Release Concert Come celebrate the release of Pacific Mambo Orchestra's new single and first official video -- the PACIFIC MAMBO DANCE -- at the best Friday night dance party in San Francisco.

The west coast gears up for the Pacific Mambo Orchestra's release party for their new single and first official video, the "Pacific Mambo Dance". After the closings of beloved venues Café Cócomo and The Addition (formnerly Yoshi's SF), Bay Area salseros and salseras are out in force seeking a new home-base. Let's hope this new Space 550 can rise to the occasion and accomodate this 20-piece powerhouse. The PMO will bring its legions of "música tropical" lovers to this new club next Friday May 15th.

Purchase advance tickets here =  http://pmo-dance-party.eventbrite.com
*This event will sell out and tickets are $10 more at the door. 

On related news, the PMO is set to perform at the Stern Grove Festival on Sunday June 21st with special guests and fellow grammy award winners Sheila E. and Marlow Rosado. The event should be called Grammys on the Grove if the Academy would allow it. The concert is sponsored by KPFA 94.1 FM. The Stern Grove Festival is FREE and takes place at the Sigmund Stern Grove, a 10,000 audience capacity, beautiful outdoor amphitheater located at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco. More to come on this story. Mambo's gonna rock your world!

Fri, 08 May 2015 04:19:06 +0000
CUBADISCO 2015 NOMINEES ANNOUNCED ENGLISH:  Cubadisco 2015, a combination of Cuba's equivalent of the GRAMMY Awards, a music symposium, a trade fair, concerts and exhibitions, will take place in Havana Cuba from May 15-24, 2015.  The nominees for Cubadisco 2015 were announced at a special gala at the Cabaret Tropicana on April 30.   Bill Tilford will be covering Cubadisco in a special section of the From The Studios Report.    You can see the nominees here, and special video links have been added to the list when these were available ("pirated" links were not included).  
There is a special Video Clip category in Cubadisco, and the nominees are:
ESPAÑOL:  Cubadisco 2015, una combinación del equivalente cubano de los Premios GRAMMY, un simposio de música, una feria comerciál, conciertos y exposiciones,  tendrá lugar en La Habana, Cuba a partir de 15 a 24 mayo, 2015. Los nominados a Cubadisco 2015  se anunciaron en una gala especial en el Cabaret Tropicana el 30 de abril.  Bill Tilford estará cubriendo Cubadisco en una sección especial de From The Studios. Puede ver los nominados aquí, y enlaces de vídeo especiales se han añadido a la lista cuando disponibles (no incluimos enlaces "pirateados"). 
Hay una categoria especial, Video Clip, en Cubadisco, y los nominados son: 

1.  Oshún (Adrián Berezaín)

2.. Hablando con Juana (Alaín Pérez)

3.  Canción fácil (Haydée Milanés)

4. Cuando tú dices que me amas (QVA Libre)

5. La Moda (Los Van Van) 

ENGLISH: Congratulations to TIMBA.com's Michael Lazarus; he co-mixed and mastered Septeto Santiaguero's album No Quiero Llanto, which is a nominee in the Traditional Son category. 
ESPAÑOL:  Felicitaciones a Michael Lazarus de TIMBA.com; él co-mezcló y masterizó el álbum No Quiero Llanto de Septeto Santiaguero, que es nominado en la categoría Son Tradicional. 

Sun, 03 May 2015 14:37:32 +0000
Peter Maiden Update

"¡Ahora sí!" Andy Montañéz at Roccapulco in 2001, one of the multitude of photos Peter Maiden took of Salsa and Timba giants during his intensive 17 years of coverage of the scene. He is stepping down from regular work in music, but says he will definitely still be around. "If you can handle the time involved, the crowds, if you have fast lenses, this work is incredible, and the familiarity with the musicians is wonderful." Peter is currently working on a fiction project as he recovers from a bicycle accident, and he is mastering iPod Touch photography.

Meanwhile, I've finished the latest Beyond Salsa video - this one on Salsa, Songo & The Roots of Latin Jazz - featuring a priceless video of Dizzy Gillespie talking about meeting Chano Pozo, the creation of Manteca, and the importance of Chano's legendary bass tumbao in the development of North American music.

Thu, 30 Apr 2015 17:55:47 +0000
Irakere with Paulito, Carlos Manuel, José Miguel

Filmed by Michael Croy in Feb. 1996, this was part of a special concert at Casa de la Música.

Wed, 29 Apr 2015 07:24:40 +0000

Live Los Van Van from their peak late-90s period with the epic front line of Pedrito Calvo, Mayito Rivera and Robertón Hernández - still several years before the departure of Pupy Pedroso and with all parts of their tremendous creative engine firing on all cylinders. This is a particularly hot performance with surprisingly good audio quality.

Tue, 28 Apr 2015 12:08:57 +0000
Latin Jazz Train - Como Suena Latin Jazz Train - Cómo Suena

Master percussionist Calixto Oviedo is back with his second Latin Jazz album, due for release very soon. We have heard four of the songs that he has uploaded to his YouTube channel. Below you will find a short teaser with clips of some of the tracks that will be on the album. We have recieved this preliminary review from Miriam Dotls who has had the pleasure of hearing more than we have.

"Calixto Oviedo is finishing his second Latin Jazz production  with his band The Cuban Jazz Train. This new band, which is emerging in L.A. as the flag of Latin Jazz in California and one of the most noted in the USA these days, will present compositions by Yosmel Montejo (bassist), Joel Nunez (sax) Yasser Morejón (one of the great Cuban bassists who resides in Denmark), Calixto Oviedo as well as some classics of Latin Jazz. "Como Suena" is the name of a composition by Yosmel Montejo that also lends its name to the CD. Soon,  in late May, we will be enjoying The Cuban Jazz Train.

The musicians are Montejo Yosmel - bass, Joel Nunez - piano, Nathanael Molina and Alex Rivas -piano, Christian Moraga - congas, Lily D Oviedo - vocals and one of the great Cuban trumpeters of the moment guest star Josiel Perez on flugelhorn. It will for sure be an album that everyone will enjoy, and from now on with what little I have heard you can say Como Suena!" - Miriam Dotls

Mon, 27 Apr 2015 08:28:39 +0000
Controversia! Paulito & Manolín

Here's a fascinating live bootleg from Havana during the rage late-90s timba explosion. 

Paulito and Manolín had a feigned trash-talking rivalry that served to increase the popularity of each. They would frequently show up at each others shows to duel verbally on stage. For example, Paulito had a coro "ni médico, ni cantante".

Michel Maza also appears briefly and there's a trumpet solo from Carmelo Andrés, now best known as "El Abuelo" in Charanga Habanera's trumpet section.

This tape is also interesting in that it has three Paulito songs that were never released on any official album.

I've tried to get everything in the right order, but bear in mind that this came from an unlabeled cassette. "Cuál es tu trampa" seems to be from a different show and the two Manolín controversias may also be from different nights. Please add your insights to the comments section (en inglés o español, no importa)

Sat, 25 Apr 2015 03:07:07 +0000
Omar Sosa and Cuarteto Afrocubano at The Jazz Showcase
Omar Sosa
and Cuarteto Afrocubano are at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago every night until Sunday, April 25.  Unlike the album, which includes guest musicians that add some elements of Flamenco and other influences, this is the core quartet and is more down-to-the-bone Cuban in its execution.  BIll Tilford was there for the first set opening night - you can read more and see photos here

In 2012, Santa Habana by Melvis Santa was nominated for a Cubadisco award in the Fusion category.   Melvis has her own projects now but has also been a member of Interactivo (which appears here) and Sexto Sentido.   You can read a review of this recording in English here y en español aquí.

Best of all for Chicagoans, she will be in town May 9 to perform. See Report From Chicago  from April 19 for details. 

In the next month or two, you will be reading and hearing a lot about Ruy López-Nussa, who in no particular order is Ernán López-Nussa's brother, a phenomenal drummer, and the leader of the group La Academia, a group that has some killer recordings that are about to find their way to public notice.   If you were a fan of Grupo Afrocuba, watch this like a hawk.  This is not a reencarnation, but it is every bit as good, in some ways even better.   While we wait, here's a review of a Fusion project (Cuban music and Reggae) that they did with Everton Paul, Remembrance.  You can read it in English here o en español aquí

Fri, 24 Apr 2015 16:45:08 +0000
Venezuela Debut for Cerrando Filas

International Timba Month has hit Venezuela in the form of Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor. They will perform their Venezuelan debut concert this Saturday in Barquisimeto. Fans are thrilled to finally get an opportunity to see Los Mayores en vivo. Maykel has been working hard over the past few years to really put together not only a great musical repertiore, but also a well-rehearsed, fun performance that makes Salsa Mayor arguably the best timba show in Havana today.

Los Mayores will be in Venezuela for five concerts. Click here to see the list of concert dates. If you are not fortunate enough to be in Venezuela, you can console yourself with the brilliant new DVD/CD "Cerrando Filas" available at iTunes and other digital retailers. Here is a personal message for the Venezuelan fans from the Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor official Facebook page.


Posted by Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor on Thursday, April 23, 2015
Thu, 23 Apr 2015 16:07:35 +0000
New Mini-Documentary (Arsenio) A new Beyond Salsa mini-documentary and two musical treasures. The documentary is on Beyond Salsa Bass, Vol. 2: Arsenio, Cachao and The Golden Age of the 50s, but especially about Arsenio Rodríguez, the mid-century musical visionary whom I call "the first timbero". 

The second link is for a brand new demo from the most exciting lineup El Pikete has put together, featuring the great Reinier Guerra on drums and many other top Miami players.

Click here for El Pikete: Mi detalle.

Finally, we have two never-released-on-CD Arsenio tracks from his absolute prime.

Wed, 22 Apr 2015 14:10:50 +0000

Hay Un Run Run is the first single and video for Septeto Santiaguero's new double-album: No Quíero Llanto, Tributo A Los Compadres. The tune features José Alberto and a fantastic vocal-only breakdown with clever (mouth) percussion effects. A real hoot! 

The album is a collaboration with Dominican Salsa Star José Alberto (El Canario) -- who also co-produced the work -- and will be released on his record label. The songs are a tribute to the famous trova duo Los Compadres, of which Compay Segundo of Buena Vista Social Club fame was once tresero and singer. The release date is May 12. 

It also features a slew of incredible artists: Osacar D'León, Eliades Ochoa, Andy Montañez, recent Latin Grammy & Grammy Nominee Aymee Nuviola, Ismael Miranda, Tiburón Morales, Grupo Esencia from Puerto Rico (their track Sarandonga is gold!) and Edwin Bonilla.

Check out Bill Tilford's review (English and Spanish) here or click on the album cover below...

Also very cool is this "making of" video, in which José Alberto and the members of the septeto speak about Los Compadres and their influence on Cuban music and the "son" genre. I especially like the part that discusses the use of whistling that became a unique stamp of the classic santiaguero group that preceded the septeto. Here it is... 

Tue, 21 Apr 2015 13:12:41 +0000
La Charanga Habanera - Arriba de lo mal hecho Not taking time to rest from their recent European tour, David Calzado y Su Charanga Habanera are touring Canada. They have performed in Toronto and Vancouver. On Wednesday they will be in Edmonton, AB and Friday in Montreal, QC. They are performing a mix of new songs, recent hits and classic medleys. The boys are always a great time so don't miss the show! Here is a link for Edmonton tickets. And click here for tickets to the Montreal show. As a little preview here is a clip form the new song "Arriba de lo mal hecho" performed in Vancouver.

Arriba de lo mal hecho

Posted by David Calzado y su Charanga Habanera on Sunday, April 19, 2015
Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:02:24 +0000
Some Important Upcoming US Performances Spring is here, and some dont'miss  performances are coming up in different cities in the United States: 

I. Omar Sosa y Cuarteto AfroCubano

Omar's newest group is currently on tour in multiple cities in the United States in support of their new release ilé, a return to Omar's Cuban musical roots. You can read my review of that album (in English) here.  I will have the good fortune to be able to catch them live during one of their many performances at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago from April 23-26; they also have dates in LA on the 19th, Washington DC on the 29th and Brooklyn NY on the 30th before heading off to Europe.  You can see the full tour schedule here. 

II. Melvis Santa

Melvis Santa already has an impressive resume - a founding member of Sexto Sentido, work with Interactivo as well as many Cuban Jazz artists, film work in Siete días en la Habana and her own projects Santa Habana and Achedi.  This Chicago performance (At Sabor a Cafe on May 9) has her collaborating with a hand-picked ensemble, three of whom took the roof off the place a few weeks ago when they played there with Eliel Lazo:  Cuban saxophonist and keyboardist Orlando Sanchez "Cubajazz",  bassist Joshua Ramos and guitarist/keyboardist Rob Block.  Melvis' voice is one of those that I would listen too even if she were singing the Chicago telephone directory.  But don't take my word for it - her YouTube channel is here. This is also an opportunity to buy her CD Santa Habana, which I have heard (I love it) and will be reviewing soon.  This is a small venue (with wonderful Colombian food incidentally), so make your reservations now.      

III.   Jane Bunnett  and Maqueque

This is hardly Jane Bunnett' s  first rodeo with top-tier Cuban artists, nor is it the first time that an excellent all-female ensemble has come together to perform Cuban music.  What is new is that the lineup includes heavy hitters like drummer Yissy Garcia, who recently stood a few US cities on their ears during a tour with her own project, Bandancha, and this group draws on the strengths of Yissy, Yusa and others to throw down an interesting mix of Cuban music, Jazz and Soul.  The group will be touring Canada and the west coast of the United States in May at the following locations: 

Jazz Bistro – Toronto Canada – Wednesday May 6 to Saturday May 9
PDX Jazz @ Jimmy Mak’s – Portland Oregon – Monday May 11
Jazz Alley – Seattle Washington – Tuesday May 12, Wednesday May 13
Piedmont Piano Company – In-Store Concerts – Oakland CA – Thursday May 14
Jazz Bakery Presents at Moss Theater – Santa Monica CA – Saturday May 16
MIM Music Theater (Musical Instrument Museum) – Phoenix AZ – Sunday May 17
Kuumbwa Jazz Center – Santa Cruz CA – Monday May 18

Sun, 19 Apr 2015 13:41:42 +0000
Michel Maza con el Charangón

After the tragic death of Elio Revé in 1997, his son Elito took over and within a few years had proven himself to be his father's equal in terms of assembling talent. Lele (now in Van Van) and ex-Trabuquero El Gallo each passed through the group alongside Revé's long-standing lead vocalist Dagoberto Vásquez and like his father, Elito employed a succession of brilliant musical directors - Jiovanni Cofiño, Arnaldo Jiménez and now Aisar Hernández.

This live show comes from the brief but wonderful period during which Michel Maza sang with Revé.

Sun, 19 Apr 2015 05:25:07 +0000
Feliz Cumple Manolito Simonet Manolito Simonet by Cristian MuñozManolito Simonet photo courtesy of Cristian Muñoz

For International Timba Month we honor not only anniversaries but also birthdays. Bandleader Manolito Simonet celebrates his birthday today and we wish him health, happiness and que haya trabuco pa' rato. Manolito hails from Camagüey and has been one of the main proponents of heavily son-influenced timba. His piano tumbaos are mesmerizing hooks that are irresistible to dancers. Who doesn't immediately recognize the opening tumbao of "Marcando la distancia"?

But Manolito is not just living in the past and neither are we, although we have posted a lot of classic timba and there is more to come. Timba is alive and well in Cuba and here is the recent official video of the collaboration between F-Clan and Manolito Simonet y Su Trabuco "Yo soy bueno". A tasty combination of urban Havana with the son sello of  Manolito Simonet, it is destined to be another big dance floor hit.

Sat, 18 Apr 2015 07:59:30 +0000
Happy Anniversary Klímax!

Today Giraldo Piloto & Klímax celebrate their anniversary. In tribute we offer fans this video filmed by the late, great Chuck Silverman, this is the original Klímax, playing at the famous "piscina" venue of the Hotel Riviera with the original lineup with priceless closeup footage of Piloto and Yonder de Jesús Peña Llovet (who has a great youtube channel of his own). They play half a dozen songs from the first album, Mira si te gusta (all of the brilliant original Eurotropical material is now downloadable on amazon), and some dramatic and riveting Latin jazz arrangements.

Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:18:42 +0000
It was 20 years ago today ...

This concert took place about a month after the Montreux concert posted earlier. 

Fri, 17 Apr 2015 07:20:13 +0000
Charanga Habanera - Late 1998

This is quite a gem. Remember that after the Suspension Concert, only two members left the group - Dany Lozada and Juan Carlos González. The rest of the group returned to the scene and although they never recorded again, they developed new material. Some songs, like Se que ha fallado, were later done by Charanga Forever, while others, like La suegra, were never officially recorded. Then came the big breakup the following summer of 1998 that yielded Charanga Forever and left Calzado with only Michel Maza and the name "Charanga Habanera". In shockingly short order, he put together the band in this video - one of the greatest in Cuban history. I know I keep saying that about late-90s bands, but I'm tellin' it like is is - many of the great bands of all time were competing against each other on a nightly basis in this brief but magical era.

In any case, this is one of the very best of the Cuban TV documentaries, entitled Charanguero mayor, and including both of the above mentioned rarities, along with Charanguero mayor sung by Michel, Usa condón sung by Tirso and much much more.

For more on all of this:

Thu, 16 Apr 2015 06:55:34 +0000
Pupy y Los Que Son Son Pupy y Lso Que Son Son Tour 2015

Pupy y Los Que Son Son will soon be gracing the stages of Europe. The tour begins in just over one month and will take them to eleven countries including their first-ever concerts in the UK! Pupy will be bringing his legendary music to Glasgow on May 29th and London on the 30th. The London tickets are going fast so please get yours in time. I've seen Pupy in Europe twice and both concerts were sold out. Click here to find a concert near you.

If you've been following our International Timba Month posts, you've seen the 2001 videos of Pupy y Los Que Son Son with Tirso, Pepito and Mandy as well as a guest appearance by Mayito. Here is their most recent video "La Conga Pelotera" from the album "Sin Límites". You can keep up with the latest news about Pupy y Los Que Son Son at their official Facebook page. Dale Like!

Wed, 15 Apr 2015 14:09:43 +0000
2 Nights at the Casa de la Música Miramar
During Cubadisco 2014, EGREM was kind enough to give me permission to photograph NG La Banda and Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco in the Casa de la Música Miramar.  The Casas are one of the best options for tourists to enjoy some of the best current Timba bands. You can view the photo gallery here. 

Also, see the Reviews section for new reviews of recordings by NG La Banda, Elito Reve y su Charangón and Moncada. 

Durante Cubadisco 2014, EGREM tuvo la amabilidad de darme permiso para fotografiar NG La Banda y Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco en la Casa de la Música Miramar. Las Casas son una de las mejores opciones para los turistas a disfrutar de los mejores grupos que tocan la Timba en la actualidad. Puede ver la galería de fotos aquí. 

Además, vea la sección Reseñas para nuevas reseñas de grabaciones de NG La Banda, Elito Revé y su Charangon y Moncada

Mon, 13 Apr 2015 22:44:20 +0000
Latest Documentary

This one covers the early history of the bass tumbao up through 1950 and Arsenio Rodríguez. Lots of interesting stuff on changüí.

Mon, 13 Apr 2015 22:43:30 +0000
Manolín & Pututi II at La Cecilia

This is flat-out one of the hottest things I've ever seen. It's probably February 1997 but I'm not sure. Pututi II looks a bit older than he does here. Apparently Pututi I, who was playing drumset on the Marianao video, was out sick with la gripa, so his brother, who normally played timbales, had to play both drums and timbales on short notice. This is itself is not such a feat - many bands, like Van Van and el Trabuco, require their drummers to do this every night, but to do it on the fly - and to do it like THIS is just mind-boggling. Pututi II, and the güiro player, and the whole band, are just out of their minds. I saw Manolín at this same Quinta Avenida outdoor nightclub the very first night I ever spent in Cuba (Feb. 1999) - a concert that led to the creation of timba.com (and the loss of my sanity). There was something truly magical about that outdoor venue that seemed to set every band on fire. The camera stays on the percussion but if you listen carefully you can hear that Issac Delgado is sitting in on two songs.

Mon, 13 Apr 2015 09:35:55 +0000
El Médico de la Salsa

This video captures the rapture of the Havana public during the Manolin-mania period better than any other I've found. It took place at the massive, outdoor Anfeteatro de Marianao in 1996 as el Médico and his crack surgical team were in the process of pouring an ocean of kerosene on Havana's already raging live music scene. It's also priceless for its documentation of the wicked hot rhythm section of Mipa, Nápoles and the Pututi brothers.

This reconstruction uses film from the cameras of two participants in Caribbean Music & Dance Programs' yearly February pilgrimages to Havana. The main camera is by Michael Croy, who, among other things, filmed the legendary Issac Delgado Valentine's Day concert the following February. I forgot who sent me the other angle (please send me an email if you're reading this!), but I've spliced them together, in some cases repeating sections. 

Sun, 12 Apr 2015 04:57:33 +0000
Issac Delgado - 25th Anniversary Issac Delgado 25th Anniversary

As I mentioned in a previous post, April is International Timba Month because of the number of significant timba anniversaries. Kevin's ITM post for today is a great concert by NG La Banda at the Montreaux Jazz Festival from 1994. Issac Delgado was part of NG for the first couple of years, but left NG to form his own band around 1990. He recorded his first CD "Dando la hora" in 1991, winning the 1992 EGREM award. Today is Issac's 53rd birthday, which he is celebrating with a red-carpet anniversary concert at La Cecilia.

April 2nd, Kevin posted the full Issac Delgado Valentine's Day 1997 concert - "The Croy Concert", which is one of the most exciting and inspiring concert videos from this great era of timba. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rm8HJ8QWY8I

Last month Havana Culture posted an interview with Issac. I think Issac's fans will enjoy it. It's in Spanish with subtitles. Happy birthday Issac!

Interview with Issac Delgado by Havana Culture

Sat, 11 Apr 2015 05:13:25 +0000
Gozando con el Mes Internacional de la Timba

There have been some lower resolution individual songs from this concert, but now we have the full 90 minute show in very high resolution. This is NG La Banda at the absolute peak of their second great style period - with Calixto Oviedo, Feliciano Arango, Los Metales del Terror, Pan con Salsa, Peruchín, Tony Calá et al.

Click here and here for documentaries on NG and Calixto.

Sat, 11 Apr 2015 04:39:55 +0000
Paulito in New York - December, 1998

This is the second set of the concert posted a few days ago. Highlights include a massive version of Y ahora qué, La última balá and the masterpiece No te lo creas.

Click here for Part One: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sbM6epQq-E

Fri, 10 Apr 2015 03:27:05 +0000
Ibeyi in San Francisco

Lisa Kaine Díaz and Naomi Díaz are the twin daughters of the legendary Irakere conguero Miguel "Angá" Díaz (who plays in an upcoming Intl Timba Month video coming soon). Tom caught their show at The Independent in SF and logged this report.

Thu, 09 Apr 2015 03:22:07 +0000
Happy Anniversary Leonel Limonta & Azúcar Negra! Azúcar Negra @ LatinoamericandoLeonel Limonta & Azúcar Negra @ Latinoamericando 2013

Today for International Timba Month  we celebrate the second group with an anniversary in April: Leonel Limonta & Azúcar Negra. Before starting his own orchestra, Leonel Limota wrote major hits for other bands: "24 días" for Issac, "Quítate el disfraz", "Nube pasajera", "El avión" and "Extraños ateos" for La CHaranga Habanera as well as almost all of the "Yo no me parezco a nadie" as manager for Bamboleo.

Haila Mompie sings "Vengo de estreno" shortly after the founding of the band in 1998

Now in full control of his own band, Limonta continued proving his extraordinary talent as songwriter with songs such as "Andar andando", "Vengo de etreno", "3 de azúcar y 2 de café", "Se acabó el pesca'o" and "Bailar con tacones". He also worked with many of the great female singers such as Haila Mompie, Monica Mesa, Tania Pantoja, and Ailyn Dallera. Recently he changed the format of the band to follow the times and has only male vocalists. Below is a clip of one of the new singles "Suave, Rico y Despacito" with Reiner Rojas on lead vocals.

Congratulations to Limonta and los chamaos de Azúcar!

Azúcar Negra 2015

Wed, 08 Apr 2015 15:21:45 +0000
Salsondria Tuesdays at Favela Cubana

Attention New Yorkers! Salsondria's Tuesday residency at Favela Cubana continues into the month of April. As always, the events showcase some of the best talent in Gotham's Cuban Music scene. Enrique Lopez and Nu D'Lux are among the list of prime artists that will be featured on the Salsondria roster this month. Favela Cubana is located at 543 LaGuardia Place in Manhattan. The party starts at 10pm with a $5 dollar cover.

For those who cannot make it out on Tuesdays, the party continues every Saturdays at Favela's sister restaurant Calle Dao, located in Midtown at 38 W 39th Street and also starts at 10pm ($10 cover). Few events in New York present live Cuban Music with this kind of regularity and accessibility in such an intimate yet high-energy context. A unique, "up close and personal" listening and dancing experience worthy of any Cuban Music lover's attention. Come show your support!

Tue, 07 Apr 2015 18:24:51 +0000
International Timba Month Continues!

Maybe we'll make it International Timba Year.

Here's the second half of Los Que Son Son at la ENA - probably the second public performance of the group. Part One is here: http://goo.gl/1Y0kDB

Tue, 07 Apr 2015 03:41:25 +0000
Pupy y Los Que Son Son

Here's an intimate glimpse of one of the very first performances of the first great timba band of the 21st Century - Pupy Pedroso y Los Que Son Son - with the devastating front line of Tirso Duarte, Pepito Gómez and Mandy Cantero. Visitors to Havana will recognize the venue as the "Piano Bar", a converted house down the road from the ENA conservatory where students and visitors hang out. Changuito played regularly with the band at this point and various luminaries sit in - Mayito & Robertón of Van Van, Don Pancho Terry, etc. Part 1 highlights include a Changuito solo and Mayito sitting in on Seis semanas.

Click here for the history of Pupy Pedroso, and here for Tirso Duarte.

Mon, 06 Apr 2015 04:32:26 +0000
Paulito in New York - December, 1998

More historic footage from the final tour of one of Cuba's all-time greatest bands - the 1998 Paulito FG y su Élite. This video is everything that this one (http://goo.gl/DCsSCl) is not: it's not complete, has barely any songs that go all the way from beginning to end and doesn't stay on the tripod. BUT - it has better audio quality, substantially better video quality and some pretty amazing camera work. My suggestion is to study the Miami concert until you've got the gear system and then enjoy this one for the closeups and detail. This is Set 1 - Set 2 is here: http://youtu.be/v-gTbbQN9lQ

Sun, 05 Apr 2015 05:00:40 +0000
International Timba Month Why is April International Timba Month? Although one cannot put an exact date on the birth of Timba, people tend to go along with the idea that it was with El Tosco & NG La Banda that took the many innovations that had been present in Cuban music and brought them together also adding a few of their own creating what we now call timba. Today NG La Banda celebrate their 27th anniversary. That is the main reason that April was chosen as International Timba Month. However both Azúcar Negra and Klímax also celebrate anniversaries in April, which just makes it that much more appropriate.

Here is an excellent video - courtesy of ex-NG drummer Calixto Oviedo - of one of my favorite NG songs "La Bruja", filmed at the Montreaux Jazz Festival. If you will be in LA this month, don't miss Calixto Oviedo & The Cuban Jazz Train at Trattoria 25! It will be a great way to spend an evening for International Timba Month.

Sat, 04 Apr 2015 06:15:24 +0000
Paulito in Miami - December, 1998

The audio and video quality is not quite ready for IMAX, but this is a truly historic document - the final concert of the final tour of one of the greatest bands ever assembled. After this December 1998 show at Café Cristal in Miami, conguero Tomasito Cruz and future Tiempo Libre vocalist El Kid Díaz left the group to stay in Miami, and after returning to Havana, bassist Joel Domínguez, drummer Yoel Páez and pianist Yaniel "El Majá" Matos left to join the 1999 incarnation of Issac Delgado's band (the band that played the Y2K Concert posted a few months back). The rest of the band includes El Bola Betancourt on trumpet, Carlos Pérez on trombone Juan Ceruto on sax and arrangements. and of course three future members of Havana d'Primera: Alexander Abreu, Rogelio Nápoles and Yosvel Bernal. When we discuss HdP's "resumen de los 90" mission statement - rekindling the brilliance of the timba era - there's no doubt that the PFG 98 band was their overarching inspiration. You can hear all three of these guys solo on Estamos en escena (use the hyperlinks in the video description for quick navigation).

What sets this band aside from all others is their unique approach to timba gears - Paulito quite literally "calls" each gear change with a sophisticated set of hand signals - explained in this youtube:

In 1997, when the classic album Con la conciencia tranquila was recorded (the source for most of the songs from this show), the rhythm section was the same except for Sergio Noroña on piano, but at that point they had two main timba gears - presión and bomba. In 1998 they added a third "masacote"-style timba gear dubbed (at least by Tomasito) "songo con efectos". They played this more and more over the course of 1998 and you can hear plenty of it in the Noche de Cristal audio concert posted a few months ago. That was about 3 months before this show - the last stop on the historic 1998 US tour. I will soon post another video from a few days before this one - at SOBs - it doesn't have complete songs but does have vastly superior video quality. This beauty of this particular video is that most of the songs are complete and there's very little fancy camera work so you can see Paulito and most of the rhythm section all of the time and you can watch as Paulito dishes out his hand signals and the band responds brilliantly. There's also a long version of Estamos en escena in which almost everyone gets a solo. Last but not least is the never-recorded masterpiece, Laura, and the original version of La última bala, later recorded as Una vez más on the 2000 album of the same name.

This is the same band that played this concert in Havana a few months earlier: 

Fri, 03 Apr 2015 20:21:25 +0000
New Live Videos In Honor of ... another of the greatest timba concerts ever preserved: Issac Delgado at Casa Cultura on Valentine's Day, 1997, featuring Melón Lewis, Alain Pérez, Daria Delgado, Georvis Pico, Joaquín Betancourt, Andrés Cuayo and many more. Some of the individual songs have been on youtube for a while but now we have the full concert in very high quality - dubbed directly from Mike Croy's original digital camera tape. 

Coming later this week are two epic Paulito FG concerts, including the final show before his stupendously great 1998 band broke up. If you want to get in the mood for this, here's a youtube segment that will teach you how to spot Paulito's inimitable hand signal method for changing gears spontaneously.

PFG is truly the Steph Curry of timba. And these concerts have never been on youtube in any form. Entonces ... prepárense!

Also, in case you missed it, we've also recently added the Charanga Habanera Suspension Concert Restoration Project. The idea here is to find all the various audio and video files of this historic 1997 concert and put everything in order with the best quality media in each case. The cool thing here is that the concert went on after the censors pulled the plug, so we have audio of several additional songs, including two great ones that Charanga Habanera never recorded in the studio. If you're not up to speed on the infamous suspension you can catch up on your charanga chisme here and here.

Thu, 02 Apr 2015 02:34:39 +0000
International Timba Month 2015 NG La Banda

Yes timber@s, once again it's time to celebrate the birth of our favorite music, which we have not-so-randomly placed in the month in which coincides with the founding of NG La Banda. As we gather again to congratulate ourselves on our excellent taste, let me point out that despite fears that timba is dying, the new generation if timberos has already given us two excellent new albums in 2015: "La Vuelta al Mundo" by Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera and Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor's live CD/DVD "Cerrando Filas" recorded at their 10th anniversary concert last year. Other indications of the health of the genre are the excellent 2014 debut album "Llegó La Verdad" by Emilio Frías "El Niño" y La Verdad - who will celebrate their anniversary on June 28th with guest José Alberto "El Canario" at La Tropical - and the young group Yadiel Bolaño y La Tabla who have just released their first CD, which is being highly praised by DJs.

And the established bands continue doing brilliant work. Los Van Van's "La Fantasía" released earlier this year is undoubtedly one of their best. And we hear more about the upcoming release by Elito Revé y Su Charangón - "La Salsa Tiene Mi Son" - an album with remakes of some of the Charangóns biggest hits from the 90s featuring national and international stars. We've been waiting for this one for a long time. It was recorded at Abdala studios under the musical direction of Aisar Hernández and direction of Elito Revé. It will distributed nationally by Bis Music and internationally by Sony. No, I still don't have the actual release date but let's hope it's this spring. In the video below Elito talks about the new album.

Also just in time for International Timba Month Kevin has released his "Restoration Project" Suspension Concert video (below). He has combined the best available audio with the best available video (VHS recording from television) to create the complete concert from start to finish. Because the television transmission was cut off during "Usa condón", the final part contains only the audio, but it's worth listening to. It brings home the passion and locura of the late 90s in Havana. So timber@s - enjoty the month of April as spring returns and we count the reasons we have to be thankful for having enriched our lives with Cuban music.

Wed, 01 Apr 2015 12:07:05 +0000
HAVANA D'PRIMERA - LA VUELTA AL MUNDO Havana D'Primera - La Vuelta al Mundo Cover

I can say this with confidence and without having listened to a single track yet - one of the biggest timba releases of 2015 has just come out! Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera "La Vuelta al Mundo" is now available at CD Baby in MP3, MP3-320 and FLAC (lossless) format! I have downloaded mine already! Havana D'Primera is one of very few groups whose albums I will buy without having to listen first. But as soon as I have had a chance I will be back with preliminary thoughts! Go get your copy now! Click here to listen or to download.

Fri, 27 Mar 2015 09:55:25 +0000
New Beyond Salsa Video

This is the longest one yet - 55 minutes - so I added a Table of Contents of links in the description so you can skip around - there are sections for dancers, drummers, and fans of various groups. 
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:58:29 +0000
Houston Jazz Alert One of the best Jazz clarinet/saxophone artists from Cuba, also an excellent composer, is Ernesto Vega, who works in Houston,  Texas currently.  You can read a review of his debut recording Venir al Mundo here, and a recording with him and Harold López Nussa together is due to be released in Cuba later this year. 
On Friday, March 27, Ernesto will be presenting a performance of his own compositions with his quartet at Cezanne, a nationally-recognized Jazz Club in Houston. You can see all of the details here.  You can also hear his English-language interview with Bill Tilford in the Bill's Bag segment of Frankie Pineiro's The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition on WSLR on Tuesday morning,  March 24 (the show runs from 10am to Noon Eastern time, and you can stream it here.)   If you are in or near Houston, and you like Jazz, don't miss this.  A video taste of Ernesto at work:

Mon, 23 Mar 2015 21:11:36 +0000
Yissy García, Chuchito Valdés & Brian Lynch
Chuchito Valdés
is doing 9 shows in Trio at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago between Thursday, March 20 and Sunday, March 23.  Musically, Chuchito just keeps getting better as he ages. For complete schedule and tickets, click here

Fresh from some concerts in Miami that are getting raves, Yissy Garcia now moves on to New Orleans. On Saturday afternoon, March 21, she will be performing at the Congo Square New World Rhythms festival, and WWOZ will play a recording of her music on Sunday, March 22.  The WWOZ website, which contains the Congo Square lineup as well, is here.  Then, at 8pm the same day (March 22), she will perform at the Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro.  Catch her group, Bandancha, live if you can - it's a live representative of the new wave of Cuban music that I keep shouting about.  If you can't see it live, catch the WWOZ broadcast.   

Finally, in a recent blog entry about Latin on Lex in New York, I mentioned that one of the artistic directors was Brian Lynch.  He is performing with Phil Woods and We Six at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music Jazz Festival in Milwaukee on Friday, March 20.  As best as I can determine, this will be straight-ahead Jazz but very much worth checking out.  This is part of a larger festival that runs from March 19-21.For complete details, click here

Wed, 18 Mar 2015 22:10:49 +0000
SF SalsaRueda Festival Photos Are Up! Tom Ehrlich has posted two galleries on the 2015 SF SalsaRueda Festival, featuring Mayito Rivera, Timbalive and hundreds of phenomenal dancers from around the world.



Sun, 15 Mar 2015 16:58:21 +0000
More about Moncada, Conan, Casino, Life, The Universe, and Everything ENGLISH: In Havana, Grupo Moncada (their leader, Jorgé Gómez, was in the first few minutes of the Conan O'Brien special about Cuba), frequently gives concerts at the Jardines del 1830, which has become known as a destination for Casino dancers in that city.   
An interesting piece of the story is that Conan's encounter with Moncada also drew the attention of Rolling Stone, not normally known for showing a deep interest in our part of the musical spectrum. You can check out the Rolling Stone item here.   I doubt that this wlll turn all of  its readers into Casineros overnight, but there is no doubt that it  does help the cause...
Finallyto add a Cuban perspective, you can read a communique from the Press Office of the National Center For Popular Music in Cuba here. 

ESPAÑOL:  En La Habana, Grupo Moncada (su líder, Jorge Gómez, aparece en los primeros minutos del episodio especial  de Conan O'Brien sobre Cuba), da conciertos  con frecuencia en los Jardines del 1830, un lugar que se ha conocido como un destino para los bailarines de Casino en esa ciudad. 
Una parte interesante del cuento es que el encuentro de Conan con Moncada también señaló a la atención de la revista Rolling Stone, normalmente no conocida por mostrar un interés profundo en nuestra parte del espectro musical. Puede ver el item de Rolling Stone (en inglés) aquí. Dudo que este articulo transforme a todos sus lectores en casineros de repente, pero no hay duda que es ayuda a la causa ...
Por último, para añadir una perspectiva cubana, puede leer un comunicado de la Oficina de Prensa del Centro Nacional de Música Popular en Cuba aquí.

Sat, 14 Mar 2015 20:08:11 +0000
Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor Tour Starts Today UPDATE! The audio for the 10th Anniversary concert DVD is now available at iTunes!
Click here to preview and purchase the audio tracks from "Cerrando Filas"

Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor DVD - Cerrando FilasNew DVD Cerrando Filas

Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor are back in Europe where they will visit 6 countries and play 13 concerts in only 15 days before heading to Martinique to conclude their tour. The first concert will be held tonight in Argenteuil (Paris), France at the Festival Caribedanza. They will also perform in Belgium, Germany,  Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Italy. Click here for the list of concerts

The band has been busy with new songs and finishing the DVD of their 10th anniversary concert from 2014 titled "Cerrando Filas". They have released a few teasers for the DVD and it is definitely on my to-buy list! Salsa Mayor is one of the best live performances you can catch. See for yourself! Or Click here to preview and purchase the audio tracks from "Cerrando Filas"

Sat, 14 Mar 2015 05:34:14 +0000

SO, if I were in New York, I would be spending the next three nights at 92Y in New York. The poster above shows the tip of the iceberg - Eddie Palmieri takes the first night with the Afro-Caribbean Jazz Octet; the second night is themed New Cuban New York with Yosvany Terry, Gregory Tardy, Manuel Valera, Pedrito Martínez, Hans Glawischnig and Obed Calvaire; the third night, Bolero Meets Jazz, features an all-star 11-piece ensemble (including Xiomara Laugart on vocals and Phil Woods on alto sax)  and a pre-concert talk with Brian Lynch, the Artistic Director of the Festival. Unless there's a power outage, the storm of the decade or an asteroid strike, this should be epic. For complete details and tickets, visit the 92Y event page here. 

Wed, 11 Mar 2015 15:15:56 +0000
Global Cuba Fest Part II PLUS: I.  Global Cuba Fest Continues

Yissy García swings into Miami with her new project Bandancha for part 2 of Global Cuba Fest. She'll be at The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse (404 NW 26th St., Miami on Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14.  Yissy is part of a new wave of Jazz/Fusion groups in Cuba, and this is a don't- miss if you're able to attend. For more information, visit the Fundarte event page

II.  Jorge Luis Pacheco and Aldo López-Gavilán at the Kennedy Center

For those of us who missed Part I of Global Cuba Fest, we can watch two of the pianists playing at the Kennedy Center's  Millennium Stage the next day thanks to their video archive.  To watch the 2-hour concert of Jorge Luis Pacheco and Aldo López-Gavilán, click here

III. New Omar Sosa Album

Omar Sosa has released an interesting new album, ilé, that was recently featured on NPR's First Listen.  You can read Bill Tilford's review here, and Omar's team has also published a very nice EPK preview, which you can view below....


Tue, 10 Mar 2015 23:33:56 +0000
GLOBAL CUBA FEST PLUS: WHO IS THAT MAN? ENGLISH:  Global Cuba Fest begins in Miami Saturday, March 7 with a don't-miss lineup featuring a marathon of some of Cuba's superb young pianists (Harold López-NussaAldo López-Gavilán and Jorge Luis Pacheco) followed by Volcán with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Horacio El Negro Hernández, Giovanni Hidalgo and Armando Gola.   A Latin Fusion group from Switzerland, Lariba, closes the show.  It continues on Saturday 13-14 with Yissy García and Bandancha, an exciting new project in the current music scene in Cuba.  Bill Tilford interviewed Yissy, who is in  DC March 7,  via telephone earlier this week, and you can listen to that (in Spanish) by clicking here.   Yissy's YouTube channel is here and worth visiting. 
Fundarte's page is here

ESPAÑOL: Global Cuba Fest comienza en Miami el sábado 7 de marzo con una "no se lo pierda" colección de artistas ofreciendo un maratón de algunos de los pianistas jóvenes magníficos de Cuba (Harold López-Nussa, Aldo López-Gavilán y Jorge Luis Pacheco), seguido de Volcán con Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Horacio El Negro Hernández, Giovanni Hidalgo y Armando Gola. Un grupo de fusión latina desde Suiza, Lariba, cierra el espectáculo. Global Cuba Fest continúa  13-14 de marzo con Yissy García y Bandancha, una nuevo proyecto emocionante en la escena musical actual en Cuba. Bill Tilford entrevistó a Yissy, que está en  DC el 07 de marzo, a través del teléfono a principios de esta semana, y para escuchar la entrevista, haga clic aquí.  El canal de Yissy en YouTube está aquí y vale la pena visitar.  
La página de Fundarte está aquí

L: Jorge Gómez, R: Bill Tilford, La Habana, Cuba, May 2014

ENGLISH: If you happened to watch the Conan O'Brien episode about his trip to Cuba, you would have seen him handling a guitar in the presence of a bandleader during the first few minutes. That bandleader was Jorge Gómez of Grupo Moncada, who is also a man who helped Bill Tilford get around during Cubadisco 2014.   You can see a photo gallery and learn a little more about the group here
ESPAÑOL:  Si le pasó a ver el episodio de Conan O'Brien sobre su viaje a Cuba, habría visto a Conan manejando una guitarra en la presencia de un líder de una banda durante los primeros minutos. Ese líder de la banda es Jorge Gómez del Grupo Moncada, que también es un hombre que ayudó a Bill Tilford a ir a muchos lugares durante Cubadisco 2014. Puede ver una galería de fotos y aprender un poco más sobre el grupo aquí.

Fri, 06 Mar 2015 20:46:37 +0000
Havana Rhythm & Dance Festival Fiesta del Tambor 2015

The 2015 Havana Rhythm and Dance Festival begins tomorrow at 8:30 pm at Teatro Mella with a tribute to drummer Chuck Silverman, who passed away unexpectedly almost a year ago. Chuck was well-known to many of the writers and readers here at Timba.com. He was a great educator and driving force behind Afro-Caribbean rhythms in drumming. Participating in this opening show and tribute are Afrocuba de Matanzas and guests; Osaìn del Monte and Rodney Barreto; Jeff Coffin`s Big Band Project and Yoruba Andabo. Havana's annual festival of drumming and dance under festival president Giraldo Piloto is a must-see event. Click here for the full program

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 15:30:37 +0000

This is another of the new wave of modern Cuban music groups that are mixing Cuban music, Funk, Jazz Hip Hop and other genres successfully.  Yissy's group is also interesting for other reasons - their next album will be crowdfunded, and this may open the door for more of this activity by Cuban artists if all goes well.  They just finished in New York, will be in Knoxville, then off to DC, then Miami.   Here's a taste of recent New York concert from Yissy's You Tube channel:

March 7, 13, 14; April 11, 2015
Miami Dade County Auditorium and The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse
Opening night, March 7, features a marathon of some of Cuba's superb young pianists (Harold López-Nussa, Aldo López-Gavilán and Jorge Luis Pacheco) followed by Volcán with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Horacio El Negro Hernandez, Giovanny Hidalgo and Armando Goia.   A Latin Fusion group from Switzerland, Lariba, closes the show.   This should be an explosive evening.  Yissy comes in on March 13-14, and Omar Sosa comes in on April 11.  For complete details, visit the Fundarte website here

The Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage in Washington DC will have the Harold López-Nussa, Aldo López-Gavilán and Jorge Luis Pacheco part of the program on March 8. 

We recently mentioned Septeto Santiaguero's forthcoming release, No Quiero Llanto - Tributo a Los Compadres.   Word has it that the Septeto will be premiering a video at Billboard Latin on April 28 followed by official release on May 12.  Stay tuned. 

Finally, Chicago musician/bandleader Lise Gilly went to Jazz Plaza 2014 in Havana with several other musicians including Andrea Brachfeld.  Lise was kind enough to write about her trip, and you can read her impressions of Jazz Plaza here. 


Sun, 01 Mar 2015 00:15:30 +0000
Conan in Cuba As most cubanophiles know, Conan O'Brien recently recorded an episode in Cuba that will air on March 4th. Among other things he joined in a rueda at the popular dance club 1830. He definitely has a style all his own. Here are some spots from his web site. Below is a tourist video of Conan's dance stylings, which we can see in full on Wednesday. I especially like the "jumping jacks" move. Other current visiters to Cuba include Paris Hilton and Naomi Campbell.

Sat, 28 Feb 2015 06:20:57 +0000
Calixto Pre-Release Party Calixto Oviedo Why I am Here Tour

Get ready Los Angeles because Calixto Oviedo is coming at you with his Latin Jazz Train Quintet! They are currently in the process of recording a new CD of Calixto's signature danceable Latin Jazz under the production of Manny Gonzales SA and Calixto Oviedo at Maracatumba Studios in L.A. You can get a sneak peek at what is coming this Wednesday February 25th when Calixto's Latin Jazz Train Quintet will  give a pre-release concert at Trattoria 25 2510 S. Santa Fe Ave. The concert will include special guest Lily Hernández on vocals. For reservations and more information contact (626) 818-4464. It's free admission and parking! Don't missit!

Mon, 23 Feb 2015 06:58:33 +0000
Conga al estilo de Havana D'Primera Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera are in the studio in Miami working on their third CD with the title "La Vuelta al Mundo". They uploaded a clip from the studio of a conga they have recorded and you have never heard a conga like this! There's a reason they are called D'Primera. Here it is to get you excited about what's to come: conga-timba al estilo de Havana D'Primera! If you're in Miami, don't miss their matinee today at The Place of Miami at 6:00 pm.

Alexander Abreu y Havana D'Primera están en el estudio in Miami trabajando en su tercer CD con el título de "La Vuelta al Mundo". Ellos cargaron un clip desde el estudio de una conga que han grabado y te juro que nunca haz escuchado una conga como este! Hay una razón por la que son llamados D'Primera. Aquí está para que te entusiasma acerca de lo que está por venir: conga-timba al estilo de Havana D'Primera!  Si estás en Miami no pierdas el matinee hoy en The Place of Miami a las 6:00 pm.

Sun, 22 Feb 2015 06:12:32 +0000
Interview with Alain Almeida Alain Almeida Manzanares

Alain Almeida Manzanares has been singing timba since he was 18 starting with Sello L.A. and later with groups such as La Charanga Forever, Michel Maza y La Bola and Roberto Armas y Los Conquistadores del La Salsa. It was with the latter orchestra that he finally settled in Lima in 2002, where he also worked with A1 Banda and Barbaro Fines y Su Mayimbe. In March 2013 Alain started his own timba band "La Constelación de Cuba" with a repertoire based on original compositions by himself and musical director and arranger Osuan Ponciano. The band will soon be finishing their first CD - "Pa' Lante y con Fe" - that they plan to release in time for their second anniversary party which will be hosted by the nightclub Makumba in Lima on March 28th. They are also in the process of filming the official video for the hit single "Hoy serás mía". We took the time to do a short interview with Alain. Click here to read the interview where he talks about how he got into music and what led him to start his own band. Dale cliq aquí para leérlo en español. Below is a video with lyrics of "Hoy serás mía" but this is not the official clip that is coming; it's just a teaser. To keep up with the band, you can follow them at the Constelación D'Cuba Facebook page

"Hoy serás mía" with lyrics

Sat, 21 Feb 2015 14:32:34 +0000
La Fantasía @ Descarga Los Van Van - La Fantasia

The new Van Van album "La Fantasía" is now available at Descarga.com in hardcopy. It is their best album of the past decade so you don't want to miss it! Click here to read Bill's review. It's the best way to prepare yourself for the upcoming US tour celebrating 45 years of Van Van. For more information about the tour click here.

Tue, 17 Feb 2015 13:10:44 +0000
Complete Program Havana Rhythm & Dance Festival Fiesta del Tambor 2015

As promised we have uploaded the full program for the 2015 Havana Rhythm & Dance Festival. Over six days music and dance events will be held in nine venues across Havana. In addition to the percussion competition and the Casino competition, highlights include the Giants of Percussion at Teatro Mella March 4th at 8:30pm and the concerts at La Tropical on March 7th and 8th with Paulo FG y la Èlite, Pupy y Los Que Son Son, Cándido Fabré y su Orquesta, Lazarito Valdés y Bamboleo, Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco, Giraldo Piloto y Klimax,  Jose Luis Cortés y NG la Banda, Compañía Santiago Alfonso, Maykel Blanco y Salsa Mayor, and El Niño y La Verdad. Click here to check the full program or to download the program in PDF format, click here.

Mon, 16 Feb 2015 14:55:02 +0000
CUBAN MUSIC NEWS FEBRUARY 14, 2015 I. Mezcla Celebrates 30 Years, Releases New Album Pure Mezcla

Since Mezcla was already performing in public before the band was officially named, even its leader, Pablo Menéndez, is uncertain about which day should be considered its birthday, but 2015 is the 30th Anniversary year of one of Cuba's foremost Fusion groups, and the group is currently engaged in activities related to that milestone in Cuba. 
Oakland-born Pablo Menéndez and Cuban-made Mezcla have served as a cultural bridge between Cuba and the United States for decades.  A key moment in that history came in 1993, when 5 of the 8 band members were denied entry for a US tour by the State Department.  This galvanized activists and the musical community in the Bay Area.  The lawsuit that followed, Encuentro del Canto Popular vs. Christopher, helped set the course of the subsequent career of one of the leading attorneys in the US for assisting US-Cuba cultural exchanges, William Martinez, and it also helped cement the Bay Area's reputation as a supportive center of the music in the United States.   The show went on after a fashion in 1993 with Santana and some members of his band performing with Pablo Menéndez and Lazaro Ros in place of Pablo's full band.  Here's a clip from Yerba Buena Gardens from that time...  

In 1999, Pablo Menéndez, Bonnie Raitt & Woody Harrelson performed together at an event in the Karl Marx Theater in Havana called Music Bridges in which 40 Cuban musicians and 40 musicians from the US collaborated in a joint songwriting and performance effort.  Sadly, subsequent events in the United States a couple of years later prevented the musicians in both countries  from fully developing the opportunities presented by this project.

In more recent years, Mezcla has placed more emphasis on both Jazz and Folkloric fusion elements including a wonderful DVD made in Cuba, Todos estrellas del Jazz cubano.  Mezcla's current fans include Arturo O'Farrill and Orbert Davis among many others.  

Now, Mezcla has just released a new album, Pure Mezcla, which contains the best parts of a live concert at Yoshi's Oakland in 2013.  The album is already getting airplay across the planet (literally, from Canada to Australia) and is drawing favorable reviews in the music press. Best of all, the intial release is an exclusive download with bonus content on Latin Pulse Music. Don't wait for something to turn up on Amazon or I-Tunes - those are fine services, but the label (Tilford Productions, run by yours truly) has no plans of putting it there in the near future because we were able to load liner notes, bonus content etc. on LPM, and these things matter to us. 
Click here for the album page, which includes sample videos, audio samples and review clips. 

II. Next

The 7th Annual San Francisco Salsa Rueda Festival

February 19-22, 2015
Hotel Whitcomb
1231 Market Street, 
San Francisco, CA 94103. 
Ticket Info
Quite simply the best and most important festival of its kind in the United States.  Of very special interest to TIMBA.com's visitors will be the performances by Mayito Rivera (who incidentally  also blogs for us from time to time) and Timbalive and two lectures by our Editor in Chief Kevin Moore on clave and its relationship to the basic dance step. People come from considerable distances to attend this event. Here's a link to Kevin's review of last year's performance of Mayito and Timbalive at this same festival.

III:  Happy Anniversary to Septeto Santiaguero!

Septeto Santiaguero, one of Cuba's best traditional Son bands and a group that has been working with an impressive collection of guest artists in recent years, celebrated its 20th Anniversary on February 2.   Their forthcoming new recording (in May 2015) will be No Quiero Llanto - Tributo a Los Compadres, a joint project with José Alberto El Canario. You can read our review of this excellent recording here in English and aquí en español

IV.  Meanwhile, in Chicago: 

Many Chicagoans are enjoying the 14th Annual
Chicago International Salsa Congress this weekend, and on Sunday, February 15, the Pedrito Martinez Group is doing two shows (5 and 8pm) at City Winery.  We aren't positive, but we think this may be the PMG's first visit to Chicago featuring their new lineup. PMG is a regular visitor here, and the winery has named one of its selections after them. 

Sat, 14 Feb 2015 20:17:45 +0000
Cuban Cornucopia ENGLISH: Cubadisco 2015 is now in the early stages of considering recordings for its awards program (Cubadisco is many things including Cuba's equivalent of the GRAMMY awards), and it is now inviting submissions for the Symposium that takes place during the event.  Each year has a central theme - this year that theme is symphonic and choral music. For more information (in Spanish) about the upcoming 2015 event, click here.  
There is a section dedicated to Cubadisco in which we recently posted the Edición Resumen, the final publication (in Spanish) of the annual event .  For more information, click here
ESPAÑOL: Cubadisco 2015 se encuentra ahora en las primeras etapas de considerar las grabaciones para su programa de premios (Cubadisco es muchas cosas, incluyendo el equivalente de los premios Grammy de Cuba), y ahora se está buscando las presentaciones para el simposio que tiene lugar durante el evento. Cada año tiene un tema central - este año  el tema es la música sinfónica y coral. Para más información (en español) sobre el próximo evento de 2015, haga clic aquí.
Hay una sección dedicada a Cubadisco en la que recientemente hemos publicado la Edición Resumen, la publicación final (en español) del evento anual. Para obtener más información, haga clic aquí.
ENGLISH: Eliel Lazo in Chicago:
Eliel brings an exciting mix of Songo and Cuban Funk to new listeners.  To see a photo gallery and summary of his performance in Chicago, click here
ESPAÑOL: Eliel Lazo en Chicago:
Eliel trae una mezcla emocionante de Songo y Funk cubano a nuevos oyentes.  Para ver una galería de fotos y un resumen de su actuación en Chicago, haga clic aquí.
ENGLISH: Global Cuba Fest:  
A VERY exciting festival featuring Cuban artists is coming up in Miami in March.  For more information, click here
FINALLY:  Congratulaions to Arturo O'Farrill for his GRAMMY win (Best Latin Jazz Album) for The Offense of the Drrum.  To read a review in English, click here

Sun, 08 Feb 2015 20:00:30 +0000
Havana Rhythm & Dance Festival - 2015 Fiesta del Tambor 2015 Havana

One month from today sees the start of the 2015 Havana Rhythm and Dance Festival. This is one of the major Cuban music and dance events every year with masters classes and performances as well as competitions for hopeful young percussion musicians in the categories drums, timbales, congas, bongos and batá. The Festival also hosts the International Competition in Casino Dance. Prizes are provided by the event sponsors, which include Hotel Palco, Melia Hotels, Havana Club S.A., Sabian Co, Pearl Drums, Evans, Regal Tip, Bucanero S.A. among others. The competitions are open to both Cubans and non-Cubans. If you are interested in participating, you can click here for contact information

After an intense day of classes and competitions, relax in the evenings with the top bands in Cuba including Havana D'Primera, Maykel Blanco y Salsa Mayor, Manolito Simonet, Paulo FG, Klímax, Robertico Carcarsés and Interactive, Companía Santiago Alfonso, Companía Liszt Alfonso, Havana Dance Compás, Muñequitos de Matanzas, Afrocuba Matanzas, Osaín del Monte, Yoruba Andabo, Rodney Barreto, Oliver Valdés, Ramsés Rodriguez, and Eliel Lazo among others.

The complete program with times and venues for all events will be released shortly so stay tuned! As travel opportunities open up, this festival is a must for musicians and dancers who want a chance to learn from the very best. Click here for the full announcement with contact information.

Dale cliq aquí para leer la convocatoria en español. 

If you need any more convincing, just check out this video from the 2014 Festival!

Klímax - "Aquí estoy" Havana Rhythm & Dance Festival 2014

Tue, 03 Feb 2015 13:50:27 +0000
Interview with Samuel Formell Formell y Los Van Van 2015 United States Tour

I spoke to Samuel Formell today and he was about to leave Miami and return to Cuba. The orchestra will be in the US in July 2015 through August 25th.

Read our "La Fantasía" album review (in English) here 
Oprima aquí para leer nuestra reseña del nuevo disco de Los Van Van "La Fantasía" (Español)

Formell y Los Van Van 2015 United States Tour"This year marks the 45th anniversary of LOS VAN VAN and preparations are underway for this summer's 2015 USA Tour, in support of our new album La Fantasia, created an as homaje to my father, Juan Formell." Samuel said. "Jenny, Roberton, Lele and Mandy will be singing on this tour. We have dates already booked for San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Miami with many more to come. We look forward to the return of EL TREN and he will be performing with a 15-piece band."

Searock Music LLC proudly announces the U.S. 2015 tour of Formell y Los Van Van, Cuba’s legendary, Grammy-winning dance orchestra.  Performance dates will be posted on www.Searockmusic.com and on Facebook under SeaRock Entertainment.

Heralded as Cuba’s greatest dance orchestra and known throughout the world for their iconic live performances, Los Van Van return to then US, reuniting with Leo Tizol, the producer and creative force behind their 1996 debut tour of the U.S.

Founded in 1969 by Juan Formell, Los Van Van continue to dominate as one of the world’s foremost interpreters of contemporary Afro-Caribbean music.  Fans can expect to hear the group’s greatest hits along with work from their more current CD releases. 

Continuing the legacy of the late Juan Formell, his son Samuel, the band's artistic director, has left no doubt that the group will follow the footsteps of his father. The tour of Los Van Van will present compositions from their latest production entitled La Fantasía ("The Fantasy"), a collection of danceable tracks incorporating innovative, contemporary arrangements of Juan Formell’s hits from past

“La Fantasía es el mejor album de los Van Van”- Samuel Formell

For group availability, contact:
Searock Entertainment - Leo Tizol - Tour Producer/Artist Representative
 (917) 687 - 2486

Ernesto Lago - Tour Producer 
(917) 617 - 5708

Formell y Los Van Van 2015 United States Tour

Fri, 30 Jan 2015 15:39:22 +0000
Jazzin’ - A New Magazine on Puerto Rican Music

Tom Ehrlich has discovered a new magazine -  Jazzin’, reporting on jazz in Puerto Rico and   scheduled to release its first monthly issue in February, 2015. It will include interviews, reviews of recordings, listings of concerts and more. The magazine will be distributed mainly in Puerto Rico in clubs and restaurants, but the magazine is available to people outside the island for the cost of shipping and handling. If anyone is interested in getting a subscription to this magazine, contact Wilbert Sostre at wsostre@gmail.com. 

Thu, 29 Jan 2015 23:22:48 +0000
PALO! - "La Malanga Resbala" Exclusive World Premiere PALO! anticipates Grammy(R) week with video premiere and concert. - Miami’s Afro-Cuban Funk band PALO! has much to celebrate: A Grammy nomination and headlining a concert at one of Hollywood’s top music venues. In anticipation of Grammy Week, timba.com is featuring the Exclusive World Premiere of their music video “La Malanga Resbala”.

PALO! storms Los Angeles on February 3rd for Grammy week with a series of high profile appearances on TV, radio and digital media. (Follow “gopalo” on social media to keep track.) The week culminates with Music’s Biggest Night: The 57th Grammy Awards on Sunday, February 8, 2015.

On Friday, February 6, PALO! will be performing at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood.
Tickets can be purchased here.  

“We are blown away.” said Steve Roitstein, the group’s founder and pianist, when asked about their Grammy nomination. “We started PALO! to have fun and make music we’re proud of. Happily, our fans like it too. But this kind of industry recognition was totally unexpected. It’s a real honor.”

The video for “La Malanga Resbala” features a 1950’s-influenced approach. PALO! collaborated with directors Ralf Gonzalez and Andrew Peña, art director Rene Quesada, and fashion designer Yas Gonzalez, who created singer Leslie Cartaya’s look. “They did a fantastic job to reflect our mix of vintage and contemporary sounds.” Roitstein told timba.com. “The Cuban flavor is echoed in the visuals.” In addition to the Grammy Nomination for Best Tropical Latin Album of the Year, the album “PALO! Live” was also nominated for a 2014 Latin Grammy. For more information about the group, see gopalo.com.

Wed, 28 Jan 2015 04:00:40 +0000
New Mezcla Video Update With Mezcla's 30th Anniversary this year, a few things are happening:  Last week, Radio Metropolitana had a special segment devoted to Mezcla during the week, and on February 15, a new release, Pure Mezcla, will be unveiled as a digital download on Latinpulsemusic.com. There will be some special concert events featuring Mezcla in the weeks to come in Cuba.
A very popular video with unmastered audio of a song from their live concert at Yoshi's Oakland in 2013, Mambo Influenciado, has been on Mezcla's YouTube channel for months; a mastered audio version has now been published on YouTube as a leadup to the new album release:  

This is a great time to be in Chicago if you love Cuban Jazz and Funk.  Orlando Sanchez Soto (Cubajazz)  and Danae Blanco are thriving on a riff at Sabor a Café - you can read more and see a photo gallery here.  
Then, on February 6-7, Eliel Lazo is coming to the same establishment for a concert and workshop (we covered Eliel Lazo & The Cuban Funk Machine a few posts back.)  Finally, the Pedrito Martínez Group comes to Chicago at the City Winery on February 15.  This has become the PMG's regular annual outpost in Chicago, and we believe this will be the first time there with their new lineup. 

Tue, 27 Jan 2015 07:03:05 +0000
Ear ... Meet Hook With or without the autotune, I can't get these coros out of my head. Hat tip to Antonio in Oz for the heads up. And lots of Emilio Frías coming shortly - stay tuned.

Sun, 25 Jan 2015 09:15:32 +0000
Tiki Tiki - Video debut from TIMBEROS DEL NORTE Oh yeah! Timba from Texas... Austin, Texas to be exact. The first and self-titled album by TIMBEROS DEL NORTE was named one of the Top 10 Austin Releases (see below).  Grammy-winning trombonist / arranger Raul “Ralo” Vallejo and pianist / producer Paul “Pauly” Matthews spearhead this 10-piece outfit featuring multi-layered vocals and horns in an impressive and enticing 12-song collection of heavily rhythmic Cuban jazz and pop. 

Album download / CD available here = http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/timberosdelnorte

"Timberos Del Norte, self-titled. Deep danceable grooves driven by ebullient horns and vocals mark this collection of Cuban music that sounds like it could have come straight out of Havana but was made right here." -- Peter Blackstock, Austin American Statesman newspaper

Click on their album cover below to visit their website.

Tiki Tiki - Video debut from TIMBEROS DEL NORTE

Tiki Tiki - Video debut from TIMBEROS DEL NORTE


Role - InstrumentName
Vocals Tito Cuba, Wawy Cabrera, Danerys Echevarría, Monica Salas and Samaria Pérez-Stanford
Piano Paul "Pauly" Matthews
Trumpets / Guiro George Shalda
Trombones Raúl "Ralo" Vallejo
Bass Framy Díaz
Drums / Percussion Carmelo Torres
Horn arrangements Raúl Vallejo, Pauly, George Shalda
Recording engineers Geroge Shalda & Paul Matthews
(Beardog Studios)
Mixing engineer Richie Pérez of SoundsRight (Miami)
Mastering engineer Michael Lazarus of Latinmusicmastering.com
Fri, 23 Jan 2015 01:24:13 +0000
New Documentary: This one features some very choice footage, lots of music history, and my new "Ken Burns" trick. 

Sun, 18 Jan 2015 22:32:20 +0000
NG La Banda en Vivo To whet your appetites for the upcoming Calixto Oviedo youtube, here's a particularly encendiary concert from the mid-1990s.

Sat, 17 Jan 2015 19:44:26 +0000
Gerardo Contino y Los Habaneros

Subrosa, Blue Note’s new Cuban-themed club located in the heart of the Meat Packing District, has wasted no time in establishing itself as one of Manhattan’s central clubs for Latin music since opening its doors in November of 2014. The club has served as the new headquarters for the Pedrito Martínez Group as well as regular appearances by Pepito Gómez, Ariance Trujillo and other members of New York’s Cuban Music Community.

While the core motive of this establishment has been to feature NYC Cuban artists, Subrosa has been wise to include representatives of other genres as well. Groups ranging from Rana Santacruz’s original Mexican folk, the Colombian Jazz sounds of Pablo Mayor and even the indie rock meets salsa-dura fusion of the Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra are among the recent and upcoming attractions on Subrosa’s calendar.

An upcoming event of particular note is by none other than Gerardo Contino y Los Habaneros. Mr. Contino will be debuting his most recently recorded song “Quisiera Saber” this coming Tuesday Jan 20th at Subrosa. In many ways, the venue is the perfect fit for Contino, his music and his new single. A true believer in the power of cultural diffusion, Contino has often looked to influences outside of his home country in terms of his original compositions and even the members of his own band. His first recording as a leader “Somos Latinos”, while at its core being a Cuban Salsa record, incorporates strong influences from other Latin genres including Cumbia. Ina addition, Contino has collaborated with a wide range of musicians including Peruvian Folkoric Group Kambalache Negro. “Quisiera Saber” is no exception, written in the style of Colombian Vallenato mixed with a healthy dose of pop and Contino’s undeniably Cuban voice.

Contino’s sets will start at 7pm and 9pm and tickets can be bought online via Subrosa’s website. Of course more information on other concerts and events by Contino and his band can be found on his website and Facebook page. Subrosa is located at 63 Gansevoort Street in Manhattan. 63 Gansevoort Street

Sat, 17 Jan 2015 15:14:22 +0000
Tom's Haila Gallery Click here for Tom Ehrlich's gallery from Haila Mompié's recent Bay Area shows.

Fri, 16 Jan 2015 02:57:25 +0000
New Single By Mezcla: "I'll See You In C.U.B.A."

ENGLISH: This song (in English), composed by Irving Berlin and interpreted by Pablo Menéndez & Mezcla arrives at a very convenient time given the ongoing public discussion about travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens.  It is a single from the forthcoming album Pure Mezcla, which will be released on February 15th.  The digital release will be via Latin Pulse Music, with which this website is affiliated. 
This is the first of two alternate videos that will be released for this song.  The second one will be released in a few days.  
ESPAÑOL: Esta canción (en inglés), compuesta por Irving Berlin y interpretada por Pablo Menéndez y Mezcla llega en un momento muy conveniente dada la discusión pública en curso sobre los viajes a Cuba de ciudadanos estadounidenses. Se trata de un sencillo del próximo álbum Puro Mezcla, que se lanzará el 15 de febrero. La versión digital estará disponible a través de Latin Pulse Music, con la que este sitio web está afiliado.
Este es el primero de dos videos alternativos que se lanzarán para esta canción. El segundo, se dará a conocer en unos días.

Thu, 15 Jan 2015 09:57:02 +0000
Estocolmo Se Pone Caliente La Liga Habanera - Estocolmo Se Pone Caliente

La Liga Habanera released their first album "Tremenda Unión", in the summer of 2013. They are back heating up Stockholm's cold, dark winter with their new single "Estocolmo Se Pone Caliente". The songs starts with a tribute to NG La Banda's "El Trágico" and quickly slips into a dance groove with an urban edge courtesy of rap by Bamma B. Definitely timba caliente. We asked bandleader Max Alton to tell us a little about the song.

"Daniel Baro (Flecha) wrote the lyrics together with me, except for the rap which was written by Kevin Dennis (Bamma B) from Trinidad Tobago. Daniel is a singer from Havana who has sung in various son orchestras. The arrangement is by me, Oldrich González, and Petter Linde. We are also working on another song that will be released in 2015."

"Estocolmo Se Pone Caliente" has been released at iTunes and Spotify. Dale clic para escuchar!

Daniel Baro (Flecha) - Lead vocals
Bamma B (Kevin Dennis) - Rap
Oldrich Gonzales - Piano
Aleksander Bdarski - Bass
Alexander Waljansson - Guitar
Jan Kohlin - Trumpet 1
Rickard Lindgren - Trumpet 2
Johan Åström - Trombone
Pablo Cepeda - Backing vocals and congas
Max Alton - Drums, timbales, güiro, bongo and backing vocals
Måns Ek - Mixing
Farmerstreet studios and Mastertone studios

Mon, 12 Jan 2015 13:28:54 +0000
New Radio Segment Featuring Cuban Jazz
 There are several excellent programs that feature Cuban Jazz on the radio in the United States.  One of the very best (and most progressive) is The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition with Frankie Pineiro, who is also a conguero and leader of several musical groups including Guisando Caliente, Viva Cal and Proyecto Son.  This program can be heard during alternate Tuesdays from 10-am-Noon Eastern Time (US) @ WSLR, 96.5 LPFM in Sarasota, Florida.  Frankie also loves Timba and includes a little in his program from time to time. 
Beginning January 13, 2015, I (Bill Tilford) will be joining the program with a new short segment, Bill's Bag, to feature recent Jazz recordings made in Havana and beyond. (many of these  have or will have reviews  in Timba.com).  I am extremely excited about the opportunity to work with Frankie Pineiro to help share the wonderful new Jazz being recorded today, and I hope that you will be equally excited as soon as you listen. 
ESPAÑOL:  Hay varios programas excelentes que ofrecen el Jazz cubano en la radio en los Estados Unidos.  Uno de los mejores (y más progresistas) es The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition con Frankie Pineiro, quien también es conguero y líder de varios grupos musicales, entre ellos Guisando Caliente, Viva Cal y Proyecto Son.  Este programa se puede escuchar durante los martes alternos de 10am-mediodía (hora del este, EE.UU.) @ WSLR, 96,5 LPFM en Sarasota, Florida. Frankie también ama la Timba e incluye un poquito en su programa de vez en cuando. 
Comenzando el 13 de enero, 2015, yo (Bill Tilford) me uniré al programa con un nuevo segmento corto, Bill's Bag, con el fin de ofrecer grabaciones recientes del Jazz hechas en la Habana y más alla (muchas de ellas tienen o tendrán reseñas en Timba.com).   Estoy muy emocionado por la oportunidad de trabajar con Frankie Pineiro para ayudar a compartir el maravilloso nuevo Jazz que se está grabando hoy, y espero que ustedes estarán igualmente emocionados en cuanto ustedes escuchen.   

Sun, 11 Jan 2015 10:06:10 +0000
Osvaldo Chacón - Se Te Cuela Osvaldo ChacónOsvaldo Chacón is back with "Se te cuela"

Osvaldo Chacón is back with his third CD "Se te cuela", which will be released in 2015! He has uploaded a teaser with clips from the album as well as a four-minute video of his new arrangement of "Te gusto" - the new version of his hit song with Bamboleo. The videos are already making waves with timba fans around the world.  

We asked Osvaldo a few questions about the upcoming album.

This year you will release "Se te cuela", a CD containing nine songs. Who are the authors and arrangers of the songs?
I am the author and arranger of all 9 songs and all mambos (horns) that you are going to hear. The other musician who helped me (the co-arranger) is a young man named Gelmis Castillo Suarez who wrote piano, bass and percussion. He is a very talented young man. He has worked with Azúcar Negra, Son14 and is planning to work with Leo Vera and Tania Pantoja.

What studio did you recorded in?
The recording was done in Studio Forever Music and the recording and programming was done by Daynel Castillo (CUPIDO) who is working with "El Balacero" now! He is a young man of great talent and professionalism in his work. He has produced hundreds of projects for reggaetoneros: El Yonky, Jacob Forever ex-Gente D 'Zona, etc. It was a lovely experience!

Who are the musicians who recorded?
Daynel Castillo Reyes (CUPIDO)  - Programing, all Percussion
Gelmis Castillo Suarez - Arranger, Piano, Bass
Lester Mancebo Magdariga - Trombone
Luis R Fuentes - Trumpet (Sierra Maestra)
Leyanis Campos Marrero - Corista
Gabriel Rodriguez Ducamger - Corista
Rubén Rodriguez Ducamger - Corista 

Tell us about plans for concerts in the UK and Europe.
I have a lot of plans, first to promote the CD well. I'm hoping to sign with a label and start making some videos to have a good start. The new version of "Te gusto", a song I recorded with Bamboleo years ago, has had a viral acceptance. I think the new arrangement is cooler. In just three days on YouTube it had over 400 hits. Many DJs around the world are asking me for a copy. So that's a good sign!

Do you have a release date and where will people be able to buy it?
I will know the release date when the physical disk is ready for sale. It will be sold on the major networks such as iTunes, Amazon, etc. Moreover, it was made with love and I hope the dancers like it since they have the last word!

A warm hug and greetings to all the dancers of Cuban music around the world and thanks to you for the help you have been giving Cuban musicians for a long time on your website Timba.com.


Aché, iré, salud pa' mi gente linda!
Osvaldo Chacón

Fri, 09 Jan 2015 15:58:04 +0000
Latest Beyond Salsa YouTube This one has a very cool method for learning rhythms.

Wed, 07 Jan 2015 18:03:08 +0000
Grammy-Nominated PALO! San Francisco Debut at The Addition San Francisco music fans are in for a treat: prior to hitting Los Angeles for the Grammys, Miami’s Afro-Cuban Funk band PALO! will be performing in San Francisco for the first time. "We’re excited to play for our friends and fans in the Bay area.” says Steve Roitstein, the band’s founder and keyboardist. “It’s gonna be a blast performing in such a great venue” referring to The Addition (formerly Yoshi’s) San Francisco, where they are booked for a show on Friday, January 30. “We also look forward to bringing our music to folks who haven’t yet had a chance to check us out live.”

PALO! @ The Addition - Friday January 30 2015
Doors 7pm / show 8pm - All Ages Event
The Addition (formerly Yoshi's - San Francisco)
1330 Fillmore St - San Francisco, CA, 94115


Grammy-Nominated PALO! Makes Their San Francisco Debut at The AdditionLeslie Cartaya sings on the set of the upcoming new video from Afro-Cuban Funk Band PALO!

A live show is where PALO! shines brightest; their album “PALO! Live” was recorded at their 10-year anniversary show, and the results have been impressive. Prior to getting the 2015 Grammy nod, the record was nominated for a Latin Grammy as Best Contemporary Tropical Album of 2014. 

“Our music, steeped in the traditions of Afro-Cuban music, funk, and jazz, thrives in a live setting. We leave room for improvisation and spontaneity, while striving to hit a deep, danceable groove.” After hearing PALO!’s catchy songs and the spectacular vocals of Leslie Cartaya, you will understand why the music industry has recognized this group with two nominations.

Stay tuned to timba.com for more PALO! news; in the weeks to come we will feature the world premiere of their new video for the song “La Malanga Resbala” from their Grammy-nominated album. In the meantime, check out the EPK:

Wed, 07 Jan 2015 01:54:49 +0000
Interview with Kentucky Salsa All Stars Leader Edel Roque
Technical difficulties with a field recorder prevented an in situ recording, but after the Haila concert in Louisville, Bill Tilford and drummer/bandleader Edel Roque subsequently went back and had a brief recorded telephone conversation about the concert and about Edel's  group, the Kentucky Salsa All Stars, an excellent 12-piece ensemble composed mostly of young musicians educated in Cuba. You can hear a recording of that conversation (in English) here.  Click "continue reading" for more - including Gente d'Zona.

Sun, 04 Jan 2015 19:28:03 +0000
Haila at Roccapulco                                                                 photos by Tom Ehrlich

Tom said Haila was fabulous at Roccapulco - click continue reading for more photos from last night and click here for tickets to tonight's show. Opening the show will be rumba with Mikhail.

La Peña Cultural Center is having a celebration of the recent Cuban breakthrough here.

Sun, 04 Jan 2015 18:51:34 +0000
Mini-Documentary: Tirso Duarte This one traces the roots of David Calzado and Charanga Habana from the 1950s to the Suspension Concert to the Charanga Forever split to the arrival of piano tumbao master extraordinaire - Tirso Duarte.

In other news, Haila Mompié plays San Francisco's Roccapulco tonight and tomorrow night.

Sat, 03 Jan 2015 18:29:59 +0000
LOUISVANA 3AM ENGLISH:  As a Chicagoan, it pains me to say this, but the fact that some artists from Cuba are performing in Louisville instead of Chicago (as opposed to performing in both cities) says things about both places.  This being said, I always enjoy a good excuse to visit Louisville, and Haila provided an excellent one, as did her local backing band, the Kentucky Salsa All Stars.  You can read more and see a gallery of photos here...  
Haila is touring a few cities using different local talent in each place.  As Mayito Rivera has already demonstrated, the talent pool now exists in a few places like Miami, New York and yes, Louisville, to name just three examples, to make this possible for a singer when that artist is the center of the performance (however, we are unlikely to see this happen with an ensemble like Klimax). She will be in Houston on New Years Eve and in San Francisco January 3-4.  Miami was also on her itinerary during this tour.  
The same club that presented Haila, Coconut Beach, will be presenting Gente d'Zona on January 9.  

ESPAÑOL: Como ciudadano de Chicago, me duele decirlo, pero el hecho de que algunos artistas de Cuba están dando conciertos en Louisville en vez de Chicago (en oposición a tocar en ambas ciudades) dice cosas sobre ambos lugares. Dicho esto, siempre me gusta una buena excusa para visitar Louisville, y Haila me dió una excusa excelente, junto con su grupo  de acompánamiento lugareño, las Kentucky Salsa All Stars. Puedes leer más y ver una galería de fotos aquí ...  
Haila está de gira por algunas ciudades utilizando diferentes talentos locales en cada lugar. Como Mayito Rivera ya ha demostrado, la reserva de talento ahora existe en algunos lugares como Miami, Nueva York y sí, Louisville, por citar sólo tres ejemplos, para que esto sea posible para un cantante cuando ese artista es el centro de la actuación (sin embargo, es poco probable que esto pueda suceder con un grupo como Klimax). Ella estará en Houston la Nochevieja y en San Francisco para dos noches (3-4 de enero). Miami también era parte de su itinerario durante esta gira.
El mismo club que presentó a Haila, Coconut Beach, presentará a Gente d'Zona el 9 de enero.

Sun, 28 Dec 2014 22:12:40 +0000

ENGLISH: Thanks to a growing community of musicians who were born and educated in Cuba, Louisville has more than one excellent band and a growing community of fans who support Cuban Salsa, Songo, Timba and other genres. One of these bands, the Kentucky Salsa All Stars, which is led by Cuban-born Edel Roque, will be the backing band for Haila when she appears there on December 26.  The KSAS was opened for Havana d'Primera when it came to Kentucky, and it can definitely play Haila's charts.  It will be interesting to see whether this band becomes Kentucky's answer to La Temati-K on the east coast.  In the meantime, Timba.com will be watching this concert, and you should too if you can. 
ESPAÑOL:  Gracias a una creciente comunidad de músicos que nacieron  y fueron formados en Cuba, Louisville tiene más de uno excelente banda y una creciente comunidad de fans que apoyan a la salsa cubana, Songo, Timba y otros géneros. Una de estas bandas, los Kentucky Salsa All Stars, que está dirigido por el cubano-americano Edel Roque, será la banda de acompañamiento de Haila cuando ella aparece allí el 26 de diciembre.  Los KSAS abrió el show de Habana D'Primera en Kentucky , y ellos sin duda pueden tocar la música de Haila. Será interesante ver si esta banda se convierte en la respuesta de Kentucky para La Temati-K en la costa este. Mientras tanto, Timba.com estará viendo este concierto, y  debes verlo también si  puedes.

Then what?
/ ¿Entonces Qué?

Coconut Beach in Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/coconuts.beach.7?fref=nf

Sat, 20 Dec 2014 16:18:03 +0000
Mini-Documentary: Los Van Van in the 1990s This is the longest of the Beyond Salsa youtube series, with all sorts of backstories, lyrics, live video clips and photos - covering a truly unbelievable part of the Van Van story.

Fri, 19 Dec 2014 00:58:01 +0000
Todo lo mejor a Jazz Plaza 2014 ESPAÑOL:   Jazz Plaza en La Habana, Cuba ha evolucionado en uno de los más maravillosos festivales de Jazz en el planeta. Ahora celebrando su trigésimo año, su nombre puede ser engañoso hoy en día ya que no tiene lugar solamente en una plaza (bueno, ALGUNAS de los conciertos, pero sólo algunas), sino también en teatros grandes, clubes, hoteles y otros lugares. Toda la ciudad está escuchando la música y músicos de muchos países vienen a tocar y escuchar (Este escritor asistió al Festival 2013 y lamenta profundamente que él quedará atrapado en su oficina durante el evento de 2014.) El horario del evento siempre se aparece al el último minuto debido a la complejidad del evento, pero se puede oir casí cualquier estilo de Jazz alrededor la cuidad durante la semaña.  Hay un minisimposio sobre Jazz también. 
Según el sitio web suenacubano.com, y de especial interés para nuestros lectores norteamericanos: Arturo O'Farrill, un nominado actual al GRAMMY® en la categoría de Jazz Latino (The Offense of the Drum) presentará en el festival con todo su orquesta, y más tarde, él va a grabar un nuevo proyecto en los estudios Abdala, titulado La conversación continuada
¡Todo lo mejor y mucho éxito a Jazz Plaza 2014!

ENGLISH:  Jazz Plaza in Havana, Cuba has evolved into one of the most wonderful jazz festivals on the planet. Now celebrating its thirtieth year, its name can be misleading today as it does not take place  only in a square anymore (well, SOME of the concerts do, but only some), but also in large theaters, clubs, hotels and other places. The whole city is listening to the music and musicians from many countries come to play and listen (this writer attended the 2013 Festival and deeply regrets that he will remain trapped in his office during the 2014 event.) The final schedule for  the program always appears at the last minute due to the complexity of the event, but you can hear almost any style of Jazz around the city during the week. There is a mini-symposium on Jazz as well.
According to the Suenacubano.com web site, and of particular interest to our North American readers: Arturo O'Farrill, a current  GRAMMY® nominee in the Latin Jazz category (The Offense of the Drum) will perform at the festival with his whole orchestra, and later, he will record a new project in Abdala Studios titled La conversacion continuada
All the best and much success to Jazz Plaza 2014!

Sat, 13 Dec 2014 15:35:14 +0000

In many ways, one could say that the Cuban Music Community of New York City is currently going through an interesting, uncertain, but nonetheless exciting period in its development. Although modern Cuban Music has been present in NYC for a number of years, the genre is still very much coming of age in the city. Up until recently it has stood in the shadows of Nuyorican Salsa, finding a niche among only a small but discerning crowd. However, as groups such as the Pedrito Martínez Group and bands like them have brought new and much deserved attention to the genre, the rest of New York has almost been forced to pay attention, which in turn has resulted in some sudden yet nonetheless interesting developments. 

On one hand there are new venues such as Subrosa, in which larger enterprises such as Blue Note are bringing Cuban music to the previously untapped attention of the Meatpacking crowd, serving up Música Cubana in an elaborate decor with drink and ticket prices to match. One the other hand there are the established Cuban hubs such as Guantanamera, whose regular groups have also found themselves in a new state of flux as Cuban acts juggle their itineraries with the new performances that are now opening up, allowing for a “changing of the guard” so to speak.    

(Click here to continue reading ...)

Fri, 12 Dec 2014 13:16:41 +0000
Cuban Artists in the 57th Grammy Nominations Lots of action this year for Cuban artists in the 57th Grammy® nominations! Here's a quick recap:


Cuban Artists in the 57th Grammy Nominations
Tremendo PALO!
-- Afro-Cuban Funk group PALO! is buzzing hard after their LatinGrammy® nomination. The group -- singer Leslie Cartaya, Raymer Olande, Philbert Armenteros, pianist Steve Roitstein and saxophonist Ed Calle -- got a nomination for their live record Palo! Live. The group’s unique, danceable sound blends the allure of Cuban music with funky beats and jazzy improvisation. You can check out Bill Tilford's review of the record (click) here.

Click HERE to download Track 2 (La Malanga Resbala) from their album PALO! LIVE

Palo! Live nominanated for 2015 Grammy Best Tropical Latin Album

Cuban Artists in the 57th Grammy Nominations

Aymee Nuviola
- Also following her LatinGrammy® nomination, "La Sonera del Mundo" Aymee's album First Class to Havana counts with guest artists Amaury Gutiérrez, Alexis Valdés, Gonzalo Rubalcaba y also nominated percussionist Pedrito Martínez. The singer had a banner year after her participation in Sergio George's SALSA GIANTS tour. 


Cuban Artists in the 57th Grammy Nominations
Yosvany Terry
- Matanzero and saxophonist Yosvany Terry got a nod for his album New Throned King, is the musical culmination of his spiritual exploration, and one of the most creative recordings of the year. "The entire set is comprised of music Terry composed, based on Arara "cantos" and rhythms, which for the most part have never been performed outside of Matanzas."-- AllAboutJazz.com

Click on the photo below to visit Tom Ehrlich's photo gallery for Yosvany's performance last year at Yerba Gardens in San Francisco.
Cuban Artists in the 57th Grammy Nominations

Cuban Artists in the 57th Grammy Nominations
Pedrito Martínez Group
 - The highly anticipated, self-titled debut album from the Pedrito Martínez Group has been a delight to Latin jazz, traditional jazz and dancers alike. "Pedrito Martinez is undeniably one of the most talented young musicians in Latin music today and has become one of the most in-demand in the industry for both his beautiful voice and his exceptional percussion skills."-- AllAboutJazz.com

Click on the photo below to visit Tom Ehrlich's photo gallery for Pedrito Martínez Group's performance last year at Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz.

Cuban Artists in the 57th Grammy Nominations

Cuban Artists in the 57th Grammy NominationsArturo O’Farrill & The Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra - Following in his father's footsteps, Arturo O'Farrill scores another nomination for Motema Music (same label as Pedrito Martínez Group;'s album) with his record The Offense Of The Drum.

"With The Offense of the Drum, O'Farrill nails that lofty goal. The sounds of a big band are here, the sounds of various Afro-Caribbean rhythms are here, and the sounds of some of New York's best musicians in any genre are here. But what's guiding the music is a vision that incorporates sounds from the streets today with a spoken-word performance that's manifesto-like in its call to recognize culture as something that changes and grows every day."-- NPR.org


Cuban Artists in the 57th Grammy NominationsAlfredo Rodríguez - Alfredo puts himself on the Grammy map with an arrangement of Guatanamera, a track from his second record The Invasion Parade. "Co-Produced by Quincy Jones, Rodríguez’ champion and mentor, and featuring a superb ensemble that includes bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding, percussionist and vocalist Pedrito Martínez, and drummer and percussionist Henry Cole, The Invasion Parade comprises nine tracks including originals by Rodríguez as well as evergreens such as 'Guantanamera', Maria Teresa Vera’s 'Veinte Años', and 'Quizás, Quizás, Quizás'..." -- AllABoutJazz.com


Cuban Artists in the 57th Grammy NominationsLuis Conte - Santiaguero and percussionist Luis Conte partners up with musicians Daniel Ho and Wu Man for a collection of international popular songs adapted for traditional chinese instruments for the album  OUR WORLD IN SONG. "So, a Chinese pipa player, a Cuban percussionist and a Hawaiian guitarist go into a studio cross-pollinating instruments and traditions in a series of musical selections from around the world... and successfully traversed genres with such delicious delight that audiences will find the combo hard to resist." -- WorldMusicCentral.org

There you have it.... Best of luck to all the nominees!

Wed, 10 Dec 2014 17:36:37 +0000
Another Full Concert (piano-bass closeup)

This is the legendary late 90s Van Van group with Pedrito Calvo, Mayito Rivera and Robertón Hernández.

If you want to see the band from the front with multiple camera angles, search for the Miami Arena 1999 video, currently on YouTube by Pimienta Records and others and probably still in print as a DVD/CD package.

This video, shot by pianist Robert Schwentker in June of 2000 at the Conga Room in Los Angeles, is of special value for a variety of reasons:

1) It has a lot of closeups of the piano (for those who want to learn piano and history buffs, here are introductory videos for two Beyond Salsa Piano books on Pupy Pedroso (Vol. 10 - Vol. 11).

2) This also results in lots of closeups of Juan Formell's baby bass technique.

3) ... and to a lesser degree, closeups of Samuel Formell, who has a very unusual setup (for him), playing from a standing position as he did in his first job, with Issac Delgado. By this point, Samuel was almost always playing seated at a full drum/timbales set. Probably a snafu with the sound rental company, but as you can see, it doesn't seem to cramp his style in the least.

4) This is within 6 months of the departure of Pedrito Calvo and within 1 year of the departure of Pupy Pedroso.


Tue, 09 Dec 2014 01:42:03 +0000
Back to Van Van Back on the topic of Los Van Van's 45th anniverary, we have the updated Discography section and the latest Beyond Salsa video - on the 2nd Pupy Pedroso book and concluding with an epic 18-minute mashup of the avalanche of hooks unleashed by Pupy in his final two decades with the band:

Sun, 07 Dec 2014 05:07:39 +0000
It's New, It's Baaad, and That's Good: ENGLISH:  Eliel Lazo & The Cuban Funk Machine are here.  Be funky.  Be VERY funky. 
ESPAÑOL:  Eliel Lazo & The Cuban Funk Machine están aquí.  Sea funky.  Sea MUY funky. 

Read a review of the new CD here / Lee una reseña del nuevo CD aquí
ENGLISH:  US Tour coming (including Chicago 2/6) in February.   
ESPAÑOL:  Eliel vendrá a los Estados Unidos para una gira (incluyendo Chicago 2/6/15) en februaro.

 Haila is coming to Louisville, KY on December 26.   The venue has hosted Charanga Habanera in the past.  More information in the near future. 
ESPAÑOL:  Haila vendrá al Louisville, KY el 26 de diciembre.  El venue ha presentado Charanga Habenera en el pasado. Más información en el futuro cercano. 

Sat, 06 Dec 2014 17:31:08 +0000
Amazing Weekend in Havana Los Van Van @ La Escalinata de la Universidad de la Habana por Ivan Soca PascualPhoto courtesy of Ivan Soca Pascual

Havana has a wonderful tradition of free concerts at the end of the year. They are off to an early start this weekend with two free mega-concerts. The first took place last night on the Stairway of the University of Havana. To put it mildly, the concert was well-attended. Los Van Van closed their national tour with a free concert and also the official release of the new CD "La Fantasía".  If you're in Havana pick up a hard copy. It isn't up at digital retailers yet, but hopefully next week. Samuel has said that it's Van Van's best CD. It's too early for me to say, but it is definitely the best since "Chapeando", maybe even the best since "Llegó...Van Van". Without question it is going to be a favorite of dancers, so keep an eye out for it.

Una Luz Por La Esperanza - Buena Fe Tonight!

Buena Fe concert @ Carlos III y Boyeros

The other big free concert this weekend takes place tonight at Carlos III and Boyeros. Buena Fe are holding a concert in honor of the doctors fighting ebola in Africa. The show starts early at 7:00pm so families with young children can participate. Buena Fe is also working on a new album which should be out soon.

Sat, 06 Dec 2014 08:50:39 +0000
45 Years of Los Van Van Another major milestone for El Tren - but sadly the first without their founder.

The big news, of course, is the release of La fantasía. By my count, this is the 26th album of new material. We have: the 15 original EGREM albums, released as La colección; the 5 masterpieces of the 90s, Malecón (has several new originals), Chapeando, Arrasando, La maquinaria and now La fantasía.

At timba.com we have a lovingly prepared recounting of the first first decade and its historical context, a more general surveyon the 80s that includes mini-reviews of all Van Van's releases, and a complete discography.

The Van Van story is also told in parts in the Beyond Salsa series. BS Piano, Vol. 3 covers the first decade, Vol. 10 runs from 1979-1983, Vol. 11 from 1984-1987, Vol. 12 from 1988 to Pupy's departure in 2001. I've yet to write a book on the post-2001 period, but it's coming.

Thu, 04 Dec 2014 01:33:31 +0000
Beyond Salsa on Los Van Van