Lo Nuevo[hide]

Courtesy registration discount code LPM14 ($425) - Celebrating its 25th Anniversary, he Billboard Latin Music Conference & Awards is the BIGGEST and longest-running event dedicated to Latin music in the world.

Fotos Del Día [hide]

cuban music, musica cubana cuban music, musica cubana cuban music, musica cubana cuban music, musica cubana
All

Kevin Moore - 2008

Wednesday, December 31, 2008
permalink

Anthony Blea & Jesús Díaz in Sacramento Tonight-- Click here for more info on this New Year's Eve collaboration of two of the giants of the Bay Area music scene. [Kevin Moore]

Sunday, December 28, 2008
permalink

 

Pellejo Seco in San Francisco
cuban music, musica cubana

New Photos from Tom Ehrlich -- San Francisco's top son group, Pellejo Seco, played a great show last week for a great cause -- Hurricane relief. Tom was on hand for an extensive new set of photos.

QBA Coming -- Next Saturday, the exciting new incarnation of Jesús Díaz y QBA will be in Santa Cruz at Moe's Alley. See you there!

The Great Timba Timeline Project -- As I gear up to continue the Roots of Timba series into the 90s, I'm back in research mode trying to put together a timeline - month by month - with every recording session, personnel change, CD release, band formation, etc. It's brutally hard because none of it's been properly documented and memories are failing. If you have ANY RECOLLECTIONS of timba events that you can tie to a given month or even year, please get in contact with me ASAP! I need all the help I can get. Think back over your old trips and see what you remember. [Kevin Moore]

Friday, December 19, 2008
permalink

 

REQUIRED READING
cuban music, musica cubana

The Missing Link! -- If you're looking for a last minute gift for your favorite timba freak, Changüí: The Origins of Cuban Music and Dance has gone immediately onto our short list of the most important books on the roots of timba and Cuban music in general. And just in time for Christmas, amazon.com has lowered the price by $16 - right after I bought it for full price, but I'm not complaining - this book has been an absolute revelation.

Changüí, like rumba and North American blues, is an ultra-funky secular folkloric style, still thriving, and without which none of today's popular styles could exist. The key difference is that while hundreds of books have been devoted to rumba and blues, this is the first to fully explore changüí. Fortunately, it's thorough, complete, eminently readable, and of equal interest to musicians, dancers and listeners.

It's written in the first person and full of personal anecdotes so it doesn't come off as dry and technical, but it's also full of red meat for those of us looking for specifics. There's a discography listing nearly every available changüí recording, a who's who of legendary changüiseros, numerous excellent transcriptions, a long chapter on lyrics, dance step notation, a detailed chapter on the tres (the author is a tresero), and much-needed explanations of the mysterious pre-changüí styles of kiribá, nengón and tumba francesa. Last but not least is a section on the Oriente roots of legendary musicians like Lilí Martínez and Elio Revé.

And in case you missed it last week, here's Tom's photo-interview (with a new audio answer recently added). [Kevin Moore]

Saturday, December 13, 2008
permalink

 

ARSENIO TRIBUTE TONIGHT
cuban music, musica cubana

Another Year in the Books -- Hard to believe it's already time for the yearly Arsenio Rodríguez tribute. I wish the first 7 years of the Bush Adminstration had gone by so quickly. In any case, legendary Bay Area broadcaster Emiliano Echeverría mans the sliders at KPFA for 3 hours of music from the most influential figure in Cuban music history. Catch it online if you can. [Kevin Moore]

Friday, December 12, 2008
permalink

BEN LAPIDUS INTERVIEW & PHOTOS
cuban music, musica cubana

Tom Ehrlich's Photos and Interview With Changüí Guru Ben Lapidus -- Tom has really hit the jackpot with this article/interview/photo session from his latest trip to the Big Apple. Changüí is one of the great missing links in understanding timba and everything that came before it and no one has done more to research it and spread the word about it than musician/author/scholar Ben Lapidus. I just received my copy of Changüí: Origins of Cuban Music and Dance and am hungrily devouring it. More on that soon, but in the meantime check out this important interview. [Kevin Moore]

Wednesday, December 10, 2008
permalink

TIMBA EN ITALIA Llegó el CICLÓN CUBANO

cuban music, musica cubana

'Dímelo Ya' is the new release by Cuban duo Ciclón Cubano. Based in Rimini Italy, guitarist, singer and composer Alfredo José Flores Del Sol and fellow singer, dancer, choreographer and composer Ernesto Planas Errero have put together a multi-genre production, ranging from timba to salsaton, for the latin dancer. The album opens with a straight-ahead PR style salsa with a funky ‘a-caballo’ mambo, leading right into three solid timba tracks featuring Miami’s Michel Calvo and other special guests. Track 4, ‘De Que Que Llegó Llegó’ is my favorite with .....click here to read more >> [Mike Lazarus]

Friday, December 5, 2008
permalink

 

Ya llegó la hora -- Here's a long list of excellent recent articles on the rapidly improving scenario for better US-Cuba relations. The upshot? If you're a Cuban-American, you should be able to visit and send money to relatives in Cuba without restrictions as soon as Obama takes office. Beyond that, the chances of other major reforms finally making it through Congress have increased geometrically. Remember - the Republican-controlled Congress of 2000-2006 tried on multiple occasions to pass such legislation, often led by conservatives such as Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and supported by business interests from deep red states. It was only the threat of a George Bush veto that prevented many of these bills from passing.

Beyond that, Obama is in a unique position relative to his predecessors. First, he would have won the election handily without Florida. Second, he would have won Florida handily without the Cuban vote. Third, he won a remarkable 45% of that Cuban vote. Fourth, he campaigned, in South Florida, on the platform of improving US-Cuban relations. And finally, as we noted yesterday, a new poll shows that 55% of Florida Cubans - the same percentage that voted for John McCain - say they favor not only relaxing restrictions, but lifting the 50-year embargo altogether.

When Bush took office, I had the nasty feeling that Cuban concerts in the US were going to be few and far between. We fought it, but the tide was too strong. Now, as they say, the tide has turned. [Kevin Moore]

Thursday, December 4, 2008
permalink

 

LOS VAN VAN TURNS 39!
cuban music, musica cubana

... and unless they plan to follow in the footsteps of famed yuma timbero Jack Benny, and stay 39 forever, we'll look forward to the 40th Anniversary Tour in the US and Europe next year.

Los Van Van has stayed at the very top of their genre longer than any act in music history, but we could have said that for the 30th anniversary. For a guided tour of their historic run, check out our History & Discography page.

According to LVV's website, their new album should be out soon and if you're lucky enough to be on the island, they play tonight at Casa de la Música Galiano. [Kevin Moore]

Revé MD Forms New Band in Las Vegas -- Before Aisar Hernández, the musical director of Orquesta Revé was bassist Jiovanni Cofino, the writer and arranger of many hits such as the classic Dale agua al dominó and a huge help in the writing of our Timba Encyclopedia sections on Revé. Jiovanni has been in Las Vegas for over a year and has a new Cuban band called The Latin All Stars. The music is much more creative than the name, as you can hear in this youtube clip. [Kevin Moore]

The Dawn of a New Era -- Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly has a great post today on a new poll showing that 55% of Florida's Cubans favor not only relaxing travel restrictions but ending the embargo altogether. That's an astounding statistic, if you think about it, and yet another indication that the cultural bottleneck is about to blow wide open. Fasten your seatbelts! [Kevin Moore]

Definitive New Changüí Book -- Tom Ehrlich is in New York where he ran into Ben Lapidus, leading changüí scholar and an excellent musician in his own right. Ben's long-awaited book is now out and we're hoping to get some pictures and an interview soon. I just ordered it and will have more info soon. [Kevin Moore]

 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008
permalink

Havana D'Primera CD Finished in December - ¡No lo pierdas!

The biggest news to hit the timba scene in 2008 was Alexander Abreu and Havana D'Primera. With an all-star roster the group took Havana by storm and their shows at Galiano and Salon Rojo were the weekly gigs where you could be assured to find a wide selection of musicians in attendance from Charangueros to soneros such as Sixto Llorente "El Indio". Havana D'Primera is the real thing, don't miss out!.....read more >> [Michelle White]


Havana D'Primera perform Confiesale
at their premier concert in Havana January 2008

Charanga Habanera Tour Dates, TIME Magazine Article

Michelle also reports on the latest tour dates for la Charanga Habanera as well as a very interesting article by Nathan Thornburgh from TIME Magazine. The article, discussing cuban music and timba specifically, will be the cover story of the European version of TIME that is coming out this week......read more >>


Monday, November 24, 2008
permalink

 

Paulito FG concerts a success in Miami
a.k.a shut up and play your funky (timba) music white boy

 

Picketing the Pauito FG show at La Covacha

 

Focus on the MUSIC. That is the word on the streets of Miami after all the tired controversy. Florida based entertainment figure and prominent Cuban music promoter Hugo Cancio confirms this when he says: “Jorge Artiles made good on his promise to deliver Pauolo FG and his music to Miami. However music and culture should be vehicle that we Cubans use to reconcile our differences. Those are the things that unite us and should not separate us. Politicians die with time while musical culture goes on forever. Whether or not I agree with Paolo's views and Jorge’s offensive comments about the traditional exiled Cuban community, that is beside the point. It was a GREAT weekend having a Cuban artist in Miami and it feels like there is much more to come” .....click here to read more >>

Tuesday, November 18, 2008
permalink

San Francisco Salsa Rueda Festival

cuban music, musica cubana

Hosted by Nick & Serena and their Salsa Vale Todo dance company, the first San Francisco Salsa Rueda Festival will be held at the Hotel Whitcomb on February 20-22, 2009. Showcasing Cuban music and dance, on Friday the festival starts with a welcome dinner followed by a Timba Dance Party. The next day there will be a series of workshops as well as Salsa, Rueda and Afro-Cuban performances, with a live music celebration at night. Sunday has more Sunday more great workshops and performances along with a Salsa Cubana Dance Party with the Anejo Productions djs. A variety of instructors and dance performers will be attending, and among the list are Mike and Simona (Rumbanana - Corvallis), Jose Barroso ( San Francisco), Victoria-Hadar Harel (New York), Leslie Vazquez and Reinier Fernandez (CMV con Ritmo - Mexico City), Saoco D.C. (Washington D.C.), Royland Lobato (CultuCuba - Oakland), Marcos Ravelo (Havana & Calgary) and many more. Book your ticket today by clicking on the banner above. [Mike Lazarus]

Monday, November 17, 2008
permalink

Acción Timbera en Los Angeles

Español: Elaborados y chillones espejos, espesos manteles, camareros y camareras en etiqueta, el escenario perfecto para una película de televisión sobre El Padrino es Steve's Steakhouse en la Ciudad de Comercio, Los Angeles. Fiel a su nombre, la banda de esta noche fue la CHARANGA CUBANA, caracterizada, por supuesto, por la falta de vientos y en su lugar dos violines y una flauta. Después de unos sones clásicos vieja-escuela, se desarolla una impaciencia, como Don Fanucci pidiendole "algo para mojarse el pico" a Vito Corleone, en el sentido que ya era timepo para romper con los temas mas pesados del repertorio. En poco tiempo la CHARANGA CUBANA comenzó a cargar las pilas.....leer más >>

cuban music, musica cubana
Irisandra 'Iris' Cepeda y La Charanga Cubana

cuban music, musica cubana
Chalo Chomat levanta con La Charanga Cubana

English: Intricate and garish mirrors, thick tablecloths everywhere, tuxedo wearing, black bow-tie spiffing waiters and waitresses, the perfect setting for a B-movie Godfather scene is Steve’s Steakhouse in the City of Commerce, Los Angeles. The band on this night was true to their name, as la CHARANGA CUBANA features two violins and a flute, and of course no horns. After some classic old-school son montunos, an impatience rises and you are pulling a Don Fanucci asking for “something to wet my beak” from Vito Corleone, meaning its time to break out some of the hard-hitting repertoire. Sure enough CHARANGA CUBANA began to assemble the stack, from which they then push you off for the climb, the gears and breakdowns making your ascent all that more enjoyable.....read more >> [Mike Lazarus]

Thursday, November 13, 2008
permalink

 

Pepito Gómez y Paulito F.G. este fin de semana
cuban music, musica cubana

La voz dinamita Pepito Gomez (ex cantante de Pupy & Azucar Negra) se presentará en vivo en un gran concierto para el Congreso de la Salsa Rueda 2008. Todo empieza este jueves Noviembre 13 en la fiesta del congreso en Yuca Lounge (Miami Beach).

Todo un sueño hecho realidad para los fanáticos de Paulito y para los amantes de la musica cubana, finalmente el cantante rompe las barreras de la política y logrará después de varios años cantar nuevamente en Miami. El sábado 15 de Noviembre se presentará en la ciudad de Kendall en el famoso "Kaffe Krystal" y el domingo en el "Rancho" de Okechobbee de Hialeah. No se los pueden perder mi gente.....nos vemos el viernes para el concierto de apertura. DJ Duniel tiene el reportaje completo (haz clic aquí).. [Mike Lazarus]

Saturday, November 8, 2008
permalink

ISSAC AGAIN TONIGHT IN SF!
cuban music, musica cubana

Issac played two great shows at Bimbo's last night and will play 2 more tonight. Click here for tickets. In keeping with the Jazz Festival theme, there was an abundance of brilliant instrumental solos from trumpet Teddy Mulet, conguero Denis "Papacho" Savón and the keyboardists, Liván Mesa and Issac Delgado, Jr., who is a dead ringer for his dad. Hopefully this will be the first of a new wave of timba concerts in the upcoming year. Fasten your seatbelts!

Also check out Tom Ehrlich's photo gallery from last night's early show.

Revé's "Paris Surprise" -- Everyone was talking about it but no one knew what it was, so our indefatigable reporter Michelle White had no choice but to make the trek to the city of lights to find out first hand. Turns out to be the new Revé Website. Especially interesting is the Discography page, which includes some rare gems that we failed to include in our Revé Discography page. Michelle has more in her blog. [Kevin Moore]

Friday, November 7, 2008
permalink

 

POR FIN!
cuban music, musica cubana

Issac in San Francisco - Tonight and tomorrow at Bimbo's. See you there!

Pepe Gómez with La Bola in New York City - Pepe started with Azúcar Negra but became a major star with Pupy y Los Que Son Son. This is the last chance to hear him with La Bola until February.

Pepito Gómez with La Bola in NYC

 

Pepe Gómez with La Bola
Advance ticket sales (only $13!)
Drom | 85 Avenue A | New York , NY , 10009 | (212)777-1157
[Kevin Moore]

Thursday, November 6, 2008
permalink

 

TIMBA at the White House?
cuban music, musica cubana

Well......almost. Salsa for sure. That's Willy Chirino and his band playing at the White House earlier this year. There's a sneak peek of Braily on trombone in the backline. Gearge W. is front and center. One day we'll get there....but only with your help. While Issac Delgado plays at Bimbo's in San Francisco tomorrow Friday, November 7 and Paulito's concert is no more, the place to be at is THE PLACE,

cuban music, musica cubana

located at 833 SW 29nth Avenue in Miami where at 10pm BRAILY will perform with his band:

Braily Ramos - Cantante
Bayron Ramos - Musical Director, Trombone
Olga Lidia Thomas - Coros
Juan Carlos Valladares - Piano
Manolo Valcarcel - Bajo
Alberto Palenzuela - Timbal
Osvaldo Fleites - Trompeta
Araña - Congas

While Braily's hit "La Cosita Chiquitita" is the darling of Miami's television shows, it's 'Quiero Tu Amor Para Mi' (based on the track 'Encuentro') that has been lighting up cell phones now that's its surpassed its 10,000th ringtone download. Say hi to timba djs DJ Melao and DJ Walt Digz (from SF) when you see them at the Braily show. [Mike Lazarus]

Wednesday, November 5, 2008
permalink

 

POR FIN!
cuban music, musica cubana
photo source

They said it couldn't ever happen, but it did ... The United States has elected ... as President ... an adult!

Forget la maldición - forget the celebrating - let's just start cleaning up the mess. Thank you to all the Floridians who changed their votes since 2004. And thank you to everyone like Jacira Castro from Davie, Florida who worked tirelessly in this and previous elections. I hope, among other things, to finally have some US timba tours to write about.

Also, big thanks to Michelle and Mike for keeping La última up-to-date while I roamed around Europe.

In the meantime, Issac will be at Bimbo's in San Francisco on Nov. 7 & 8. Tom & I will be there for a full report.

And Paulito's scheduled Miami concert has been postponed. DJ Duni has the scoop. [Kevin Moore]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008
permalink

New Photos by Patrick Bonnard

cuban music, musica cubana
Elito Revé ©Patrick Bonnard

cuban music, musica cubana
Manolito y sus cantantes ©Patrick Bonnard

 

Timba photographer Patrick Bonnard has shared a few of his Cubadisco 2008 photos with us as well as photos of the concert with Manolito & Elito at Cabaret Sauvage this summer. Here is a nice one of Elito Revé just in time for the Orquesta Revé Fall 2008 Tour and a great promo shot of El Trabuco. Click here to see more of Patricks photos.[Michelle White]

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
permalink

Newsflash: Charanga Habanera in Buenos Aires

After a tour of Peru where the Michel Maza once again performed with La Habanera, David and the boys will be in Buenos Aires, Argentina at El Auditorio Buenos Aires on Saturday November 8th. If you happen to be in the vicinity, don't miss out![Michelle White]

Whassup with El Indio?

cuban music, musica cubana
Sixto "El Indio" Llorente
photo
©Cristian Muñoz

Perhaps you, like I, have been wondering what Sixto Llorente has been doing since leaving the Trabuco. Well Gabriel of Yemaya's Verse has the scoop about El Indio's solo project. Click here for the details on El Indio as well as whassup with Bill Wolfer of Mamborama.[Michelle White]

cuban music, musica cubana
Bill Wolfer jamming with el Trabuco
photo ©Cristian Muñoz

Monday, October 27, 2008
permalink

Michel Maza & La Charanga Habanera

We've all dreamed of it, a reunion between La Charanga Habanera and singer Michel Maza, who many feel was the best singer the band ever had. Well DJ Melao has posted a link to video from Peru where Michel did perform with La Charanga Habanera again. Click here for all the information and a video clip![Michelle White]

Tuesday, October 21, 2008
permalink

Gabriel's Interview with Aisar Hernández

 

cuban music, musica cubana

Just in time for Orquesta Revé's Fall 2008 Tour, Gabriel of Yemaya's Verse has completed her English translation of an interview she did in Havana this summer with Revé bassist and musical director Aisar Hernández. As all serious timberos already know, Aisar has also begun work on a solo album. Gabriel talked with him about his own CD as well as his work with Elito Revé and the multiple award-winning CD Fresquecito. Click here to read Gabriel's interview.[Michelle White]

 

Thursday, October 16, 2008
permalink

2008 Monterey Jazz Festival - Third & Final Report cuban music, musica cubana

The third and final report of Tom Ehrlich and John Benjamin’s report on the 2008 Monterey Jazz Festival is ready – no Afro-Caribbean music, but some great jazz including the legendary pianist, composer, band leader Herbie Hancock. [Tom Ehrlich]

Wednesday, October 8, 2008
permalink

2008 Monterey Jazz Festival - Second Report cuban music, musica cubana

cuban music, musica cubana

cuban music, musica cubana

Part two of Tom Ehrlich and John Benjamin’s report on the 2008 Monterey Jazz Festival. This report features the second gig of Maraca’s Cuban Lullabies Project. Also features photos from concerts by Rebeca Mauleon & Afro Kuban Fusion, Maceo Parker, and Donny McCaslin. [Mike Lazarus]

Sunday, October 5, 2008
permalink

 

"El Hombre de la Voz Dinamita"
José "Pepito" Gómez USA debut this Friday

Having already made his mark in the international salsa scene as a lead singer for Pupy y Los Que Son Son, the "Man with the Dynamite Voice" breaks into the US market with his debut this Friday, October 10 at Kaffe Krystal - 10855 SW 72nd St, Miami, FL 33173. Click here to see Pepito in action in these videos (by our own Michelle White) from Pupy's Copenhagen show. Momentum has been building for this concert Pepito, and manager Roberto Heredia, have put together with an all-star Miami band. He has been seen with Maraca and La Bola in NYC recently and there will be New York contigency at this Miami show. Let us know if you hear "el coro de TIMBA.com". [Mike Lazarus]

Pepito's USA debut band:
Voice - JOSÉ "PEPITO" GÓMEZ
Coros - DAYRON TORRACA
Coros - XAVIER MILI
Piano - CAMILO PÉREZ
Percussion - YOEL RODRÍGUEZ
Drums - CARLOS SANS
Bass - JESABEL DÍAZ
Trumpet - CRISTOBAL FERRER
Trumpet - RAFAEL RODRÍGUEZ
Trombone - ALEXIS LLERENA
Ewi - FABIAN ÁLVAREZ
Maraca & Pepito Gómez

La Bola & Pepito Gómez


Saturday, October 4, 2008
permalink

 

Festival del Tambor 2008

The annual Festival del Tambor will take place from October 21-25 in Havana. This year all proceeds from the festival as well as performances by the artists will be donated to the Cuban victims of hurricanes Ike and Gustav. The festival is packed with events including an international percussion competition, percussion classes, performances by Cuban groups as well as foreign guests, a tribute to Tata Güines, a tambor for Inle by the Yoruba association, an event about women in percussion, folkloric percussion performances and performances at Solan Rosado de La Tropical by some of the hottest timba acts today. Click here for the full schedule in PDF format (in Spanish).

Below is the performance schedule at La Tropical.
October 22 - Women in Cuban Percussion 10 pm - 1 am
Anacaona
Caribe Girls
Son Damas
Obbini Batá

October 23 - Folkloric Groups 10 pm - 1 am
Rumbatá (Camaguey)
Yoruba Andabo (Havana)
Clave y Guaguancó (Havana)
Muñequitos de Matanzas (TBC)

October 24 - 9 pm - 1 am
Finals in the percussion competition
Special performance by Bamboleo

October 25 Close of the festival and awards ceremony 10 pm - 1 am
Moisés y Son Iyá (Canary Islands)
Havana D'Primera
Klímax
Pupy y Los Que Son Son

For more information contact
Sra Nieves Candelario
Directora General.
romeu@cubarte.cult.cu
Tel: +53 7 8624938 Fax: +53 7 8668937

Lisandro Arias - DJ Melao has an update on what's happening in Cuba with Lisandro, director of Lisandro y Su Tratado, and author of the hit El repartero de la Habana.
[Michelle White]

Friday, October 3, 2008
permalink

 

More Yuma Tour News

Maraca is winding down his US tour tonight with a concert in Grand Rapids, Michigan. No reports in from DC last night, but we hear that at the New York performance at SOB's Pepito Gómez joined Maraca on stage and did a great job presenting himself to the New York audience.

Issac Delgado will be playing some dates in L.A. and San Francisco, California in November so check out his tours page and if you know of any concerts we haven't listed, please send an e-mail.

Afro-Cuban All Stars 2009
In March 2009, Juan De Marcos will bring an the Afro-Cuba All Stars to the US for a 2 month coast-to-coast tour. We have posted the Afro-Cuban All Stars tour dates as they stand today but check back because there will no doubt be additional dates. There is also talk of a Canadian tour but I don't have anything concrete on that as yet.

Don't worry about visa issues. Nearly all the bandmembers have European passports. Here's the complete list of musicians. You'll find some familiar names there.
Juan de Marcos - bandleader and tres
Emilio Suarez - vocalista
Evelio Galan - vocalista
Jose Gil "Gilito" Pinera - vocalista
Alberto Pantaleon - bass
Miguelito Valdes Aballi - congas
Calixto Oviedo - timbales
Jose "Pepe" Espinosa - bongo
Ivan "Melón" Gonzalez Lewis - piano
Alberto Martinez - trombon
Raul Ardiles - trombon
Yaure Muniz - trompeta
Igort Rivas - trompeta
Miguelito Valdes de la Hoz trompeta
Gliceria Abreu manager

Changuito to Canada
And a little farther north Changuito will be performing in Toronto on November 1st at Lula Lounge. He will be performing with Hilario Duran, Joaquin Hidalgo, Chendy Leon Jr, David Virelles and Alberto Alberto as well as the Toronto Cuban All-Stars. DJing that night will be Billy Bryans.[Michelle White]

 

Thursday, October 2, 2008
permalink

Issac to Release New CD
cuban music, musica cubana
Issac Delgado - photo ©Eli Silva

DJ Melao has the news, including the track list,  about Issac's second CD since moving to El Yuma. Melao has also updated the Top 10 list in his media player so check it out.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008
permalink

Leonel Limonta & All Star Line-Up
Record Song for Hurricane Victims
cuban music, musica cubana
Leonel Limonta

 

Asi somos - Leonel Limonta, director of Azúcar Negra and one of timba's most prolific and talented songwriters, has just recorded a new song called Así somos at EGREM studios. The song is dedicated to those who were affected by the two recent hurricanes. In addition to Azúcar Negra's singers Ailyn, Yordis and Rusdel, Así somos features an all star line-up of guest artists such as Ricardo Amaray, Mayami and El Noro from Manolito y Su Trabuco, Alain Daniel, Leoni Torres, Aldo Isidro from Adalberto Álvarez y Su Son, Dantes from La Charanga Habanera, Arlenis and Monica Mesa ex-singers of NG La Banda,  Barbarita from Anacaona, Rene from Charanga Latina, Nelson Manuel, Alexander Lara, and with the support of Juan Formell and César  "Pupy" Pedroso. With Limonta's composition and a group of artists like this, Así somos is a guaranteed hit. I expect the song to be on the Cuban airwaves very soon and hopefully available for purchase as well.

You can already listen to it at Azúcar Negra's MySpace site.

Exceso de equipaje - In the meantime, the new Azúcar Negra CD is nearly ready for release. It is at the manufacturer's in Colombia and should hit the streets (or internet stores) very soon. The new CD includes a remake of the classic Con un canto en el pecho and also Cola loka. The full track listing is:
Exceso de equipaje
Con un canto en el pecho
La identidad
El estrés
Y dale Juana
Mi barrio
Qué pasa con las mujeres
Pregúntale a ella
Cola loka
Se despertó el león
No vale la pena
Vitamina C
Vive el verano
[Michelle White]

Sunday, September 28, 2008
permalink

2008 Monterey Jazz Festival - First Report cuban music, musica cubana

Tom Ehrlich and John Benjamin (substituting for the vacationing Kevin Moore) present the first of a series of reports on the 2008 Monterey Jazz Festival, which featured an all-star Latin Jazz group project called “Cuban Lullabies” lead by Orlando “Maraca” Valle. Click on the above photo for the report on Friday night’s festivities. [Mike Lazarus]

Saturday, September 27, 2008
permalink

Matiné Gigante con Maykel Blanco
4to Aniversario de su Orquesta Salsa Mayor
cuban music, musica cubana

The 4th Anniversary of Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor will be held at a special matinee on Friday, October 10 at the Casa de la Música Habana (Galiano). Show starts at 5pm. This anniversary concert will feature ALL the singers who have worked with Salsa Mayor over the years. It will be sold out as Maykel has been gathering momentum for the show during his performances every Monday from 11pm - 6am at Café Cantante. Not a show to miss if you're on the island. [Mike Lazarus]

Thursday, September 25, 2008
permalink

A Treasure Trove of Classic Cuban Videos

I first discovered timba right at the turn of the millennium, and for me "old Van Van" was Ay Dios Ampárame. As I wandered deeper into the vast jungle that is Cuban music, where you need a garabato just to make your way through, I realized how much "really old stuff" I had missed out on. If this experience sounds familiar to you, you will be as thrilled as I was with Pisicore's Channel.

I don't know who this mystery person is, but I am enormously grateful that he is sharing these historic gems with us. He only started uploading videos one month ago and already has 152 videos dating as far back as 1965. There's something for everyone there. How about a 1981 video of Los Van Van on the Malecón singing Si a una mamita to compare with the current remake, or some 1980s footage from Para Bailar, the predecessor of Bailar Casino, for those who want to see how casino dancing has developed over the past 25 years. If you've been reading Kevin's on-line books there is priceless old footage of pre-timba groups such as Irakere, Rumbavana, Ritmo Oriental and Orquesta Maravilla de Florida. And if you're interested in fashion and grooming you'll find the Revé Ruñidera video from 1987 to be...well just take a look for yourself. Below are a couple of samples to get you started.

A big thank you on the part of all timberos to Pisicore for sharing this treasure trove of Cuban video with the world. [Michelle White]


Los Van Van - Si a una mamita from 1981
 


Orquesta Revé with La Ruñidera from 1987
Check out those shirts!

Friday, September 19, 2008
permalink

 

Timbero Solidarity

In the wake of the two hurricanes that have caused millions of dollars worth of damage to homes and crops in Cuba, Timberos around the world have gotten together to help.

Canada - Sunday September 21st from 7pm to 1am, Lula Lounge will host a fundraiser for hurricane relief for Cuba with collaboration Christie and Hilario Duran as well as Sarita Leyva from Ireomo and Joaquin Hidalgo. The evening will include a rumba show by Ireome. Donations and goods can be brought to Lula Lounge. So if you are near the Toronto area don't miss this evening which promises to have a wide range of artists.

France - Orly Solomon of Candela Productions informs that Paris will have a 2-day "Solidarity with Cuba" event. September 25th the party will be held at Back-up, the location of many great timba concerts. On the 26th the party moves to Habana Jazz. €5 from the cover charge will go to the humanitarian association Cuba sí for hurricane relief. Anyone who has partied with the French timberos knows that two days of hardcore timba parties are worth the trip to Paris.

Miami - Mirco at TimbaPorSiempre informs that the Junto a Cuba stars together with Americateve channel 41 and Millenium Records have recorded a timbaton to raise funds for hurricane relief. Click here to read the article and listen to a clip of the song. I'm not sure yet how you can buy the song to contribute, but we'll try to find out and get back to you.

7th Great Contest of
Popular Traditional Dances and Casino

7mo Gran Concurso de
Bailes Populares Tradicionales Cubanos y de Casino

Santiago de Cuba will again play host to the Contest of Popular Traditional Cuban Dances and Casino, which will take place October 16th and 17th. the contest is sponsored by the Casas de Cultura and UNEAC. The competition genres are Danzón, Son, Cha Cha Cha, Pilón, Mambo, Mozambique and Casino as well as Rueda de Casino. On October 16th the elimination rounds and the semifinals will be held, and the finals and the award ceremony take place October 17th.

The goal of the contest is to promote Cuban traditional dances as well as casino, which apparently is too new to be considered traditional. The competition is open to both professional and amateur dancers, but competitors must be able to dance each genre of Cuban dance as well as casino and rueda de casino. Dancers will be judged on rhythm, style, originality, creative design and the interaction between the couples.

If you happen to be in the greater Santiago metro area in mid-October, head on down to Parque Céspedes at 6:00 pm to catch the action. For more information contact José Antonio Prades Hung.[Michelle White]

Tuesday, September 16, 2008
permalink

 

Maraca's Final Tour Dates
cuban music, musica cubana
Photo by Tom Ehrlich

Maraca has been knocking 'em dead on his current US tour with the New Collective. There are still 10 concerts left on the tour, including two at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Click here to find one near you. In a recent article Billboard says: "The first single from Lo Que Quiero Es Fiesta is the infectious 'Descarga Dura' which is already a radio hit and has been electrifying audiences at live shows around the country with Maraca's signature complex flute arrangements woven flawlessly into an irresistible Salsa beat." Click here to read the complete article.[Michelle White]

Melao has updated his Timba Top Ten and also has information about upcoming concerts by El Pikete and Issac Delgado. Click here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008
permalink

Updates

En Frequencia has information about a benefit concert for Hurricane victims that was held yesterday at Rice & Beans, as well as information about N'Taya's upcoming concert September 19th and a brief article (in Spanish) about Pupy's new CD, Tranquilo que yo controlo.

DJ Melao also has a number of updates including information about Pepito Gómez' first concert in the US! He also has embedded a number of videos he found at youtube for various artists, such as Maraca, who is currently touring the US with the New Collective (click here for concert dates) , and Michel Maza in Peru.

And I had the unfortuante news to report that Luis Alvaro Varona passed away yesterday in Copenhagen from pancreatic cancer. Timba.com send our condolences to his family. [Michelle White]

Thursday, September 11, 2008
permalink

Woo Hoo! Tranquilo Que Yo Controlo Released!
cuban music, musica cubana

Finally the long-awaited CD by Pupy y Los Que Son Son has been released. If you've already heard some of the songs at local clubs you know that this is destined to be another classic timba album with Pupy giving a clase magistral in how it's done.

If you haven't heard anything yet, check out muchoswing.com which features two videos of Pupy y Los Que Son Son performing songs from the CD. September 10th has the danzón Cuando los años pasan (as time goes by) and September 11th has Se parece aquel, sung by Michel Pérez who replaced Pepito Gómez when he went to Miami. Stay tuned for a full review. [Michelle White]

Tuesday, September 9, 2008
permalink

New Yosvany Terry Photos from Tom Ehrlich
cuban music, musica cubanacuban music, musica cubana

Tom checks in with an extensive new gallery from recent Bay Area performances at Yerba Buena Gardens and La Peña Cultural Center.

cuban music, musica cubanaFirst Batch of Instructional Videos Now Available -- This is a timba geek's dream come true. One channel has only the bass and the other channel has everything else, so you can emulate every funky nuance of one of timba's greatest bassists. A lot more is coming - piano, congas, drums, and violin for every song on El Pikete's latest album, filmed as it was recorded at San Francisco's Secret Studios. [Kevin Moore]

 

 

Thursday, September 4, 2008
permalink

NEW ALBUM - Chalo y su Aché
cuban music, musica cubana

Pegando en la costa oeste de los EE.UU., Gonzalo "Chalo" Chomat lleva la batuta de la timba cubana contemporanea con su grupo Chalo y su Aché. Bajo la dirección de Chalo, los temas fueron grabados en Los Angeles con músicos del yuma. Contienen varias influencias de la música tropical pero siempre con enfoque en la timba bailable.

Músicos de Chalo y su Aché:
Gonzalo 'Chalo' Chomat - Director y Cantante
Esteban Adame - Piano
Jorge "Sawa" Pérez - Bass
Géners López - Drums
Pablo Limo - Congas
Yenier "Hormiga" López - Trumpet
Luis "Witty" Ortega - Trumpet
Fabrizio Gazzola - Sax
James Zabaleta - Background vocals
Iris Sandra Cepeda - Background vocals
Adelaide Benavides - Background vocals

Mensaje personal de Chalo: Un abrazo a todos los que me han apoyado en mi nuevo hogar de Los Angeles. Para mi público les aviso que estaré estrenando temas nuevos en mis próximas conciertos en King King. Favor envienme un email a gonzalitochomat@hotmail.com y los mentendré actualizados con mi boletín y mi aché. [Mike Lazarus]

Tuesday, September 2, 2008
permalink

Maraca Photos from Tom Ehrlich
cuban music, musica cubana

Maraca has a hot new album on Ahí Na'Má' Records and a real powerhouse performing band with Osmany Paredes on piano and Nengue Hernández on congas. Here's the photo gallery. Next stops are Long Beach and Hollywood CA on Sept. 7th and 9th. Here's the full tour schedule. [Kevin Moore]

Friday August 29, 2008
permalink

Braily @ The Place in Miami
Learn to Play Timba Bass with El Pikete
Chalo y su Ache photos from King King in L.A.

cuban music, musica cubana Friday night in Miami and "the place" to be at is.....The Place, 833 SW 29nth Ave, where Braily's concert has gathered quite a buzz after his appearances on 'Explosivos' (AmericaTeve - Channel 41) and 'Esta Noche Tu Night con Alexis Valdes' (Mega TV - Channel 22). Track #2 of his record was dubbed "La Cosita Chiquitita" and has been featured in various commercials. The concert will feature Braily, Bayron, Olga Lidia and various musicians from Willy Chirino's band.

Also featuring a Miami band is a new video album for those yearning for instructional material: a video bass lesson with Victoriano Napoles from El Pikete. The release includes special audio where one can use the balance control to isolate the bass from the band on separate channels -allowing for clear isolation of the bass. The resulting (right-channel) bass-less track allows you to play along with the band's hard-driving sound. Players take special note of how the clave fits with his bass lines.

On the west coast we just got our first photos from Chalo's show at King King in Los Angeles. Chalo y su Aché continue to deliver hard-core timba to south Cali. Find the photos here. [Mike Lazarus]

cuban music, musica cubana



Monday, August 25, 2008
permalink

Maraca at Yoshi's Wednesday & Thursday
cuban music, musica cubana

cuban music, musica cubana
(photos by Tom Ehrlich)

The dance floor will be open for 8:00 and 10:00 shows Wednesday & Thursday at Yoshi's in Oakland. See you there! {Kevin Moore]

Saturday, August 23, 2008
permalink

COAST TO COAST TIMBA
LOS ANGELES: Chalo y Su Ache @ King King - Tuesday, August 26 at 10pm
MIAMI: Braily Ramos @ The Place - Friday, August 29 at 10pm


cuban music, musica cubana

In 1995 Gonzalo "Chalo" Chomat joined Coneccion Salsera, a nationally renowned group formed by the ex-members of Jose Maria Vitier, providing him with the opportunity to travel outside of Cuba for the first time. With Coneccion Salsera, Gonzalo toured Mexico where he subsequently defected to the United States.

Upon becoming a legal resident of the United States, he joined the group Charanga Cubana as lead singer. Over the course of the following year he became one of the leading Cuban pop and traditional music-based singers on the west coast. With Charanga Cubana, Gonzalo traveled across the United States and to the Bahamas performing at many events abroad, including the world renowned Carnaval Calle Ocho in Miami, Florida. Recently, in 2007, Charanga Cubana’s album, “Sigue La Añoranza” was nominated for Best Tropical Album at the prestigious, Latin Grammy Awards. Jose Quintana, producer of the track “Corazon Espinado”, featured on Carlos Santana’s album ‘Supernatural’, called Gonzalo to appear as back-up vocalist for Fer, lead vocalist for the Spanish Rock group Mana’. In 2000 the track won a Grammy for Best Song of the Year.

In 2004, Gonzalo went solo, writing and composing the music to found his group Chalo Y Su Ache’, a group of young talent performing Cuban dance music in its most recent evolution (Timba), as exciting, passionate, and compelling as the Mambo, Cha-Cha-Cha, and later, Salsa eras of yesterday which took the public by storm in their respective periods.

In its list of credits Chalo Y Su Ache’ was called to play at Mayor Antonio Villa-Raigoza’s birthday party in 2004. In 2005 the group appeared at the Queen Mary’s “Mi Son Cubano” Cuban festival, opening for Willy Chirino. In 2006 they performed at the Museum of Latin Arts. The group was booked at to appear at La Ve Li in San Francisco, then toured various clubs and events throughout Mexico among them Tequila Safari, in Baja California and King King night club in Hollywood.

Check Chalo and his group 'Su Ache' @ King King (6555 Hollywood Blvd.) Tuesday, August 26 at 10pm.

cuban music, musica cubana

Braily appeared yesterday on MEGA TV Channel 22 in Miami on Alexis Valdez' show "Esta Noche Tonight" following numeros appearences on America TV. Track #2 of Braily's album Disco Duro -dubbed "La Cosita Chiquitita"- is a local hit. The track has been featured in commercials and as a dance number on the TV show " La Cosa Nostra". Check out his videos here:

Click here >> youtube braily dance number
Click here >> youtube braily concert with Albita special guest

Highly anticipated, Braily's concert is THE PLACE (pun intended) to be on Friday night in Miami. The Place is located at 833 SW 29nth Ave. [Mike Lazarus]

Tuesday, August 18, 2008
permalink

Yosvany Terry
cuban music, musica cubana

Tom Ehrlich checks in with a concert report and photo gallery covering Yosvany's recent tour with his all-star jazz-meets-arará group Ye-dé-gbé and the Afro-Caribbean Legacy.

Salsa Mayor in Rotterdam - Maraca in Oakland
cuban music, musica cubana

Michelle has a report on Salsa Mayor at Zomer Carnaval and a new "video wall" to get us in the mood for the upcoming Maraca tour, who hits Yoshi's next Wednesday & Thursday with pianist Osmany Paredes, who also played with Yosvany Terry.

New Pupy CD coming soon -- Tranquilo que yo controlo should be available very soon. [Kevin Moore]

Friday, August 15, 2008
permalink

Friday Book Watch
cuban music, musica cubana xxx
cuban music, musica cubana

The first volume of the long-awaited 9-volume treatise by David Peñalosa is due out soon. Stay tuned - we should have a link within a month. The advance bits that I've been able to read are the best explanation of the genesis of clave that I've found anywhere.

Meanwhile, two of the most important books ever written on Cuban music are now available for so little that there's simply no excuse not to drop everything and devote a few days to devouring them. I can't even imagine life without having read them both.

I've recently come back to the The Conga Drummer's Guidebook for the third time and it means much more to me each time I read it - or, more importantly, each time I listen to its audio CD. There's no one on earth quite like Michael Spiro. He plays like a Cuban, talks in American street slang and is capable of thinking like an academic when it serves his purposes. The only problem with this book is the title. It has much more to do with understanding Cuban music than it does with playing the congas and is equally valuable to dancers and listeners. And it can now be downloaded for $5.99 - about the same price as a cup of coffee or a gallon of gas.

Meanwhile, Ned Sublette's masterpiece is down to $12 in paperback over at amazon - about 25 cents per life-changing revelation. This one is also inadequately titled. I think of it as "The History of the World, and its Music, from the perspective of a Cuban music freak". [Kevin Moore]

Thursday, August 14, 2008
permalink

Music from Alberto GV, Braily & Yorgis
featured on the TV movie 'LITTLE GIRL LOST'

cuban music, musica cubana
Read the whole article here.

'Little Girl Lost', a film directed by Paul Kaufman for the Lifetime (Television) Network, is the true story of a woman, Luz Cuevas, who believed her infant daughter had perished in a fire, only to find her 6 years later living with another family. The film, set in Philadelphia and starring what is clearly a family with strong Puertorican heritage, features music from TIMBA.com and LPM artists like Braily Ramos, PR based salsero Rigoberto Rodríguez, Spain based rapper Alberto GV, trumpeter Marina Garza, Cuban tresero Heriberto "Tito" González, Issac's Delgado's current bassist Yorgis Goiricelaya and TIMBA.com's own Kevin Moore with Orquesta Gitano. The songs are heard during festive party scenes and in the background as radio tracks. Conratulations Kevin, Alberto, Braily and Yorgis! [Mike Lazarus]

Manolito & Maraca -- Michelle has updates on Manolito's European tour and Madrid radio interview, plus Maraca's new CD and US tour. [Kevin Moore]

 

Wednesday, August 13, 2008
permalink

The Missing Van Van EP
cuban music, musica cubana

Early Discography is complete -- Thanks to good old ebay, we now have the cover, number and tracklist of the missing 1969 Van Van EP. [Kevin Moore]

Friday, August 8, 2008
permalink

San José Jazz Fest Tomorrow
Rumbaché and QBA
cuban music, musica cubana
cuban music, musica cubana

Bay Area Timba -- Rumbaché will be on the salsa stage at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, August 9. Also check out our concert review of their show at Moe's Alley with photos by Tom Ehrlich. Jesús Díaz y su QBA will be on the same stage later that night at 8:00 p.m, and we also have a great set of photos from their recent concert at Moe's. Between these shows is Karabalí - not timba, but featuring a full cast of Bay Area legends including Mike Spiro and Karl Perazzo.

And in Europe -- Michelle has reports on the Festival Cubain de La Seyne Sur Mer, Pepe Espinosa's Euro-Cuban All Stars, and Klímax's new singer, ex-Charanguero Noel Díaz.

And in New York -- Shabi has been updating more frequently that I have lately, so keep checking Timba in NY for the latest from the Big Apple.

New Angel Bonne clip -- Check out the mp3 player at Yemayá's Verse. She's also got a new post and video clip featuring Manolito Simonet sitting in with la Revé.

Thursday, July 31, 2008
permalink

New Photography from France
cuban music, musica cubana

Michelle has the latest gems from Patrick Bonnard and Indochino, including this shot of the famous songwriting duo, Lennon & Formell. Also the latest from El Zorro.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008
permalink

Salsa Mayor Updates
cuban music, musica cubana

Salsa Mayor -- Michelle has the latest on Salsa Mayor's European tour, including video interviews with three new members. There's also news on Manolito's European tour and audio clips of Maraca, who will be starting his US Tour soon.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008
permalink

Melao pa' Inglaterra -- The Queen will be knighting him in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Before leaving, he brings us the latest on ex-Charanguero Juventino's timba-free adventures on Miami television, Miami Libre, and Tiempo Libre.

Monday, July 28, 2008
permalink

Papiosco Sighting! -- Thanks to Richard Curzon for pointing us to Papiosco's myspace page. The master conguero is alive and well in Toronto. I'll have a long article on Los Ases de la Timba soon which analyzes a number of Papiosco's mazacote parts.

Friday, July 25, 2008
permalink

cuban music, musica cubana Timba in Santa Cruz Next Thursday - Rumbachéis the new name for Quimbombó, the great Bay Area timba band we've been telling you about for several years. They'll be playing at Moe's Alley next Thursday, July 31st. They'll also be at the San José Jazz Festival on August 9th.

Michelle on Manolito -- Trabuco kicks off its European tour in Madrid. Maraca has a new CD and will be touring the US, including a date at the Monterey Jazz Fest. Azúcar Negra has a new single, and she's also got some amazing rumba dancing video.

Havana Snapshot 2008 -- See Yemayá's Verse to get the real story on what's changed - and not changed - in Havana.

Melao con El Ciclón
cuban music, musica cubana

Trumpeter/Photographer Eli "El Ciclón" Silva has joined forces with Melao, who's updated about 1,000 times since my last post. Here's got rare footage of Pepito's final days with Pupy y Los Que Son Son , Xavier Mili's solo project, a poll on your favorite timba singers, Miami Libre and much more.

Coming Attractions

Fajardo Page Coming -- For Roots of Timba fans, we'll be adding a José Fajardo discography soon.

Papiosco -- Jorge Luis Torres "Papiosco" laid down some incredible conga tracks on Ases de la Timba, one of the best albums of the 2000s in my book. We'll have an analysis page soon. Papiosco is now reportedly living in Toronto. If there are any sightings, please write in!

Yosvany Terry with Pedro Martínez -- Tom Ehrlich will be submitting some photos from a Yosvany's series of "jazz meets arará" concerts. I caught the show at La Peña in Berkeley and in the process discovered the unbelievably talented Pedro Martínez, a brilliant percussionist with one of the best voices I've ever heard. Keep an eye out for this guy!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008
permalink

Issac with Alain in Italy
cuban music, musica cubana

The long-awaited concert tour reunion of Issac Delgado and Alain Pérez is underway in Rome, Torino and Milano.

July 9
Rome, Italy
Fiesta

July 10
Torino, Italy

July 12
Milan, Italy
Latinoamericando

Click here for more tour dates. There's a possibility that Alain will also be present on the US tour!

cuban music, musica cubanaThe Alexander Abreu Interview - Gabriel of Yemayá's Verse has returned from a lengthy stay in Havana. Among her many exploits (recounted in detail here), she interviewed Alexander Abreu, the genius trumpeter - singer - writer - bandleader of 2008's most exciting new band, Havana D'Primera.

Click here for the Alexander Abreu interview in English.

Pon clik aquí para la entrevista con Alexander Abreu en español.

Lost in the Ozone - Estoy yo. After finishing The Roots of Timba, I dove head first into a major study of the rhythm sections of all the major timba bands.

It's been very enlightening, let me tell you! We're finally starting to make sense of some of the more complicated aspects of Revé, Bamboleo and the afore-mentioned Mr. Delgado, all of whom have changed their gear and bloque systems many times of the last ten years.

cuban music, musica cubanaI've also found some tasty rhythmic advancements on some of the Envidia releases of the last few years, most notably Los Ases de la Timba and Michel Maza's Que hablen los habladores both of which feature the amazing conga-playing of Jorge Luis Torres "Papiosco", who started with Klímax and is now living and playing in Toronto. If you're near there try to catch up with him and see what he's up to. If you're not, check out his playing on these albums.

Another great Envidia release for studio gears is Soy la noticia, Rebambaramba's second CD, which has a very interesting mixture of Pedro Pablo's Charanga Habanera roots and interesting ideas from Revé and elsewhere.

El Pikete Educational Video Project - If you're a musician or music student, or a fan who's always wanted to be a fly on the wall at a recording session, this is beyond amazing. Here's the story: When El Pikete did their famous "live in the studio" album last year, I, geek that I am, showed up with three video cameras. I put one on the bassist (Nápoles), one on the pianist (Pepe Montes), and one on Mipa, which also captures the violinist and a lot of what the drummer was doing. Later, we took the multitrack recording and made 5 special mixes. Each one has the featured instrument all alone on one side of the stereo and the rest of the band on the other. This way, you can solo the instrument you're studying, or mute it and play along. It was a spur of the moment idea, and I don't claim that it's a perfect professional video job, but if you're trying to learn to play timba it's absolutely priceless. I've never had an experience quite like hearing the soloed bass track of Victoriano Nápoles, (probably the funkiest living human being now that James Brown has moved on), while the camera zooms in to his fingers. Quite amazing! Stay tuned for more news on the release date. It will be available from LPM as an online download.

New Cuban Timba All Stars CD Coming - Tomasito Cruz is in the final stages of releasing CTA's long-awaiting first studio album. Their live album is still available on LPM.

cuban music, musica cubanaBut wait ... there's more! - Gabriel of Yemayá's Verse has returned from an extensive stay in Havana which you can relive through her many excellent posts. She also went vinyl-hunting and submitted a treasure trove of shots of albums I've never seen by Rumbavana, Típica Juventud and Maravillas de Florida. The latter is particularly fascinating because it lists all the personnel and you can see which of the Trabuqueros got their start in the earlier orquesta. Here are the updated discography pages:

Maravillas de Florida

Orquesta Típica Juventud

Rumbavana

Adalberto Alvarez y su Son

Speaking of Adalberto ... He's launched a new site (for which we were proud to contribute some album fotos) at adalbertoalvarez.com.

Frank Rubio on Tour with Cubanismo - Bassist Frank Rubio is one of the most under-appreciated figures of the timba revolution. He played an important role in the rhythmic development of Paulito, Bamboleo and Issac as well as having the honor of playing in the original Chucho Valdés Quartet. Now he's touring Europe with Cubanismo but I can't find a tour schedule. Please help if you can.

There's a lot more ... stay tuned. [Kevin Moore]

Thursday, July 3, 2008
permalink

Vacation Time - I honestly don't know where Kevin is these days. I have been on vacation in Italy and am off again for the weekend tomorrow. I apologize for the lack of updates. I'll be back on July 7th and will be able to update regularly again. In the meantime I have just updated the Salsa Mayor tour schedule. There are several changes, so take a look at it to be sure you know where to catch them. [Michelle]

DJ Melao Updates - Fortunately Melao is still around to do some updates so keep checking Melao's blog regularly. He has a link to new video at YouTube taht I'm sure you'll find interesting as well as a new poll. [Michelle]

Thursday, June 19, 2008
permalink

Pupy's New Singer - DJ Melao has the news directly from Pupy himself. Click here for more. [Michelle]

Wednesday, June 18, 2008
permalink

Timba & Cubaton in Mexico - If you live in the south western US you should know that Los Van Van will be performing at Mama Rumba at Plaza Loreto in Mexico City on June 20 and 21st. Don't miss the chance to take a weekend in Mexico and catch El Tren en vivo.

Gente D'Zona will also be in Mexico City performing reggaeton a lo cubano at Mambo Café in front of the Wolrd Trade Center on June 26. Manolín "El Médico de la Salsa" will also perform at Mambo Café on July 3rd. [Michelle]

Tuesday, June 17, 2008
permalink

Major Update to Tours Section - In just a few days the summer tours start with Pupy y Los Que Son Son playing their first summer gig in Oslo on Friday. Just in the nick of time we now have their full tour schedule. We also have all the dates for Maykel Blanco y Salsa Mayor, Orquesta Revé, NG La Banda and Manolito y Su Trabuco. So check the Tours Section and plan your summer accordingly. France and Italy seem to be the places to be this summer. [Michelle]

Monday, June 16, 2008
permalink

Tom Ehrlich Photos from Cachao Tribute - On April 28 & 29 the John Santo Quintet and Friend held a tribute to Israel "Cachao" López at Yoshi's in San Fransisco. Click here to see Tom's photos from the event. [Michelle]

Sunday, June 15, 2008
permalink

En Frequencia Updates - Duniel has posted quite a few updates to En Frequencia including a three CD reviews: 24 Kilates by Los Ángeles de La Habana, Como gato de angora by Michel Maza and Lo que tú querías by Gardi. I recomend listening closely to La Habana se está mudando by Los Ángeles...you'll see why. [Michelle]

Saturday, June 14, 2008
permalink

NEWSFLASH - Mystery Solved Concerning Suprema Ley CD - After talking with Maykel Blanco himself we can now resolve the confusion and bring an end to the speculation about the CD Me olvidé quie era. Maykel explained that the CD recently released by Envidia was recorded by Suprema Ley in 1999 but never released to the market. He later recorded Ya llegaron los cubanos with Suprema Ley and that was his first CD release. El veterano, which was first recorded on Me olvidé quien era, was the only song from that CD to be released on Ya llegaron los cubanos. So we can tell the fans that this CD does not include any new recordings but rather contains unreleased material from the Suprema Ley era. It should not be confused with the upcoming CD by Salsa Mayor nor be considered representative of Maykel's current work.

Maykel tells us that they are mixing the new Salsa Mayor CD now and it will be on the market soon on the Planet Records label. He assures Salsa Mayor fans that the CD will follow in the vein of Recoge y vete and the Anda pégate demos we've heard so far.

I've said it before and I'll say it again with complete confidence. I think the new CD by Salsa Mayor will be among the best releases of 2008, and considering all the releases we have coming up this year, that's saying something! So have patience, the new CD will be here soon or as they say in Anda pégate "no te desesperaras, esperaras tranquilito que la máquina llegara". [Michelle]

What's Up with the Recent Maykel Blanco Release!?! - DJ Melao has posted some information about the recent new CD released by Maykel Blanco. It seems that this CD has caused some confusion among fans so let me clarify a few important points.

1. First of all note that it is Maykel Blanco y Suprema Ley, even if it may be erroneously listed as Salsa Mayor at some Internet sites. Suprema Ley is a defunct band. It does not exist anymore but was the precursor to Salsa Mayor. Supreme Ley had a more traditional salsa style than Salsa Mayor. When the group was in existence they recorded only one CD together: Ya Llegaron Los Cubanos. I personally liked this CD but it's not the timba we know and love from Salsa Mayor today. However, the Suprema Ley songs El veterano and La discordia de las frutas from Ya Llegaron Los Cubanos are part of the excellent potpourri on the Salsa Mayor Live, Desde La Casa De la Música CD. When you compare you notice that the Salsa Mayor versions are more to a timba fan's taste, i.e. the are timbafied versions of the softer original versions found on the Suprema Ley CD. Pull out your Live, Desde La Casa De La Música CD and check out the Potpurri which features Pavel "La Figura" on El veterano and El Noro on La discordia de las frutas and you'll see what I mean.

2. Me olvidé quien era is a is a collection of previously recorded but unreleased demos. That is to say that to my knowledge (although I am checking to get confirmation), none of the songs are new and they represent earlier projects in the style of Suprema Ley. This is the reason the CD says Suprema Ley. I personally think the songs are danceable, but if you are expecting Salsa Mayor you won't get what you expect. If you buy the CD think of it as a completely different band.

3. Salsa Mayor will be releasing their 2nd studio CD soon, probably titled Anda pégate, but I don't know for sure. I don't know the date yet, but this is the one we have been waiting for with songs such as Anda pégate, Marisela, Adivina papá, Si le gusta repite, La balacera, and Quítate que vengo volao. For reasons unknown to me, Maykel decided not to include Ella dice on the new CD, although it's been very popular as a demo.

Keep an eye out for the new Salsa Mayor CD and remember that Suprema Ley and Salsa Mayor are not the same band. Maykel's style and arrangements have keep maturing and I expect this to be reflected in Anda pégate. [Michelle]

Danzón está de moda en La Habana - I just felt like mentioning that there seems to be a danzón trend in Havana these days.

1. Soneros All Stars new release La Timba Soy Yo has a very modern danzón called Besos de miel sung by Mandy Cantero and while it's danzón it's also timba, where a danzón normally breaks into a chachacha-like montuno, Besos de miel turns to timba. I'll be posting a review of the CD in the next few days so stay tuned.

2. Suprema Ley Me olvidé quien era also has the danzón Como el aire, which was originally recorded on the Salsa Mayor demo CD known as Si Quieres Quiéreme. In the end when Recoge y vete was released niether Como el aire nor Mi china Gladys was on the "official release". [Update: we now know that these two songs were recorded by Suprema Ley in 1999]

3. Pupy y Los Que Son Son have also recorded a danzón for their upcoming album. This will be a more traditional danzón with no vocals but some lovely solos on piano, flute and violin. [Michelle]

Thursday, June 12, 2008
permalink

El Fenómeno Video Up at El Zorro's Site - El Zorro has filmed the first video from his new CD Ay Como Me Sube. Ángel Bonne sings lead on this "funky timba". The video was filmed in April 2008 on location at Playas del Este from what I can see and directed by Arturo Santana. Click here to watch the video. [Michelle]

Wednesday, June 11, 2008
permalink

Melao Update - DJ Melao has uploaded  video from TV in Miami where Vanessa Formell, when trying to talk about her upcoming recording with Juan Formell, was forced to defend her father and Los Van Van from accusations of communism. [Michelle]

Gabriel Updates - I assume you are all as heartbroken as I am that Gabriel has returned to Australia and we have lost our almost-real-time link to what's happening in the capital of timba. By way of compensation she will shortly be uploading interviews and video and probably more pictures as well. Coming soon are interviews with Alexander Abreu of Havana D'Primera and Aisar Hernandez of Orquesta Revé who gave her the latest details about his solo project. Today she has a clip of Havana D'Primera at Yemayá's Verse. [Michelle]

Tours Updates - We are still missing quite a lot of tour dates but will hopefully have them up at the end of this week since the tours are beginning this month. Check the Tours section to find your favorites bands. If you know of any concert dates we are missing please send an e-mail. [Michelle]

Friday, May 31, 2008
permalink

Doing Your Part To Restore Timba Tours in the United States - Here's the bottom line folks. If Obama wins, there will be timba tours. If McCain wins, there won't. End of story on that one. Now - many people get their political information by searching the web, so we need to ALL chip in and click on a few links every day in order to make sure that the search engines display the truth about John McCain and dispel the ugly lies about Obama.

Here's your job:

1) Click on this link and then click on every link on that page.
2) Do it every day - bookmark the page.
3) Do it from every computer you have access to.
4) Get your friends to do the same.

This is not one of my crazy ideas. It's a proven technique championed by some of the smartest political minds in the country. Do it now! [Kevin Moore]

Havana Buzz
cuban music, musica cubana

New Blog - Jen Paz, the film-maker who brought us the Charanga Habanera documentary Popular, now has a blog on timba.com: Havana Buzz. Check it regularly! [Kevin Moore]

Melao on a Roll - Melao has added a significant amount of great video from Pupy's new tour, including interviews with Pupy and his new singer Lily, concert clips, and the latest chisme on personnel changes and the new CD. [Kevin Moore]

Friday, May 30, 2008
permalink

cuban music, musica cubana
Photo ©Cristian Muñoz

Jannier Back with Pupy y Los Que Son Son - Our woman in Havana, Gabriel, has confirmed that Jannier is indeed back with Pupy for the summer tour after his stint with Havana D'Primera. The singer line-up for the summer tour is Mandy, Lily and Jannier. I have still not heard who the new trumpet player is. The band leaves in just over 2 weeks to begin their tour, but don't worry everything is under control, or as Pupy might tell the fans tranquilo que yo controlo . Click here to see the current list of concert dates, and check back because we will be adding more very soon.[Michelle]

Thursday, May 29, 2008
permalink

cuban music, musica cubana
DJ Melao with César Pedroso

Dj Melao's Report from Pupy in Canada - As we wait for the dust to settle and for the replacements for Chocolate and Pepito to be selected, DJ Melao has posted a report from the Canadian tour with quite a few videos. He has interviews, rehearsal, concert footage and some "on the bus" clips as well. He has also updated his media player with audio clips from Arrasando by Los Van Van as well as two songs from Pupy y Los Que Son Son's new CD, No soy yo and Nadie puede contra eso. Check out the clips because the release of Pupy's CD has now been postponed by about two months, but Melao promises it will be "one of the most explosive releases of the year".

War of Words? - In the past some of the best timba grew out of rivalries between competing groups. Who can forget the "Charanguerras" when La Forever and La Habanera were constantly dissing one another in their lyrics or the controversía between Michel Maza and Revé about the Uyuyuy coro? It's been quite a while since we had a lyrics war between any timba groups, but in 2008 things seem to be heating up a little. I guess you can't call it a war yet, but the word on the street is that Pupy's new song No soy yo is a reference to Maykel Blanco and all the comparisons people are making between his style of piano playing and the sonido of Salsa Mayor and Pupy y Los Que Son Son.

But Pupy isn't the only one who is involved. Check out the lyrics to Azúcar Negra's excellent new single La identidad and see if it seems to be a bit of friendly advice...to...well you decide what you think it's all about. You can find it in their media player at MySpace.

Time will tell if this will lead to any musical responses from Maykel. Or perhaps he will take the high road and simply continue barriendo caminos and respond by packing the concert venues on the upcoming European Tour. Either way I expect both Pupy's new CD and the new Salsa Mayor CD to be at the top of the 2008 releases. [Michelle]

Wednesday, May 21, 2008
permalink

cuban music, musica cubana
Photo ©Cristian Muñoz

Canada Celebrates Pupy Pedroso Week - Pupy y Los Que Son Son kick off their tour of Canada with a concert tonight at Vieux Clocher in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Pupy y Los Que Son Son are a must-see group for any Cuban music fan. It is also one of those rare opportunities for timba fans in the US to actually enjoy the music of one of Cuba's legendary music figures live! To top it all off, the new CD by Pupy y Los Que Son Son will be released in conjunction with this tour, so don't miss your chance to get an autographed copy!

Timba.com's DJ Melao will catch up with Los Que Son Son on the 23rd in Montreal and will follow the band for the remainder of their trip, providing the best timba tracks before and after the shows. In Toronto he will be working together with DJ Billy Bryans, who has declared it Pupy Pedroso Week in Canada.

Yemaya's Verse Reports on Pupy - You can prepare for the concerts by reading Gabriel's report from Pupy's "Monster Jam" on the eve of the band's departure for Canada. The concert included performances by such guest artists as Alexander Abreu, Ángel Bonne and Tirso Duarte, who got into a major "controversía" with Mandy Cantero that just wouldn't come to an end.

Meanwhile in Another Part of North America... -
If you can't make it to Canada, there are some other options for you this week assuming New York isn't out of reach. Albita will be performing at S.O.Bs on Thursday the 22nd. Also on Thursday, DJ Andreas will be at Lafayette Grill and there will be a 1:1 ratio of Timba and PR salsa!

Salsa on the River-May 25, 2008 will feature live salsa as well as 3 DJs, one of whom is timbera DJ Reyna. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $25.00 347-239-1485 www.LaFarraNY.com Pier 40 Houston & West Side Highway entrance 8:30pm.
[Michelle]

Monday, May 19, 2008
permalink

cuban music, musica cubana
Ganador Cubadisco 2008

Fresquecito Wins at Cubadisco 2008 - Elito Revé y su Charangón have won the Cubadisco award for Best Popular Dance Album 2008. Immediately on its release Fresquecito was hailed far and wide as one of the great Revé albums and as proof that the band under the leadership of Elito can maintain a leading position as one of Cuba's elite popular dance bands. The competition was tough this year as they faced La Charanga Habanera - El mundo se acabo Mañengo, Mamborama - Directamente al mambo, Taínos de Mayarí - Me mantengo and Suena Cubana - Mil razones.

Congratulations to all the nominees and a special congratulations to Elito, musical director Aisar Hernandez, and all of the chamacos del charangón.[Michelle]

Keep checking Yemayá's Verse - Gabriel continues her highly informative and entertaining daily posts from the heart the farandula habanera. She was on hand last night to see Elito Revé y Su Charangón on at La Tropical where the audience could celebrate the Cubadisco prize with the band. She says the Charangón will be performing with Manolito y Su Trabuco at Casa de la Música Galiano on Saturday.

Friday, May 16, 2008
permalink

Maraca & the New Collective US Tour - Maraca will be on tour in Europe this summer with Otra Visión and in September he will go to the US for a tour with The New Collective. Click here for all of Maraca's tour dates.

Havana D'Primera European Tour - I have added a page for Havana D'Primera who will be doing their first European tour this summer. I expect we will be adding more dates soon. [Michelle]

Thursday, May 15, 2008
permalink

Updates from Melao -  Kevin has disappeared into gearland again but Melao has been busy posting some interesting updates.

cuban music, musica cubana

The birth of casino -  Popular legend says that casino dancing was born in the 1950s and got it's name from Casino Deportivo, but Melao has found some vintage film of a couple dancing in 1938. Could this prove that casino has been around much longer than tradition claims? Or are they just dancing a very fast son? You decide!

Carlos Camilo Video -  Melao also has video of Carlos Camilo singing Bola de Nieve's Vete de mí.

Miami Libre -  And Melao has the latest on the upcoming event Miami Libre from July 25 - August 17, that will feature Tiempo Libre, cabaret and more.

Monday, May 12, 2008
permalink

Taking No Prisoners!
cuban music, musica cubana
=click here for Tom Ehrlich's Photo Gallery=

Chalo y su Aché in SF -  Wow - I can't believe it's been almost 8 years since San Francisco stopped having 100+ timba shows a year, and I can't believe how good the real stuff sounds live. Chalo is pure timba dura - no reguetón, no salsa romántica, no chachachá, no Latin jazz, no "salsita", no R&B torch songs ... just throbbing, pounding, heart-stopping timba. After god knows how many nights in a row of sitting in front of my computer reverse engineering the "timba gears" of Revé, Issac, et al, it was a revelation to sit by the side of the stage and watch it happen in front of my eyes as Chalo threw out hand signal after hand signal, driving his world class rhythm section like a Lamborghini. Bassist Sawa Pérez and drummer Geners López were the real deal - they made me feel like I was back at La Tropical or La Cecilia. More like this please! There were also guest performances from Bay Area soneros Fito Reinoso and Erik Barbería and Walt Digz played several perfectly paced DJ sets full of interesting new tracks that I didn't even know existed, including Riki Ricón's new band, Ritmo Moderno from Camagüey.

Speaking of the real thing ...  Our plucky Australian reporter - lucky Tasmanian devil that she is - is once again in Havana - at least her 9th or 10th trip since the last time I went! She's already seen Salsa Mayor twice, Pupy twice, Manolito, Havana d'Primera and quite a bit more. Pull up a chair, get a cup of coffee, click here, and drown yourself in jealousy.

New Releases from Michel, Mandy and Los Ángeles ...  And Melao says the latter have added a timba.com reference to one of their songs! (Of course he didn't say what they said!). I've got mine on order. Melao also has extensive reports on LVV and Pupy.

Michelle on the European Dance Scene ...  and she's working on a top-secret but extremely exciting new series ... stay tuned.

Monday, May 5, 2008
permalink

Chalo y Su Aché Friday Night in SF
cuban music, musica cubana

Friday, May 9 @ Jelly's in San Francisco -  L.A.'s premier timba band, Chalo y su Ache, featuring Gonzalo Chomat and DJ Walt Digz for a show Friday night at San Francisco's Jelly's Cafe.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008
permalink

The misadventures of Gabriel - Gab seems to be posting regularly now. She ran into problems trying to get to a Pupy y los que son son concert. The lessons we can learn from her: always buy a phone card the day you arrive and leave your friends to their own devices.

DJ Melao Updates - Speaking of Pupy y los que son son, Melao will soon be in Canada DJing at the los que son son concerts. Check his blog for his summer DJing plans as well as some of his own exclusive video of Los Van Van from Cubamemucho in Munich.

Carlos Manuel at S.O.B.s - Carlos Manuel will play Friday May 2nd at S.O.B.s, shows at 8pm and 10pm. [Michelle]

Saturday, April 26, 2008
permalink

Gabriel in Havana - Kevin is out of town for a few days so I am hijacking his blog to remind everyone that Gabriel Wilder arrives in Havana today for another multiweek visit. Each year I look forward to her trip with an equal mix of excitement and envy. She will be posting as often as she can from the heart of la farandula habanera at her blog Yemaya's Verse. She will be there throughout Cubadisco as will timba photographer Cristian Muñoz. I am looking forward to her candid reports and Cristian's great pictures.

Klímax 13 years and a new CD - Giraldo Piloto and his band have celebrated their April anniversary, demonstrating yet again why April is International Timba Month. Their new CD has been recorded and will be released by Bis Music in May. For more information, see me. [Michelle]

Thursday, April 17, 2008
permalink

QBA Friday Night in SF
cuban music, musica cubana

Tomorrow Night at Café Cócomo - The Bay Area's leading timba band, QBA, will team up with hiphop timberos Bayonics and DJ Walt Digz for a show Friday night at San Francisco's Café Cócomo. Click here for a flyer with more info.

Tom Ehrlich's QBA Photos -- Here's a new gallery of Tom Ehrlich photos from a great QBA concert I attended at Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz last week. Also, don't forget the ongoing exhibit featuring photos, by Tom, Peter Maiden, Walter Wagner, and Andy Nozaka at the Martin Luther King Library in downtown San Jose. I'll be there next Tuesday night at 7:00 to hear guest lecturer John Santos.

Salsa Mayor to Europe -- See Michelle.

MIchel Calvo in Miami -- See Melao.

And last but not least ... Please check Michelle and Melao every day because I've had to cut back on posting while I research Volume II of my online book series. Don't worry - I'll be back soon with more timba madness than you'll be able to bear - I'm doing an exhaustive survey of every timba album since 1990. Major revelation so far: there were quite a few really good ones!

Saturday, April 5, 2008
permalink

Dandy Rodríguez at Yoshi's this Weekend
cuban music, musica cubana

New Tom Ehrlich Photos - Click here for a gallery from Friday's Latin Giants of Jazz show at Yoshi's. You can catch them tonight and tomorrow night. Don't miss this chance to catch several true legends of Latin music. The gallery is only half finished and will be expanding over the next few days, so keep checking back.

April is International Timba Month! -- see Michelle.

Tonight! El Pikete Featuring Manolín and Mr. Haka at Rice & Beans in Miami -- A live DVD will be filmed. Melao and DJ Willy will be playing tunes between sets. Click here for more details.

Tonight! Tough Choice on the West Coast -- I was at Yoshi's the Latin Giants of Jazz last night so tonight I'll be on hand to hear QBA play original timba in Santa Cruz at Moe's Alley. The Latin Giants continue at Yoshi's tonight and tomorrow night. Last night's show was incredible -- it's old school classic New York mambo a lo Tito Puente and Tito Rodríguez with a world class 13-piece horn section featuring Jimmy Bosch, Pete Miranda and the best of NY's young turks. In the rhythm section, Sonny Bravo was brilliant and Dandy Rodríguez is simply without peer. Photos from Tom Ehrlich coming soon.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008
permalink

Amazing Ongoing Photo Exhibit in San Jose -- Tom Ehrlich, Peter Maiden, Walter Wagner, and Andy Nozaka have collaborated on a photo show at the Martin Luther King Library in downtown San Jose. It's open every day, and there's a guest lecturer every Tuesday night at 7:00. Among others, John Santos is on the upcoming calendar. Sue Taylor was at the opening and will be submitting a photo report soon.

Braily's CD Release Party -- Click here for info and upcoming television appearances.

Sonny Bravo & Dandy Rodríguez in Oakland! -- From Thursday through Sunday, the Latin Giants of Jazz will be at Yoshi's in Oakland. This is members of Tito Puente's band and features at least two must-see giants of Latin music: pianist Sonny Bravo, and John "Dandy" Rodríguez, one of the great bongoseros of all-time, with a youtube cult following that rivals that of Obama Girl. The show is billed as "jazz" but there will be plenty of salsa as phenomenal singer Frankie Vásquez will also be on hand.

QBA in Santa Cruz -- California's leading timba band, Jesús Díaz and QBA, will be at Moe's Alley on Saturday night.

Volume II -- Sorry I've been absent lately - I'm deeply embroiled in researching Volume II.

Ned Sublette Lecture -- Next Tuesday in SF at Bird & Beckett Books and Records at 653 Chenery St. More info coming soon.

Friday, March 21, 2008
permalink

Time Flies -- Having finally finished the world's first (I think) online audio book about music, I've been deeply embroiled in researching and writing Volume II and I'll tell you -- it's extremely exciting to hear the early history of timba after spending a year listening to almost nothing but the 2 decades leading up to it. While I get the first chapters ready, I'll be reposting just the audio parts of The Roots of Timba in the form of playlists, so you can "fast-forward" through the 20 years leading up to the timba era. To read along with the chapters covered by the audio collage, start here.

Roots of Timba Flashback - 1969 to 1973
cuban music, musica cubana

==click here for today's audio collage==

Today's collage takes us from 1969 to 1973. Clicking the link beneath the picture should open Windows Media Player or iTunes or whatever you have and play a rapid-fire series of clips from the best parts of the best songs of the years in question. Let me know if it works on your system.

Havana Update from Yemayá's Verse -- Back online after awhile with the latest chisme from Duñesky Barreto, who played congas for years with Bamboleo before moving over to Pupy y Los Que Son Son.

Changes to Pupy's Canada Tour -- Bamboleo is also going to the saner region of North America. See Michelle.

Carlos Manuel -- El malo cantidad is back and Melao has the latest. Also, Vanessa Formell and Cubamemucho.

Friday, March 14, 2008
permalink

Cuba in Mexico -- Now that it's so difficult for Americans to travel to Cuba, there's a new study program that meets in Mexico where students can study with the Cuban masters. This June 16th, in Morelia, Michoacan, you can study with:

Roberto Vizcaíno, congas and timbales
Alejandro Carvajal, batá
Feliciano Arango, bass

For more info click here.

Monday, March 10, 2008
permalink

Carlos del Pino
cuban music, musica cubana

==click here for the audio interview==

Tom Ehrlich Interviews the legendary bassist -- Carlos del Pino was a founding member of Opus 13 and played with them until 1990. He's been in the US for 8 years and New York City for 5.

Sunday, March 9, 2008
permalink

Meanwhile ... Back in the Present -- The old familiar game of "musical chairs" has been raging in Havana with major personnel changes in many of the major bands, including, among others, Revé y su Charangón, Charanga Habanera, Pupy y Los Que Son Son, Manolito y su Trabuco, and Salsa Mayor. Michelle gives us a complete rundown on the current state of affairs, plus news on CDs, concerts, and special projects, in her lengthy post: "Ch ch ch changes".

Saturday, March 8, 2008
permalink

Fin de Cuento!
cuban music, musica cubana

==click here for today's excerpt==

The Roots of Timba concludes with LVV's "perfect album" -- In terms of balance, flow, unique personality, uniformly high quality, and raw creativity, it's hard to imagine a more perfect album than Crónicas, the final chapter in The Roots of Timba. I'll have some interesting audio suprises in store over the next few days while I begin work on Volume II which will explain the inner working of timba rhythm sections before we pick up our history where we left off.

Friday, March 7, 2008
permalink

El Pikete este viernes en Rice & Beans - En frecuencia tiene todos los detalles.

Thursday, March 6, 2008
permalink

Roots of Timba: 2 Chapters to Go
cuban music, musica cubana

==click here for today's excerpt==

1989: Aliamén Celebrates their 25th Anniversary ... with references to everything from Manolito to Chaka Khan ... click here.

Pupy in Canada - Coming soon ... Melao has the scoop.

Speaking of Aliamén - Here's a nice interview with Tony Alba, the founding timbalero of Aliamén who moved to LA in about 1970.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008
permalink

Welcoming a new Photographer - Eli Silva - Timba fans already know Eli as "El Ciclón", a well-known Miami trumpeter. He also does photography and will be working with Melao to document the local scene. Click here for his section.

Monday, March 3, 2008
permalink

Crisis in Cuba

Thanks to Martin Karakas for translating this Pedro de la Hoz interview with Elito Revé (español también). In a much more subtle way, it re-sounds the alarm set off by Formell (español) that the Cuban music scene is going through a major crisis.

Reading between the lines, the political and economic situation in the 90s resulted in the Cuban government creating an ideal environment for music to thrive. Now, tragically, the government seems to be going out of its way to interfere with musicians and their ability to create new music and make a living. The result is that talented musicians are leaving the island in droves and those who stay have fewer and fewer places to play.

Here's the money quote from the Elito interview:

"We have many followers, but we lack dance venues. The Salón Rosado is no longer what it used to be and years back the Mi salsa program was dropped from television. And although it seems impossible, today there are hardly any specialized spots on the radio for dance music.

Tracks & Singers of New LVV album - plus all the dance news that's fit to print -- plus amazing video of Pupy, Lazarito and Manolito, side by side on three pianos. Melao has been busy!

The End of an Era
cuban music, musica cubana

==click here for today's excerpt==

1989: Ritmo Oriental -- I've run out of superlatives -- Will someone please send me a care package of adjectives? I've used, re-used, over-used and abused all the ones I know: epic, astounding, brilliant, incredible, dumbfounding, breathtaking, exhilarating ...

Just as the hour arrives to write the epilog for one of the greatest bands of all time, my well has run dry, so I'll just have to give you this list of audio links and let you pen your own lofty prose:

Yo bailo de todo
Mi socio Manolo
Ahora sí
Matrimonio Feliz
Y se baila así
Nena, así no se vale
El agua no me llevó
Baile del azúcar
-- [excerpt 2]
La Ritmo suena a Areíto
La Ritmo te está llamando
Qué rico bailo yo
La chica mamey
Al que le tocó le tocó
El son de Claro
Con el chenche buchenche
Maritza
Bailadores
Barrios de los rumberos
Cuida'o con la percusión
Azúcar a granel --
[excerpt 2]
Baila si vas a bailar

[sources]

Monday, March 3, 2008
permalink

'Clon knows fotos -- Melao on the great trumpeter El Ciclón.

Cerrando el Ciclo

cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Timba.com Comes Full Circle -- Way back in 2001, timba.com set out on the mission of documenting the history and discography of its chosen genre with a lengthy section on the group often known as "the first timba band": NG La Banda. To set the stage we began with a review of No te compliques, the last album El Tosco made before retiring the band name "Grupo Nueva Generación". More recently we began the "Roots of Timba" project, beginning with Arsenio Rodríguez in 1940, continuing to the songo era of the 70s and most recently chronicling the "countdown" of the electic 80s. With today's excerpt, we finally return to where we began 7 years ago. As I started to review this album, I suddenly realized that I'd already written the review in 2001, so all I had to do was add the streaming audio.

No te compliques was not the most earth-shaking album ever made. No one saw fit to reissue it on CD and in fact, we've never even found a photo of the vinyl LP. The only known evidence of its existence is the EGREM cassette shown above.

The first NG La Banda album? -- Not really. The artist is listed as "Grupo Nueva Generación", and there are none of the rhythm section innovations that we normally associate with timba. Even after all of this "roots of timba" research, I would still argue that the first "timba album" was NG's En la calle, recorded in December of 1989 and released in early 1990. That said, No te compliques was Tosco's first recording with Tony Calá, Issac and Piloto, and contains, in one of its coros, the first use of the phrase "NG La Banda". (The track has never been released, so if you like it, write EGREM).

Beginnings and Endings -- If No te compliques wasn't quite the beginning of the timba era, the departure of Tony Calá marked the end of the second great style period of Ritmo Oriental while the departures of Tosco, El Greco, Averhoff and Velazco marked the end of the second great incarnation of Irakere. Both bands have continued to this day but it was in 1988 that they relinquished their roles as leading-edge innovators.

Now what? -- Our timba countdown still has 5 albums to go before we arrive at ... (drum roll, please) ... En la calle. That will mark the end of Volume I: The Roots of Timba. Volume II, (or so the best-laid plan goes), will introduce the building blocks of Cuban rhythms and Volume III will explain how they were reassembled in the 90s -- answering, once and for all, the age-old question "What is Timba?". Then we'll to return to our chronology and battle our way back to the present in Volume IV. By the time we get there we just may find that the next great Cuban genre has already risen up from the ashes of reguetón, the struggling Havana scene of the late 00s, and the continually heartbreaking disaster that we call Miami, FL.

Sunday, March 2, 2008
permalink

The Roots of Timba - Rumbavana
x xcuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1988 - Another Lost Masterwork -- Joseíto González, who died way too young in 1995, was one of the great Cuban pianists and arrangers, following in the footsteps of the great Lilí Martínez. After this great album (never reissued on CD), he spent the last years of his career with Orquesta Riverside. Click here.

Lázaro Maya with Charanga Habanera -- Melao has the latest on the ex-Salsa Mayor singer's new gig.

Tanya with Charanga Habanera -- Mr. Bryans has the video. I remain entirely unconvinced on both, but I've never seen Tanya live and haven't seen CH since 2001 (thanks, George).

Saturday, March 1, 2008
permalink

cuban music, musica cubanaMystery Solved! -- Thanks to Yemayá's Verse and Barry Cox from New York for sending us photos and info on that great mystery Maravilla album with Manolito Simonet that we were raving about a few weeks ago. We've updated the Maravillas de Florida discography page accordingly.

Keep the photos and track lists coming folks! Here are just a few of the vinyl albums we're desperately seeking: Opus 13: Reclamo tu cuerpo; NG La Banda: En la calle otra vez; Maravillas de Florida: El agua coge su nivel; Orquesta 440: Ven sígueme. We could also use some better photos of today's feature album ...

The Roots of Timba - 1988: Fin de semana
x xcuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Musical Chairs -- We just finished talking about Héctor Valentín's great singing on Revé's 1988 album - now he's with Adalberto! Meanwhile, his compay Alfonsito had departed for Dan Den and Tony Calá was about to join up with El Tosco.

Friday, February 29, 2008
permalink

Almost 30 Years with Adalberto Alvarez
cuban music, musica cubana

Actually he'd been writing and arranging well before that, but 1979 marked AA's debut as a bandleader with Son 14. Thanks to Ali Alvarez and Adalberto himself for helping us fill in the missing information on our AA - Son14 Discography page. You can now find the composer, singer, and arranger for almost every song since 1979! And please don't forget to check out our other discographies in progess and help us complete them with information and digital photos!

Mayito on Fire! -- Michelle files this rave review from the Los Van Van Stockholm concert. I watched some of the video she plans to post and I've never seen Mayito dance like that! If you're in Europe, don't even think of missing this tour!

Tired of Waiting for the New Pupy Album?
x xcuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Here's an AUDIO CLIP -- Actually, that's the first track from Los Van Van's 1988 album, El negro no tiene na', but listen to it again. It's amazing how many great songs Pupy wrote and arranged on albums that most timba fans have never heard!

Thursday, February 28, 2008
permalink

1986-1987-1988: The Trilogy8
cuban music, musica cubanaxcuban music, musica cubana xcuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1988: Revé's Juan Carlos Alfonso Era -- Today we cover Revé's final LP before Alfonso left to form Dan Den. Taken as a trilogy it's an astounding body of work. You can find many of the tracks on compilation CDs, but there's no excuse for this not being a lovingly-packaged box set, with the contents of De nuevo thrown in as bonus tracks. Please write EGREM and ask them to do justice this wonderful part of Cuban music history!

The Alaskan Timba Dance Cruise -- Last chance to temblequearse on the North Pole before it melts! And with a very impressive dance faculty - check it out.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008
permalink

Google Maps Does Havana!
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here==

If only the cabbies had this -- As you look forward to 2009 you can start learning where all the good clubs are.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008
permalink

Debut of a new Charanguero? -- That's the rumor - see Melao for details.

The Roots of Timba: 19888
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1988! -- This is the kind of lost gem that makes this "roots of timba" project so rewarding. We introduced Orquesta 440 way back in 1983 (seems like years ago), but the 1988 version this group was something else entirely. We've found all sorts of precedents for the technical aspects of timba but la 440's contribution to timba was more in the flavor department. See if you agree.

More Van Van News from Michelle? -- stay tuned.

Bamboleo in Canada? -- That's how I read this cryptic Mr. Bryans entry. Also, a new album from a famous ex-Bambolera.

Haila Haila Haila - Yemayá's Verse has more on the release of Haila's Tal como soy, and still more (with video), and even a bit more.

My Arsenio Box Came! -- Wow ... two long booklets, the whole Ayala database in chronological order, and quite a few drop-dead masterpieces that not even Orlando had ever heard. USA -- Europe.

Monday, February 25, 2008
permalink

It was 15 years ago today ... that Manolito Simonet left Los Maravillas de Florida to form Manolito y su Trabuco. Michelle has more.

The Roots of Timba: 1987
cuban music, musica cubanaxcuban music, musica cubanaxcuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

"What's The Difference Between Salsa and Timba (and Songo)?" -- We attempt to answer the age-old question as our chapter on Los Van Van's Al son del Caribe moves on to the biggest hit of 1987 - La titimanía. Juan Ceruto recorded a timba version on Gracias Formell in 1997 and Issac gave it the salsa treatment in on 2005's Prohibido. All three versions are great and the comparison is very interesting.

Sunday, February 24, 2008
permalink

The Roots of Timba: 1987
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

The LVV - Rubén Blades Connection -- The New York salsa star covered LVV's Muévete for his 1987. In today's excerpt, Formell reciprocates.

New Ehrlich Photos - Pellejo Seco
cuban music, musica cubana xcuban music, musica cubana
click here for photos

Northern California Son with a Twist -- Tom Ehrlich was on hand for Pellejo Seco's well-attended show Thursday night and filed this photo report. For more on this unique group, here's their website.

Best Album of 1987 ... the envelope please -- Don't ask me to choose. I can narrow it down to three:

Ritmo Oriental: Guarachando
Revé: La explosión del momento
LVV: Al son del Caribe

What's The Difference Between Salsa, Songo and Timba? -- We try to answer the age-old question tomorrow as our continuing review of Al son del Caribe continues on to its biggest hit, La titimanía, which we'll compare to the Gracias Formell version and Issac's 2005 salsa version from Prohibido.

Friday, February 22, 2008
permalink

En frecuencia -- Duniel y Juan Tomás han regresado con noticias sobre el nuevo disco de Issac, el concierto de El Pikete y la carrera de Leonid Torres después de la CH.

Havana D'Primera Video! -- Wow -- this is one of the best combinations of great musicians since Team Cuba. Click here for live video - also see Melao for more info.

Titimanía-manía -- No ... I'm not having a mid-life crisis, but I have become completely obsessed with the three great versions of this song by Los Van Van, Juan Ceruto and Issac - hence the brief delay in The Roots of Timba - but it'll be back soon with a long chapter on this classic and the rest of LVV's 1987 LP, Al son del Caribe.

Thursday, February 21, 2008
permalink

'Rack & Raúl -- What if there were no embargo, Cuba had a healthy economy, everyone in Cuba had DSL, and Cuban musicians could come and go as they pleased?

I'm not predicting that this will happen, but the chances that it might happen have increased by several orders of magnitude in few days. If it did happen, what sort of impact do you suppose it would have on the creative output of all our favorite groups?

Timba in NYC Updates -- click here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008
permalink

The Roots of the Roots: Pellejo Seco in Santa Cruz Thursday Night -- If you're in the mood for some authentic son, played by some of the top transplanted Cuban musicians in the Bay Area, tomorrow, head to Moe's Alley to hear Pellejo Seco on Thursday the 20th. See you there!

Monday, February 18, 2008
permalink

The Roots of Timba: 1987
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Opus 13: Merengue a quilo -- Before Paulito, Joaquín Betancourt and Juan Ceruto put together a Irakere-calibre band of virtuosos to play arrangements that were at least as terrifying as NG's metales de terror. The band included Angá on congas, Jacqueline Castellanos, a great drummer named Betún, Emilio Morales on piano and a brilliant bassist, Carlos del Pino, who's now in New York. We're hoping Tom can track him down on his next trip. Click here for rare vinyl audio excerpts of this pre-timba classic.

The Politics of Music -- Looks like we're in for a ride on The Straight Jacket Express. Why couldn't they have nominated that other Republican from Arizona?

And in this corner ... Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama

Tiempo Libre -- Melao has a link to an article by noted music journalist Jordan Levin on Miami Libre.

Sunday, February 17, 2008
permalink

New Ehrlich Photos III - Yosvany Terry
cuban music, musica cubana

click here for photos

Tom Ehrlich checks in with the last of his New York series - Yosvany Terry, son of Eladio Terry, a key writer and player in Los Maravillas de Florida.

Saturday, February 16, 2008
permalink

Havana D'Primera
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here==

Yikes! -- This is not just another new band. Havana D'Primera is most impressive all-star band since Team Cuba. We've been raving about leader/singer/trumpeter Alexander Abreu for years. The horn section, between them, has recorded on at least a couple hundred important CDs. Carlos Alvarez and Amaury Pérez, both Klímax alumni, are probably the most respected trombonists in Cuba and Alexander is definitely the top trumpeter. The pianist is the great Rolando Luna (Paulito & Issac). The drummer, Rodney Barreto, also played with Issac for several years. The conguero, El Toro, played with Paulito before becoming a founding member of Pupy y Los Que Son Son. Bassist Cristóbal Verdecia has been with Paulito since 1999. Enrique Pérez was Team Cuba's corista and has spent years with Manolín and later Issac. Rogelio Nápoles played guitar with Opus 13 and Paulito ... As I said ... YIKES!

The Roots of Timba: 1987
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

La explosión del momento -- This is the title of the most widely available compilation of Elio Revé Sr.'s music of the 80s, but it draws its name from an absolutely brilliant 1987 vinyl LP from EGREM with several tracks that never made it to CD. Manolito already had a surprising portion of his tumbao pega'o in his early work with Maravillas de Florida as did Tony Calá in Ritmo Oriental, but Dan Den fans will be bowled over with Juan Carlos Alfonso's masterful early arrangements with Revé, full of so many exquisite details that I had to slow the pace of our "countdown to timba" to even begin to do them justice. Make sure to listen to the audio examples on this one! We also cover Revé's other 1987 release, De nuevo. Next will be Opus 13's Merengue y quilo and Los Van Van's Al son del caribe, then it's on to 1988. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 14, 2008
permalink

The Pikete CD!
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here to listen and purchase==

When it Rains, It Pours! -- Another album I've been desperately awaiting. Last September, when El Pikete was in Oakland for this gig, they did this recording session -- recording an entire album - live in a rented rehearsal studio -- with no overdubs -- straight to tape. It was quite amazing and it's finally out. This is the real, raw timba -- no compromises. Here are some reviews of individual songs -- Seco y guardao and Este es mi tumbao (the audio links are from earlier demos, not the new album - the new versions are longer and better).

Next ... there will be a series of educational products - videos of this album being recorded with closeups on the piano, bass and congas. So if you're a timba student, start getting used to this album as it will be "the curriculum" for a lot of incredible educational breakthroughs in learning to play and understand timba.

New Ehrlich Photos I - CoCoMaMa
cuban music, musica cubana
click here for photos

CocoMaMa is an all-woman salsa/Latin jazz group from New York. Shown here is flautist Andrea Brachfeld, who tore it up at Yoshi's when she sat in with Maraca last year.

New Ehrlich Photos II - Chembo Corniel
cuban music, musica cubana
click here for photos

Chembo Corniel is one of New York's top congueros. Tom caught up with him and Grupo Chaworó at the Nuyorican Poets Café.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008
permalink

The Arsenio Box Set!
cuban music, musica cubana

Ya llegó!! Por Fin!!! -- It was supposed to be out for Christmas ... Christmas 2006! Well, it's out now. This is the long-awaited definitive 6-CD boxset from Tumbao Cuban Classics, by far the best reissuer of early Cuban music. It also comes with two long bilingual booklets including one by the author of Arsenio Rodriguez and the Transnational Flows of Latin Popular Music, David F. García.

If you're in the US, it's cheaper to buy the boxset at amazon. If you're in Europe, it's probably quite a bit cheaper to buy it straight from the Tumbao Cuban Classics' website, which is worth visiting anyway for the full track list and lots of nice photos of the luxurious packages. Neither descarga nor prodland has listed it at this point.

If you don't know much about Arsenio or why this is so exciting or just want to hear some excerpts while you wait for your package to arrive, here's our Arsenio page. Every song we mention is included in this boxset, and much more!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008
permalink

MIchelle Interviews Manolito Simonet
cuban music, musica cubana
click here for the interview
(photo by Cristian Muñoz)

-- Twenty-nine questions covering everything from El Indio's departure to upcoming projects to some geeky questions about orchestration. Check it out!

Global Cuba Fest -- See Melao. Melao will also be on the Alaskan timba cruise (see banner ad above).

Saturday, February 9, 2008
permalink

Vintage Van Van Video -- Yemayá just posted this great collage of LVV from 1974 to 1987, including one song that's not on any album. And here's another great one from 1984 that ties in perfectly with our Roots of Timba series.

The Roots of Timba: 1987
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Cántalo pero baílalo -- Every timba singer quotes it ... here's where it came from. The rest of the song is also quite great, with all sorts of interesting harmonies and conga rhythms.

Friday, February 8, 2008
permalink

The Roots of Timba: 1987
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Tony Tony Tony -- In the 1980s, Tony Calá was truly godlike. Even hardcore fans of the early NG La Banda will be taken aback by the flawless ease and endless inspiration of his recordings with Ritmo Oriental. Michel Maza fans will also find some interesting background information on his latest album in today's excerpt, and for clave geeks we have perhaps the ultimate example of "clave license". Click here for the conclusion of Ritmo Oriental final album with Tony Calá: 1987's Guarachando.

Thursday, February 7, 2008
permalink

El Pikete in NY Tomorrow
cuban music, musica cubana
Click here for info and video.

The Roots of Timba: 1987
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Ritmo Oriental's Guarachando -- The last LP with Tony Calá was a great one and will take a couple days to cover. Click here for one of the greatest songs of the decade: Azúcar a granel.

Manolito News and Maraca Concert Report -- see Michelle.

Palo -- It's a Miami folkloric-influenced group featuring Mipa Cuesta. See Melao.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008
permalink

1986: Manolito on Fire
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Unearthing an Incredible Maravillas LP -- Thanks to LA-based drummer Victor Barrientos for discovering this gem -- a shocking seven years before the first Trabuco album, giving new meaning to the idea of having one's tumbao pega'o. Click here for more audio examples. And please write EGREM so we can all get copies on CD.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008
permalink

1986: Abriendo el ciclo
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

A Twinkle in El Tosco's Eye -- The year was 1986. Lionel Ritchie topped the Yuma hit parade. The weak grounder that went through Bill Buckner's legs prolonged The Curse of the Bambino for another 20 years. The space shuttle Challenger exploded minutes after takeoff. The nuclear reactor at Chernobyl melted down. The whole world was moving radically to the right, with the Soviet Union about to plunge into capitalism even as Ronald Reagan's puppeteers methodically infected the American middle class with the cancer that's now metastasizing before our eyes.

And in Cuba, the band played on.

El Tosco and the rest of the future "metales de terror", without giving up their day gigs with Irakere, had already produced two albums under their new name: "Nueva Generación". But these had been jazz albums -- much farther from timba than the rucu-rucu the same musicians were playing with Irakere. In 1986, with Abriendo el ciclo, El Tosco began to experiment with vocal music -- most likely for the same pragmatic reasons that inspired his boss Chucho some 15 years earlier -- but these new experiments didn't produce another Bacalao con pan ... not by a long shot.

Nothing had really changed ... but the pieces were quietly falling into place.

Monday, February 4, 2008
permalink

Rest in Peace Tata Güines
cuban music, musica cubana

One of the most important congueros in history passed away today in Cuba. Here he is playing with Angá, another tragic loss of the last year.

The Roots of Timba: 1986
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1986: Los Van Van's Eso que anda ... and a discussion of synthesizers in Cuban music - click here. Tomorrow: before it was "NG" La Banda, it was Nueva Generación.

Also, note that the Discography pages are being updated regularly but still have a lot of missing photos and information. Thanks to everyone who's helped but there's more work to be done!! If you can add anything -- the names of lead singers, por ejemplo -- please send them in, and if you have any of the missing vinyl, please send photos. As long as all 4 corners are visible it doesn't matter how bad the digital photo is - I can fix it up. And, if you haven't done so recently, please write EGREM!

The Roots of Marilú -- I think Mr. Bryans has a point here, but the Youtube guy has it misspelled - it's "Mersey". Also, Billy has some interesting takes on the Formell interview -- everyone always speculates about what will happen to Cuban music when the embargo is finally lifted, but what if there had never been an embargo and the Cuban music that was dominating the US scene in the 50s had continued? And if this sort of thing interests you, here's a book you really need to read.

Sunday, February 3, 2008
permalink

Van Van, N'Talla, Global Cuban Festival -- see Melao.

The Roots of Timba: 1986
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1986: Elio Revé's Rumberos latinoamericanos -- This was the album where Juan Carlos Alfonso, future founder of Dan Den, joined Revé as pianist and musical director and it's one of the best of the 80s. It also features the arrival Valentín, Alfonsito and El Padrino -- perhaps the best 1-2-3 punch prior to Michel, Sombrilla and Lozada. Click here to read and hear more. Tomorrow: Los Van Van - Eso que anda.

Saturday, February 2, 2008
permalink

The Roots of Timba: 1986
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1986 Begins! -- We continue our inexorable march towards the dawn of timba with Adalberto's second album. It's so interesting to go through all this classic music in the order it was released and to watch all the pieces falling into place. Tomorrow, Juan Carlos Alfonso, the future founder of Dan Den, joins up with Revé.

Friday, February 1, 2008
permalink

The Roots of Timba: 1985
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1985 -- La Habana sí -- This was a particularly great Van Van album. Pupy fans will recognize the original version of the title track of his recent album El buenagente, and everyone will recognize the classic Se muere la tía that everyone constantly quotes. Also an interesting new approach to linking clave to the basic dance step. Tomorrow ... 1986!

If only I could make it be January 2009 so easily!

Thursday, January 31, 2008
permalink

Saturday: Peter Maiden
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for details==

Peter Maiden Photography Exhibit Begins Saturday -- If you're in Northern California, check out Peter's latest show in Santa Cruz. Details and directions.

cuban music, musica cubanaPart II of Michelle's Interview with Revé's Musical Director -- If anyone is heeding the recent advice of Juan Formell on the danger of losing the concentrated creative collaboration that's made Cuban music what it is, it's Aisar Hernández and Elito Revé. Click here for Part II of this epic 3-part interview with one of the great hopes for the future of timba.

Manolito's New Album Coming Soon -- See Melao. Also Oscar d'León and El Pikete's upcoming gig at Bongo's.

The Roots of Timba: 1985
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1985 -- Déjà vu -- The Opus 13 chapter is now back, in the right place, plus Irakere's Quince minutos. There are also some new pictures, fixed typos, and additional info in the earlier parts of the countdown.

Does anyone know how to make a link to a playlist? I'm working on this idea -- "20 years in 20 minutes" -- a collage of short clips that zooms from 1969 to the "dawn of timba".

Tomorrow we conclude 1985 with an amazing Van Van album.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008
permalink

Revé Wins an Award -- see Michelle, who also interviewed Manolito today. Stay tuned.

The Roots of Timba: 1985
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1985 -- Estreno de Adalberto -- Adalberto Alvarez breaks away from Son 14, snatches Félix Baloy from Revé, adds timbales to the conjunto format in the person of Calixto Oviedo, and forms a new group that's still going strong 23 years later. Click here for the debut album of Adalberto y su Son.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008
permalink

The Roots of Timba: 1985
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1985 -- A la derecha ... a la izquierda ... en los ojos ... arriba ... en el pecho ... pa'lante ... While everyone else was experimenting, Ritmo Oriental created a new and fully mature style in 1974 and waited for everyone else to catch up. They're still waiting! In 1985, they released their sixth consecutive masterpiece, featuring more of Tony Calá's best songwriting.

Yemayá at Paulito's 15th Anniversary Concert -- (with video) -- click here.

Entrevista con Aisar de Revé -- click here -- Aisar Hernández is the latest in a long line of brilliant Revé directors that includes Juan Formell, Ignacio Herrera, Juan Carlos Alfonso and Tony Gómez, and he's living up to the challenge, producing one of the best albums of the 2000s in Fresquecito.

As Formell explains in his recent interview, Cuban music is in danger, with many non-musical factors conspiring to disrupt the delicate chemistry that's resulted in such an inordinate amount of brilliant music coming out of Havana over the last century. If that chemistry is going to survive it will be due to musicians like Aisar Hernández. Here he is in his own words.

Timba In NY Updates -- Shabi's back with the latest on the Big Apple.

The Roots of Timba: 1985
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1985 -- ¡Ay mamá esto se ha puesto caliente! -- Cándido Fabré on fire! And a huge influence on Pupy's singers, among others.

Monday, January 28, 2008
permalink

The Roots of Timba: 1985
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1985 -- Rucu rucu a Santa Clara -- Chucho Valdés says Irakere invented timba. Tosco says it was NG. Calzado says it was CH. Melao says he did it. And it's certainly hard to imagine timba without the innovations of Formell, Changuito and Pupy ... or La Ritmo ... or Arsenio Rodríguez for that matter. But today, we make the case for Irakere.

Sunday, January 27, 2008
permalink

Ay mamá! -- Go HERE and either watch the whole thing or fast-forward to 5:00.

FANTASTIC NEW FORMELL INTERVIEW!
cuban music, musica cubana

Another really fascinating Formell interview - this time from Juventud Rebelde with a brilliant translation by Martin Karakas. Juan Formell, in addition to his musical accomplishments, is the smartest, most articulate, most honest and most forthcoming interviewee in Cuban music. He outdoes himself here - telling it like it is on a wide range of sensitive and important subjects.

INTERVIEW IN ENGLISH

ENTREVISTA EN ESPAÑOL

Y no olvides revisar el sitio entero de Juventud Rebelde.

Saturday, January 26, 2008
permalink

Audio Clips of Manolito's New Singer! -- Michelle has a concert report with audio from a recent concert at Casa de la Música with El Noro replacing El Indio. I have a new nickname for El Noro - "el camaleón" ... or maybe "el zelig"! If you check him out with Salsa Mayor, he sounds nothing like El Indio - but his versions of Marcando la distancia and El diablo colora'o are amazing fascimiles. Hopefully Manolito will give him a song of his own soon.

Another Formell Interview Coming from Havana -- stay tuned.

Two excellent Manolito interviews -- These are in Spanish and they're not new, but they contain a lot of interesting information about his early career with Los Maravillas de Florida. Click here.

Straightening out the Timeline -- I've re-posted 1984, fixing some errors in the Van Van album and removing Opus 13, which will be added in 1985 coming very soon.

Xavier Milli Joins El Pikete -- See Melao, and make sure you see El Pikete at SOBs in New York on Feb. 8th!

cuban music, musica cubana

Bobby Sanabria -- Tom's NY photo series continues with legendary percussionist, bandleader and educator Bobby Sanabria. Click here for more.

Thursday, January 24, 2008
permalink

Countdown Breakdown! -- I've realized that my timeline is messed up, so I'm temporarily winding the hands of time back to 1983. Any experts on Adalberto, please write in!!

(later note: this got moved to 1985 - check back soon)

The Roots of Paulito: 1984
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1984: Opus 13 -- Five years before PFG joined up, Betancourt, Ceruto, Angá and Emilo Morales were already developing some of the underlying musical concepts at the heart of the great Élite bands of the 90s.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008
permalink

The Roots of Timba: 1984
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Van Van Forever -- Back on top, with their personnel shakeups behind them, LVV settled down and started putting out an album every year ... each one better than the last. Enjoy the ride!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008
permalink

Melao & Yemayá Make Mr. Bryans' List -- Also Tony Soprano ...check it out!

El Nuevo Herald Interviews Formell -- Michelle beat them to it, but this looks interesting as well. See Melao for the details.

Speaking of which ... Michelle has Revé news, a link to Indochino's new site, and will soon have an interview with Revé's brilliant musical director Aisar Hernández.

The Roots of Timba: 1983
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Manolito Simonet's Debut ... and other momentous events -- Like the dawn of Spandex. But yikes! ... a huge amount of music came out in 1983! In addition to Manolito's debut with Maravilla, there was David Calzado's debut as an arranger with Ritmo Oriental (although it turns out his first group was ... you guessed it ... Revé). Then there was the Van Van album with Sandunguera, Adalberto's last Son 14 record before going solo, the great Rumbavana record we talked about yesterday, the first Orquesta 440 album, with its distinct pre-echoes of NG La Banda, Irakere's timba-foreshadowing El tata, and last but not least, another monstrous Ritmo Oriental album, the first featuring future NG singer Tony Cala. All of this with light reading and heavy listening examples. ENJOY!

Monday, January 21, 2008
permalink

Issac, Manolín & Luis Bu Together in the Studio -- All right. Seriously. If this combination doesn't produce some serious fireworks, we're going to have to send a sample of Miami tap water to the lab and have it tested for sedatives. See Melao for more details.

The Roots of Timba: 1983- pt. 1
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Son 14, Rumbavana, Irakere, Original de Manzanillo -- '83 was a busy year as the horn-based conjuntos started to modernize to keep up with the songo and cha-onda of the charangas. Click here.

Sunday, January 20, 2008
permalink

Michelle has posted her Interview with Elito Revé. Also lots of updates on Salsa Mayor. Next up is another great interview with Revé's bassist and musical director (the guy who wrote most of those great arrangements on Fresquecito).

Friday, January 18, 2008
permalink

The Roots of Timba: Another 1982 "Comeback"
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

It's hard to imagine, but at the time, El baile del buey cansao was considered a comeback of sorts for Van Van, who had just emerged from the only brief period in their history during which they were slightly less than superstars.

Also in 1982 - Irakere had a studio album and a blazing hot live video, and we cover our first LP by Orquesta Típica Juventud. "Típica Juven-who?" you ask? This is just another of the many treasures we've uncovered on vinyl that never made it onto CD.

Thursday, January 17, 2008
permalink

El Pikete in Miami & NY -- El Pikete will be at Kimbara Cumbara in Miami tomorrow night.

Kimbara Cumbara
1644 SW 8TH Street
Miami, FL
786-288-9920 or info@elpikete.com

On Friday, Feb. 8th, Pikete travels north to New York's famous SOB's club. For more, see Melao. These guys are the real deal - support them!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008
permalink

Rewritten Roots -- I finished what has become a full-length review of Revé's breakthrough masterpiece, rewriting the opening in the process. You really need to listen to these excerpts, which aren't available on CD, but which rank among the most inspired passages in all of Cuban music.

Pupy in the Studio -- See Michelle.

Tres de La Habana ... "de la Habana" as in past-tense. See Melao.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008
permalink

Timba.com Needs Your Help! -- As you may have noticed, this site has a massive amount of content - videos, photos, audio clips, etc. All of that takes a lot of server space, which is paid for by Latin Pulse Music. LPM stays afloat by selling music, video, and eBooks digitally - a timba version of the iTunes store.

The problem ... is Envidia / Camajan, which has released more than half of the really good timba produced in the 2000s. Latin Pulse Music can push Envidia, and TIMBA.com needs Latin Pulse Music to keep our servers running. I know I just asked everyone to write to EGREM about reissuing all the great music in its vaults, but this is more important. If you can find a minute, please write to Envidia and ask them make their catalog available on LatinPulseMusic / TIMBA.com.

The address is general@camajan.com. Here are two sample emails:

Dear Envidia, I visit TIMBA.com regularly and I would like the convenience of purchasing your records there. Please contact LPM / TIMBA.com so that they can carry your great products. Thank You. -a TIMBA.com visitor.

Señores: Yo visito a TIMBA.com muy a menudo y me gustaría la conveniencia de descargar tus discos ahí. Favor de contactar a LPM / TIMBA.com para que puedan ofrecer tus buenos productos. Gracias. -un visitante de TIMBA.com.

Thanks!

Michelle's Video Interview with Juan Formell Is Up! -- Click here.

The Roots of Timba: 1982
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

I Love This Album! -- Revé 1982 "comeback" album is just unbearably good. Too bad you can't buy it -- or any of its songs -- on CD! This is why I implore you to participate in my email campaign to convince EGREM to reissue, with the original artwork and track ordering, remastered versions of the hundreds of classic recordings in their vaults. It's been a goldmine for Fania - why not EGREM?

In the meantime, you can hear many excerpts from Elio Revé's most important album in today's and tomorrow's chapters of The Roots of Timba. Keep in mind that I've saved the best three songs for tomorrow!

Meanwhile, back in the present -- In case you missed it, and in case you happen to live in a country where the frikkin' government doesn't restrict your right to travel, Yemayá's Verse has a great guide to Havana's top bands.

Sunday, January 13, 2008
permalink

The Roots of Timba: 1981
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

It was a very good year -- In 1981, Ritmo Oriental laid the groundwork for Charanga Habanera's stage choreography with Cuidao con la percusión, one of Tony Calá's greatest compositions and vocal performances; El Tosco really started to hit his stride with Irakere's No quiero confusion; Rumbavana's Silvio Vergara and Irakere's Carlos del Puerto started experimenting with the bass slides that would play such an important role in timba's "bomba" gear, Félix Baloy joined Son 14, and Van Van added trombones and reunited with Lele, Sr. to produce their best work since 1976.

But wait til we get to 1982, when Elio Revé snatched Baloy from Son 14, Vergara from Rumbavana and added 3 trombones of his own, plus tres, bongó and batá, producing almost undoubtedly the greatest Cuban vinyl album never to be reissued on CD ... I haven't even found any of the songs on compilations. Earth to EGREM ... Earth to EGREM!

It takes a lot to distract me from timba, but ... The Wire is flat out the greatest drama I've ever experienced -- including novels, movies, television, or plays. It's like a 60-chapter novel on film - epics like The Godfather seem like short stories in comparison. All 5 seasons were worked out in the minds of the creators before the first episode was filmed and every scene is critically important to the overall arc. One bit of advice: you have to watch it from the beginning and you have to pay attention to every detail. The first few episodes move a little slowly but the time spent absorbing them pays off big-time. Mr. Bryans and Yemayá have uncovered a brilliant interview with creator David Simon.

Saturday, January 12, 2008
permalink

El regreso de Michelita
cuban music, musica cubana

Michelle is back from her pilgrimmage and has filed her first post of 2008. Coming soon will be news on the upcoming Salsa Mayor CD, report and video from the Changüí Festival in Guantánamo, and interviews with Elito Revé, Aisar Hernández (the principal arranger of Revé's brilliant new CD), Pascualito Cabrejas, Giraldo Piloto and Juan Formell. Today: Juan Formell's advice for young bandleaders! (Same as my advice, and last time I checked, Juan Formell is in fact Cuban, so listen up dudes ... escuchen el maestro!)

The Roots of Timba: 1980
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

The Roots of Manolito -- To conclude our 1980 section, we introduce three groups that contributed many of timba's biggest stars. Manolito came from Maravillas de Florida (although he hadn't yet joined in 1980); El Indio came from Aliamén (and you can hear the earliest known recordings of him in today's chapter); and Opus 13 gave us two of timba's greatest arrangers - Joaquín Betancourt and Juan Ceruto, as well as pianist Emilio Morales, guitarist Rogelio Nápoles and others.

Friday, January 11, 2008
permalink

Audio Preview of El Pikete's New Album -- See Melao -- hear Mil amores.

Michelle Almost Back -- When the jetlag subsides, we should have a lot of great new postings to look forward to -- stay tuned.

The Roots of Timba:1980
cuban music, musica cubana
(courtesy of Bill Tilford)
==click here for today's excerpt==

Four More Pre-Timba Monsters -- For 1980, we add three more groups to our Roots of Timba survey. Today, Conjunto Rumbavana - tomorrow Maravillas de Florida, Orquesta Aliamén and Opus 13.

Thursday, January 10, 2008
permalink

The Roots of Timba:
The Countdown Continues ... 1979
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Pupy's First Songs and Adalberto's First LP -- Los Van Van's 5th album featured Pupy's first two songs and he already had his "tumbao pega'o". Also, the amazing debut of Adalberto Alvarez y Son 14 - Bayamo en coche.

Also the overall plan for the online book is starting to make a little more sense - four volumes now. The Roots of Timba should be done this month and then it's on to "The Elements of Timba". Thanks to all who are sending me information and photos - keep 'em coming.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008
permalink

The Roots of Timba:
The Countdown Continues ... 1978, pt. 2
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Ritmo Oriental Vol. 5 -- Tony Calá is playing violin, but not yet singing. This album has some of la Ritmo's best songs, and also some of the best performances of singer Sammy Castro.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008
permalink

Michelle to Interview Angel Bonne - I really love Angel Bonne's music.

The Roots of Timba:
The Countdown Continues ... 1978
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==
(photo courtesy of Victor Barrientos)

Irakere en Vivo -- Well, I was going to do a year a day, but 1978 is going to take two. Today Irakere's torrid summer of 78 with Arturo and Paquito establishing themselves internationally. Tomorrow, another sublime Ritmo Oriental album.

Monday, January 7, 2008
permalink

El Indio is NOT joining Van Van -- That's from Juan Formell to Michelle to me to you ... a pretty reliable chain of chisme. So ... what else did JF tell our intrepid girl reporter in her 55 minute interview? We'll know soon!

The Roots of Timba:
The Countdown ... 1977
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Year by Year by Day -- Think of it like the 12 Days of Christmas. Picking up our pace considerably, we'll start closing in on the timba era a year at time, expanding our coverage from three groups to over a dozen. Less reading ... more listening!

cuban music, musica cubanaToday we tackle 1977 -- The first Star Wars movie shattered all previous box office records; the Yankees won the World Series, Fleetwood Mac had two songs in the Top 5, Gerald Ford was trying to learn to walk and chew gum at the same time ... And in Cuba? Tony Calá's singing debut with Ritmo Oriental, Aragón's answer to songo - cha-onda, and Irakere's second studio album, featuring Arturo Sandoval and Paquito d'Rivera.

Sunday, January 6, 2008
permalink

The Rumor Mill ... is milling furiously ... stay tuned.

The Roots of Timba:
The Chachachá Connection
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Here's a little listening test: see if you can: name that tune in 10 notes or less. Got it?

Wrong! As explained in detail by Ned Sublette in one of the articles in the 2007 anthology Listen Again, it's El loco cha cha by René Touzet. My theories about the Cuban roots of Motown are admittedly speculative, but the connection between the Cuban chachachá and the origins of rock and roll, as you can hear from the audio clip, are patently transparent.

As exciting as the Louie Louie connection is the revelation that at least a chapter of what will eventually be the long awaited sequel to Sublette's Cuba and its Music is already in print in Listen Again.

Saturday, January 5, 2008
permalink

Two Hugely Important Releases -- Tirso Duarte's Fin de juego and Los Van Van's new DVD/CD combination are both available and Melao has clips and more info.

You can hear considerably more of the Tirso disc at Envidia's site. I'm still deeply immersed in the 80s these days, so take me with a grain of salt, but here's my current take on Tirso and the current scene:

caveat: I am not Cuban. This little rant is just my personal opinion. Issac Delgado has not approved the following message!

The music scene is always powerfully affected by the economy and the government. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it hurts. In the 90s it helped big time - in the 2000s, it's been very very painful. I've taken a lot of heat for saying that the best music of groups like Manolín, Issac, Charanga Habanera, Paulito, et al is due to collaboration, but I'm standing by the theory until someone disproves it. The problem is that it's very hard to keep a group of truly creative collaborators together because the economy and government regulationsare set up in a way that strongly motivates any talented #2 or #3 man in a Cuban band to move on to try to make more money. In 1998, Paulito was able to keep Ceruto, both Yoeles, Tomasito, Alexander, Yosvel, Coqui, Nápoles, and a string of genius piano players all together for an extended period of time. That's much harder now, so, with the exception of the groups like Van Van that can, and are willing, to pay enough to keep a brilliant nucleus together, the groups that benefited most from collaboration in the 90s have gone downhill. It's possible, as Envidia has shown, to create a band for a studio recording that never plays live -- for example, Sergio Noroña, Papiosco and Arnaldo Jiménez on Michel Maza's excellent solo albums, Los ases de la timba, etc. But this is a slippery slope because, like fine wine, timba arrangements need to "age" -- they need to be played live and be allowed to evolve and congeal before they're recorded. So, the best new albums now tend to come from groups with musical directors who are capable, without major collaborators, of creating songs, arrangements, bloques and piano and bass tumbaos. In other words, Tirso Duarte. Maikel Blanco is another rising star who "does it all" and can much more easily withstand the constant personnel changes, but Blanco is just beginning to find his own original style. Tirso is already there -- he's the quintessential "whole package" - he's a top tier lead singer, songwriter, arranger, and, most important, creator of piano tumbaos. The best timba has unique and intensely creative piano tumbaos and onceyou start to cheat on that (as Calzado has, operating for 6 years now without JC González or Tirso), there's always going to be "something missing". If you have everything else going, you can make a superb album, but for true greatness, the piano part has to be intimately linked to the arrangement.

With that, I descend from my soapbox and go back to being a humble student of the 80s. Enjoy the new Tirso album!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008
permalink

Francisco Aguabella at Yoshi's SF Tonight -- The dance floor will be open! Click here for more info.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008
permalink

Major Unconfirmed Gossip -- Word on the street is that El Indio has joined Los Van Van. This is unconfirmed, but not altogether shocking. We know for sure that El Indio has left Manolito -- Michelle has seen El Trabuco with El Noro of Salsa Mayor in his place. And we know that El Indio has said that Formell offered him the gig on 7 separate occasions. And we know that El Indio and Mayito have had some rousing performances together sitting in at various concerts. Would someone leave LVV? Would LVV have five singers? Stay tuned. In the meantime, check out El Indio pre-Manolito career with Orquesta Aliamén.

Monday, December 31, 2007
permalink

Breaking News from Michelle in Havana:

"Went 2 pupy last nite 2 c the new lineup. Sound great. Norberto on coro. New song by Pepito "Un poquitico al reves" with great coro "tranquilo que yo controlo". All January 1 concerts suspended due to 2 cold front.

Sunday, December 30, 2007
permalink

Burning the Midnight Oil -- Okay folks, here's an in-progress table of contents for the "Roots of Timba" bands of the 80s. Please send me: any missing groups, additional albums, photos, catalog numbers, composers, lead singers, amusing anecdotes, fond memories, advice, spare change, used cars or boats (whether running or not, in most cases), more coffee, gift certificates for psychiatric care ...

CHARANGA-BASED
Revé

Ritmo Oriental
Los Van Van
Maravillas de Florida
Orquesta Aliamén
Orquesta Típica Juventud
Unión Sanluisera
Original de Manzanillo

CONJUNTO-BASED
Rumbavana
Son 14 - Adalberto Alvarez

JAZZBAND-BASED
Irakere
Orquesta 440
Opus 13

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
1976: Conclusion of Ritmo Oriental Volume IV
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Qué es lo que hay and 3 others ... as we conclude Ritmo Oriental's epic fourth album.

Bringing in 2008 with a Timba Concert - Who's playing where on New Year's Eve? If you're in Miami, Danny Lozada will be at:

Ay Mamá Inez
40th St. @ 114th Ave.
Kendall
786-295-3865

Bringing in Timba in 1988 - If you're looking to narrow down the beginning of the timba phenomenon to a single moment, it might be the first time NG La Banda played La protesta de los chivos on television in 1988 ... or, more likely, the first time they played it at La Tropical. But if you've been following along with our "Roots of Timba" retrospectives on Arsenio Rodríguez and the songo era, you'll see why I'm no longer a "creationist" who believes that El Tosco sprang forth from the sea on an oyster shell humming Rap de la muerta.

I took a look at the first article I ever wrote for timba.com:

The musical genre we now call Timba was created by NG La Banda, but as Cuban music expert Arturo "Marcané" Gómez points out, it was not created out of thin air. As our "Genealogy of Timba Family Tree" illustrates, NG began as an all-star group which drew members from the most important pre-Timba bands. Singer Tony Calá wrote and played violin in Ritmo Oriental; Issac Delgado and the legendary conguero "Wickly" started with Pachito Alonso; Gérman Velazco played with Orquesta Revé and he and José "El Greco" Crego, Carlos Averhoff, and José Munguía played in Irakere along with flautist and leader, José Luis "El Tosco" Cortés, who had previously written and played for Los Van Van. NG La Banda amalgamated the innovations of the groups that came before it with many of its own to create a type of music that wasn't Son, Songo or Rumba - nor was it Rock, Jazz or Funk. It had ample amounts of each blended in, but its most potent component was something entirely new - something that was born in the streets and barrios of Havana in the late 1980's as the Berlin Wall crumbled. Cortés called it "Timba".

Little did I know ...

New Years Resolution (for 2007) - Before Mr. Lozada launches into No estamos locos at Ay Mamá Ines, I hereby resolve to post the rest of the 1980s discography pages, but I'm going to need some help! Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 29, 2007
permalink

Arsenio Tonight! - You can hear Emiliano's 4-hour Arsenio Rodríguez tribute, with interviews with David F. García, René López and Orlando Fiol, tonight online at KPFA.

El Judio Maravilloso
cuban music, musica cubana

Tom's New York Saga Continues ... with this new set of photos from Larry Harlow's November 23rd concert at SOBs.

Friday, December 28, 2007
permalink

Hot off the Presses - From Michelle, now back in Havana:

"Went 2 Manolito ayer. No one can replace El Indio but Noro sings his songs well. New CD 2 be released in Feb. Mix/master/now."

The Roots of Timba: ¡Irakere!
cuban music, musica cubana

Irakere History and Discography - Most of Irakere's music -- eclectic fusions of Cuban music with jazz, classical music, rock, samba and even disco -- has little if anything to do with timba, but over a 15-year period, they recorded a handful of tracks without which timba as we know it could not exist. Searching those tracks out is no easy task, but we think we've finally found them all and are ready to unveil our Irakere History and Discography. Please send us anything we're missing.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
1976: "Oye cómo suena mi bajo, qué rico"
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Qué rico bailo yo -- Another Humberto Perera tour de force (with standard notation for all you bass geeks) and another great song by Rolando Vergara, who also wrote Yo bailo de todo. And this is a track you can actually find on CD - see our recently updated Ritmo Oriental discography. This section also contains a side-trip into the twisted world of clave license and an analysis of Agua from Los Van Van's Chapeando.

Arsenio Tomorrow Night: Don't forget to tune in online Saturday night at KPFA.

miércoles, 23 marzo 2011, 03:32 am