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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.
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Sin Clave No Hay Na

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Friday, 27 January 2012, 08:15 AM

Timba and The United States, Part I: The Globalization of Timba

by Bill Tilford

(La Timba y Los Estados Unidos, Parte I: La Globalización de La Timba)

This is Part I of a series of articles about the status of Timba in the United States, covering both international and U.S.-based groups. para leer este artículo en español oprima aquí

(Photo by Tom Ehrlich)

     The genre called Timba, like Jazz, has been declared dead by some music critics more than once over the past several years.  Like Jazz, it is very much alive,  but our favorite tropical genre does face some of the same challenges for a variety of reasons.  These articles will examine those reasons in depth and discuss some possible ways that the community of musicians and supporters of the music might help address some of these.   We will be covering several topics over time, including the music press, radio, audience tastes, financial risks and other related issues.  
     The first thing that we need to do is point out that while  Timba was born in Cuba, and Cuba remains its epicenter, the genre has also  become a truly international  movement  for three reasons:  
Over the last couple of decades, it has developed an international fan base.   In addition to Cuba, Timba music is now (thanks to both recordings and extensive live tours) popular throughout several Latin American countries, much of Europe, parts of Asia and Africa, and it has a fan base in North America as well. 
Some Cuban musicians that play Timba reside all or part of the time in other countries, and they have introduced the music to both new musicians and new listeners.  
Musical groups that play Timba have been formed in several countries.   In some cases, these groups play very high-quality music  music of high caliber at a very sophisticated level.  Just a few of the  examples are Mayimbe in Peru; Calle Real, La Tremenda, Gilito y su Clave, La Jugada and  Soneros All Stars in  Sweden; Monica y su M.P. in France; Pan Con Timba and Doble Jugada  in the Netherlands;  Contrabando in Belgium; Grupo Danson in Denmark; Jose Torres y Salsa Tropical in Poland,  and El Zorro in Switzerland.   Within the United States, Tiempo Libre, Timbalive and the Pedrito Martinez group play Timba.  Some bands such as Rumbankete now play both Timba and Salsa.    
     What does all of this mean? For openers, after almost two decades, we can safely say that Timba is an established genre rather than a passing fad, and it has a truly global listening audience, as well as a truly global musical community that plays and enjoys the material.   These are important points to remember as we examine the status of Timba within the United States. 

Next:  Timba’s Initial Reception in the United States

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Sunday, 15 January 2012, 11:08 AM

New Ernán López-Nussa Trio Project

Video Clips of 'Sacrilegios' Available on You Tube

Sr. Rolando Montes de Oca, who manages Ernán López-Nussa's tours, has posted videos from a new recording, Sacrilegios, on his You Tube channel:

This project is a very nice melding of classical and Cuban musical forms.  Here's a taste:

His channel is

His channel is worth checking out for more videos of Ernán and some other artists as well.  

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Thursday, 29 December 2011, 02:29 PM

Daniel Martin - Cuba's Next International Pop Star?

(Daniel Martin at The Foundry, Aurora, Illinois)
(photo by Bill Tilford)

Most of our readers are familiar with the music that is pura cubana in origin and are aware that Reggaeton and Hip Hop happen there as well, but  many readers may be less aware of the fact that most of the rest of the spectrum of what many would call  "pop" music is also performed on the island as well.  This young man, Daniel Martin, performs most of those other styles from ballads to Cubaton to techno all at once and is beginning to make his presence felt internationally (including some work with Madonna)  while remaining based in Havana and maintaining some definitely Cuban sensibilities in his work.    We recently had the opportunity to get to know him better and found his story interesting enough to take advantage of that opportunity to get a closer look at a part of the Cuban music scene that doesn't get as much coverage up here. 


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Sunday, 18 December 2011, 01:46 PM


First Midwestern US Appearance by Powerhouse Band

There is nothing quite like Timba live,  and Timbalive is quite an experience too.   When they performed in  Chicago, their first appearance in the area,  they played  like they had something to prove, and they were able to do just that.  There are reasons why this group is able  to perform with the likes of Mayito Rivera and Manolin, and we heard those reasons here.    
Click here to continue reading our concert review and view the photos from the performance. 

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