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RFC Blog Archive - RFC Nov-Dec 2011
28 December 2011 This Week:
1. Happy New Year! No Timba offerings in the local clubs this week, but see our Concerts, Events and Reviews page for some other New Year's Eve options.
2. Last week, we interviewed a young singer from Havana, Daniel Martin, who is working the several aspects of the "pop" end of the spectrum including ballads, Cubaton, techno and some other styles. He is beginning to make a name for himself internationally as well. CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT IT AND HEAR THE INTERVIEW
3. We also caught a set at the Alhambra Palace by local group Salsa Con Soul, a group which, as the name implies, blends both styles. CLICK HERE FOR OUR WRITEUP AND PICTURES.
4. In previous weeks, we told you about Angel D'Cuba's Kickstarter project to help with the costs of their new CD. There are now some audio samples of it on their Kickstarter page in the Updates section, and we encourage you to check it out before the January 3 deadline. It will probably inspire you to at least pre-order the CD:
18 December 2011 This Week:
Timbalive threw down a heavy set at the Club Mambo last night. See our other blog section,Sin Clave No Hay Na, for all the details and concert photos. For hard-core Timba folks, this was the last big event for this year. For those who also enjoy other forms of music from Cuba and/or "Salsa", there are still some things happening. Here are a couple of the things that are going on locally this week:
1. Tuesday, 20 December 2011: There are two items of possible interest.
A. Meet and Greet with Daniel Martin at The Foundry, 85 Executive Drive, Aurora. We aren't familiar with his work, but Mr. Martin, based in Havana, is described as being a Latin Pop-romantic style performer and is doing a meet and greet/CD signing. For more information including a video clip of his work, click here.
B. Salsa Con Soul at the Alhambra Palace, 1240 W. Randolph Street, Chicago, doors open 7pm.
2. Wednesday, 21 December 2011: Eliezer y su Orquesta at The Foundry, 85 Executive Rive, Aurora. Eliezer plays it old school including some of the Cuban traditional classics.
3. Friday, 23 December 2011: Carpacho at Las Tablas Restaurant, 4920 W. Irving Park Rd, Chicago. Carpacho is a fun dance band that plays Salsa and Cumbia.
Happy Holidays to those of you who are celebrating one this week, and check out our Concerts, Events and Reviews page for some possible New Year's Eve ideas as well as a sneak preview of some 2012 events.
11 December 2011 This Week:
TIMBALIVE'S MIDWEST DEBUT, SATURDAY, 17 DECEMBER 2011
at CLUB MAMBO, 3336 NORTH MILWAUKEE AV, CHICAGO
Doors open 8pm, band starts at Midnight
Timbalive is one of the best US-based Timba bands, and they have played Europe as well as both coasts here, but this is their Midwest debut. For the benefit of those of you who are new to the band, we are including some clips, starting with Salsa Vitamina:
Next is a special message from Timbalive to its Chicago fans:
Before the band comes on, there will be rueda dance lessons as well as two DJ sets by Chicago-area DJ Timbero Mayor and DJ Fernando CubanMix. We recently reviewed the band's most recent CD, La Timba pa to el mundo, and you can read that review here. Some of Timbalive's most ardent Chicago followers have been agitating for an appearance by this band for quite some time, so it's put up or shut up time for the fans. We highly recommend this group and hope that the audience turnout will be strong enough to justify the visit. As we mentioned in our CD review, this band uses more reggaeton than we normally like to hear, but we enjoy them a lot in spite of that because their timba is the real deal, and for those of you who happen to enjoy both reggaeton and timba, this is your band. For more information and to purchase advance tickets, visit the promoter's (Caramelo Entertainment) website at
FROM LAST WEEK:
Papo Santiago's band Infraverde just keeps getting better and better. Here they were atTumbao last Wednesday:
Even if you have issues with the whole "Salsa" thing, the musicianship in this band is strong enough that if you miss it, you are cheating yourself. Some bands, and this is one of them, are good enough that what you call them doesn't really matter that much. What counts is that these cats can play.
...but the highlight of our week was, without question, Chuchito Valdes' sets at The Green Millover the weekend.
See our other blog section, Sin Clave No Hay Na, for a full concert review and photos.
Finally, hearing Chuchito's set's really whetted our appetite for Angel D' Cuba's soon to be released CD because two of the guys playing with Chuchito, Brett Benteler and Jean-Claude Leroy, also play on Angel's CD. This is a self-produced project by the group, and they are using Kickstarter, a web-based promotional tool, to help with the expenses of producing the project. If you are a fan of the band, it's a great way to support the band. If you're a promoter or a venue owner, it may even be a good business investment. Either way, we highly recommend visiting this at
4 December 2011 This Week:
1. Wednesday, 7 December at 8:00pm: Papo Santiago and Orchestra Infraverde atTumbao Bar and Grill , 3213 W. Armitage Av., Chicago. We recently reviewed Papo's fine debut Salsa CD, Infraverde , and this is a performance to celebrate the release. If you are a Salsero and haven't picked up the CD yet, this is a good opportunity to do so. Papo's band is killin' it in live performances these days, and the CD is getting some radio play now as well.
2. Friday, 9 December at 9:00pm and Saturday, 10 December at 8:00pm: Chuchito Valdes Afro-Cuban Ensemble at the Green Mill Jazz Club , 4802 N. Broadway Av, Chicago. Earlier this year, Chuchito was nominated for a Latin Grammy in the Latin Jazz Album category for his release New York is Now, and the sets at the Green Mill earlier this year were excellent. Very highly recommended for Jazz fans.
Also playing: Carpacho Super Combo at Zocalo Chicago , 358 W. Ontario, Chicago, Friday 9 December at 8:oopm; at Las Tablas Restaurant , 4920 W. Irving Park Rd, Chicago, Saturday December 10 at 7pm. If you would rather dance those two nights, Carpacho is a fun dance option with Salsa and Cumbia.
NEXT WEEK: TIMBALIVE
One of America's best Timba bands sends its video greetings to Chicago:
On Saturday, 17 December, Timbalive , one of the best Timba bands based in the United States, will be at Club Mambo, 336 North Milwaukee Av., Chicago. Click here for our review of their most recent CD, La Timba pa' to' el mundo . For more information, see the promoter's website at Caramelotimba.com .
Another new CD in the hopper: Angel D'Cuba's new CD, a world music project, is almost finished. A common tool that many bands are using for self-produced projects is called Kickstarter, a way to help musicians complete projects by pledging support in advance. Angel's group is using that tool. If you a fan of the band, please visit their Kickstarter page at
for more details. We haven't heard the finished product ourselves yet, but we liked what we were hearing when we popped into the studio a while back.
Finally: Check out our Concerts, Events and Reviews page for a series of new listings. And, if you missed the Pedrito Martinez Group's sets in Milwaukee and Chicago, you missed some great music. But you can read about it on in our other blog, Sin Clave No Hay Na ....
27 November 2011 This Week:
1. Sunday 27 November at 8PM: Angel Melendez Tribute to El Cantante and Final Preliminary Round 5 of $5K Salsa Dance Competition at the Cubby Bear - This is the fifth and final preliminary round of the $5K dance competition. See our November 20 entry for more details.
THIS WEEK'S BIG GIGS: PEDRITO MARTINEZ GROUP, TWO NIGHTS:
Photo credit Russ Titelman, Jill Nelson
Friday, 2 December 2011 at 7:30pm, Latino Arts , 1028 S. 9th St., Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Saturday, 3 December 2011 at 9:30pm, Mayne Stage , 1328 W. Morse Av, Chicago, Illinois
Since Chicago and Milwaukee are just an hour and change away by car, if you are in either city or anywhere in between, you have an easy opportunity for a double helping of Pedrito's group, which has been making waves in both the Jazz and Timba communities on both coasts. Each venue also has dining options, and Latino Arts also has an art exhibition prior to the concert and offers a dinner, art exhibit and show package as well as a concert only option. For more information, you can visit their website or click here for more about the package .
For the Chicago performance, the Mayne Stage also has a nice adjoining bar and restaurant. Visit their website for more about the performance and their menu. Both of these venues are doing a great job bringing Cuban music to the Midwest along with a number of fine acts in several other genres. You can scroll down to our November 13 entry for video samples of Pedrito in action as well.
Remember, too, that the following week offers Papo Santiago and Orchestra Infraverde at Tumbao on Wednesday, December 7 as well as Chuchito Valdes at the Green Mill Fri-Sat December 9-10. Papo recently released a fine Salsa CD, Infraverde , and Chuchito was nominated for a Latin Grammy in the Latin Jazz category for his recent CD New York Is Now/!Viva El Sonido Cubano. Both bands are smoking these days.
Finally, tickets are on sale now for the Timbalive concert Saturday, December 17th at Club Mambo. See caramelotimba.com for more details.
20 November 2011 - This Week: Two Items of Interest
1. Sunday November 20 at 8PM: Rica Obsesion and Preliminary Round 4 of $5K Salsa Dance Competition at the Cubby Bear - This is the fourth of the preliminary rounds of an upcoming $5K Salsa dance competition with a first prize of $3K, a second prize of $1.5K and a third prize of $500. We havent heard the group Rica Obsesion yet (it's still on our "to-do" list), but if you're a serious Salsa dance couple, you might want to check this out.
2. Wednesday November 23 at 7:30pm: Angel D'Cuba will be bringing the quintet unit to Carnivale - 702 West Fulton Market, Chicago. Angel's group is putting together a new CD. This is usually an eclectic set that mixes several different genres including Songo and Timba, and to our knowledge, this is still the only Chicago-based band with some of those genres in its book.
ALSO: In addition to the December 2 concert in Milwaukee, the Pedrito Martinez Group is playing in Chicago at the Mayne Stage , 1328 W. Morse Av in Chicago on Saturday, December 3 at 9:30pm. So, in between the two dates and towns, there is no good reason to miss him if you're in the region.
AND: Advance tickets are now on sale for the Timbalive concert that will happen in Chicago on December 17th 2011 at Club Mambo. General admission is $25.00. At the moment, they are available at Disco City records on Milwaukee Av in Chicago and from the promoter's website,caramelotimba.com
13 November 2011 - This Week: Two Items of Interest
1. Sunday November 13 at 8PM: Joe Rendon's Salsa Con Soul and Prelimary Round 3 of $5K Salsa Dance Competition at the Cubby Bear . This is the third preliminary round of an upcoming Salsa Dance Competition with first prize of $3K, second prize of $1.5K and third prize of $500.00. We haven't heard Salsa con Soul , but if you are a serious Salsa dance couple, you might want to check this out.
2. CHANGED TO WEDNESDAY NOV 23 at 7:30pm: Angel D'Cuba will be bringing the quintet unit to Carnivale 702 West Fulton Market, Chicago. Angel's group is putting together a new CD. This is usually an eclectic set that mixes several different genres including Songo and Timba, and to our knowledge, this remains the only local band that includes those genres in its book.
Looking Ahead -- A Lot Of Good Things In The Weeks To Come
Check out our Concerts Events and Reviews section which includes upcoming performances by Pedrito Martinez , Chuchito Valdes , Timbalive and another performance by Chicago's own Papo Santiago y Infraverde . The next few weeks following Thanksgiving are a great time to be in Chicago!
EVENT ALERT: Pedrito Martinez Group, Friday, 2 December 2011 at 7:30pm, Latino Arts , 1028 S. 9th St., Milwaukee WI
If there was ever a time to visit Milwaukee for a concert of Cuban music, this is one of those times. Pedrito is originally from Havana, Cuba, is now based in New York, has an impressive musical resume including work with some musical giants including Bebo Valdés and Paquito D'Rivera and has been making waves both in the jazz and dance communities on both coasts. Since most of our readers in the Midwest are probably new to him, and one video is worth a thousand words, we are going to treat you to a couple of video samples. The first is a live recording of "Que Palo" in New York City:
The second song is called "Foundation":
Enough said for now. We'll be telling you more about Pedrito as the date rapidly approaches, meanwhile, you can and should buy your tickets from the Latino Arts website.
...and stay tuned for more to come next week about the upcoming Chuchito Valdes and Timbalive concerts. But before we go, Papo Santiago & Infraverde reminded us last Sunday at the Cubby Bear why we think they have the potential to be Chicago's next breakout band. Click here for some pictures .
! ! TIMBA.COM NEWSFLASH !!
Timbalive to Play Chicago 17 December 2011
Folks, things are getting better in Chicago all the time. Just a few weeks ago, we had a fantastic set by Tiempo Libre at the Old Town School of Folk Music, and now, we have just been informed by Alex Perez of Caramelo Entertainment that he will be bringing Miami's other premier Timba group, Timbalive, to Chicago on Saturday, December 17, for a performance at the Club Mambo (Mambo Cafe), 3336 North Milwaukee Avenue, in Chicago. Mark your calendars now, more information will be coming soon.
Timbalive and Tiempo Libre are two of the best Timba bands in the United States, and Chicago has the privilege of experiencing both of them this year. The two groups just came off a Battle of The Bands in South Beach several days ago, and we've been hearing great things about that performance ever since. If you missed Tiempo Libre here last month, you made a mistake. Don't make two of them, catch this upcoming performance of Timbalive. Timba is alive and well in the US!
6 November 2011
Tonight: Papo Santiago y Infraverde at the Cubby Bear , Sun, 6 Nov 2011
Papo's group just released its debut CD (see our 23 October item about this). We aren't sure about the exact time that Infraverdestarts; the Sunday night sets at the Cubby Bear usually start with a DJ and dance lessons at 7pm with the band coming on later (getting there by 8 may be a good plan). The 2nd preliminary round of a $5000 dance competition will also be taking place that evening. This is an opportunity to hear Infraverde live and pick up their new CD as well.
Looking Ahead: We mentioned a while back that Milwaukee is worth watching these days, and on Friday, December 2, the Pedrito Martinez Quartet is coming to Latino Arts in Milwaukee. Pedrito has been making waves both in Latin jazz and Timba circles in North America. Mark your calendars (actually, you can and probably should buy advance tickets now from the Latino Arts website). Here is some additional information about Pedrito supplied by the promoter:
Pedro has put together a dynamic quartet that is exciting audiences all over the world. If you are unfamiliar with Pedro Martinez, be advised that he is one of the most important figures in Latin music to appear in the last 12 years. He is an astounding virtuoso percussionist, virtuoso vocalist, virtuoso dancer, songwriter, bandleader etc. etc. He apprenticed under the great Pancho Quinto and Gregorio "El Goyo" Hernandez in Cuba. Upon arriving in the USA after a short tenure with Jane Bunnett in Toronto Canada, Pedro competed and won the 2001 Thelonius Monk Competition for Hand Drum and received $10,000.00. Meanwhile, everyone from Eddie Palmieri to salsa orchestras to jazz groups to apkwon's (religious cantors in Yoruba/Lucumi) to Latin Percussion instrument manufacturers invited Pedro to be a part of their organizations. The pop supergroup Yerba Buena employed Pedro for their first few albums.
We'll be saying more closer to the date.
Meanwhile: Mambo 7 will be playing Rumba on Saturday, November 12, and Angel D'Cuba will be bringing a quintet to Carnivale on November 16. Angel's group has been putting the finishing touches on a forthcoming CD.
A word to our readers : Timba.com has been, is, and shall be primarily about Timba and other Cuban music, but we began years ago as a section of a now-gone website, Picadillo, which was dedicated to a lot of aspects of Latin music in addition to Timba, and we haven't forgotten where we came from or how important it is for musicians to have a place where their stories can be told. The bands in the Chicago region have an increasingly-important story to tell even though only a small part of it is truly Timba-related, and since it isn't being told well elsewhere, we are sorting through the best way to help do it ourselves without compromising our core mission to bring you news, pictures and views about Timba and Cuban music. In the weeks to come, watch for either a new, separate section or some other new home for expanded coverage of the rest of Chicago's growing Salsa scene. Report From Chicago will then once again tighten its focus on Timba and Cuban music.