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NPM Blog Archive - NPM July-Sept 2012

 

30 September 2012:

Final Week for American Sabor:
American Sabor, an ongoing traveling free exhibit dedicated to Latinos in U.S. popular music, is still being shown  through October 7 at the PRAA/U.S. Bank Exhibit Hall, 2958 N. Milwaukee Ave in Chicago.  The gallery hours are on the PRAA website. Catch it now while you still can. We checked it out last week, and it is a well-done exhibit with everything from Mambo to Tejano to Latin Rock in the US.  The Smithsonian had a piece of it, and it shows.   

Afincaó live:  Last week, we showed you Afinca'o's new video; tonight (September 30), they are live at the Cubby Bear for Live Salsa Sundays.  Check out our Concerts, Events and Reviews page for that and more listings for the week. 


23 September 2012:

This week's heaviest action is on the Report From Chicago page with the return of the movie Chico y Rita and a free performance by the Pedrito Martinez Group.  Note also that one of our Chicago favorites, Papo Santiago, is playing the Cubby Bear tonight (September 23) at 9:00 and 11:00 pm, and the wonderful Conjunto is at Navy Pier earlier in the evening (5:00 pm); Carpacho is at Gage Park at 6:30 pm

Havana 2.0:  The recent closing of Cafe Bolero, which we shall truly miss (thanks so much  for all the good times!), ended the long in-house run of the Latin Jazz jams byHavana, once led by Richie Pillot and continuing under the guidance of Jerome Croswell and the Calito Brothers (Dennis and Brian).  The group recently started a new every-other-Wednesday run at the Output Lounge  on 1758 West Grand.  We paid a visit this Wednesday, and this looks and sounds like it has the potential to become a good new home for the group.   There are a few changes in the sound, but the basic concept is the same, and this is still one of the best ways to get a live Cubop fix.  You can read our update about the group by clicking here. 

Final Weeks for American Sabor:
American Sabor, an ongoing exhibit dedicated to Latinos in U.S. popular music, is still being shown  through October 7 at the PRAA/U.S. Bank Exhibit Hall, 2958 N. Milwaukee Ave in Chicago.  The gallery hours are on the PRAA website
Catch it now while you still can. 

New Release by Afinca'o:  Tu Falsedad

In case you've been away, Chicago's Afinca'o recently released a new single, Tu Falsedad, and has also released this video version: 

The audio version of the song is available for purchase on Itunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/tu-falsedad/id530570040?i=530570047 
Their debut album is scheduled for release on Valentine's Day, 2013.   We're looking forward to its arrival.  They also have another live gig coming up at the Cubby Bear on Sunday, September 30.
Tell us what you think of their new release in our Forums section.   It's easy to register and start a conversation there.   


16 September 2012:

 

Guinness World Record Attempt in Cincinnati:   We were in Cincinnati this week for reasons that had nothing to do with music, and lo and behold, right next to our hotel, in Fountain Square, Cincinnati's Hispanic Heritage Month had its kickoff with a performance by local Salsa Band Son del Caribe and a Guinness World Record Attempt at the largest number of merengue dancing couples.   They (and we)  won't know the outcome of the attempt for a while,  but this does officially put the city on our own radar.  In the weeks to come, we are going to learn more about the scene there - the band(s), clubs etc., and we'll share what we learn in this section.   Cincinnati is a six hour drive, más o menos, from Chicago. 

(Son del Caribe, a local Salsa band in Cincinnati.  We heard them playing Señor Sereno when we first arrived.)

New Release by Afinca'o:  Tu Falsedad

Chicago's Afinca'o has released a new single, Tu Falsedad, and has also released this video: 

The audio version of the song is available for purchase on Itunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/tu-falsedad/id530570040?i=530570047 
Their debut album is scheduled for release on Valentine's Day, 2013.   We're looking forward to its arrival.  They also have another live gig coming up at the Cubby Bear on Sunday, September 30.

As usual, check out our Calendar of Events page for this week's listings, which include a performance by Nabori in Milwaukee on Saturday. 


9 September 2012:  

This is admittedly something a little different from our usual items, but we are going to share it because we think some of you may find it interesting (and this is, after all, why we have this separate special section).  This duo of multi-instrumentalists, Calle Sur, will be appearing at Sabor a Cafe, a fine Colombian restaurant on the north side, on Friday, September 14.  We've never seen this group live ourselves, but we are including a video sample of them below.   If you go, while you're there, be sure to ask the restaurant about their other musical entertainment during the month.  This place has a pretty interesting collection of acts over the course of a typical month, including a band, Son De La Habana, that plays a very good assortment of modern Cuban music (and we do mean modern - the instrumentation includes electric guitar and synthesizer).  The video clip of Calle Sur immediately follows:

As usual, you should also check out  our Events page for other options around town this week. It's actually a pretty busy week in Chicago, and that's a good thing. 


2 September 2012:

See our August 26 Event Alert for today's Festival event.  

This week we have two reviews to share.  First of all, click here for a review of last Sunday's doubleheader by CAPRE and Plena Libre at the Mayne Stage

Second, click here for a review of Chicago's Latin Jazz group "Latin Inspiration"


26 August 2012:

NEW EVENT ALERT:

FIESTA BORICUA, SUNDAY, 2 SEPTEMBER 2012, 12-9PM., 2600 W. Division St., Chicago IL
An All-star lineup including Richie Flores, Calle 13, Manolito Rodríguez, Latin Inspiration, Orquesta Leal and other acts.  Free admission (donations welcome).   See their Facebook page for more information.  

See our August 19 Event Alert for Plena Libre and Capre.  This is a don't-miss.

CALJE SIGHTING:
CALJE (The Chicago Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble), Chicago's powerhouse Latin Jazz big band, is doing two performances this week:  The dance band unit is at Chicago Summer Dance in the Parks at the Humboldt Park Boathouse On Wednesday, August 29 from 7-9 pm.  The Jazz band unit is at the Chicago Jazz Festival on Friday, August 31 at 6:30pm.   CALJE's  performances are all too infrequent, so catch them when you can.   


19 August 2012:  

EVENT ALERT:  Sound Culture Presents
PLENA LIBRE AND CAPRE AT THE MAYNE STAGE
SUNDAY, 26 AUGUST 2012 at 7PM (Doors open 5:30)

Plena Libre has been nominated for a Grammy four times and released mulitiple albums during its long and successful career.   This group is one of the most accomplished performers of various forms of both traditional bomba and plena and fusion associated with it, and it is a great way to experience why these rhythms remain vital forces in the music.  

Opening for them is the very exciting new Chicago-based group, CAPRE (the Chicago Afro Puerto Rican Ensemble,   a relatively new  19-piece powerhouse sponsored by the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center and led by artistic director Jorge Emmanueli Náter.   This group, which plays fusion based upon the the bomba and plena as well as interpreting traditional forms, absolutely blew us away at its Old Town School of Folk Music debut in May 2012 (you can read our review here), and they are more than worth the price of admission all by themselves.   

Also This Week:   
Chicago's own  heavy-hitting Salsa emsemble Papo Santiago & Infraverde closes the Latin Street Salsa Congreso at the Cubby Bear tonight (August 19)  at 9pm.   The Congreso is also advertising DJ-driven Timba in one of other rooms at the Cubby Bear the same evening.    

AND,  one of our area's favorites,  Nabori,  is at the Alhambra Palace Tuesday,  Aug 21.  

Finally, we'll say a lot more about this in the future, but if you have a Salsa band, you and your fans should check out the Salsa Music Awards website.  There is a sort of Peoples' Choice awards competition in progress, and you may want to consider whether to throw your band's hat  (if your a leader) or your favorite band's hat (if you're a fan) in the ring.  


12 August 2012:

We haven't seen it ourselves yet, butAmerican Sabor, an ongoing exhibit dedicated to Latinos in U.S. popular music, is being shown now through October 7 at the PRAA/U.S. Bank Exhibit Hall, 2958 N. Milwaukee Ave in Chicago.  The gallery hours are on the PRAA website
We'll say more about this after wev'e had a chance to check it out, but it looks interesting. 

This week, the Latin Street Salsa Congreso is happening at various venues in Chicago from August 16-19. The music is mostly DJ-driven (Papo Santiago does perform live on the closing night), but the schedule of workshops, dance performances and social dancing opportunities is pretty full, and the DJs are well-known names in the dance community. See their website for more information.   

Finally, we'll say a lot more about this in the future, but if you have a Salsa band, you and your fans should check out the Salsa Music Awards website.  There is a sort of Peoples' Choice competition in progress, and you may want to consider whether to throw your band's hat in the ring.  


5 August 2012:

Sunday, August 5 brings day two of Festival Cubano with a very impressive lineup (see our post from the 29th),  but another great option for the evening is the tribute to Richie Pillot at the Old Town School of Folk Music by the surviving members of his group Havana.   The late Mr. Pillot, a mentor to many of Chicago's finest Latin Jazz and Salsa musicians, is shown at the bass in the photo above, and some of his bandmates have kept the music going since he passed. If the technology were available to let you be both places at once, we would suggest that you do just  that.  Either place is a great bet.    

For the rest of the week, as usual, see our Events and Reviews page.   Some highlights this week include two different performances by Papo Santiago at Alhambra and the Mayne Stage and a traveling Baile de Bomba at the Old Town School of Folk Music. 


29 July 2012:

This Week:

The must-go this week is the 3rd Annual Festival Cubano at Riis Park (Fullerton and Narragansett) on Saturday August 4 and Sunday, August 5.  The festival organizers outdid themselves for the talent lineup this year - Issac Delgado closes the Festival on Sunday, Jose " El Canario" Alberto is the headliner Saturday night, the  "undercard" includes a stellar cast in its own right (including for example the Celia Cruz All StarsTito Puente Jr, and the Machito Orchestra among others) and overall, there is an excellent mix of acts from the traditional to the current.  At a press conference at 90 Miiles last week, we also learned that the festival is dedicated to Celia Cruz this year, and there will be a special display of her memorabilia at the festival. But don't just come for the headliners - two of our local acts on the bill, Angel D' Cuba and Sureya, both have excellent 2012 recordings out, their full bands don't get out as much as they should, and if you haven't heard those lately, you're in for a treat.  This being a festival, there will of course also be food, vendors, things for the little ones etc.
For those of you who aren't familiar with Issac Delgado or haven't heard him lately, we posted a couple of live video clips of him in concert in Denmark earlier this year in our Sin Clave No Hay Na'blog.   For everything else you wanted to know about the Festival (who / what / where / when / how much), see their website at http://thecubanfestival.com/ 
This isn't just highly recommended - if you're in town and aren't working, we would be absolutely baffled if you didn't go.   You won't see this kind of deal in Chicago again until, well, probably until next year's festival.  
Earlier this week, at the press conference, several local political and media figures were present. The first photo shows cofounder George Herrera at the microphone; the second shows cofounder Sandra Castro at the mic...

But first......Papo Santiago is at the Cubby Bear Tonight (July 29) for Live Salsa Sundays,  and as usual, check out our Calendar for other things during the week. 

ALSO PLAYING:   Just to make sure that it doesn't get too easy for you to make choices, on Sunday, August 5, the Old Town School of Folk Music  is hosting Havana in a tribute to the lateRichie Pillot, who was an institution in the Latin music community here. See their website for more details.   If you had a clone, the smart play would be send one to Festival Cubano to hear Issac, and one to the Old Town School to hear Havana.   But since you probably don't, you'll have to make a decision.   Staying home should be one of the choices, you can't go wrong with either of these.   

It's been a while since we dropped in onNabori, so we visited them at the Cubby Bear last Sunday.  These guys are swinging hard these days, and there's a lesson in what they are doing for everyone else.   Some - not all, but some - of their material is played at what we'll choose to call Cuban tempo.   For years, there was this stereotype that Puerto Rican Salsa was slower than Cuban and therefore, if you were going to play some of the faster songs in the Cuban book, you had to slow them down in places like Chicago.   Nabori plays mostly originals,  but some of it is fast enough that they prove that you DON"T have to slow things down nowadays even if you did need to do so 20 years ago.   The dancers will stay on the floor even when you open the throttle.   
Q. What does this mean for the other bands out there?  
A.  Unless there is a valid artistic reason to do otherwise (and most of the time there isn't), you should really play the songs as they were meant to be played.  There is no need to  cut the tempo on something by a third or a half just because you are afraid for the dancers' safety if you play it the way you first heard it.  Remember why you liked that tune well enough to add it to your set list in the first place, and don't water it down - share what made you love it.   Likewise, if you speed up a slower tune, it's a good idea to check yourself to make sure it still does what it was supposed to do first.   It's bad enough that the once-large number of distinct rhythms we had to work with in the past have been narrowed down to a half dozen or so.  Let's at least try to preserve and protect the remaining distinctions in tempos.   
For photos of their Cubby Bear gig, click here to go to the gallery. 

Last but not least, we have posted Part II of our coverage of Orquesta El Macabeo including an audio interview with its leader, José Ibáñez Reyes,  which includes some things about today's scene in Puerto Rico that we think you'll find surprising if you don't live there.   
Click here to see and hear Part II...


23 July 2012:

Wow, what a weekend!   The Square Roots Festival had a great inaugural, we went there two of the three days and caught a number of excellent groups including Carpacho Super ComboMagic Carpet and Orquesta El Macabeo, whom we later saw again at the Mayne Stage.  You can see our photo gallery and writeup from Square Roots by clicking  here as well as  a special gallery and writeup about Orquesta El Macabeo, a phenomenal and very different band from Puerto Rico, by clicking  here. Congratulations to the Old Town School of Folk Music and thLincoln Square Chamber of Commerce  for a great new Festival and to the Mayne Stage for hosting Orquesta El Macabeo. We also want to give a shout out to Sound Culture and Aguzate for bringing El Macabeo at a time when a lot of promoters and agencies have become afraid to take risks. Also a special personal thank-you to Omar Torres-Kortright for turning us on to El Macabeo a while back.  (Are we starting to sound like the Oscars here?  There's a reason for that.  It takes people working together to make things happen.)   

This Week:   There is a lot of local area  talent really worth seeing this week - check out our Event Calendar for details. 

Coming August 4-5: 

If you have been out of state or living in a cave, it may have escaped your attention that the 3rd Annual Festival Cubano is coming up August 4 and 5 at Riis Park in Chicago. We're very excited about this year's entertainment lineup, which includes a broad range of Cuban music styles as well as Dominican (by way of Puerto Rico) singer Jose Alberto (El Canario).  Did we mention Issac Delgado?   Yes Issac is on the roster, as are the Celia Cruz All-StarsTito Puente Jr., the Machito Orchestra to name just a few of the other acts, which also include (among others) local favorites Angel D'Cuba and Sureya, both of whom have released new recordings this year. This is a festival in the park  we're talking about here, so we're also talking food booths, vendors etc. etc.  For more information including the complete music lineup, advance tickets and more about the Festival Cubano, see their website, thecubanfestival.com   Issac alone makes this a must-go, but the rest of the line-up is pretty  impressive this year as well, so you'll want to do both days.


15 July 2012:

EVENT ALERTS:  SQUARE ROOTS FESTIVAL and ORQUESTA EL MACABEO  CONCERT 

Two of Chicago's leading sponsors of great music, the Old Town School of Folk Music and the Mayne Stage, have events worth catching this weekend:

I.  Square Roots Festival, Friday, 20 July - Sunday, 22 July 2012, Lincoln Avenue between Montrose and Wilson, Chicago IL.   This is the successor to the Old Town School of Folk Music's long-running annual Folk and Roots festival.    As always, there will be a lot great music and dance from multiple genres, but our readers will be especially interested in the appearances by Carpacho y su Super Combo between 8:45 and 945 pm on Friday; Orquesta el Macabeo between 4:00 and 5:00 pm  on Saturday;  M.A.K.U Soundsystem (Afro-Colombian fusion) between 8:00 and 9:00 pm on Saturday;  a Cuban Rumba dance class in Szold Hall between 4:15 and 5:00 pm Saturday followed by an appearance in the hall be Orisha Dance Chicago between 5:00 and 6:00 pm; a Latin Funk Ensemble Jam in the East Lobby of the Old Town School between 3:00 and 4:00 on Saturday, and Paseo Jarocho in Maurer Hall between 5:30-6:45 PM  and a performance by the dance troupe AfriCaribe between 7:30 and 8:30 pm in  Szold Hall on Sunday.  There's a lot more great music happening at this festival; see the Festival website for a complete lineup. 

II. Orquesta El Macabeo,  Saturday, July 20, Mayne Stage at 9:00 pm. I have been at this long enough that I don't use the expression "must-see" for Salsa bands all that often any more.   There are a lot of good ones out there but not that many with that special something extra.  Well, Orquesta El Macabeo from Puerto Rico has that extra something.   At its core, this is a Salsa Dura group, but it mixes in a few other influences here and there including third-wave Ska, and the lyrics are often hard-hitting and funny with some occasional touches of a Punk sensibility without the atonal screaming you get from some of the real Punk bands.  This is NOT your father's Salsa band, although he can certainly dance to it and will want to if he goes.  Here's a taste of why you won't want to miss them:

One of their other songs, Musico, doesn't have a video, but is practically an anthem for any of us who have ever played this music in public.   

We Recommend:  Catch as much of the Square Roots Festival  as you can; every time we go to an OTS festival we hear some pleasant surprises in addition to the groups that originally brought us there, but don't miss Orquesta El Macabeo - you can actually see them twice, at Square Roots and later at  the Mayne Stage, and they are good enough that you will probably want to do exactly that.   There is also a lot of good Salsa and Latin Jazz happening in town almost every night this week; see our Events & Reviews page for details. 

Kudos as always to both the Old Town School of Folk Music and the Mayne Stage for continuing in their leadership roles in this music and to Aguzate and Sound Culture, the promoters that are bringing Orquesta El Macabeo to Chicago. 


9 July 2012:

There are a lot of local options for live music this week including the 6th Annual Chicago Latin Jazz Festival at the Humboldt Park Boathouse on Friday, July 13 at 7:00pm.  This year features Inspiracion Latina and percussionist Paoli Mejias.  It is a free event; see the website for more details.  Fans of Grupo Niche will be interested to know that they will be scheduled to perform in Indianapolis this Saturday.   

New Band Review:   Last week, we dropped into Mas o Menos on Division to check out the Latin Jazz band Son Bayú.   You can read our review here. 


1 July 2012:

New CD Release:

Local ensemble Grupo Cha Cha, which we wrote about a week ago, has released a very nice new CD, This Is The Life, which will be available within days (it already is at concerts).  You can read our review here.....

2nd Chance to see CAPRE:  For those of you who  have cable TV and missed the live CAPRE concert at the Old Town School and want a second helping, check CAN TV (Channel 19 on most local cable systems) at 5PM today (July 1st) for a 90-minute video of the concert.

Makina Loca pictures -  our concert pictures are here. 

Last Sunday, we dropped in on  Papo Santiago's Live Salsa Sunday gig at the Cubby Bear.. A great time by the crowd and the band as usual.   Papo's live shows are still burning up the rooms.  
(Left:  Papo.  Right:  DJ Frankie J and friends)

Something Different:  Novalima at the Mayne Stage, Friday, 6 July at 10PM
Musical evolution played out a little differently in the Andean countries than it did in the Caribbean, but Afro-Peruvian music is still pretty interesting stuff.  You already know this if you ever listened toSusana Baca or Peru Negro.  If you are into those artists,  or you are looking for a slight change of pace, check out Novalima at the Mayne Stage on Friday, July 6 at 10PM.  This is a CD release concert for their new (and fourth) recording Karimba. This group has a more modern take on the Afro-Peruvian idiom. 


 

Sunday, 09 December 2012, 09:19 AM