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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.
Authentic Latin Music Catalog for SYNC - TV & Film Music

La Última

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Wednesday, 28 July 2010, 11:58 AM

The Beast!

Vol. 9 of Beyond Salsa Piano Released

Beyond Salsa Piano, Vol. 9hard-copy  --  eBook and audio files

At 130 pages, this is by far the most ambitious volume to date of the Beyond Salsa Piano series, almost twice as long as the other Melón volumes. It begins with the easiest Melón tumbao, Catalina, and simplifies it a step further with an introductory chapter on the time-honored I-IV-V-IV chord progression. But the gloves come off in Chapter 3. Since the series is chronological, this final volume contains Melón's most advanced work with Issac Delgado and goes on to cover the music he's recorded in Spain, including Me falta la Habana with Manolín and the amazing Movimiento from his 2010 CD Travesía.

There are also extensive chapters on Melón's playing on two Issac masterpieces which were only played live: La competencia (Hit Parade), and my all-time favorite piano tumbao, the legendary La temática.

The most dramatic difference between this volume and the eight that preceded it is the inclusion of cuerpos, mambos and transitions. On three songs, Se te fue la mano, Con la punta del pie, and La soga, we provide a full written part for everything Melón plays up to the improvisational open montuno section.

I'm already deeply embroiled in writing Volumes 10, 11 and 12 on Pupy Pedroso , and Volumes 1, 2 and 3 of Inside Cuban Percussion, featuring the amazing Calixto Oviedo . The long-awaited video product of Melón is still on the back burner, but the video has already been shot for Calixto - and it's amazing -- so the video will be part of the initial launch of the Calixto project. Drummers have been bugging me to do something like this ever since the first Tomás Cruz Conga Method came out in 2005. The wait will soon be over, guys, but start practicing your perididdles and 7-stroke rolls, because Calixto is going to rock your worlds!

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Thursday, 22 July 2010, 11:10 PM

The Yumaversity of Timba Expands!

Introducing Professor Calixto Oviedo


photos by Sue Taylor (also studio, food, chauffeur services, moral support ...)

For all of you who have been asking for instructional material for musicians other than pianists and congueros, your prayers will soon be answered, with Calixto Oviedo playing the role of God. After three days of filming I have enough material for at least  three mind-bending volumes to launch the Inside Cuban Percussion series. We also planned the NG La Banda Reunion Tour (someone needs to tell El Tosco!).


Calixto with Carlos Caro and Jesús Díaz

It took about 10 seconds for word of Calixto's presence to reach every percussionist in the Bay Area and the filming was attended by such luminaries as Carlos Caro, Jesús Díaz and the legendary Walfredo de los Reyes, all of whom were as knocked out as I was. (Click "continue reading" for much more).

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Sunday, 18 July 2010, 07:14 AM

Afro-Cuban All-Stars in Wine Country

ACAS had a capacity crowd of North Coast Yuppies dancing their asses off. This concludes their short 12-stop tour. More soon, and more photos from Tom Ehrlich coming.

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Thursday, 15 July 2010, 03:44 PM

Revé at SOBs Saturday Night


photo by Tom Ehrlich

One of the classic lineups for one of the classic bands of all time, one night only in New York City. It's rare that for any band -- even Revé over it's 55 year history -- to achieve the level of chemistry that the current incarnation of el Charangón has achieved. It's truly hitting on all cylinders. If you miss this you'll be kicking yourself for years. They're doing at least 5 songs from the new album, De qué estamos hablando, which is easily among the best of the 2000s thus far and a brilliant cross-section of the very best of the previous two albums and the previous 5 decades.

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