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Sin Clave No Hay Na
CUBAN MUSIC NEWS FEBRUARY 28 2015
YISSY GARCIA TOUR, GLOBAL CUBA FEST AND MORE
YISSY GARCIA AND BANDANCHA US TOUR
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:
GLOBAL CUBA FEST COMES TO MIAMI
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.
CUBAN MUSIC NEWS FEBRUARY 14, 2015
Happy Valentine's Day!
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.
The 7th Annual San Francisco Salsa Rueda Festival
February 19-22, 2015
1231 Market Street,
San Francisco, CA 94103.
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.
Cubadisco, Eliel Lazo, Global Cuba Fest and more
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.
New Mezcla Video Update
Also: More Cuban Music in Chicago
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.