SPARK MINI from Positive Grid. Battery-powered portable practice amp and Bluetooth® speaker with smart app integration and big, beautiful multi-dimensional sound. Take your tone anywhere!

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Fotos: Tom Ehrlich : 2022 Monterey Jazz Fe...
Fotos: Tom Ehrlich : 2022 San Jose Jazz Su...
Fotos: Tom Ehrlich : 2022 San Jose Jazz Su...
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Staff: Michelle White
Grupos: Pupy y los que S... : Discography 2
Grupos: Pupy y los que Son Son
Musicos: Richard Ortega López
Fotos: Tom Ehrlich : Con Tumbao 6-18-22
Reportes: From The St... : Cubadisco 2...
Grupos: Changüí de Gua... : Músicos - Members
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Fotos: Tom Ehrlich : Berkeley-2022
Fotos: Tom Ehrlich : Berkeley 2022
Grupos: Emilio Frias "El... : Discography

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Cuba based rap duo, Zona Franka, blends traditional rhythms with the grit and swagger of hip-hop and rap vocal phrasings. Their clever shout choruses create instant tropical dance classics using their unique self-titled "changui con flow" style.
SPARK MINI from Positive Grid. Battery-powered portable practice amp and Bluetooth® speaker with smart app integration and big, beautiful multi-dimensional sound. Take your tone anywhere!


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martes, 10 mayo 2022, 10:30 am

RIP Sergio Noroña

cuban music, musica cubana

We've lost another titan of the timba era. Sergio Noroña's timba career was short but extremely important. Looking back with the perspective of 25 years, certain albums from the 90s stand out as timeless masterpieces and Paulito FG's Con la conciencia tranquila is at or near the top of that list.

Sergio's predecessor in that legendary band--Emilio Morales--and his successors--Yaniel "El Majá" Matos and Rolando Luna--were also great innovators and, as with any great musical collaboration, it's not always possible to determine who contributed which idea. For example, in concert, Morales was the first to play Y San Toma qué and the basic idea for the title track. Among the breathtaking piano tumbaos that I know from my MIDI research were definitely penned by Noroña were Y ahora qué, No te crees, and at least some aspects of Paulito's anthem, De La Habana. He also anecdotally contributed piano tumbao ideas during the pre-Con la conciencia period when he was the band's tecladista and added his distinctive voice to the coro section. But beyond the authorship of tumbaos, Noroña played with a rhythmic ferocity distinct among the great timba pianists. To get a sense of the excitement he generated from the piano chair, track down Paulito's live show at the Plaza de la Revolución from late 1996 or early 1997. After his short tenure with Paulito, Noroña was a member of the great Envidia house band that recorded on many important CDs, e.g., Michel Maza's Fieeesta and Que hablen los habladores. 

It's difficult to piece together the full family tree but the extended Noroña family includes many great timba musicians, including Julio Noroña, Los Van Van's founding and current güiro player, Julio's son, Julito Noroña, who fills the same role with Pupy y Los Que Son Son, Paulito alumnus Yosvel Bernal, now tecladista with Havana d'Primera, the great Revé bassist Pipo Noroña, and longtime Van Van trombonista Edmundo Pina, to name just a few. Whenever you see Noroña, Bernal, or Pina in the credits of an album, it's probably one of Sergito's relatives. He'll be greatly missed. 

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jueves, 05 mayo 2022, 04:12 am

El Niño Y La Verdad Europe 2022

El Hijo del Viento Tour Begins Today

El Niño y La Verdad Europe 2022

ENGLISH: Tonight El Niño y La Verdad kick off the European leg of their "El Hijo del Viento" tour in Madrid. They will give 16 concerts in seven countries, ending in Paris on June 11th. If you haven't bought the new album yet, you can find it at the usual digital streaming sites and retailers. "El Hijo del Viento" is nominated for Cubadisco 2022 in the Popular Dance Music category. You can also check out their 8th Anniversay concert, given with no audience during COVID restrictions, which features some of the songs from "El Hijo del Viento". If you have time, I also highly recommend the documentary "De Vuelta al Barrio" directed by Alejandro Valera.  Alaroye, no. ¡Alaroye y bien!

ESPAÑOL: El Niño y La Verdad abren esta noche en Madrid la etapa europea de su gira "El Hijo del Viento". Ofrecerán 16 conciertos en siete países, finalizando en París el 11 de junio. Si aún no ha comprado el nuevo álbum, puede encontrarlo en los sitios y minoristas habituales de transmisión digital. "El Hijo del Viento" está nominado a Cubadisco 2022 en la categoría Música Popular Bailable. También puedes ver su concierto del 8° Aniversario, sin público durante las restricciones por el COVID, que presenta algunas de las canciones de "El Hijo del Viento". Si tienes tiempo, también te recomiendo mucho el documental "De Vuelta al Barrio" dirigido por Alejandro Valera.  Alaroye, no. ¡Alaroye y bien!

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viernes, 22 abril 2022, 05:14 pm



For the complete list, click here. 
Para la lista completa, haz clic aquí

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miércoles, 20 abril 2022, 11:03 am

We Mourn José Luis Cortés "El Tosco"


José Luis Cortés "El Tosco"José Luis Cortés "El Tosco" - Stockholm 2002

Para español dale clic aquí.

It seems that the bad news just keeps coming. Monday the 18th of April, 2022, the terrible news arrived that José Luis Cortés "El Tosco", flautist extraordinaire and leader of NG La Banda, had passed away from a hemmorhagic stroke. Exactly four month earlier, December 18th, José Crego "El Greco" died and on January 26, 2022 Elpidio Chappotin. Both formed part of NG La Banda's Metales de Terror. The 2020s have truly been anni horribiles for Cuban music.

El Tosco was a graduate of the Escuela Nacional de Arte as a flautist. After graduation, he worked with Los Van Van, including composing and arranging before moving on to Irakére, where he spent the better part of the 1980s. In 1988 he founded NG La Banda, which is credited with being the first true timba band, and the rest is history. A quick search at YouTube will give a you a variety of video evidence of El Tosco's dominance of everything from classical music, to jazz to música popular bailable. I recommend a deep dive into the available videos.

I am not Kevin or Bill, so I can't give you a musician's breakdown of El Tosco's importance to the development of Timba and his influence on all the bands that came after. For more on that, you can check out Kevin's articles on NG La Banda and stay tuned for Bill's radio tribute.

My experience with El Tosco is as a music fan and a dancer. My first time seeing NG La Banda was in Stockholm in 2002. After serving up an amazing night of dance music, including hits such as Santa Palabra, La Bruja, and Picadilla de Soya, El Tosco took the band and the entire audience out into the Swedish summer night at 1:00am dancing and playing conga. We got many a nasty look from the apartment windows as we danced down the street to the sound of trumpets, but it was an unforgettable experience and very un-Swedish.

Swedes dancing conga in the streets 2002

I saw them again at Casa de La Música Miramar in 2004, where I went to present El Tosco with the award for best horn section. He was not exactly fond of at the time, because Kevin had said he must be crazy to use sampled bass after Feliciano Arango left. So was on his website non grata list, but despite his rough reputation, he was polite to me.

José Luis Cortés "El Tosco"

The sudden loss of so large a figure from the world of Timba and Cuban music weighs heavily on so many of us. But today we have the opportunity to say goodbye to El Tosco with the online concert that will be shown at 4:30pm Havana time on the Facebook page of Instituto Cubano de la Música, the YouTube channel of the Ministerio de Cultura de Cuba  and on Radio Progresso. Click the image above to go to the facebook page with more information. May El Tosco now take his place beside the other greats of Cuban music in that great jam session in the sky. ¡Ataca Chicho!

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