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New Album from Verny Varela y La Tropa - La Rumba No Se Acaba - Salsa Dura de Colombia

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viernes, 30 septiembre 2011, 07:46 pm

Horns to Havana and Other Good Things

Recordings by Omar Sosa and Maraca Recognized

Item I:  Horns to Havana

Jazztimes.com, the free online extension of Jazztimes magazine, is now carrying an interesting section dedicated to Cuba.  The most recent article by Lee Mergner about the Horns to Havana program, in which jazz artists from up here are going down to the island to donate instruments and do workshops, is an especially interesting read.  The link is http://jazztimes.com/sections/cuba/articles  But we mention this for another reason as well.  Those of you working with jazz groups should consider joining the online community if you haven't already done so.  It's another place with a focused jazz audience that you can talk about the group, any recordings etc.   As anyone involved with jazz these days knows, there's no such thing as too much promotion...

Item II:  Omar Sosa's Recordings Recognized

Earlier this year in the Report From Chicago section, we did a piece on Omar Sosa and a capsule review of three of his recent recordings, Afreecanos, Ceremony and Calma.  Since that time, Ceremony won an Echo, a prestigious European jazz award, and Calma has been nominated for a Latin Grammy in the Instrumental department. Congratulations Omar.  He's doing a short tour of the US in late October-early November, and we'll have those details soon.  Here's a short video about Ceremony...

....click here to read the full article with Maraca's interview >>

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lunes, 26 septiembre 2011, 11:33 pm

Creole Choir Of Cuba Begins US Tour in Chicago

30 Performances in 21 Cities

The Creole Choir of Cuba
(The Creole Choir of Cuba - view the rest of the photos here)

     This mighty chorus of ten singers, dancers and percussionists from Camagüey is one of the most distinctive groups from Cuba that we've heard in years.  We saw their opening concert in Chicago, and you can read our full review here.   You don't speak Creole, you say?  They really are good enough that you  won't care.  The always-industrious Timbera Mayor has posted their tour schedule here.  Cuba's Creoles originally came from Haiti a couple of centuries back, both the language and the music are distinct, and this group represents and preserves an aspect of Cuba's cultural mosaic that most North Americans haven't been exposed to before.  Catch them if you can.  

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miércoles, 24 agosto 2011, 11:36 pm

Maraca 2.0 -- New Tour Dates, A New YouTube Channel and More...

After a well-deserved break, Maraca is back on tour beginning  September 3 in Pennsylvania followed by  a series of dates on the West Coast.  See our Maraca page in the Tours/Giras section, which Michelle White has updated, and stay tuned for new dates as they are added.  You can hear their single Preguntale A Mi Mujer on Timba Radio. 
A couple of months ago, we reviewed the CD/DVD Reencuentros, which was recorded by Maraca's other recent project, Maraca and His Latin Jazz All Stars (read that review here). Downbeat magazine also liked it well enough to make it one of their Editors' Picks for August 2011.
There is also a new YouTube channel, Maraca's TV  (descargatotal's channel) which at this writing has over 70 video uploads including live clips of recent performances.  Here's a taste:

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viernes, 05 agosto 2011, 06:33 am

Ernán López Nussa to Visit US

Performances in WI and IA

     After an absence of far too long, Ernán López Nussa, a piano phenomenon,  will be visiting the Midwest for a small series of performances in Wisconsin and Iowa.  Ernán is part of an emerging family musical dynasty (we recently reviewed his nephew Harold's new CD release as well), and those of us who follow the jazz portion of the Cuban musical spectrum have enjoyed his work as far back as his time with Grupo Afrocuba and Cuarto Espacio.   A decade ago he wowed American audiences with some performances in support of his CD release Delirium (not always the easiest thing to find here but worth the effort to do so), and most recently he has been working in a trio format with Ángel Gastón Joya Perellada and Enrique Plá Garcia.  For these US appearances, he will be performing with Jimmy Branly and Jorge Sawa Perez.  Ernán is one of the top Cuban jazz pianists in a field of brutal competition for that distinction.
     For this trip, the performances will be as follows:
26 August 2011:  Orton Park , 1200 Spaight Street, Madison WI at 5:45pm
27 August 2011:  Helen Bader Recital Hall, Wisconsin Conservatory of Music , 1584 Prospect Av, Milwaukee WI at 7:30pm
28 August 2011:  Orton Park again at 5PM, then The Cardinal Bar, 418 E. Wilson St, Madison WI at 9pm
30 August 2011: Legion Arts , 1103 S. 3rd St. East, Cedar Rapids IA at 7pm
     Good news/bad news:  The bad news is that there are unlikely to be additional appearances here just now.  The good news is that we are hearing talk of a possible more extensive tour in 2012.  His official website, which includes a discography and some video clips (but does not post his tour schedules) is Ernanlopeznussa.com

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