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LA TIMBA LA TRAIGO YO - Nuevo Disco + Gira Europa de Robert Armas y los Conquistadores de la Salsa
Música tropical de Cuba y Francia - Rubén Paz y Chéverefusión

Kevin Moore - 2004

Thursday, December 9, 2004 - Despedida a los Valdivia - Michelle has added new streaming video of highlights of Kelly & Ebblis Valdivia with la Charanga and el Clan. Click here. Judging by the title it sounds like their upcoming project will not be timba, Ceruto's presence notwithstanding. There are also some segments featuring Yulién Oviedo before his departure from la CH.

New York Dance Lessons - Ariel Rojas has changed his schedule. For the latest on the NYC scene, and the schedules of all the dance teachers, click here.

Saturday, December 4, 2004 - Los Van Van Streaming Video!- Michelle has added several great clips from LVV's Euro-Disney concert. Click here for more info.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - Ebblis & Kelly Valdivia team up with Juan Ceruto! --- Pon click aquí para español -- Many popular vocalists seeking to capitalize on their stardom to launch solo careers have failed to realize that their success depended as much on the brilliant arrangements they sang as on their charisma and dashing good looks. Not so with Havana's current leading heart-throbs, the Valdivia brothers. Each got his start with Giraldo Piloto and Ebblis went on to sing with David Calzado, and, (proving that brains and beefcake are not mutually exclusive), when they set out to form their own band, they were smart enough to find an arranger of similar calibre -- no less than the legendary Juan Ceruto, who, among many other accomplishments, arranged all of Paulito's best material. They also chose one of timba's leading managers, Roberto Hernández "Máximo", the man who achieved immortality by bringing Charanga Habanera to Santa Cruz, CA in November of 2000. Click here for the latest photo and Máximo's press release.

Upcoming Timba Parties in Boston & Philly - Check Linda's NYC column and the NYC Events page for more info.

Monday, November 29, 2004 - TIMBA VIDEO ONLINE! - Michelle has done it again. Timba-starved Norteamericanos can catch a glimpse of Charanga Habanera and Los Que Son Son in concert in Europe. The audio and video quality are amazingly good. Click here for more info and links to the videos.

Monday, November 21, 2004 - Azúcar Negra in Siberia! - Charanga in Europe - Michelle's column has the latest on these upcoming tours. There was a time when San Francisco, rather than Siberia, was considered a part of the "Free World". That was then.

Mayito's new CD - A reliable source in Havana reports that Mayito Van Van has a deal with a German label to do three solo albums (don't worry - he's not leaving LVV). Mayito has become an accomplished pianist and is getting involved in arranging. His new album features several of "The Usual Suspects" of the Havana recording scene: all horns overdubbed by Alexander Abreu and Amaury Pérez and Rolando Luna on piano. Cristobal Verdecia (of Paulito) plays bass and all the percussion parts are overdubbed by Issac's conguero, Dennis "Papacho" Savón. As for the music, it's described as "salsa, New York style, but really well done with moments of timbafication".

Sunday, November 21, 2004 - El nuevo cantante de la Charanga - Ivette ha puesto una página para Leonardo Garrido, ex-cantante de Los Ángeles de La Habana que ha reemplazado a Ebblis en la CH. Pon clik aquí.

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004 - La última de la Habana - Pon click aquí para noticias de Ivette -- lo último de Los Ángeles de la Habana, Charanga Habanera, El Clan, Sueno Cubano y Paulito FG.

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004 - Timba in New York - Yordamis Megret (ex-diva de Bamboleo) will be at SOB's this Friday the 19th and DJ Gary Domínguez has a new Timba radio show.

Arturo Sandoval, timbero? -- Well, actually he just has one arrangement with a Somos lo que hay-derived coro. Last night's Santa Cruz show was mostly bebop, but if the group lacked exciting original material, they certainly weren't lacking in the talent department. The group features ex-Paulito conguero Tomás Cruz (who also had an amazing extended maraca solo) and ex-Manolín drummer Alexis Pututi I Cuesta (whose bebop chops are phenomenal). After reading other accounts over the years, it didn't surprise me that Sandoval spent a lot of time goofing around, but when he settled down to play a serious trumpet solo, I was blown away. His tone, intonation and phrasing still place him among the very best trumpeters on the planet. The group will be at Yoshi's in Oakland all week and Tomás will be conducting a percussion clinic Friday afternoon. For more information on the clinic, send email here.

Monday, November 15th, 2004 - Chisme de los Changueros - Check out Michelle's column for the latest on the rumored departure of "El Boni" from Charanga Habanera.

Friday, November 12th, 2004 - El Médico Tonight in Miami:

Zaragozana
8488 SW 8th St.
305-265-0081
$25 to enter at the door.

More on Manolín's Plans to Record in Spain: Go to www.cubaencuentro.com and click on the flashing "Mundo Cuba" link.:

Manolín, El Médico de la Salsa, planea establecerse en España a partir de diciembre, donde quiere realizar una serie de conciertos. En recientes declaraciones a la prensa local de Miami, el salsero habló amargamente de su experiencia en dos años y medio de estancia en esa ciudad, donde "no se puede hacer carrera porque se venden pocos discos; en las entregas de premios siempre ganan los mismos, en la radio no se difunde la música de uno". Uno de los salseros más populares de Cuba en la década del noventa, Manolín se exilió en 2002 y ha sacado desde entonces dos álbumes: El Puente, una grabación en vivo de sus últimos éxitos bailables, y Manolín, de música pop, que no ha tenido una buena acogida entre los críticos. El músico se queja de que la discográfica, BMG US Latin, no le dio suficiente apoyo a este disco, que sí tuvo alguna difusión por la radio.

Aparte de algunas presentaciones en Miami, El Médico de la Salsa realizó una gira de conciertos por Italia y España, donde tocó con parte de su grupo y con músicos de Isaac Delgado que habían desertado recientemente. "Aquí la gente pierde un poco su rumbo, después de salir de su país de niño, o en balsa, va perdiendo su esencia", dijo a la prensa de Miami. También pidió a sus compatriotas en la Isla que resistan los deseos de irse. "Aguanten hasta el límite porque como el país de uno no hay otro".

Monday, November 8th, 2004 - Tiempo Libre in Chicago this Saturday night:

This just in from Lara Greene:

Tiempo Libre, a timba band from Miami that is headed by Joaquin "El Kid" Díaz, former singer for NG La Banda and corista for Manolín and Paulito FG. The band is working hard to pull it off as a timba band in the US, and the results so far are nothing to sneeze at. Also, they're writing new material, an accomplishment that has eluded other timba acts that have relocated to Miami.

Tiempo Libre will be at the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall (on the Northwestern University campus) this Saturday night, November 13, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $14 general, $9 with student i.d. Information. Here's the link for purchasing tickets.

And if you have little people, the musicians will be doing an educational workshop that morning at 10:30 a.m. in the same hall. Click here for more information.

Monday, November 8th, 2004 - Issac on Fire! - Perhaps reports of the death of Timba have been exaggerated. According to a very reliable source, Issac Delgado has put together yet another monster band. He played a 3-hour show last night at the Havana Café and other than a 6-tune guest appearance by Eliades Ochoa, it was pure Timba. The horn section features Alexander Abreu, Amaury Pérez and Germán Velazco and there are now several strong new songs.

Viernes, 5 de noviembre de 2004 - No tenemos la culpa! - Mira:

cuban music, musica cubana

Somos bien azúles! And in English, "blue" doesn't even begin to describe it. The Divided States of America has hit rock bottom and we can no longer blame it on George Bush -- incredibly, 51% of Yumas have given their official approval to this ongoing disaster.

As for me, I've been drinking rum and blasting the 1997 El Palacio version of Deja que Roberto te toque through my Genelecs ever since Tuesday night. The pain gets a little duller every day. The good news is that I think I'm finally starting to get a handle on the gears of the legendary Issac/Melón/Alain band. Stay tuned for more on that.

So now what? - There's almost no chance of any Timba tours in the US until 2009. In New York & New Jersey, however, you can check out Yordamis at SOB's on Friday, November 19, and Carlos Manuel on Saturday December 11 at Club España in Newark. For more information on Carlos, email Andy Pérez.

Save Up for that European Vacation - During summer, there are as many top Timba bands in Europe as there are in Havana, and it's not bad the rest of the year either. Check out Michelle's TOURS section, and don't forget to check her blog daily. She has a lot more to write about these days than I do. Maybe Michelle had the right idea when she defected from the "red state" of Colorado to Sweden.

Martes, 2 de noviembre de 2004 - Florida Florida Florida - La Florida es todo -- otra vez -- por lo menos según dice el sondeador más preciso de la yuma, John Zogby.

Todo el mundo tiene un tema decisivo -- el aborto, las células madre, el terrorismo, el desempleo, la seguridad social, el matrimonio gay, el medioambiente -- pero si estás leyendo La Última éste segundo martes de noviembre, puede que el tema que te define a sea la música cubana. Tanto gobiernos estadounidenses anteriores como Fidel Castro y sus «ministros culturales» han hecho todo lo posible por sabotagear la extraordinaria forma de expresión que inspiró el auge de este sitio web, pero, en pocas palabras, no hay peor que George W. Bush -- desde que los primeros yorubas aterrizaron en tierras caribeñas, no hay persona en la historia que haya podido hacerle más daño a la música cubana que éste energúmeno de Crawford, Texas.

George W. Bush es incapaz de reconocer ninguno de sus errores egregios, pero éste es uno de aquéllos que ni siquiera sabe haber cometido --don Jorgito junior no tiene idea de la clase de música country que se toca en Cuba. Su impacto sobre la música no se diferencia mucho de pisar a una hormiga por accidente en tu camino al buzón -- la hormiga, sin duda, ha muerto, pero el asesino camina feliz por la vida, sin darse cuenta del delito cometido. «W» no odia la música -- tampoco quiere separar a los cubanos de Miami de sus parientes en la isla -- lo único que le importa es ser re-elegido y continuar alzando el precio del petroleo. Pero piensa en esto: En el 2000, George Bush ganó Florida y la presidencia, apenas con 537 votos muy cuestionados. Tenía a favor al 80% del voto cubanoamericano. Existen 830,000 cubano-americanos en la Florida. Al Gore habría sido presidente si 269 de ellos hubiesen cambiado sus votos, si suponemos, por supuesto, que hubiesen podido prevenir las nefasta realidades de hoy, haber sido privados la oportunidad de ver a La Charanga Habanera, Chucho Valdés o Ibrahim Ferrer en concierto o de visitar a sus familiares más de una vez cada tres años... ¿qué irónico, no? Pero imagínense la ironía suprema y sublime si el «Presidente de Guerra», (que en vez de guerrear en Vietnam inhaló coca e hizo parranda), fuera aliviado de sus deberes por un margen similarmente insignificante a causa de su posición arrogante y ridícula frente a Cuba. Sólo pensar en un final tan perfecto me esboza la sonrisa de oreja a oreja como un hincha de ochenta años de las Medias Rojas de Boston.

Es la más dulce venganza, y salvo una por demás improbable marcha a las urnas de la generación Eminem, que podría quizás hacer del voto cubano en los EE.UU. una mera estadística (aunque ni siquiera...), la gente cubana tendrán, una vez más, la oportunidad de escoger al líder del Free World.
 
Mis amgios... se los digo con toda la seriedad del caso, las miradas todas han caído sobre el mismo lugar por segunda vez -- si estás registrado para votar en Florida, eres acreedor de un poder sin precedentes, pues con tu voto, tu íngrimo y único voto, puedes cambiar la Historia. No lo gastes.

Metiendo marcha con Paulito FG -- Pon clik aquí para el artículo sobre los ritmos de la Élite, traducido por Ilán Greenfield.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004 - Florida Florida Florida - It's all about Florida -- de nuevo -- at least according to America's most accurate pollster, John Zogby.

Everyone has a defining issue - abortion, stem cells, terrorism, jobs, health care, gay marriage, the environment -- but if you're reading La Última on the 2nd Tuesday of November, your defining issue just might be Cuban music. Previous US administrations, as well as Fidel Castro and his "cultural ministers", have done their very best to sabotage the extraordinary art form that inspired the creation of this website, but George W. Bush has trumped them all -- since before the first Yorubans landed in the Caribbean, no one has done more harm to Cuban music than this stupid, stubborn redneck from Crawford, Texas.

George W. Bush is incapable of admitting any of his egregious mistakes, but this is one mistake that neither he nor Karl Rove realizes he's committed -- George Jr. doesn't even know what kind of Country & Western music they play in Cuba. His impact on music is not all that different from what happens when you or I accidentally step on an ant while walking out to the mailbox -- the ant, sin duda, is dead, but the murderer is blissfully unaware of his crime. "W" doesn't really hate music -- nor does he really want to separate Miami Cubans from their relatives on the island -- he just wants to get re-elected and to continue to raise the price of oil. But consider this: In 2000, George Bush won Florida, and thus the presidency, by 537 heavily-disputed votes -- or, to look at it another way, by the single vote of his father's Supreme Court appointee, Clarence "Uncle" Thomas. But he wouldn't have been in a position to receive this overwhelming electoral mandate had he not carried 80% of the Cuban-American vote. There are 830,000 Cuban-Americans in Florida. Al Gore would be President if 269 of them had changed their votes in precognizant anticipation of being deprived of the opportunity to hear Charanga Habanera, Chucho Valdés, or Ibrahim Ferrer, or of visiting their families more than once every three years ... ¿qué irónico, no? But imagine the supreme, sublime irony should the "War President", (who spent the Vietnam War snorting coke and driving drunk), be relieved of his command by a similarly small margin because of his arrogant and ridiculous stance on Cuba. The very thought of such a gloriously fitting outcome makes me grin from ear to ear like an 86-year old Boston Red Sox fan.

No revenge could be sweeter, and barring an unprecedented march to polls by the Eminem generation, which could (but probably won't) turn the Cuban vote into a meaningless statistic, los cubanos will once again choose the leader of the Free World.

Seriously, my friends, lightning has struck twice in the same place -- if you are a registered voter in Florida, (or conceivably Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Hawaii, Minnesota or Wisconsin) you have been granted the power, with your single vote, to change history. Don't waste it.

Metiendo marcha con Paulito FG -- Pon clik aquí para el artículo sobre los ritmos de la Élite, traducido por Ilán Greenfield.

Miércoles, 28 de octubre, 2004 - Yordamis en SOB's - El nuevo grupo de Yordamis Megret, la ex-diva de Bamboleo, va a tocar en SOB's en Nueva York el 19 de noviembre a las 9:00 p.m.

Y su entrevista exclusiva con timba.com - Pon clik aquí para nuestra nueva entrevista con Yordamis, y aquí para su nueva página en el directorio de músicos.

Tuesday, October 27, 2004 - Lyric analysis of PFG: Y San Toma qué! - Ilán has started transcribing, and, even more interestingly, analyzing and explaining the many nuances of the concert versions of Y San Toma qué discussed in the Gears article below. Click here for his transcription and analysis of the 12-1997 Plaza de la Revolucón version.

Monday, October 26, 2004 - Reelin' in the Gears - A Study of Timba's Greatest Rhythm Section: Paulito FG y su Élite - 1998 - including 7 complete live mp3's from the golden era of Timba. Just a little something to distract you while you wait to see if the US electorate is going to let George Bush make your life miserable for another 4 years. I've done my best to write this so that non-musicians can appreciate the genius of this extraordinary group. Click here.

NYC Section updated: click here for the details on La Timba Loca this Thursday at the Copacabana.

Miércoles, 19 de octubre, 2004 - Carlos Manuel coming to Newark - Check the Timba in New York home page for the latest on El Malo Cantidad. And while you're at it, la gente de New Jersey, DON'T FORGET TO VOTE FOR TIMBA ON NOV. 2nd! NJ is apparently a borderline swing state.

Miércoles, 19 de octubre, 2004 - Atención Florida... Las elecciones se están llevando a cabo en Florida. El resultado determinará si tendremos que vivir 4 años más sin Música Cubana en los Estados Unidos. También afectará directamente a aquéllos cubano-americanos que querrán frecuentar sus familias en Cuba. No afectará el bloqueo. ¡ANDA Y VOTA!

Attention Florida! -- The election is now in progress in Florida. The outcome will directly determine whether or not we have 4 more years of no live Cuban music in the United States. It will also directly determine how often Cuban-Americans can visit their families in Cuba. It will not affect the embargo. GO VOTE!

Click here for an ABC News article on Cuban families.

Of course, there are other important issues in this campaign besides Cuban music ... (just kidding).

OTHER BATTLEGROUND STATES: Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, New Hampshire. If you want to hear live Timba before 2009, this is your last chance to do something about it.

Sunday, October 3 - Sign the Timba Petition! - Click Here - Below is a brief description of what this is all about. For more info, click on Timba in NYC to the left.

We urge NYC radio stations La Mega, Latino Mix, Amor FM, and WBAI to include contemporary Cuban salsa (known as timba) in their playlists.

Saturday, October 2, 2004 - Controversial New Interview from Havana -- Kevin Mastro (no relation!) has sent us a truly fascinating interview with Cuban timba pianist/arranger/composer Gustavo Jones, the musical director of a new timba band called HavanaWay. This is not your standard warm and fuzzy interview. It's extremely candid and deals in depth with the inner workings of the highly competitive Havana club scene and gives us an idea of the special difficulties faced by new bands trying to make a name for themselves.

Clearly, the live Latin music scene in Havana is infinitely more intense and productive than that of any of the cities where the rest of us unfortunate losers find ourselves marooned. But just as clearly, the amount of great music coming out of Cuba today pales in comparison to the "Golden Era" of 1989 - 2000. You've heard my theories on all of this. Now listen to the musings of someone in trenches. You haven't heard of him -- yet -- but Gustavo Jones has spent 29 years fighting his way to Havana's promised land -- the stages of Casa de la Música, Café Cantante, and La Tropical. Click here to check out Gustavo's take on the past, present and future of the timba phenomenon.

Timba in NYC & Europe -- Remember that if I'm off in a batá-induced stupor and haven't updated La Última for a while, timba.com is still growing in leaps and bounds. You can always click on Michelle's Section and Linda Rodríguez' Timba in NYC and the Duniel Report to get the latest updates. All of these have been updated several times since my last postings.

More on the Tampa Hoax -- After an expose in the Tampa Tribune, the promotor of the ill-fated concert is currently wanted by the police.

Mauricio Herrera -- When Paulito lost legendary drummer Yoel Páez to Issac Delgado in 1999, he found a strong replacement in Mauricio Herrera, but Mauricio unfortunately disappeared from the Timba scene after only one album with PFG. Recently he contacted timba.com from Mexico City and has sent us some photos and an autobiographical resume.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - Would you believe ... ??? -- With the caveat that almost nothing I say is going to happen ever actually happens, and the further caveat that even less that a certain Manuel González Hernández says is going to happen ever actually happens, and the further caveat that absolutely nothing that has anything to do with Cuban music that ever actually does happen ever happens the way it was supposed to happen, and the further caveat that there may be other caveats which haven't occurred to me yet, without further ado, timba.com is proud to bring you news of the most exciting event which has been supposed to happen in a very, very, very long time: According to Duniel, according to Lázaro González, according to Manolín, El Médico de la Salsa and his brilliant arranger Luis Bu will be travelling to Spain in two weeks to record an all-timba CD of new material with Alain Pérez, Melón González, Yoel Páez, Daria Delgado and other Madrid-dwelling veterans of the golden era of Timba.

Thursday, September 16, 2004 - MIchel Maza Section -- Click here for photos, lyrics, interviews and Ilán's review of the great new CD "Fieeeesta!".

More Timba in NYC Updates -- Click here for updates to the Clubs, Classes, and Events pages.

Monday, September 7, 2004 - Timba in NYC Updates -- Linda Rodríguez is back from a long trip to Havana and has posted two new updates to the Timba in New York section, including the latest upcoming shows from DJ Gary Domínguez.

Sunday, September 6, 2004 - Apologies from timba.com ... to any and all who were victimized by the Tampa hoax after reading our reports. Some people assume that timba.com is officially connected with Charanga Habanera and the other major groups. In fact, that's not true -- we're just fans, passing along information as it comes to us and this time it certainly seemed legitimate, given that tickets were sold at multiple locations, radio ads were aired, and the convention center confirmed the show. I was leery about the visas coming through but I never suspected that it could be an intentional scam. Timba has really hit rock bottom in the USA.

Friday, September 3, 2004 - A Cruel Hoax in Tampa -- It was like a Rockford Files con game -- after collecting thousands of dollars from eager Charangueros, charging for parking, and even going so far as to set up the instruments on stage just as CH sets them up (albeit with a telltale trapset in place of CH's signature timbales with kick drum), the fraudulent promoters slipped out the back door with the cash, leaving the confused sound technicians, convention center employees and local police to deal with an angry mob of jilted timberos. So the answer to the mystery question (How did CH get entry visas?) is, simply: They didn't. Turns out they're in Italy. After 4 years of musical prohibition under Mullah Omar Bush, this was the last thing the long-suffering American Timba fans needed. My solution is to forget about Timba until after the elections. If anyone wants to join me in the study of batá music, email me for the latest version of my Oru Seco transcription.

Wednesday, September 1, 2004 - More details on Charanga in Tampa THIS FRIDAY -- Further details from Lara Greene:

Tickets are $25 in advance, and $35 at the door, which will open at 8 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at:
La Teresita Grocery (3302 W. Colombus Drive, 813-876-2024),
El Oso Blanco Supermarket (3611 W Hillsborough Ave, 813-872-6112)
West Tampa Sandwich Shop (3904 N. Armenia Ave, 813-873-7104).

You can't buy them with a credit card over the phone -- in person only. The Convention Center Box Office might be selling them now, but they sure weren't yesterday -- both people I spoke to on the phone said that they don't sell tickets there.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - Charanga Habanera: Live in the USA de nuevo in 2004? -- Could it be? So says our intrepid reporter Duniel. Someone must've snuck through the visas while war hero George was out on the town in his flight suit slammin' down a few cervezas with the Swift Boat Vets.

¡Charanga Habanera in Tampa!
September 3, 2004
West Tampa Convention Center

3005 W. Columbus Dr.
813-870-0559

Tickets can also be bought at Bodegas, La Teresita, el Tico y Mariol, El Oso Blanco and the Convention Center Box Office. Have fun, and don't forget to register to vote so we don't have to wait another 4 years to see them again.

And to torture me, Duniel hints that they may be planning to go to California after Tampa, but no details yet. Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 29, 2004 - Major Updates: Klimax, Chacón y el Riki Ricón -- While I've been in freefall, down the magical rabbit hole of batá music, Michelle and Duniel have been been holding down the fort in the world of Timba. I'll be posting as often as possible, but for la más última, check Michelle's column daily, and watch out for news on plans for the EURO TEAM CUBA CD & CONCERT TOUR! And this time it's no April Fools' joke!

KLIMAX: Duniel has sent in a detailed report on the new Klimax album, Nadie se parece a ti, and a lengthy and extraordinary interview with one of the giants of Timba, Giraldo Piloto. And don't forget to check out Piloto's 2004 Festival de Tambor.

EUROPE: ....and Michelle is back from vacation with the new Osvaldo Chacón section, including a concert report from Switzerland, and an updated tour schedule., plus major renovations to the Dantes y su Bomba section, including a link to his slick new website, and the latest on Cuban hip-hop sensations, Clan 357.

Thursday, August 12, 2004 - New Bamboleo Fotos from Ivette -- from a recent performance at La Casa de la Música.

Giraldo Piloto's 2004 Festival de Tambor -- This just in from Piloto himself:

Estoy organizando junto al Centro Provincial de la Música "Antonio Maria Romeu", la 5ª Edición del Festival Fiesta del Tambor, o Havana Drum Festival 2004, dedicado al 75 Aniversario del nacimiento de Guillermo Barreto, que se desarrollará del 2 al 7 de Noviembre en varios de los escenarios mas importantes de Ciudad Habana.

En el mismo participaran importantes personalidades musicales nacionales e internacionales, y nos gustaría hacer extensiva la invitacion al mismo a todos los amantes de la Percusión Cubana, el Latin Jazz, el Folklor Afrocubano, y la Música Cubana en general.

En el caso de los percusionistas, tendrán la oportunidad de participar en el concurso que se hace paralelo al Festival, y de esta forma compartir sus conocimientos y habilidades con talentosos percusionistas del patio, asi como de otras latitudes.

Para conseguir facilidades de traslado, hospedaje, acreditación, etc; deben escribir al Sr José Luis Echave (Director Comercial del C.P.M. "Antonio Maria Romeu"), y enviar una copia a nuestras direcciones electrónicas:

romeu@cubarte.cult.cu
piloto@cubarte.cult.cu

Which is to say, if you're planning a trip to Cuba, try for the first week of November when Piloto will be hosting his annual drum festival, with dozens of events and guest stars. To find out more click here to email Piloto and check out the schedule here.

Thursday, August 12, 2004 - Well, I'm back from batá/rumba camp, which was quite incredible. More on that to come. Meanwhile, Michelle is in London, and reports that Calixto Oviedo wil be recording a Latin Jazz CD with his son Yulién and Lily Hernández. More on this to come.

Lara Greene has put together a section for Miami-based Timberos, Tiempo Libre.This group is led by Joaquín "El Kid" Díaz, who has sung with NG La Banda, Paulito and most recently Manolín. Lara says a concert report is forthcoming. In the meantime you can see them yourself at the South Street Seaport in New York this Friday at 6:00 p.m.

Coming soon: and interview and lots of new information on Klímax and the 2004 Festival de Tambores from Duniel and from Piloto himself.

Friday, July 23, 2004 - Two New CD Reviews from Ilán: Klímax: Nadie se parece a ti and Michel Maza: Fieeeesta!

Thursday, July 22, 2004 - This just in: PAULO FG y NG LA BANDA juntos en concierto - Jueves 29 de Julio - Napoli - Caraibi Casa De La Musica

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - New Klimax CD Available - And worth the wait! Click here for a preview.

Rebeca Mauleón-Santana 2nd CD Release Party with Jimmy Branly tonight and tomorrow at Yoshi's in Oakland, featuring the phenomenal Jimmy Branly, who played drums with NG La Banda, Mamborama, and Issac Delgado. Rebeca is a brilliant pianist, writer, singer and educator and is also the person responsible for getting your faithful author interested in Cuban music (but don't hold it against her!). Here's the full lineup of her all-star Latin Jazz band:

Rebeca Mauleón (piano, vocals, ...)
Jimmy Branly (drums)
Sandy Pérez (bata, percussion)
Edgardo Cambón (congas, vocals)
Alex Murzyn (saxophones, flute)
Jeff Buenz (guitar)
Gary Brown (bass)

Rebeca will also be at Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz on Monday, July 26th with this group:

Edgardo Cambon (perc, vocals)
Jeff Buenz (guitar)
Alex Murzyn (sax/flute)
David Belove (bass)
Paul Van Wageningen (drums)

To hear clips from the new CD, Latin Fire, click here.

New Charanga Habanera photos from Claudia D'ammassa.

News from Michelle on a new David Calzado interview.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004 -- Sneak Preview of the new Charanga Habanera CD! -- Click here for Michelle's track by track review of the still unreleased Charanga Suave, with two audio clips. You can also read the David Calzado Interview to hear DC's thoughts on the new disc.

Sunday, July 18, 2004 -- Updates:

Concert Report: Paulito FG in Paris - by Maarten Hendrik Liefrink

Michelle White on Changuito, Tata Güines and the Cuban Grammy Project

23 Musicians Directory Updates from Lara Greene

Dantes y su Bomba - Las últimas noticias

Friday, July 16, 2004 -- Paulito FG at La Galerie in Paris Saturday night -- Click here for more info.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004 -- For a Change: Music & Politics -- Thanks to Andy Pérez for sending this link to an excerpt from Eugene Robinson's "Last Dance in Havana". It's so fascinating that I ordered the book immediately.

I wouldn't have said that, or have done that, after my last trip to Cuba -- just before George Bush took office. I couldn't have been bothered. At that time I found politics profoundly UN-fascinating. Believe it or not -- it wasn't until the very day of 9/11 that I heard GWB's voice for the first time! Prior to that -- I didn't even know what he looked like -- when someone said "George Bush", I mentally pictured Will Farrell, whom I had seen impersonating him on SNL.

Well, that was then and this is now -- I thought Bush vs. Gore was a ridiculous and irrelevant contest which would have no effect on my life -- oops. Considering that my life (and I use that term advisedly) basically consists of timba, batá, and more timba, Mr. Bush's Cuba policy has turned me into an ardent and angry follower of current events.

Of course, the effect of politics on music is random and unintentional. George Bush, Fidel Castro, Bill Clinton, and Mikhail Gorbachev would have difficulty naming three Timba songs between them, but, as explained in the MSN article, Timba would probably not even exist if it weren't for the effects that the policies of these men had on the lives of the musicians and music fans of Havana in the 1990's. I've actually been saying stuff like this for years in my articles on Charanga Habanera, Manolín, NG La Banda and Los Van Van, but those were written when I didn't even know who Will Farrell was, so I have to say I'm quite amazed to see my fanciful theories validated by a writer who has thoroughly studied the non-musical aspects of Cuban history.

But as fascinating as it is to trace the serendipitous influence of politics on the extraordinary Cuban music of the 1990's, there's another more disturbing issue to be examined here -- the influence of politics on the Cuban music of the 21st century.

Why has the level of creativity and intensity of Cuban Music decreased (with a few notable exceptions) since the turn of the century?

If John Kerry were elected President and US-Cuba travel restrictions were relaxed to their Clinton Era levels, or even further, it would give me something more interesting to write about, but what effect would it have on the music itself? And when Cuban musicians were able to freely tour the US, what effect did that experience have on the bottom line -- the music they recorded on their subsequent albums?

When Fidel Castro leaves office, (if any of the rest of us is still alive to discuss it), what will happen politically and economically in Cuba and what effect will that have on the music?

and most disturbing:

Why has no one, Cuban or otherwise, been able to maintain a vibrant, creative Timba band outside of Havana? If, as maintained by Mr. Robinson (and myself), extreme economic hardship and political uncertainty led directly to the Timba revolution of the 1990's, why has unprecented prosperity and political stability in the US and Europe produced such a depressing creative vacuum in the Latin music world?

Is great music, like vintage wine, best produced under the harshest conditions?

Sunday, July 11, 2004 -- Updates from Duniel and Ilán -- Ilán has a few updates and promises more when his current concert binge subsides, and Duniel has the latest from Miami, including what appears to be the most happening band of the moment, Elain Morales, as well as news on Calixto Oviedo and Pachito Alonso. Los dos son en inglés y español.

Friday, July 9, 2004 -- Gracias Michelle -- (No, it's not a new CD from Juan Ceruto). This week Michelle White celebrates her first year of writing for timba.com, including 10 scintillating interviews, a dozen eat-your-heart-out concert reports, and countless lyric transcriptions.

The Missing Cuban Musicians -- If you've got the stomach for it, click here to read The Missing Cuban Musicians - Ned Sublette's comprehensive report on the tragic and senseless history of the United States government's War on Music.

The First Annual Halliburton Timba Festival? -- The New York Times attributes this quote to John Gibson, president of Halliburton's Energy Services Group: "Sanctions are a very U.S.-centric thing, and I believe that free enterprise will establish better relationships".

No, this isn't another one of my April Fools' jokes.

It's actually true that even Dick Cheney's former company opposes the Bush Administration's Cuba policy.

Of course, if you read the article, you'll see that this Mr. Gibson's passion might not be so much to hear Los Van Van en vivo as to find a way to profit from the potential existence of new oil reserves off of Cuban shores. The rest of the quote: "There are foreign companies making money in those countries, and I think American companies should have a shot at those markets as well." Of course, this is the same point the Republican-controlled Congress has been trying to get across to their tongue-tied lummox of a leader for four years now, but coming from his "base" - the haves and have-mores of Halliburton - it might carry a little more weight. With the intoxicating aroma of fresh petroleum wafting through the windows of the Oval Office, even Ibrahim Ferrer might seem somewhat less of a terrorist threat.

Thursday, July 1, 2004 -- La Protesta del Chivo -- All told, I've seen about 175 timba concerts, but Michelle White and Ilán Greenfield have each seen more in the last two weeks than I've seen in the last 4 years (thanks a lot for that, George ... and don't think you can make it up to me by reading me "My Pet Goat" again).

In any case, my fellow Americans, until 2005, reading concert reports is as close as we're likely to get to the real thing, so enjoy the latest two installments from Michelle:

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Que Pupy Tiene Candela
Pupy Pedroso y Los Que Son Son - Copenhagen

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Timba in Disneyland
Maraca y Otra Visión - EuroDisney

Monday, June 28, 2004 -- Documentary Tonight: The Missing Cuban Musicians -- Fahrenheit 9/11 is getting all the press, but it fails to delve into perhaps the most undebatably senseless and unforgivable sin of the Bush Administration -- the unnecessary sabotage of the cultural exchange between the US & Cuba. Even many diehard supporters of Bush's policies on Iraq are vehemently opposed to his shortsighted and truly stupid attacks on the musical, cultural, and personal ties which have the potential to bring together and reconcile the people of these two neighboring countries.

Tonight, KUNM presents an online radio discussion of a special report entitled "The Missing Cuban Musicians" at 7:00 p.m. PDT. Click here to obtain the report in written form. The principal author, who will be featured on the radio program, is none other than Ned Sublette, legendary to timbaphiles as the man who released NG La Banda's "En la calle", the first timba CD, in the US. His label, QBDISC, also released Issac Delgado's "Con ganas", Ritmo Oriental's 2-volume "Historia de la Ritmo", and many other classic recordings. Also featured will be Bill Martínez, the brilliant San Francisco attorney who worked so many miracles during the Clinton Administration to bring hundreds of Cuban concerts to the US. Click here for the complete details.

Saturday, June 26, 2004 -- Timba en Disneylandia -- Disney's European division is doing its best to atone for the sins of its US counterpart, which tried and failed to derail the current documentary on "El saboteador de la Timba" (Jorge WB). To further celebrate the occasion Ilán Greenfield has filed this series of photo-essays on the recent Euro-Disney timba fest:

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Parte 1: El Clan e invitados

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Parte 2: Los Van Van

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Parte 3: Los premios de timba.com

Azúcar Negra's Sin mirar atrás and new Dantes fotos -- See Michelle's column. And keep checking regularly -- she promises to add new material on Maraca and Pupy soon.

Saturday, June 26, 2004 - Peter Maiden Photography Exhibit in San Francisco - Peter Maiden shifts his focus from Timba to politics in an exhibition of his work for the SF Bay Indymedia website at the Reverie Café in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco from June 16 to July 30. Click here for more information, including an audio interview with Peter. And click here to check out some of Peter's gorgeous timba photos.

cuban music, musica cubanaFriday, June 25, 2004 -- Concert Report: Manolito in Amsterdam -- Michelle White, having just heard Los Van Van, El Clan and Maraca, was still able to make it to Melkweg ("The Milky Way") in Amsterdam to hear the band which got her started on the road to Timba fanaticism, Manolito y su Trabuco. Click here for her concert report and twelve stunning photographs from the show.

Ilán Greenfield was at the same two shows and has updated the Timba in France section with his mini-reviews: English y español.

As for me, the closest I'm going to get to a timba concert this weekend is a Northern California screening of Fahrenheit 911. (That's the temperature at which timbale sticks burn).

cuban music, musica cubanaEntrevista en audio con Orestes Calderón -- Michelle's latest audio interview is with Timba cello phenom and timba.com award winner, Orestes Calderón of Manolito y su Trabuco. Click here. Pon clik aquí.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004 -- Michelle has news on Dantes y su Bomba and Linda has posted her last New York column before leaving for Cuba -- we're hoping to publish a journal of her experiences in regular installments. Australia's leading timbera Gabriel Wilder is also in Havana, so stay tuned for lots of first-hand accounts. As for your faithful reporter -- alas -- I haven't left the country since Bill Clinton left the White House. Pero tengo mi mecánica! I've managed to keep in touch through live tapes. Here are my impressions of the Havana scene in the first half of 2004 -- Pupy y Los Que Son Son are absolutely dominating -- the groove is torrid, the singing sublime, lots of new material and the horn section is playing better live than most bands do in the studio. Also on the upswing is the rejuvenated Charanga Forever, with great new material and tighter horns and coros than at any time since their rehearsals were directed by David Calzado. Manolito, as always, is impeccable. Tirso Duarte's band was sounding tighter and adding some great new material, but now has apparently just broken up. Michel Maza's live show is unfortunately not nearly as tight as his excellent new CD -- the horns and coros sound very unrehearsed -- here's a charanguero whose act really misses the intense rehearsals of DC! Los Ángeles de La Habana have gotten a lot tighter and continue to play enough exciting timba and clever arranging ideas to make up for their forays into the dicey world of moña. Tania Pantoja is sounding more comfortable with Bamboleo, and Klimax, whose great new CD should be available at timba.com any day now, is also sounding very strong. I'm not sure who's currently playing piano but he's very creative, especially in the descarga sections.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004 -- LVV en Europa -- Michelle & Ilán were on hand for a festival featuring Los Van Van, El Clan, Haila, and others. Michelle presented timba.com awards to the various winners. Click here for more.

NYC Updates -- click here

Ivette pages updated - click here

Cool new LVV website -- click here

Cool new Havana Concert Guide -- click here

Cool new Cuban musician in Northern California -- click here

Saturday, June 12, 2004 -- Me voy! -- I'll be out of town for about 10 days, but check Michelle's column daily for the latest timba news and timba.com updates, such as Ilán's updated column, Marcando la Distancia, and a flood of new updates to the Timba in France section.

Remember that both of these columns and much more can be accessed directly by clicking the links at the top of the Artists section to your left.

Friday, June 11, 2004 -- Timba in France Updated -- Click here for Ilán's fascinating historical perspective on French-Cuban relations and a full schedule of upcoming timba events in France.

Michelle White's column debuts! -- Click here (or directly to the left, at the top of the Artists list, for regularly updated news and commentary from Europe's leading timbera.

Timba in New York -- Linda Rodríguez, in the midst of jet-setting her way all over the western hemisphere, has still managed to find time to update the rapidly growing Timba in New York section.

Monday, June 7, 2004 -- News from Spain on Yulién Oviedo -- Yulién's home page has been updated and this news just in:

As always Yulién¹s performance was brilliant. They were at El Festimac, a very important festival in Europe with the cream of rock, soul and hip-hop. Now Yulién is on tour in Spain and preparing, alternating with his work, his first CD. In addition Yulién is working to prepare his new band in which he will sing and alternate with his father, Calixto Oviedo, and Pavel Rodriguez on the percussion. And also taking part in the group in Spain will be Yarién Oviedo, the youngest of the talented Oviedo family.

Yulién send his greetings to all his fans and to his brothers in the orchestra los Charangueros.

Sunday, June 6, 2004 -- Michel Maza with Sergio Noroña! - ¡Fieeeesta!, is easily Michel's most exciting release since his Charanga days, largely due to the presence of Sergio Noroña, whom I consider one of the 5 most important timba pianists based on his work with Paulito on Con la conciencia tranquila. I'll have more on this soon.

Saturday, June 5, 2004 -- Lots of Updates:

The new Pachito Alonso section now has two more audio interviews from Michelle White: diva Osdalgia Lesmes, and the founding pianist of NG La Banda, Rodolfo Argudín "Peruchín".

Meanwhile, Ilán Greenfield has translated his Bamboleo concert report to English and both versions now have five audio excerpts of Bamboleo en vivo. Also, the Bamboleo LIVE, PHOTOS and INTERVIEWS pages have all been updated to add the recent material.

Finally, Linda Rodríguez has updated the New York Timba HOME and EVENTS pages.

Jueves, 4 de Junio, 2004 -- "Tres Lindas Entrevistas Cubanas" (en audio) -- Escucha las entrevistas de Pachito Alonso, Calixto Oviedo y José Luis Arango - conducidas por Michelle White.

Greenfield caught the Bamboleo show at La Galerie in Paris and filed this multi-page report - complete with audio examples!!!

Main Concert Report (en español)

Concert Photos

Interview with Lázaro Valdés (English)

Entrevista con Lázaro Valdés (español)

Tuesday, June 2, 2004 -- Yaqueline Castellanos Interview -- Michelle White had the opportunity to interview the legendary "dama del son" when she sat in to sing "Yo ne me parezco a nadie" with Azúcar Negra last month.

Click here for the Yaqueline Castellanos interview in English.

Oprime aquí para la entrevista con Yaqueline Castellanos en español.

Monday, May 31, 2004 -- Pachito Alonso section added -- Inspired by this week's concert in Stockholm, Michelle has created great new section for one of the bands that timba.com has overlooked for way too long. Her concert report, "Reuniones", is must-read account of the historic combination of Pachito's group with Tata Güines, Calixto Oviedo, Peruchín, Rolando Pérez Pérez, and Osdalgia. There's also a discography, a full set of musician bio's, a news section, a fotos section, and coming soon, interviews with no less than five of the musicians. Special thanks to the excellent photographer Ulises Jacas for providing the foto for the concert review.

News from Cubadisco -- This just in from conguero Roberto Barrueto:

Manolito is on FIRE right now. They have songs that are already newer than Locos Por Mi Habana. The new singer from Tumbao Habana (el Miami? I think is his apodo) is dynamite. I've never heard them better. Havana loves el Trabuco right now.

Klimax had their CD release concert but the actual CD still hasn't been released (how classically Cuban). With the exception of Juan Carlos, the whole front line is different. Including their first woman (Mónica). The new pianist, Saldivar -- from Paulito, has some interesting reworkings of their classic tumbaos.I think this band still needs to gel a little bit more, and they will be scary good. They've reinserted Conseja a un Amiga into their repertoire which always throws me into nirvana. A possible Canadian and European tour is coming up.

In the popularity contest between Van Van and Pupi, Los Van Van has regained the crowd. The new songs are hot, but the crowd still clamors for Te Pone La Cabeza Mala. Pupi has recovered fine from losing Tirso (Chucho says that he's in London recording), but they've only added 2 new songs (3 if you include Disco Azúcar).

Saturday, May 29, 2004 -- Bamboleo in France Tonight! -- Ilán's new Timba in France section is under construction. Click here for news on Bamboleo at La Galerie.

Los Ángeles de La Habana at Cubadisco -- The annual Cubadisco festival has begun. Click here for Ivette's new fotos of one of Cuba's hottest young groups.

Friday, May 21, 2004 -- Updates from Ivette in Havana -- New updates to the Ivette León Report and the News sections of Los Ángeles de La Habana and El Clan.

Linda Rodríguez is on a roll with several more updates to the Timba in New York section, including coverage of the East Coast's top timba bands: Alexis y Su Sabor Habanero, La Timba Loca, Lisandro y Su Tratado, and Rico Tumbao

New Paulito Lyrics -- Ilán Greenfield has just sent in Exclusivamente exclusivo from "El bueno soy yo".

Friday, May 21, 2004 -- Lots of Updates! -- The Timba in New York section is growing in leaps and bounds and has recent updates to each of it 10 sub-sections.

Test Your Knowledge of Cuban Slang! - Majela Serrano is back online and has been working with Michelle to fine-tune the Charanga Habanera Lyrics section. Majela, a great singer and a graduate of the Havana conservatory Amadeo Roldán, attended nearly every CH rehearsal and concert for three years running and is able to effortlessly transcribe the many nuances of Cuban slang in Timba. Try writing down the lyrics to a CH song and then check Majela's definitive version to see how you did.

Tuesday May 18, 2004 -- New Duniel Report -- click here for the latest from Duniel -- news on Sur Caribe, Azúcar Negra, a new cover version of Manolín's Es que me la lleva from Orquesta Revé, Dan Den, Havana City and much more. And if you're in Miami, Duniel highly recommends checking out Elain Morales, ex-cantante of Pachito Alonso on May 28th at Hoy Como Ayer, and Miami based Timberos Tiempo Libre at Soccer 7 on May 18th, and every Friday thereafter.

Lunes, 17 de mayo, 2004 -- The Ivette León Report Updated -- Noticias del nuevo disco de la Charanga Habanera -- "Charanga Suave" y de ex-Charanguero Yulién Oviedo. Oprime aquí.

Nueva Sección de Dan Den -- La misma Ivette León ha empezado a construír una sección sobre un de los primeros grupos de Timba: Juan Carlos Alfonso y Dan Den.

Domingo, 16 de mayo, 2004 -- Entrevista con Leonel Limonta en 2 formas -- Léela o Escúchala.

Leonel Limonta Interview in two formats -- We now have Michelle White's fascinating Leonel Limonta interview in audio and written format. This is very cool for those of us learning the nuances of the Cuban dialect. You can listen to Limonta answer each question in the audio version, and then see if he really said what you thought he said in the transcribed version. The transcribed version is also valuable for those who still can't hear the audio examples on timba.com. (although that problem can be easily remedied by downloading Winamp for free.)

Saturday, May 15, 2004 -- Concert Report - Azúcar Negra in Malmo -- Click here for a new report from Michelle White with loads of great photos - "2 de Azúcar".

New York Timba Updates -- Updates from Linda Rodríguez to 'De La Habana a Nueva York" and the NYC Events page.

Friday, May 14, 2004 -- El Solar de la California -- There's a nice new article at Solar de la Timba which plays the classic Issac Delgado/Juan Formell song while showing you fotos of the Havana landmark that inspired it. Click here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 -- New York & Europe -- Lots of updates in the New York & Tours sections.

Sunday, May 9, 2004 -- El médico hace 10 años -- Lee el nuevo artículo muy interesante de Ilán - "Un tipo loco" - y escucha ejemplos de audio de un concierto de Manolín en Cuba en 1995. Pon clik aquí.

It's well worth learning Spanish just to read Ilán Greenfield's latest two articles, Un tipo loco (a concert review of an historic Manolín concert ten years ago), and De Rodolfo Cárdenas y Pupy Pedroso which received a emotional rave review from Pupy himself. And even if you don't read a word of Spanish you'll enjoy these articles just for the rare audio mp3 clips embedded in each one.

The World's Largest Latin Music Website? -- We're pretty sure timba.com holds that distinction by a considerable margin, especially with the latest surge of excellent contributions from Michelle White, Ilán Greenfield, Ivette León, and Linda Rodríguez. Counting pages, pictures and audio clips, there are almost 5,500 files in the Artists section alone, and some of those are articles with as many as 30,000 words. ¡Surféate! And if your computer won't play the embedded mp3's you're really missing on a lot of the value of the articles. If they're not playing, ust download Winamp for free (click here).

Saturday, May 8, 2004 -- Nueva Timba Dura de Issac!! -- As some groups (unfortunately, to my ears) turn to moña and reggaetón, Issac Delgado is returning to a more aggressive and exciting timba dura style. Check out this excerpt from his new hit, Tú que has amado tanto, recently heard on Havana radio.

Meanwhile, Timba journalist Ilán Greenfield, who just finished writing a stirring homenaje to Rodolfo Cárdena and Pupy Pedroso, is already hard at work on a great article on el Médico de la Salsa, complete with rare live concert clips from 1995, when the band had just begun to play La bola in concert. Stay tuned!

Timba in New York -- If you live on the East Coast, or if you just want to see what you're missing, bookmark the Timba in New York page which is updated very frequently with all the latest on La Yuma's fastest growing Timba scene and its exciting grass roots movement to get Timba on the airwave and visiting Timba bands back in the country.

Timba in Europe & Canada -- Timba in New York -- The CURRENT TOURS - GIRAS section is also updated almost daily with details of the summer Timba Invasion.

Monday, May 3, 2004 -- ¡TIMBA EN VIVO!-- The frequently updated CURRENT TOURS - GIRAS section now has SIXTEEN schedules -- there won't be anyone left to play in Cuba! Haila will be playing the Lula Lounge in Toronto and all the rest are in Europe. There's still hope for a Manolín tour in the US this summer, but no dates have been announced.

Sunday, May 2, 2004 -- New York - New Jersey section Online -- Thanks to the tireless efforts of Linda Rodríguez, the NY/NJ section is now online - it can be accessed directly by clicking the Timba in New York link to the left, under Artists. It will feature a regular article, like La Última, but dealing specifically with the East Coast Timba Scene. Click here for "De La Habana a Nueva York". There will be links to clubs, dance teachers, events, discussion groups, etc.

Timba Activism - ¡Porque La Mega no se Pega!-- The most exciting part of the New York section is the Timba Activism page. Even beyond George Bush's Cultural Embargo, Timba faces monumental obstacles in the United States. There's a very conscious multi-corporation policy of not playing Cuban music on the major media center radio stations and Ms. Rodríguez & Co. have decided to stop taking this lying down! The Timba Activism page is a way that disenfranchised Timba fans can make their voices heard as a group and restore freedom of the airwaves.

La CH at "El Fanguito" -- Ivette takes us to the legendary barrio of El Fanguito for a Charanga Habanera rehearsal and interviews singers Aned Mota, Noel Díaz and Leonid Torres.

Saturday, May 1, 2004 -- Major Feature Article on Los Van Van lyricist Rodolfo Cárdenas -- An in-depth article, with multiple audio examples from Ilán Greenfield on the late great Rodolfo Cárdenas, the master lyricist who wrote, among many other classics, Los Van Van's "Que le den candela". Click here.

Massive Tour Updates -- Almost every tour schedule has been updated and new ones added ffor Bamboleo and others. See CURRENT TOURS - GIRAS to the left - the second entry under the newly updated Artists section.

Thursday, April 30,, 2004 -- Rave Reviews for Azúcar Negra in Europe -- Noted Dutch Timba freak Arno Hollemon had this to say after seeing Azúcar Negra in Ultrecht.

"Wowwwww..... went to see AN last night in Utrecht and to be honest I was little bit wary beforehand, because they're one of my favorite live-bands and with all the singers changing wasn't sure what to expect.....

These worries were completely out of place!!! They were absolutely great!!! I really like the 2 new girls.... well, what can I say.... I did get lucky enough to be invited on stage by Biunaikis and had a really nice dance together with her ;-))) Afterwards they signed my new CD! For us Dutch timba fans it was double good, because this was a new venue, which was pretty good: good sound, small and intimate only very, very hot! Don't think I experienced anything like this even in Cuba."

-- Arno Hollemon, Holland

Audio Interview with Leonel Limonta -- This is a great interview in a really interesting format. Michelle has embedded mp3's so you can hear Limonta's long and fascinating answers to her questions. Bassist/arranger Adalberto Domínguez "El Bamba" also jumps into the fray to answer some of the more technical questions on Azúcar Negra's rhythmic format.. Pon clik aquí para la entrevista (audio) con Leonel Limonta, lider de Azúcar Negra.

Sunday, April 25, 2004 -- Los Oviedo!-- Michelle caught Calixto's band in Copenhagen and filed this concert report. It seems that Calixto, not to be outdone by his prodigious prodigal son Yulién, has now taken up singing! He's even hired another drummer. Click here for the whole story. Meanwhile Yulién begins his new career this week playing with the a rap group from Santiago in Spain. Apparently his first gig is on the 29th of May.

Major Tour Updates - Los Van Van has cancelled their show in Rome, and Michelle has added a new Festivals section and a slew of new tour schedules for Haila & El Clan, Charanga Habanera, Maraca y Otra Visión, and others. You can always get the latest tour information by clicking on CURRENT TOURS - GIRAS to the left, under Artists.

New York - New Jersey Section coming soon - We'll soon be adding a large section on the New York Timba explosion. In the meantime, you can hear it through the grapevine by joining the NYC Timba discussion group, Timbacubana.

Thursday, April 22, 2004 -- Ivette Report Updated - Click here for the latest on Yulién Oviedo, the 9th anniversary concert of Klímax, and the 15th anniversary concert of Canela, the new solo CD from Bamboleo singer Alain Daniel Pico, and the upcoming European tour of Bamboleo.

Charanga Habanera's First Concert with Randy Martínez... will take place this coming Sunday at Café Cantante. See you there! (I wish).

John Kerry on Cuban Travel -- It should be fairly obvious by now that I plan to cast my vote for Senator John NotBush -- but where does he really stand on the two most important Timba issues: entrance visas for touring Cuban musicians and relaxation of travel restrictions for Americans? Now is your chance to write him and let him know where you stand. Click here to email John Kerry. While you're at it, it wouldn't hurt to fire off an email to Jorgito and remind him how fondly you think of him every time you go another month without hearing a live timba concert. Click here to email George Bush.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004 -- Team Timba in New York City this Friday - There's a growing community of fanatic timba dancers and listeners in the Big Apple. Timba is featured at major clubs such as SOB's and the Babalú Nightclub, discussed in the popular Yahoo group Timbacubana, and danced to the music of creative DJ's such as Gary Domínguez.

Here's an excerpt from a fascinating new article in our New York/New Jersey section which can be found under NYC in the Contributors and Columnists section:

NEW YORK -- On Friday, April 23rd, "Team Timba" a dance activism group, will launch its mission of getting timba music played on U.S. radio stations at New York's Havana Film Festival premiere party at 10 PM at Babalú Nightclub.

"Team Timba will speak for all of the people who have been faithfully pushing to get radio executives to recognize that timba's huge fan base spans almost every major city in the United States," says Linda Rodríguez, a Team Timba organizer and graduate student at Harvard University. "We hope to drag radio stations out of a 50 year-old mambo spell and into the contemporary world of timba," says Andres Arango, M.C. for Team Timba. The Havana Film Festival will showcase Team Timba dancing rueda de casino, a popular Cuban dance, to the music of Manolito Y Su Trabuco, one of Cuba's top timba bands. The group will perform to Manolito's new song, "Locos Por Mi Habana." What is timba music? It's the hottest new contemporary, highly danceable salsa music: a fusion of the salsa sound (that originated and continued to develop in Cuba), plus jazz, rock, funk, hip-hop, and reggae all combined into an intensely elevated sound. Timba music is distributed worldwide and is a favorite in Europe. In the U.S., timba music appears to have been banned.

Timba in Alberta - Salsa2Salsa.com - Cristian Munoz is active in promoting salsa and timba in Edmonton, Alberta. His site lists local events in Edmonton and features a weekly webcast of Cuban and other Latin music.

Monday, April 19, 2004 -- Interview with Alexander Abreu - During Issac's recent tour Michelle caught up with Alexander Abreu to present him with his timba.com award for Best Timba Trumpet Player and to conduct this interview.

Lunes, 19 de abril, 2004 -- Entrevista con Alexander Abreu - Durante la gira recién de Issac Delgado, Michelle White le dió a Alexander su premio para Mejor Trompetista Timbero, y condució esta entrevista. Pon clik aquí.

Sunday, April 18, 2004 -- Tomasito & Pututi I join Arturo Sandoval - Tomás Cruz (ex-conguero of Paulito & Manolín) and Alexis Arce "Pututi I" (ex-drummer of Manolín), are now playing regularly with the jazz trumpeter, a founding member of Irakere who tours worldwide on a regular basis.

Saturday, April 17, 2004 -- Rumors Getting Wilder - Well-placed sources now report that Yulién Oviedo is not in fact joining Orishas, but that he and other key members of CH and other top groups are being courted by a European entrepeneur to form an all-star band to tour Europe. Stay tuned.

Possible Manolín US Tour - Serious efforts are underway. Please send email if you have contacts with venues in your area, especially large festivals.

Friday, April 16, 2004 -- English Translation of Interview with Eblis Valdivia "El Boni" - Michelle has translated yesterday's interview. Click here for the English version.

Thursday, April 15, 2004 -- Entrevista con el Boni - Ivette has a timely entrevista en español con Eblis Valdivia, lead singer of Charanga Habanera.

Elain Tonight in Miami - Duniel reports that Elain Morales, ex-cantante of Pachito Alonso, will be performing tonight at Hoy Como Ayer on Calle Ocho in Little Havana. Elain's spectacular band is on a par with Manolín's, because, well, it IS Manolín's band, más o menos. Reinier Guerra on drums (has to be seen to be believed); Tomás Cruz or Danny Barrios on congas, timba.com award winner Hamed Barroso on guitar, Bayron and Barily on trombones, and so on.

More Van Van lyrics - Michelle has added Agua and Ven, two more recent LVV singles. Click here for the new Los Van Van Lyric Page. She's also made contact with Francisco Formell, who promises to send the European tour dates soon.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004 -- Los Van Van Lyrics Section added- Michelle has transcribed the new LVV hit "Anda quiéreme" complete with an explanation of some of the slang. Also included are recommendations for LVV CD's which have interesting lyric sections. Click here for the new Los Van Van Lyric Page.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004 -- Ivette Report Updates - See CONTRIBUTORS & COLUMNISTS to the left for the latest from Ivette on El Clan's Kelly Valdivia and Pedro Camacho, and a new disc from Dan Den.

Monday, April 12, 2004 -- Lots of Tour Updates - Live Cuban music has been "talibanned" in the United States, but if you happen to live in the Free World, new concert dates are being added almost daily -- Calixto, Osvaldo Chacón. Los Van Van, Azúcar Negra, Manolito ... See CURRENT TOURS - GIRAS to the left - the second entry under the newly updated Artists section.

These tours would be passing through the United States if a mere 500 Florida Timberos had gotten their act together to vote in the 2000 presidential election. In 2004 it's again extremely likely that the candidate who carries Florida will be the next President and the one to decide whether or not to continue the ban on issuing visas to Cuban musicians, so please get out there and register!

Sunday, April 11, 2004 -- El Clan Pages Updated - Ivette has updated the Clan's pages with new fotos and new members. Click here.

Saturday, April 10, 2004 -- More Updates - Check out the extended version of Michelle's Azúcar Negra Concert Report. She's also updated the pages of all the current Azúcar Negra musicians. Click here for the full list.

Friday, April 9, 2004 -- Azúcar Negra Concert Report - Sin mirar atrás by Michelle White Michelle was on hand as Azúcar Negra celebrated its 6th anniversary in Copenhagen and posted this extensive report.

Issac Delgado Interview - Michelle interviewed Issac at his recent Stockholm concert. Issac, as usual, proved to be one of timba's best interviews. In English y español.

Thursday, April 8, 2004 -- Newsflash - As per Ivette, Yulién Oviedo has (at least temporarily) left Charanga Habanera to play with Orishas, the Cuban rap group, in Spain. The new timbalero of CH will be Randy Martínez of El Clan. No word yet as to who will take over at baterista for the Clan.

Sunday, April 4, 2004 -- Issac Issac Issac - We've just added a Zurich concert report and an interview with Issac's trumpeter Pavel Díaz - both by David Doogue, and Michelle White has updated the pages of Alexander Abreu, Tony Rodríguez, Ariel Guillot, and Pavel Díaz.

Friday, April 2, 2004 -- Issac in Stockholm - Michelle was on hand for Issac's Stockholm concert last night and reports "Damn, that's one tight band! don't miss them!". See CURRENT TOURS - GIRAS for the latest updated schedule. The latest additions to the Musicians' Directory, are Issac's trombonist Edward Machado and bassist Avy Gil

Thursday, April 1, 2004 -- Team Cuba 2004 World Tour!- Musical director Juan Formell has announced the following lineup for the Team Cuba 2004 world tour. Thanks to intervention at the highest levels of Congress, all visas have been cleared to include the United States in this 5-month whirlwind tour. The personnel:

singers: Mayito Rivera, Issac Delgado, Paulito FG, Sixto Llorente piano: Melón González bass: Alain Pérez drums: Yoel Páez congas: Tomás Cruz bongó: Lázaro Mengual trumpets: Alexander Abreu, Carmel Andrés, Elpidio Chapottín trombones: Hugo Morejón, Edmundo Pino, Alvaro Collado saxes: Juan Ceruto, Germán Velazco

and featuring :

new compositions by: Juan Formell, Pupy Pedroso, Manolín González, Leonel Limonta, Giraldo Piloto arrangements by: Luis Bu, Melón González, Alain Pérez, Juan Ceruto, Joaquín Betancourt, Juan Carlos González, Lázaro Valdés

April Fools ... jajajajajajja...

Wednesday, March 31, 2004 -- Killing the Music - The reason this website is here, and the reason you're reading it, is because in the 1990's, in Havana, something extraordinary occurred. For lack of a better term, I call this type of phenomenon a "scene". For a variety of unrelated and largely random reasons, Havana found itself with a large quantity of brilliant young musicians, and a network of clubs and fans to support them, creating a chain reaction of creativity, excitement and intense competition. The result was "timba" -- about 100 of the best pop CD's ever made, and thousands of riveting live performances for those lucky enough to have attended them, or procured live tapes.

A genuine musical "scene" doesn't occur often. There was one in New York City in the late 70's when the Fania All-Stars, Rubén Blades, Hector Lavoe & Co. were all peaking at the same time. There was one in London and the United States in the late 60's, one in New York in the early 40's, one in Kansas City in the mid-30's, one in Vienna in the early 19th century, and so on. But what about the rest of the world, the rest of the time? Well, as we can all testify, it ranges from fair to poor to pathetically depressing, and today's Latin music scene outside of Cuba is, simply, not a "scene" at all. It's a struggle of isolated, unmotivated musicians -- trying and failing to survive in an extremely hostile recording and live music industry, playing for (present company excluded) an inscrutable and unmotivated public. In fact, even in Cuba, the scene is a far cry from what it was in the 90's. Many of the titans of the timba era are spinning their wheels in a fruitless effort to sell out to the pipe dream of succeeding in the global market. C'est la vie. What can we do but continue to enjoy the existing masterpieces and hungrily grab up any morsels of remaining brilliance that are thrown our way, such as the recent efforts of Pupy Pedroso, a handful of great new singles by Los Van Van, and a dazzling new release from Charanga Forever - if you can find it.

To delve deeper into the current worldwide musical depression, today's must-read article is "Killing the Music" by Don Henley -- the composer of one of the American songs most frequently quoted in Cuba -- "Hotel California" -- and a musician who parlayed the energy of the "scene" that spawned him into not only a significant body of great music, but also into tens of millions of dollars -- an extremely rare combination of artistic and commercial success. Having personally vanquished the "perfect beast" of his era, what does Mr. Henley have to say about the current state of the music industry? Click here.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004 -- Manolín Concert Report - Here's a great concert report from Jacira Castro of salsapower.com. It was an all-timba show with both Reinier Guerra on drums and Pututi II on timbales; the return of Gola on bass, and both Chaka and Luis Bu on keyboards.

Sunday, March 28, 2004 -- New Azúcar Negra CD released in Cuba - "Sin mirar atrás" is now being advertised on the EGREM website. Featured guests include Paulito's original conguero Tomás "El Panga" Ramos, and original CH trumpeter Osmil Monzón. There are 9 new songs, a remake of "Tú y yo, somos una misma cosa" which Limonta wrote for Vannia and Bamboleo, and two fantastic early AN hits which have never been officially released; "Vengo de estreno" and "Te traicionó el subconsciente".

Saturday, March 27, 2004 -- El Puente Redux! Manolín Returns to Rancho Gaspar Tomorrow!! - If you're anywhere near Miami, don't miss this show!

Rancho Gaspar 16480 NW 117th Avenue Hialeah Gardens 305-827-1659

Friday, March 26, 2004 -- Duniel Report Updated - click here for news about Calixto Oviedo, the new Tumbao Habana CD, with guest stars El Indio, Changuito and El Tosco; and Carlos Manuel's new nightclub in Miami.

Entrevista con Lázaro Valdés de Bamboleo - Miami - 2002 - por Duniel Deya - Pon clik aquí.

Thursday, March 25, 2004 -- Manolito Lyrics Section Added - Locos por la Habana.is the first song to be added, courtesy of Michelle & the Timba Geeks (click here for a photo of Juan Formell playing guitar for his wife Diana and a mystery friend who appears to be holding the legendary grammy award).

Wednesday, March 24, 2004 -- Update to Manolito y su Trabuco Tour Dates - See CURRENT TOURS - GIRAS.

Azúcar Negra European Tour Visas Come Through - Michelle's source reports that AN has its visas and plane tickets in hand. New dates added. See CURRENT TOURS - GIRAS

Tuesday, March 23, 2004 -- Live Timba in New Jersey! - Check our New York Events page for a press release from Alex y su Sabor Habanero, led by former Dan Den arranger Alex Llererna.

Monday, March 22, 2004 -- Live Timba in San Francisco! Quimbombo with Tomás Cruz- When I first heard Quimbombo at the San José Jazz Festival last summer they sounded like a Salsa band which played a few exciting Timba covers. Last night, at a packed show at Jelly's in San Francisco, they sounded like a Timba band. They've successfully added several extremely difficult Timba classics to their set list, but even their standard fare is now packed with modern Timba ideas - gear changes and numbered bloques spontaneously signaled by timbalero/leader Patricio Angulo, creative tumbaos from pianist Jason Moen and bassist Mike Lazarus, and interesting original coros, nicely executed and harmonized by a front line consisting of no less that four lead singers: QBA-veteran Osvaldo Carvajal, Carlos Ramírez, Leo Servin and Lina Luna. Tomasito, who sat in on a terrific version of Paulito's Laura, has been in the Bay Area this week giving workshops, private lessons and promoting his new conga method books. He used members of Quimbombo as his workshop band.

Jelly's also features DJ La Coqui - who is helping to introduce Timba to Northern California with a very hip playlist.

More Manolito Dates - See CURRENT TOURS - GIRAS

Friday, March 19, 2004 -- Los Van Van & Manolito Tour Dates Added - Issac Updated - Timba.com is finally realizing its long-term goal of having up-to-the-minute information on all the major Timba tours and we have two people to thank: Michelle White, for her almost real-time updates, and of course, George Bush, for not being the President of Europe. As you can see by clicking on CURRENT TOURS - GIRAS at the top of the list of artists, Europe will have more Timba concerts in any given week this Spring than the USA has had in the three and a half years since GWB took office. To look at it another way, Munich will have more timba concerts tonight than the USA will have until GWB leaves office!

More Tirso Duarte Lyrics Added - Mi vecina and Riki Ricón added - click here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004 -- More Tour Updates- Osvaldo Chacón added, Issac and Azúcar Negra updated.Click on CURRENT TOURS - GIRAS to the left, at the top of the list of artists.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004 -- NEW CURRENT TOURS SECTION - Michelle is putting together a new section to bring you up to date news on all the current tours. So far she has dates for Issac's current European tour and the upcoming visit of Azúcar Negra. To access this section, just click on CURRENT TOURS - GIRAS to the left, at the top of the list of artists.

Manolito's "Locos por La Habana" released - It's on Egrem, so it will be hard to find. It's available at Amoeba Records on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. Click here for Bill Wolfer's review. You can also hear his latest re-mix of the Mamborama hit "La gata loca" with Trabuco vocalist El Indio.

More Tirso Duarte Lyrics Added - Confianza is the latest addition click here.

Dantes y la Bomba - Ivette is constructing an artists section for Dantes Cardosa, aka "Ricky Ricón", who sang with Charanga Habanera and (briefly) with Bamboleo before moving to Italy to form his own group. Click on Dantes in the list of artists.

Bayron Ramos added to Musicians' Directory - This talented and versatile trombonist played with Carlos Manuel Sol y Soul, and many others in Cuban and is equally in demand in Miami. Click here.

Sunday, March 14, 2004 -- Issac in Europe! - Issac played in Rome last night and is scheduled for Norway on April 2 and Copenhagen, Denmark on April 3. Still waiting for reports on Charanga Habanera. Stay tuned and please send in any and all news.

4 More Tirso Duarte Lyrics Added! - Michelle & the Timba Geeks are now about 75% done transcribing the new Tirso Duarte CD! Click here.

Thursday, March 11, 2004 -- Tirso Duarte Lyrics Section Added! - Michelle has turned her lyric-transcribing talents to Tirso Duarte, starting with three great new originals from "Si la vida te dice baila".

Charanga Habanera in Spain!

March 11 Sevilla

March 12 Valencia

March 13 Pamplona

March 14th Barcelona

click here for more European dates

News on El Clan & Los Ángeles de La Habana - Ivette León has updated both sections. Click on the artists name, then on the Noticias button.

Saturday, March 6, 2004 -- Tomasito Conga Books Published! - It's been almost two years since Orlando Fiol, Mike Racette and I began working with our favorite timba conguero, Tomás Cruz, on a series of conga method books for Mel Bay Publications. On March 4th, they were finally released. [click here] Each book is about 80 pages long and comes with a 2-hour DVD. Volume III is completely devoted to Timba and the conga parts that Tomasito has recorded with Paulito FG and Manolín. It includes detailed descriptions of Paulito's "gear changes" and Tomás unique and melodic approach to inventing conga marchas. Volume I is for people who have never played, and explains how Tomás was taught at the ENA, and Volume II covers all the folkloric and pre-timba Cuban rhythms prior to 1990.

Duniel Report Updated - Click here for the latest on Gardi and Issac. Issac, by the way, ran into visa troubles and had to postpone his European tour. For the breaking news stay tuned to the Timba Geeks newsgroup.

Saturday, February 28, 2004 -- Interview with Sello LA - by Karen & Rod Lawson -- in English y español.

Monday, February 23, 2004 -- Manolín Concert Report - David Doogue and Arno Holleman, with technical help from Michelle White, have documented an historic timba concert, bringing together, for the first time, 4 of Timba's all-time greatest players: Melón González, Joel Domínguez, Angel Arces "Pututi II", & Luis Bu. These are also four of timba's all-time greatest arrangers, but since this is an impromptu band, put together for a tour, there were no new arrangements. The set list was nearly identical to El puente. Judging from David's visceral reaction, the band was on fire. Let's hope something good grows out of this. Click here.

Charanga Habanera Tour Dates! - Michelle White has put together a guide to the rest of the CH tour, complete with links to some of the venues. And don't forget to check out Michelle's concert review.

Sunday, February 22, 2004 -- Melón with Manolín! - David Doogue reports that timba piano legend Melón González is playing Manolín's European tour. If you can get to Cevilla, Spain tonight, it should be worth it!

Tuesday, February 17, 2004 -- Manolín European Tour - Ilán reports that Manolín's Paris concerts never occurred. Details forthcoming. The originally planned remaining tour dates are:

19- Turino, Italia 20- Zurich, Suiza 21- Napoles, Italia 22- Cevilla, España

If anyone knows the venues or has information on the earlier parts of the tour please e-mail us.

Monday, February 16, 2004 -- New Interview with David Calzado - Nueva entrevista con David Calzado- conducted in Sweden by Michelle White. In English - En español.

Charangueros Accepting their awards in Sweden- Click here for Michelle White's article on the presentation of awards during Charanga Habanera's European tour of February 2004.

Bush Administration Makes it Official: No More Cuban Music in the United States - If you want to do something about this, follow the links below. The bottom line is that if you live in Florida or any other contested state, it's absolutely critical that you register to vote in November. This election could be even closer than the last one.

read about it e-mail the president register to vote e-mail your congressional representatives

Sunday, February 15, 2004 -- Concert Report - Charanga Habanera in Sweden - Click here for another great concert report from Michelle White. Her interview with David Calzado and possibly some video clips are forthcoming. To discuss the concert and Timba in general, check out Michelle's Timba Geeks forum.

New Fotos of D'Talle & Gilberto Moreaux in Canada - Ex-Charanguero Gilberto Moreaux is feeling no pain these days as the only male member of D'Talle. Leader Ivette Porras was El Médico de la Salsa's original pianist and the creator of the classic piano tumbao which set the tone for his first smash hit, Aventura Loca.

Los Ángeles de La Habana - More updates to the section of this hot new group from Ivette León. Click on Los Ángeles in the Artists list to the left.

New fotos of NG La Banda - Click here for some shots of Tosco's latest agrupación from Andrés Vargas.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004 -- New York City Events Page added - We've added a new link the Contributors and Columnists section for information on Timba events in NYC. Click here got information on the Valentine's Day Timba Party.

Tuesday, February 11, 2004 -- Adalberto in Switzerland- Thanks to David Doogue for writing, and Michelle White for editing, a great new concert report from Adalberto's European tour. Click here.

Tomasito Cruz will be playing on Manolín's European tour, so it's likely that it will be at least part timba.

Lots of updates coming soon. I've been swamped, but will be catching up in the coming weeks.

Friday, February 5, 2004 -- Miami Alert! - An all-star band consisting of Manolín musicians Tomás Cruz, Victoriano Nápoles, Alexis Cuesta "Mipa", and El Kid, will be playing every Saturday at:

Casa Panza Restaurant 1620 SW 8th St. Miami 305-643-5343

Tirso Duarte CD released! -- We'll have more details soon. To order, click here.

Jueves, 22 de enero, 2004 -- Entrevista con Vannia Borges- Hoy tenemos una entrevista muy larga y muy buena por Andrés Vargas, con más fotos nuevas. Pon clik aquí.

Speaking of divas, Lionel Rogier reports that Vannia, Haila, Yeni of LVV, Osdalgia and Tania Pantoja are collaborating on a new project called "Divas por amor". Check Canal Cubano for showtimes. Unfortunately, there's a strong tendency for these ex-timberas to choose much more traditional material such as boleros when they leave the Timba bands that made them famous.

Los Ángeles de La Habana - I've only heard a little of this group, but it sounds promising -- some creative arranging ideas and some burning hot Timba tumbaos in place of the goofy moña craze that's been hot lately. The group is quickly becoming popular in Havana and have caught the eye of timba.com's Ivette León, who has begun covering them with a Musicians' Directory page on leader Dayrán Perdomo. Click here.

New Updates from Duniel Deya to the pages of Ludwig Nuñez and Lizyanet García.

Thursday, January 22, 2004 -- New Photos of Vannia Borges - Andrés Vargas has sent in some great shots of the ex-Bamboleo star performing at Delilrio Habanero. Click here for Vannia's home page. Andrés is also working on an interview. In case you've lost track, here's a quick recap of Havana's leading divas: Bamboleo's original front line included Vannia and Haila Mompié. Haila and songwriter Leonel Limonta left to form Azúcar Negra in 1998 and Vannia was joined by Yordamis Megret. Both left the group a little over a year ago. Yordamis went to Miami first and is now reportedly in New York City. Vannia is performing as a solo artist and also as a guest with Azúcar Negra. Meanwhile, Haila left Azúcar Negra to pursue her own solo career and was replaced by Tanja Pantoja, who has now left to join Bamboleo. Both groups are about to release new CD's this year.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004 -- Robertón y Calunga con Klímax! - Bill was right! The new Klímax CD is the bomb! Click here for an exclusive sneak preview of the new (unreleased) Klímax CD, courtesy of Giraldo Piloto. The song is "La chica perfecta" and features Roberto Van Van and Carlos Calunga on vocals. There are also guest appearances by Omara Portuondo and others. Stay tuned for more details!

Alain Pérez Visa Denied -- If an unidentified Cuban can set foot on US soil by any means, he's guaranteed residency, but when perhaps the world's greatest bassist, now residing in Madrid, tries to come here on tour with flamenco legend Paco de Lucia, his visa is denied. Go figure. Nothing that George Bush does in regards to Cuba and Cuban music makes any sense. If you love Cuban music, and you live in a state, like Florida, New York, California, Illinois, etc. where the outcome of the November election may be in doubt, please register to vote so we can get rid of this guy and look forward to hearing some good music in 2005.

Timba Events in NYC January 24 - Click here for the latest on the NYC Timba scene.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004 -- Duniel Report Updated - Click here for all sorts of news on Los Van Van, Pachito Alonso, Manolito y su Trabuco and others. En inglés y español.

El Médico out of the ICW? -- It could be. Shortly after Nápoles & Mipa returned from México we got word from nuestro cubano en México, Yumar Bonachea, that Manolín will be touring there in February. Click here for the poster with the full details. Yumar will be playing trumpet with the group on their tour.

Pon clik aquí para las fechas de la gira mexicana de Manolín, el Médico de la Salsa.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004 - New Klímax CD Mixed and Mastered! - Blogorama fans will have already read Unterese's review of the new Klimax CD. (We like to think of Bill Wolfer as the Hunter S. Thompson of Havana). Bill heard the album once in its entirety at Piloto's house. Click here for his comments. The first 3 Klimax albums are critical landmarks in the history of Timba, so complex and strikingly original that they require multiple listenings before their intrinsic pop melodicism sinks in. The downside of this is that not everyone has listened to these albums enough times to realize how great they are, and even among sophisticated Habaneros, Klimax has a smaller following than more immediately accessible groups like Charanga Habanera and Los Van Van. But the upside is that once a Klimax album "grows on you", you never get tired of it because you keep finding new musical gems as you peel away the layers of each carefully-constructed arrangement. The fourth album, Klimax & Friends, was a departure -- a Latin Jazz CD infused with elements of Timba. It too is full of musical gems, but Klimax junkies have eagerly awaited Piloto's next full-fledged Timba offering, something which has been delayed by his departure from the Eurotropical label. Now at last it exists, although when it will be commercially available is anyone's guess. Based on Bill's rave review, it's not Jazz, and in fact sounds somewhat more immediately accessible than the first three discs. Like the third album, Oye como va, Piloto has enlisted the help of some famous guest vocalists, including Carlos Calunga (ex-Klimax, ex-Trabuco), and no less than Roberto Van Van. Let's hope it finds a label and distributor very soon!

Speaking of great unavailable CD's, we've already told you about the great new Charanga Forever CD, "La cuqui quiere fiesta", and both Bill and conguero/musicologist Lara Greene, who's also in Havana now, have given CF's recent live performances excellent reviews. Lara also had a lot of compliments for the new Trabuco vocalist, Lázaro Alejandro Díaz Casanova. Lázaro did the rap section on CH's version of Chan Chan and has also recorded on Azúcar Negra's upcoming CD.

The State of Timba - January 2004 - Writing as I am from culturally-deprived California, and basing my comments on first hand reports and bootleg live recordings and home videos, my impression is that Timba appears to be on the upswing again, with great new live songs being played by Los Van Van, Los Que Son Son, Tirso Duarte, Klimax, Bamboleo, Charanga Forever, Azúcar Negra, and Manolito y su Trabuco. Issac Delgado has an interesting new piano player and a blazing new horn section -- it remains to be seen if his next album, like Versos en el cielo, will continue to move away from Timba. Paulito's following remains strong, but his new material, to my ear, is a far cry from Con la conciencia tranquila and I've yet to be convinced that he's fully recovered from the loss of his musical alter-ego, arranger Juan Ceruto and his innovative rhythm section of Yoel Páez. Tomás Cruz, Joel Domíngez, and Yaniel "El Majá" Matos. Manolín, based on his laughable "pop" album on BMG, appears to have completely lost it, although Jacira Castro of SalsaPower reports that he has personally assured her that his second pop venture will be absolutely brilliant and will measure up to the greatest albums in any genre! We can always hope... As for the rest of the expatriots, there's not a lot of good news to report. Alain Pérez is on the road with Paco de Lucia and Yoel Páez is playing drums with Spanish rockers Café Quijano. Juan Carlos González and Joel Domínguez are wasting away in Spain. Melón and Jimmy Branly are playing Jazz. Calixto Oviedo, Reinaldo Ceballo, Dantes Cardosa, and Osvaldo Chacón have hot bands that play in Europe, but we're waiting to see if new original material of mid-90's calibre will come from them. There are frequent threats of new Timba bands from the astonishing number of ex-Timba stars now living in Miami, but none has come to fruition yet. Back in Havana, Dany Lozada has yet to live up to the promise of his brilliant work of 1998 (Tanto le pedí). Michel Maza has a hot live act but has not teamed up with writers and arrangers of the calibre of the ones who created the hits that made him famous: Juan Carlos González and David Calzado. Speaking of Charanga Habanera, their last album had ample quantities of burning hot Timba, but also exhibited a somewhat disturbing trend towards "moña", which is very popular in Havana these days and has replaced Timba as the principal style of some of the newer groups such as Dayrón and El Clan. Moña, a term which used to refer to impromptu mambos played by the horn section, is now used to describe the combination of Cuban music with certain banal forms of pop from the US and various non-Cuban Latin countries. I've yet to hear any Cuban moña that has increased my heart rate, but I'm keeping an open mind. In summary, Cuban music is still growing and changing and we'll have to sit back and see where it takes us next. Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 11, 2004 - New Interview with Tirso Duarte - Click here for the new interview with Tirso Duarte, conducted by Ivette León with questions by yours truly.

Another update to the Ivette León Report - Click here for the latest on a hot new group called "Los Ängeles de La Habana".

The Peter Maiden 2004 Calendar! - Click here for "Desde la Bahía", a calendar featuring Bay Area Latin musicians and the brilliant photography of Peter Maiden.

Saturday, January 10, 2004 - Update to the Ivette León Report - Click here for the latest on Charanga Habanera's 15th Anniversary Concert with guests Haila Mompié and Manolito Simonet.

Paulito Lyrics Section Growing Quickly!- Click here for the latest lyric updates from Ilán Greenfield, including almost all of the legendary Con la conciencia tranquila album.

Monday, January 5, 2004 - Two New Miami Timba Bands - Duniel Deya reports that Tiempo Libre featuring Joaquín "El Kid" Díaz, Jorge Bringas, Fernando Pina, Raymer Olalde and Rodolfo Gómez, has retunred from a successful tour of Europe and Asia and will be playing two New York City concerts this week:

Domingo 11 de enero Satalla 37 West 26th St. Manhattan, New York 11:15 p.m.

Lunes 12 de enero SOBS 204 Varick St. Manhattan, New York 9:00 p.m.

Centro Habana Sound - The band that Tomás Cruz told us about a few months ago, with new arrivals Mipa & Nápoles of the original Manolín band, plus Reinier Guerra on drums, played its first gig on New Year's Eve. The band is called Centro Habana Sound. Look for an upcoming West Coast tour. Also look for the 3-volume Tomás Cruz Conga Method from Mel Bay Publishing, due to be released at the end of January.

More Paulito Lyrics from Ilán: Ina from Sofocándote. Click here for the full list: Paulito FG Lyrics Pages.

Finally, Bill Wolfer reports that Issac Delgado has put together yet another exciting lineup of superstars. This time he's assembled his own version of Los Metales de Terror by adding NG founding saxophonist Germán Velazco and the winner of the timba.com award for best trumpeter, Alexander Abreu. Bill's Blogorama is back online. So many timba-freaks accessed it in late December that it exceeded Mamborama's web host's monthly limit for traffic! So try to limit yourself to no more than one "hit' a day or it'll go down again before January is over! Or invite all the timberos in your neighborhood over for a blog party!

Thursday, January 1, 2004 - LOS GANADORES! - The winners in the Timba.com awards for All-Time Best Timba Achievements have been announced. Click here for the complete list of all winners and runners up.

The big winner was a young upstart named Juan Formell, who won in a total of 8 categories: He was chosen Best Songwriter, Arranger, Lyricist, and Bandleader. He also wrote the top song, Soy Todo, and the #2 song, Te pone la cabeza mala. Te pone la cabeza also came in first in the Dance Song category and Soy todo was an overwhelming winner in the Lyrics department. To top it off, Llegó Van Van was chosen as the Best Timba CD of all time.

In the Best Band and Best Live Band categories, Los Van Van was edged out by Charanga Habanera, and in the hotly contested "Best Charanga" category the Tremendo Delirio band of 1997 was the top vote-getter. La Tropical was chosen as the best place to hear live timba, so, according to our readers, the #1 timba time travel destination would be La Tropical in the summer of 1997 to see La Charanga Habanera with Michel Maza, Dany Lozada, Sombrilla, and Juan Carlos González.

And the all-time Timba all-star band would consist of:

piano: Pupy Pedroso bass: Feliciano Arango teclado: Boris Luna drums: Giraldo Piloto timbales: Changuito (also won Best Soloist) congas: Angá bongó: Carlos Caro güiro: Julio Noroña

1st trumpet: Alexander Abreu 2nd trumpet: Carmelo Andrés trombones: (tie) Hugo Morejón and Carlos Alvarez sax: Juan Ceruto flute: Maraca violin: Pedrito Fajardo guitar: Hamed Baroso cello: Orestes Calderón

lead vocalist: Mayito Rivera
coro section: (in order) Vannia Borges, Enrique Pérez, Noel Díaz

Another way to build a dream band would be to combine the winner of the best coro section (Charanga Habanera 1997) with the best horn section (NG's Metales de Terror of the early 90's).

Soy Cubano soy popular won the Best Recording Quality award. Best-looking/Most Charismatic singers were Paulito & Haila Mompié. Best Dancers were Aned Mota (singer) and Yulién Oviedo (instrumentalist).

More Paulito Lyrics from Ilán - Se lo busco and Y ahora qué added to the Paulito FG Lyrics Pages

Wednesday, 23 March 2011, 03:32 AM