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RFC Blog Archive - RFC July-August 2011

2 August 2011   This Week

After an absence of far too long, Ernán López Nussa  will be visiting the Midwest for a small series of performances in Wisconsin and Iowa, and the Wisconsin dates are within driving distance, especially the Milwaukee date.     Ernán is part of an emerging family musical dynasty (we recently reviewed his nephew Harold's new CD release as well), and those of us who follow the jazz portion of the Cuban musical spectrum have enjoyed his work as far back as his time with Grupo Afrocuba and Cuarto Espacio.   A decade ago he wowed American audiences with some performances in support of his CD release Delirium  (not always the easiest thing to find here but worth the effort to do so), and more recently he has been working in a trio format with Ángel Gastón Joya Perellada and Enrique Plá Garcia.    For these US appearances, he will be performing with Jimmy Branlyand Jorge Sawa Perez , both excellent musicians in their own rights.    Ernán is one of the top Cuban jazz pianists in a field of brutal competition for that distinction.
For the Wisconsin dates, the performances will be as follows:
26 August 2011:  Orton Park   , 1200 Spaight Street, Madison WI at 5:45pm
27 August 2011:  Helen Bader Recital Hall, Wisconsin Conservatory of Music , 1584 Prospect Av, Milwaukee WI at 7:30pm
28 August 2011:  Orton Park again at 5PM, then The Cardinal Bar,   418 E. Wilson St, Madison WI at 9pm

Here is a link to a video clip of Ernán with Ángel and Enrique in concert:
La Bichina by the Ernán López Nussa Trio

Los Van Van reschedules in Kentucky

Los Van Van now has a new date for Coconut Beach in Louisville Kentucky: Friday, September 30th.  Louisville is a 5-6 hour drive from Chicago, and barring a pleasant surprise, this might be as close as they will come to us this tour.  

Film Review: La Época Part II

We attended the Chicago premiere of this at the Instituto Cervantes on August 18th. You can read our review at Film Review: La Época Part II

Scroll down to our August 15th entry or see our Concerts, Events and Reviewspage for other upcoming events including Paquito D'Rivera , Tiempo Libre andCALJE



 

15 August 2011  This Week

Some time back, we reviewed the film La Epoca, The Palladium Era, a documentary about the "Mambo Craze" and the Palladium Ballroom in New York decades ago.  A followup film, La Epoca, Part II:  Lost Rhythms in Salsa is premiering at the Instituto Cervantes of Chicago, 31 W. Ohio, Chicago IL (tel: 312.335.1996) on Thursday, August 18 at 5:30 PM.  This is being shown in connection with the opening of the 2011Latin Street Salsa Congreso, a multi-day series of dance workshops dedicated to salsa, rueda and timba stylings which runs from Thursday August 18 through Sunday, August 21 at multiple venues.  Details regarding schedule, venues, cost etc. can be found on the congreso's website.  The filmmaker also has his own website,laepocafilm.com

Event Alerts:

Not that long ago, we mentioned that things were looking up for Chicagoans musically speaking.  Here are three things that you should put on your calendar now:

I.  See our August 5 entry on our other blog page, Sin Clave No Hay Na ', for complete details about Ernán López Nussa 's sets in Madison and Milwaukee Wisconsin from Friday August 26-Sunday August 28. Ernàn is one of Cuba's most exciting jazz pianists and will be performing with drummer Jimmy Branly and bassist Jorge Sawa Perez,  both of whom are worth  listening to in their own rights.   The Madison dates are at an outdoor festival on Friday and Sunday along with a club date on Sunday night.  The Saturday session is at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. In Cuba, Ernán's trio includes Ángel Gastón Joya Perellada and Enrique Plá Garcia , the latter of whom is well-known to fans of Irakere.  Here is a link to a video clip of them in concert:
La Bichina by the Ernán López Nussa Trio

II.  Nine-time Grammy (both regular and Latin) award-winning artist Paquito D'Rivera is doing both a workshop and a performance with the Jazz Faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago on September 17, 2011.   Paquito first became known to Americans over 30 years ago for his work with Irakere, and he later moved on to build a pretty remarkable career that includes a formidable body of work under his own name and together with too many other notable musicians to name here. Many people tend to think of him as a Latin jazz artist, but his range includes classical and several other genres as well (his newest of over 30 recordings, pictured here, is dedicated to tango jazz).    He will be conducting a workshop September 17 at 11am and will be in concert that night at 7:30pm.  Tickets for the concert are $25.00 for adults, $15.00 for seniors and $10.00 for students.  For the workshop, tickets are $10.00 at the door for non-Music Institute students.     Both of these events will be at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Av, Evanston IL.  Tickets for the concert can be obtained at click here for link to the Music Institute of Chicago's event page 
The Music Institute of Chicago has a fascinating history of its own, and we encourage you to also visit the rest of  their website and learn more about them.  
You can also click here for Paquito's website .

 

III.  Attention Timba fanatics : tickets are now on sale for the Tiempo Libre concert at the Old Town School of Folk Music   on October 22, 2011.  Check out our review of their newest CD, My Secret Radio  and you'll see why you won't want to miss this event.  We'll be posting up more about them and their music as the date approaches, but this is on the short list of "don't miss" concerts for the year.  We've been playing the new CD in our car a lot, and it's not for lack of other things to listen to.  
You can also click here for Tiempo Libre's website .

And finally...

The second annual Festival Cubano happened a week ago here in Chicago.  We were there for the Saturday session and tried to be there Sunday, but the combination of a thunderstorm and the equipment we were carrying drove us (not to mention one of the bands and many but not all of the festivalgoers) off.  On the balance, we enjoyed it and hope to see a 3rd Annual next year, but there's room for improvement too.  Read our take on the part that we did catch, along with a few photos,  here .


 

1 August 2011 This Week

This week brings us the second annual Festival Cubano on Saturday, August 6 and Sunday, August 7 at Riis Park, which is at Fullerton and Narragansett in Chicago. In a year in which some of the festivals dedicated to the music have had serious problems in both Miami and Los Angeles, and New York has had a few cancellations of club dates, there are a lot of things about how the buildup to this festival in Chicago has been handled over the last two months that will probably be the subjects of some interesting public discussion in its aftermath. Nevertheless, it is here, hopefully it will be a great success, and according to its Facebook page, it is doing a media buy on Telemundo which may (one hopes) help offset the often-insular and occasionally even baffling way that the buildup to the Festival was handled in recent weeks. 
The lineup (one of our own criticisms is that with less than a week out, the actual schedule was still unpublished as of this writing) includes Hansel and Raul and Willy Chirino as headliners; violin master Alfredo de La Fe will be playing with Hansel and Raul, and Chicago's own Angel D'Cuba is scheduled to play there with his full band Sunday at 7:00pm. The economics of the local scene frequently make it necessary for Angel to use a smaller unit for local gigs, so this is an excellent (and relatively rare) opportunity to check out their full sound. Alfredo's de la Fe 's violin work is always a treat. Singer Sureya, known locally for her bolero stylings, is also on the bill. Hansel and Raul are Grammy-award winning Charanga artists, and Willy Chirino , also a Grammy-winner, was a major force in the creation of the "Miami Sound". All of these acts are very talented, but we are especially looking forward to hearing Alfredo paired with Hansel and Raul since good live charanga has become so rare in Chicago as well as Angel's full band.
Thanks to Luis Manuel Larralde for advising us that there also will be a no-cover afterparty on Saturday August 6, 10:30pm at the Mambo Cafe, 3336 North Milwaukee Av (Milwaukee and Pulaski) with his band and guest Alfredo de la Fe.

8/4/2011 Update: The Festival has finally posted its entertainment schedule at 
Festival Cubano Entertainment

Looking Ahead

See our Concerts, Events and Reviews page for information regarding (among other things) Ernán López Nussa in Wisconsin in late August, Paquito D'Riverain Evanston on September 17 and Tiempo Libre in Chicago on October 22nd. Los Van Van's US tour has been postponed until at least September due to visa issues.25 July 2011 This Week

Check out our other blog page, Sin Clave No Hay Na' , for information about the webcast of Maraca's July 25 performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. The webcast is being archived on the Kennedy Center's website for your viewing pleasure. Now that this is happening, if you completely miss out on Maraca this year, it's on you...
Last Friday, we dropped into the studio where Angel D'Cuba's group was laying down some tracks for their forthcoming CD. Angel and company were kind enough to let us preview some of what they are doing, and we liked what we heard. We're looking forward to the finished product when it's ready. This Saturday, July 30th, a smaller unit of the full band (a quintet) will be playing multiple sets with breaks starting at 2PM on the Harper Stage at the Celebrate Hyde Park Summerfest. The headliners at that festival include War and Roy Ayers.

Angel's full band will also be playing at Festival Cubano on Sunday, August 7 at 6:30pm before Willy Chirino goes on. The headliners for the Festival are Willy Chirino and Hansel and Raul, and Alfredo de la Fe and Sureya will also be performing at the festival. We'll share more information about the entertainment schedule when the Festival organizers make it available.

On the Salsa Dura and Latin jazz fronts, followers of Afinca'o, Nabori and Papo Santiago should know that Papo is playing with Edwin Sanchez and others at the Siboney on Saturday, July 30, and Afinca'o is playing at a festival in Aurora (click here for website ) on July 30 as well. Nabori is playing at Tumbao on July 30.


25 July 2011 This Week

Check out our other blog page, Sin Clave No Hay Na' , for information about the webcast of Maraca's July 25 performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. The webcast is being archived on the Kennedy Center's website for your viewing pleasure. Now that this is happening, if you completely miss out on Maraca this year, it's on you...
Last Friday, we dropped into the studio where Angel D'Cuba's group was laying down some tracks for their forthcoming CD. Angel and company were kind enough to let us preview some of what they are doing, and we liked what we heard. We're looking forward to the finished product when it's ready. This Saturday, July 30th, a smaller unit of the full band (a quintet) will be playing multiple sets with breaks starting at 2PM on the Harper Stage at the Celebrate Hyde Park Summerfest. The headliners at that festival include War and Roy Ayers.

Angel's full band will also be playing at Festival Cubano on Sunday, August 7 at 6:30pm before Willy Chirino goes on. The headliners for the Festival are Willy Chirino and Hansel and Raul, and Alfredo de la Fe and Sureya will also be performing at the festival. We'll share more information about the entertainment schedule when the Festival organizers make it available.

On the Salsa Dura and Latin jazz fronts, followers of Afinca'o, Nabori and Papo Santiago should know that Papo is playing with Edwin Sanchez and others at theSiboney on Saturday, July 30, and Afinca'o is playing at a festival in Aurora (click here for website ) on July 30 as well. Nabori is playing at Tumbao on July 30.

 


18 July 2011 This Week

Check out our other blog page, Sin Clave No Hay Na' , for a recap and photos of the recent Chicago appearances by Palo! , Maraca and Sierra Maestra , all of whom were very much worth seeing. The first two performed at the Old Town School of Folk Music's Chicago Folk and Roots Festival, which did a great job with the lineup this year. In addition to the concerts that we covered at that Festival, we also especially enjoyed a Latin Jazz set by a quartet from Chicago's excellent Chicago Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble (CALJE) , and a Haitian group, BélO , which is releasing a new CD in late July. There were many other fine acts at this Festival as well. Two thumbs up, Old Town School!
We also want to give a shout out to the City of Chicago and the Mayne Stage for hosting the launch of Sierra Maestra's US tour. The Mayne Stage has put up an innovative schedule this year including a lot of music of interest to us. The City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District have also performed well under challenging budgetary conditions when it comes to booking la musica at outdoor events this year.
No big out of town groups to announce this week, but you can get your Cuban fix at Cafe LaGuardia on Tuesday, July 19 with Angel D'Cuba 's group. He usually uses a smaller unit from the full band in the restaurants, but the music is still good, and he usually throws a little Songo and Timba into the mix, particularly when they trot out their originals.

And in the Salsa/Salsa Dura departments, on Sunday, July 24 at the Celebrate Clark Street Festival on Clark Street between Morse and Touhy, Carpacho y Su Super Combo are performing on the South Stage at 2:45pm and Papo Santiago & Orchestra Infraverde are performing at the North Stage at 6:45pm. Carpacho does some nice Salsa, Merengue and Cumbia and Papo Santiago puts out some excellent Salsa Dura (some of our favorites from other genres like the Occidental Brothers and Funkadesi are also at this same festival, which put together a pretty impressive lineup overall).

SAVE THE DATES:

I. August 6-7 2011: The Second Annual Festival Cubano is happening at Riis Park (Fullerton and Narragansett). The headliners are Hansel and Raul on Saturday, August 6 and Willy Chirino on Sunday, August 7. Hansel and Raul have been putting out some wildly popular charanga since the 70s, and Willy Chirino was a key player in the creation of what came to be known as the "Miami Sound", which blended Cuban music with various American influences. Both have won multiple awards over the years. This new Festival is sponsored primarily by the private sector, and we will be watching it with great interest.

II. August 18-21, 2011: The Latin Street Salsa Congreso , a 4-day series of dance workshops and performances, is taking place at various locations. Of special interest is a Cuban Timba Sunday event at Excalibur brought to you by the folks that have been hosting the Cuban Timba in Chicago DJ dance parties; see the Latin Street Salsa Congreso website and/or Cuban Timba in Chicago's Facebook event page for more details.


15 July 2011 THE SON IS SHINING, SO COME OUT AND DANCE....

Those of you who were fortunate enough to be at Millennium Park for Sierra Maestra's Thursday concert don't really need us to explain why you want to be at the Mayne Stage tonight (Friday). You're already coming unless you somehow injured yourself dancing at the park. For the benefit of those of you who were less fortunate, this band came to play, and we'll tell you all about what that meant next week, but right now we are resting up for a second helping tonight ourselves, and you still have a chance to catch them live.

You'll notice that there don't seem to be a lot of people sitting down here in spite of having chairs. Stop reading this and go order your ticket already, there are some reasons why these guys were nominated for a Latin Grammy last year, and they showed some of them last night...


11 July 2011 THIS WEEK

People of Chicago: Our drought is ending. Palo! and Maraca both did great shows over the last weekend; stay tuned for some reviews, photos and a few surprise extras in a few days. Kudos to the Old Town School of Folk Music for bringing us both. This week, the Son is rising over our fair city:

SIERRA MAESTRA , Thursday, July 14 at 6:30PM at Millennium Park in downtown Chicago and Friday, July 15 at 9PM at the Mayne Stage

Sierra Maestra is kicking off its US Tour in Chicago with an outdoor concert at Millennium Park on Thursday, July 14th at 6:30pm and an indoor set at the Mayne Stage on Friday, July 15th at 9pm. This group is one of the most prominent keepers of the flame of traditional Son, and if you saw Septeto Nacional earlier in April (or wanted to) and liked it, you should check them out as well. Their 2010 CD, Sonando Ya , was nominated for a Latin Grammy that year. (Read our review of that CD here. ) The two different settings give you an opportunity for two different experiences; the City performance lets you catch them outdoors in one of the city's most beautiful parks, and the Mayne Stage performance lets you catch this dance band in a great club with an excellent dance floor. (Photo by Bart Madjeski, supplied by City of Chicago )

Also, it pays to keep tabs on what's happening at the Humboldt Park Boathouse, 1359 N. Sacramento, Chicago. Some good music has been happening there this summer; for example, last Friday, Chuchito Valdes performed, and this Wednesday, July 13 at 6PM, Nabori , one of the area's best salsa dura bands, is doing a set.


4 July 2011 EVENT ALERTS: PALO!, MARACA AND SIERRA MAESTRA

Blessed are we in the days ahead with three must-see bands along with the second annual Festival Cubano approaching within a month.

First Up:

CHICAGO FOLK AND ROOTS FESTIVAL SATURDAY JULY 9-SUNDAY JULY 10 2011
Welles Park, 4400 North Lincoln Avenue (between Montrose and Sunnyside in the Lincoln Square neighborhood), Chicago

The Old Town School of Folk Music has been providing some excellent Cuban music to Chicagoland this year and strikes again with two acts on the Chicago Folk and Roots Festival schedule:

On Saturday, July, 9th at 6:30PM in the Dance Tent, Palo! will be performing. Palo! is an excellent Afro-Cuban Funk dance band from Miami. The leader, Steve Roitstein, has an impressive resume that includes a stint as Willy Chirino's music director as well as work with other heavy hitters such as Celia Cruz. Scroll down to our June 10 2011 entry for some video clips of the band along with an audio interview with Steve. We first heard their music while in Miami early this year, and they will make you get up and move. (Photo supplied by Steve Roitstein)

On Sunday, July 10 at 8:30PM on the Main Stage, Maraca will be performing with a monster 13-piece band on tour from Havana Cuba. Our colleagues heard them on the West coast early in the tour, and we heard them in Milwaukee Wisconsin last week (see our review here ), where they knocked our socks off. Folks, if you only take in one Cuban music show here this year, THIS IS THE ONE TO SEE! . We've been waiting since last year for first-tier, no-holds-barred Timba by a top band from Cuba to be performed live in Chicago again, and here it is. If you really can't make this one, there is another opportunity the previous day (July 9) in Madison Wisconsin at La Fete de Marquette at 7:15 PM. We would counsel Chicagoans to take in both Palo! and Maraca , but catch Maraca one way or the other. (Photo supplied by Céline Chauveau)
Earlier in the evening on July 10 at 5PM, the CALJE Quartet, a smaller unit of the powerhouse Chicago Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble , is performing in the Nuestra Musica tent at the Chicago Folk and Roots Festival.

Next Up:

SIERRA MAESTRA , Thursday, July 14 at 6:30PM at Millennium Park in downtown Chicago and Friday, July 15 at 9PM at the Mayne Stage 

Sierra Maestra is kicking off its US Tour in Chicago with an outdoor concert at Millennium Park on Thursday, July 14th at 6:30pm and an indoor set at the Mayne Stage on Friday, July 15th at 9pm. This group is one of the most prominent keepers of the flame of traditional Son, and if you saw Septeto Nacional earlier in April (or wanted to) and liked it, you should check them out as well. Their 2010 CD, Sonando Ya , was nominated for a Latin Grammy that year. (Read our review of that CD here. ) The two different settings give you an opportunity for two different experiences; the City performance lets you catch them outdoors in one of the city's most beautiful parks, and the Mayne Stage performance lets you catch this dance band in a great club with an excellent dance floor. (Photo by Bart Madjeski, supplied by City of Chicago )

Also Coming Soon:

THE SECOND ANNUAL FESTIVAL CUBANO, SATURDAY AUGUST 6-SUNDAY AUGUST 7
Riis Park, Fullerton and Narragansett, Chicago

Most of the schedule hasn't been released yet, but this new 2-day Festival will be presenting Grammy winners Hansel and Raul and Willy Chirino as headliners along with several other acts, a domino tournament, food, arts and crafts, and other Festival stuff. This is a welcome addition to Chicago's calendar, and watch both their website and Timba.com for more details as the date approaches.

Sunday, 15 January 2012, 09:10 AM