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Fotos Del Día [hide]

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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

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Sunday, 13 June 2010, 09:32 PM

Pupy Tonight!

... and all this week at Yoshi's SF and Yoshi's Oakland.

photos by Tom Ehrlich


Saturday's Cócomo show was sublime. I could watch this rhythm section night after night -- in fact, that's exactly what I intend to do and six nights won't be nearly enough to satisfy me. Their approach, originally architected by Changuito himself, is unlike any other timba band. Along with güirero Julito Noroña (the son of Van Van founder Julio Noroña) the timbalero, Miguelito Escuriola holds down the fort by covering both bell parts, as Samuell or Riverón would do, while also working in the jamblock, freeing the magnificent drummer/arranger Bombón Reyes to orchestrate the arrangement with his inimitable left-handed combination of kick, snare, hihat and toms. Bay Area fans will remember conguero Duniesky Barreto from Bamboleo's many tours in the late 90s. Pupy uses a lot more gears than he used to, giving Duniesky a lot of space to shine. This band's groove grabs ahold of you and won't let go, and Pupy's songs are all timeless classics, from 1970s Van Van masterpieces to fresh-out-of-the-oven estrenos from the upcoming album.

The concert kept building and building to an extraordinary climax on a new arrangement of Pupy's Van Van classic, Ni bombones ni caramelos. Bay Area sonero Fito Reinoso sat in and delivered one of the most inspired vocal performances I've ever heard. Fito can always be counted on to rise to the occasion with his Cándido Fabré-inspired improvisations, but this time he really outdid himself. Seconds after he took the mike, the energy level, already high, went off the scale. Pupy himself was grinning from ear to ear and shaking his head. The standard Cándido approach is to find a catchy melodic phrase and repeat it with minor variations, improvising words to fit the occasion, but Fito transcended this completely, fluidly responding to the band's every accent and changing rhythm and melody as well as words in myriad brilliant and completely spontaneous ways. When the rhythm section locked into an extended bomba behind him the groove was almost unbearable. Next, they seamlessly broke way down to a short 3-part coro with minimal accompaniment and Fito slid right into it, keeping the same rhythmic intensity at a fraction of the volume.

It's been a long, painful decade of musical drought, but the floodgates have opened and it's catch-up time for the city by the bay. Wherever you're reading this from, catch a boat, plane or train and get yourself out here.

NY Times Review   --  Central Park Video Clip

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Sunday, 06 June 2010, 04:00 PM

Llegó Yemayá

It's time for our annual month of Gabriel-envy. A few hours after touching down at José Martí International Airport, the intrepid timbera blogger stumbled into a Havana d'Primera concert without even trying ... sigh ...

For La Unteresita's exploits in greater detail, check Yemayá's Verse daily for the next month or so - it's the next best thing to being there.

Actually -- and I have to pinch myself as I type this -- this time,  the next best thing to being there just might be ... gasp ... being in San Francisco! We Have:

June 12 - Los Terry at Yerba Buena (free!) 
June 12 - Silvio Rodríguez at the Paramount in Oakland
June 12 - Pupy y Los Que Son Son at Cócomo in SF

(and yes ... Tom Ehrlich plans to be at all 3 ... I'm skipping "Cuba's Bob Dylan" (don't worry - I'll listen to Blonde on Blonde to console myself).

June 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 - Pupy y Los Que Son Son at each Yoshi's venue.

July 9, 10, 11 - Elito Revé, por fin!

And last but not least, in book news, we're planning another series - "Inside Cuban Percussion" - with the first featured artist being none other than Calixto Oviedo. Stay tuned.

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Sunday, 23 May 2010, 06:16 PM

Mezcla in the Bay Area

My Cuban landlord Pablo Menéndez returns to California with his full Cuban band, featuring Octavio Rodríguez, for the first time since the dark ages of the Bush Administration. You can pay homage at:

Kuumbwa Jazz Center - Santa Cruz - TONIGHT - Monday, May 24

Yoshi's Oakland - Thursday, May 27

Click "Continue Reading La Última" for more photos by Tom Ehrlich

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Monday, 17 May 2010, 12:52 PM

Tom Ehrlich's Manolito Fotos

Trabuco in NY & Chicago This Week

Pupy Confirmed in June

Manolito y su Trabuco will be in New York at SOBs on Thursday (May 20) and in Chicago at 6:00 p.m. at Park West on Friday (May 21). Support Timba in La Yuma!

And click here for Tom Ehrlich's gallery from last week's show in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, the Pupy Pedroso tour is looking solid, with:

June 11 - Los Angeles - Sportsmen's Lodge
June 12 - San Francisco - Cócomo
June 14 & 15 - San Francisco - Yoshi's
June 16, 17, & 18 - Oakland - Yoshi's

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