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Que No Pare La Fiesta - (Independent Release) Released 2011

(self-released 2011)
Review by Bill Tilford, All rights reserved

Rumbankete is a LA-based group that bills itself as a progressive Salsa band but actually plays a decent amount of Songo and Timba as well as Salsa.  Que No Pare La Fiesta, their self-released debut album, recently came out,  and some of the tracks are already getting radio play.  Vocally, Rumbankete is driven  by Iris Sandra Cepeda and Gonzalo "Chalo" Chomat. They pair up quite well vocally and both also solo well. Instrumentally, three trombones drive the front line, and the recording session includes violin and tres tracks. This isn't a Los Van Van cover band, but the overall sound of the instrumentation is quite similar.  This group cooks as a tight ensemble; there isn't a lot of knock-em-dead solo work (here, too, they resemble Van Van), but the trombone voicings are quite tasty (this writer, being a trombonist himself, appreciates that) as are the vocals.   The tempos are in a range managable by American dancers; the uptempo work is consistent with what many Timba bands do on the island when they are in a medium groove but not full warp drive.  

Most of the songs on Que No Pare La Fiesta are originals by different band members, and the arrangements show genuine love for the material, frequently incorporating changes within songs worthy of the bands in Cuba. Ironically, with all of this really good original material in the CD, the one traditional song, Bilongo (which was reworked into more of a Salsa Dura style with a dash of Cumbia and some short but nice trombone breaks), is the song that has apparently been getting the most attention in the music press.   This probably says a lot more about the music business today than it does about the band.  This writer felt that the best track on the Salsa side of the equation was actually one of Iris Cepeda's originals,Quiero Imaginar,  which starts slow but then builds and keeps building until it has a full head of steam. On the Songo/Timba side of the equation, we would give Dos Palabras, another one of Ms. Cepeda's pieces, a big thumbs-up. Our overall favorite track on the entire CD is De Pies a Cabeza, which has a nice mix of both rhythms and tempos. 

We'll let others argue about whether this is actually a Timba band that also plays some Salsa or a Salsa band that also plays some Timba.  They do both well, and Que No Pare La Fiesta  is a worthy first outing for the group, which also deserves recognition for even playing some Timba in an often-challenging U.S. market.      
Rumbankete's web page, which includes audio samples, is

Kevin Moore - Thursday, 05 September 2013, 09:31 PM