Taiwan Carol is a worldwide leader in microphones, wireless audio, public address systems and mobile audio technology. Constantly striving to improve your audio experience, Taiwan Carol employs the finest sound technology along with their 134 patents and

New Stuff[hide]

Reportes: From The St... : Cubadisco 2...
Staff: Bill Tilford
Reportes: From The St... : Jazz Plaza ...
Fotos: Tom Ehrlich : Irakere 50th Annivers...
Fotos: Tom Ehrlich : Irakere
Resenas: Joey Altruda Presents: El Gran ...
Timbapedia: 09. Interviews -... : Carlos del Pino ...
Fotos: Tom Ehrlich : 2023 Monterey Jazz Fe...
Fotos: Tom Ehrlich : 2023 Monterey Jazz Fe...
Fotos: Tom Ehrlich : 2023 Monterey Jazz Fe...
Fotos: Tom Ehrlich : 2023 Monterey Jazz Fe...
Grupos: Tirso Duarte
Grupos: Tirso Duarte : Discography
Grupos: Charanga Habaner... : 8. El bla bla bla
Grupos: Pupy y los que S... : Tirso Duarte

Photos of the Day [hide]

cuban music, musica cubana cuban music, musica cubana cuban music, musica cubana cuban music, musica cubana
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

Kevin Moore - 2007

Monday, December 31, 2007

Breaking News from Michelle in Havana:

"Went 2 pupy last nite 2 c the new lineup. Sound great. Norberto on coro. New song by Pepito "Un poquitico al reves" with great coro "tranquilo que yo controlo". All January 1 concerts suspended due to 2 cold front.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Burning the Midnight Oil -- Okay folks, here's an in-progress table of contents for the "Roots of Timba" bands of the 80s. Please send me: any missing groups, additional albums, photos, catalog numbers, composers, lead singers, amusing anecdotes, fond memories, advice, spare change, used cars or boats (whether running or not, in most cases), more coffee, gift certificates for psychiatric care ...


Ritmo Oriental
Los Van Van
Maravillas de Florida
Orquesta Aliamén
Orquesta Típica Juventud
Unión Sanluisera
Original de Manzanillo

Son 14 - Adalberto Alvarez

Orquesta 440
Opus 13

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
1976: Conclusion of Ritmo Oriental Volume IV
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Qué es lo que hay and 3 others ... as we conclude Ritmo Oriental's epic fourth album.

Bringing in 2008 with a Timba Concert - Who's playing where on New Year's Eve? If you're in Miami, Danny Lozada will be at:

Ay Mamá Inez
40th St. @ 114th Ave.

Bringing in Timba in 1988 - If you're looking to narrow down the beginning of the timba phenomenon to a single moment, it might be the first time NG La Banda played La protesta de los chivos on television in 1988 ... or, more likely, the first time they played it at La Tropical. But if you've been following along with our "Roots of Timba" retrospectives on Arsenio Rodríguez and the songo era, you'll see why I'm no longer a "creationist" who believes that El Tosco sprang forth from the sea on an oyster shell humming Rap de la muerta.

I took a look at the first article I ever wrote for timba.com:

The musical genre we now call Timba was created by NG La Banda, but as Cuban music expert Arturo "Marcané" Gómez points out, it was not created out of thin air. As our "Genealogy of Timba Family Tree" illustrates, NG began as an all-star group which drew members from the most important pre-Timba bands. Singer Tony Calá wrote and played violin in Ritmo Oriental; Issac Delgado and the legendary conguero "Wickly" started with Pachito Alonso; Gérman Velazco played with Orquesta Revé and he and José "El Greco" Crego, Carlos Averhoff, and José Munguía played in Irakere along with flautist and leader, José Luis "El Tosco" Cortés, who had previously written and played for Los Van Van. NG La Banda amalgamated the innovations of the groups that came before it with many of its own to create a type of music that wasn't Son, Songo or Rumba - nor was it Rock, Jazz or Funk. It had ample amounts of each blended in, but its most potent component was something entirely new - something that was born in the streets and barrios of Havana in the late 1980's as the Berlin Wall crumbled. Cortés called it "Timba".

Little did I know ...

New Years Resolution (for 2007) - Before Mr. Lozada launches into No estamos locos at Ay Mamá Ines, I hereby resolve to post the rest of the 1980s discography pages, but I'm going to need some help! Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Arsenio Tonight! - You can hear Emiliano's 4-hour Arsenio Rodríguez tribute, with interviews with David F. García, René López and Orlando Fiol, tonight online at KPFA.

El Judio Maravilloso
cuban music, musica cubana

Tom's New York Saga Continues ... with this new set of photos from Larry Harlow's November 23rd concert at SOBs.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Hot off the Presses - From Michelle, now back in Havana:

"Went 2 Manolito ayer. No one can replace El Indio but Noro sings his songs well. New CD 2 be released in Feb. Mix/master/now."

The Roots of Timba: ¡Irakere!
cuban music, musica cubana

Irakere History and Discography - Most of Irakere's music -- eclectic fusions of Cuban music with jazz, classical music, rock, samba and even disco -- has little if anything to do with timba, but over a 15-year period, they recorded a handful of tracks without which timba as we know it could not exist. Searching those tracks out is no easy task, but we think we've finally found them all and are ready to unveil our Irakere History and Discography. Please send us anything we're missing.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
1976: "Oye cómo suena mi bajo, qué rico"
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Qué rico bailo yo -- Another Humberto Perera tour de force (with standard notation for all you bass geeks) and another great song by Rolando Vergara, who also wrote Yo bailo de todo. And this is a track you can actually find on CD - see our recently updated Ritmo Oriental discography. This section also contains a side-trip into the twisted world of clave license and an analysis of Agua from Los Van Van's Chapeando.

Arsenio Tomorrow Night: Don't forget to tune in online Saturday night at KPFA.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Four Hours of Arsenio This Saturday Night! Emiliano Echeverría's yearly Arsenio tribute has been extended to 4 hours this year and will include interviews with René López, David F. García and my guru and co-author Orlando Fiol. Tune in online this Saturday night at KPFA's website.

Pupy Goes to 4 Singers: Replacing other recent rumors, we can now confirm that Pupy's front line will now consist of founding members Mandy Cantero & Pepito Gómez, plus William and a new addition from Salsa Mayor, Norberto Gómez.

Rumbavana & Maravilla
cuban music, musica cubana

I've added a basic discography page for Rumbavana, an important "roots of timba" band, and created an artist section for the resurgent Maravillas de Florida, who were equally important in the 80s and now have an hardcore timba record, Luchando con fe. Please send in information, photos, and anecdotes! I'm also hotly pursuing information on Aliamén, Típica Juventud and Orquesta 440.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Late Xmas Present: A 17-minute video clip of Manolín at SOB's doing a great song that I haven't heard him do live recently, La mitad de La Habana. Solos all around, including Mauricio Herrera on congas and Reinier Guerra on drums.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Ritmo Oriental In the 80s
cuban music, musica cubana

Behold! - If you liked Tony Calá with NG La Banda, you'll love him here. Also what I thought was the debut of David Calzado, but it turns out that even he began his career with the omnipresent Mr. Revé. And if you're looking for that last-minute Christmas gift, here's our Ritmo Oriental CD-buying guide.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ritmo Oriental Discography Page
cuban music, musica cubana

Today, the 60s and 70s - tomorrow the 80s.

38 Years of Los Van Van
cuban music, musica cubana

If there are any songs, albums, or musicians I'm missing, or if you have better photos, please write in. Otherwise, behold!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Los Van Van Discography to 1990: The page has more than doubled in size since yesterday. It's amazing how many great songs Formell and Pupy churned out in the 80s. Please send photos, corrections, anecdotes, opinions ... plane tickets to see LVV in Europe ...

¡Tirso! -- The new Tirso Duarte album is out! Mine should arrive this week -- more info then. In the meantime, don't forget to check out Melao's Tirso piano video.

¡Changüí! -- Michelle was at the 3rd International Changüí Festival in Guantánamo today with Elito Revé and will be heading back to La Habana soon. Stay tuned!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Los Van Van History Page: After the drought of the early 2000s, Cuban music, if not in the midst of the next "perfect storm", is definitely on the upswing. Revé is on a roll; Pupy, Van Van and Manolito never slowed down to begin with; Salsa Mayor is exciting; Haila has a hot new track; Michel and Tirso are rumored to have new albums in the works; Envidia continues to crank out quality albums at a rapid clip; and Miami bands like El Pikete, CTA, and Braily Ramos are starting to produce top-tier original recordings on this side of "el puente". As a result, I'm feeling the need to move faster in my obsession with "The Roots of Timba" and get back to the present. Unfortunately (or fortunately), it turns out that the 1980s were simply packed with great music that I'm just now beginning to sink my teeth into. The four groups I've followed most closely -- LVV, Ritmo Oriental, Revé and Irakere -- were putting out great new albums almost every year and I'm now discovering a host of other fantastic groups:Maravilla de Florida, Típica Juventud, Unión Sanluisera, Rumbavana, Orquesta 440, Adalberto and Son 14, Original de Manzanillo and Dan Den, to name a few.

So I'm slowing down on my meticulous "year by year" plan in order to start throwing together pages that lay out a skeleton history of each group and ask readers to send in photos and information. So far, I've started pages for Irakere and Revé, and now - very much "in progress" - I've posted the beginning of the History of Los Van Van page. The first part is a rehashing of a lot of music that's already been covered in early chapters of Roots of Timba, but within the week I hope to at least lay the foundation all the way up to the present. Please send in any additions, corrections, photos of vinyl, and your own thoughts on this era.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

From the High-Tech Gravevine: El Indio Out - El Noro In
cuban music, musica cubana

Having spent most of 2007 musing about the late 70s, I have to say that I find it pretty impressive that Michelle, from a rickety old bus somewhere between Las Tunas and Santiago de Cuba, is able to send me text messages with the latest timba news. I haven't figured out how to send them myself, so I can't interrogate her further, so I'll let you judge for yourselves:

"Ok it's official. Let the news hit the streets. El Indio left and El Noro gave his 15 days notice to Maykel. He's the new Trabuquero."

Translation: Sixto "El Indio" Llorente has ended his 10 year run with Manolito and El Noro has left Salsa Mayor to take his place. El Indio has said he's received multiple offers to join LVV, but something tells me the next thing we'll hear from him is an album of traditional son. Speculate among yourselves!

In other news, Salsa Mayor has two new songs, including one with an addictive coro: "pruébala, mastícala, saboréala y si te gusta te la comes".

Another Newsflash: Pupy has replaced William with singer Lester Ciarreta, formely of SM and Azúcar Negra.

It's the 20th, so the Changüí Festival should begin today. Stay tuned for a lot more news.

We also have two new dates for Revé's European tour next month:

So 13 Januar 2008
Sternensaal Bümpliz
bern bümpliz
Bern, CH
Zeit: 18:30

31. of January in Rome, Italy at "Caruso"

Monday, December 17, 2007

Rebeca Mauleón at Yoshi's SF Tonight
cuban music, musica cubana
photo by Peter Maiden

Don't miss tonight's show at the brand new Yoshi's, featuring three legendary drummers: Orestes Villato, Jesús Díaz and Jimmy Branly.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Major CTA Report! -- Melao has the full scoop on the Cuban Timba Allstars with 4 videos. The big news is the amazing Wilber Rodríguez on bass. I distinctly remember this guy from my trips to Cuba in the late-90s, when he was tearing it up with Carlos Manuel back when CM was still playing real timba. Wilber is a monster.

Juan Carlos Formell
cuban music, musica cubana
photo by Tom Ehrlich

We continue to relive Tom Ehrlich's trip to New York with this photo & concert report page from Juan Carlos Formell's recent performance at Zinc Bar. Next up, Larry Harlow.

Rebeca Mauleón Tomorrow at the New Yoshi's -- Tom will also be on hand for the first Latin show at the new San Francisco Yoshi's, featuring the great Rebeca Mauleón with an all-star band featuring Orestes Villato, Jesús Díaz and Jimmy Branly.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
1976: One of the Greatest Tracks of the 70s : La Ritmo Suena a Areíto
cuban music, musica cubana

==click here for today's excerpt==

It was 30 years ago today ... and La Ritmo suena a Areíto still leaves most modern dance tracks in the dust. Of the six brilliant six songs on Cara-A, only the last ever made it onto CD (source), but at least they picked the right one. After a tribute to singer composer Juan Crespo Maza, we describe it in loving detail with multiple transcriptions. ¡Prepárate!

Tirso Duarte -- Make sure to listen to Melao's YouTube clip all the way through -- it gets better and better.

Guantanamera -- Rent this classic movie to get a sense of the scenery on Michelle's long bus ride to the Changüí Festival. We await her first report.

Mr. Bryans' New Gig -- At Lula's, one of North America's leading Cuban music venues.

Another Red-Stater For Ending the Embargo -- The consensus is overwhelming.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sunday's Pedro Martínez - Ileana Santamaría concert cancelled -- Due to snow. Check with SOBs website for a rescheduled date.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Manolín Tonight at SOB's
cuban music, musica cubana

His first NYC concert in 10 years. I'm not sure who's in the band - please write in and let us know!

Michelle Leaves - Tom Returns - En frecuencia Returns -- Michelle leaves us with the Revé tour schedule and another Salsa Mayor concert report before setting sail for Guantánamo. Duniel and Juan Tomás return with the latest on CTA's recent concert at El Clique and their addition of Pedro Calvo's daugher on vocals. Meanwhile photographer Tom Ehrlich catches us up on the exploits of another famous daughter in the first of many photo-reports from his long trip to New York:

Pedro Martínez & Ileana Santamaría at SOB's
cuban music, musica cubana
next show: Sunday, Dec. 16th at SOB's

The Pedro Martínez Project is a mixture of timba, rumba and folkloric music and dance. Martínez is a world-class percussionist as well as a singer and dancer, and the group features ex-Paulito drummer Mauricio Herrera and frequent guest appearances from Mongo's talented daughter Ileana Santamaría. Martínez often does shows with specific folkloric themes -- the show Tom photographed on December 3rd was dedicated to Changó, and Sunday's show and Sunday's show will feature the rhythms and dances of Babalú Ayé (San Lázaro).

Tirsovision -- Oderquis Revé, Lisandro Arias and an astounding piano solo by Tirso Duarte over at Melao's page.

Not exactly "la última" -- It's old news now, but Leonid Torres has left Charanga Habanera, and for the first time in CH history, an ex-Charanguero has returned ... Dantes "Riki Ricón" Cardosa. Go to Melao and scroll down for more details ... or check in with the TimbaGeeks, who are all over this story as well as the latest goings on with Pupy.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
1976: Compilation Consternation
cuban music, musica cubana cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Living in the Past -- What can I say? I'm hooked. Most people are waiting for the next new album. I'm still waiting for the world's most stubborn record label to release the lost masterpieces of the 70s and 80s.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ms. Mompié Returns to Form
cuban music, musica cubana

How Haila Got Her Groove Back -- Yemayá has the review. Yow! This new track is easily the most exciting thing I've heard from Haila since those scorching hot 1998 Azúcar Negra demo tracks.

Ms. White Returns to Cuba -- Stay tuned for reports from the Changüí Festival and much more.

Pavel Returns to Salsa Mayor -- see Michelle.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
1976: Another Great RO Track You've Never Heard
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Pero soy así -- Like 1982's Elio Revé y su ritmo changüí Ritmo Oriental's self-titled 1976 album was badly overlooked by the CD compilation folks. Fortunately we found some scratchy old vinyl transfers so you can hear what you're missing. And for all you x & 0 haters, we even wrote out the tumbaos.

El Pikete's New Pianist (w/video) -- see Melao

More Revé History -- The pieces continue to fall into place. Keep those letters and photos coming! I've gotten major help from several continents! Other groups to be covered in the coming year will include Maravilla de Florida, la 440, Aliamén, Adalberto and Típica Juventud. Also some new enhancements to the Irakere page.

Friday, December 7, 2007

New Video of Pupy y Los Que Son Son -- Melao has found a new clip of Pupy y Los Que Son Son at YouTube. They are performing Bailando Hasta Afuera (La Machucadera) live on the TV program Verlo en Vivo. The clip is from the Pupy & Manolito double billing that aired recently.

Issac Gets Another Grammy Nomination -- Melao also has information about Issac Delgado's latest Grammy Nomination for his CD En Primera Plana.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

RIP - Carlos "Patato" Valdés - (1926 - 2007)
cuban music, musica cubana

Patato has passed away at the age of 81. He was the first great conguero I ever saw on video and first one I ever saw live. An amazing man and an amazing musician. Here's a video and short bio.

cuban music, musica cubana

New Live Van Van - Double CD + DVD -- see Melao.

Charanga Habanera in Peruvian - Manolín @ SOB's -- see Michelle.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Charanga Habanera on Peruvian Reality TV -- see Michelle.

New CTA studio recording -- see Melao.

In case you missed it yesterday ... Michelle filed this great Salsa Mayor Stockholm Concert Report with multiple video clips. Speaking of Michelle, she'll soon be in Guantánamo (no ... not in the CIA prison) for the Changüí Festival.

cuban music, musica cubana

Ayúdame por favor!! -- Does anyone have this vinyl album?? If so, could you please email me a photo of the back cover and the label of the record? Or even just the number on the record?

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
1976: Lost Masterpiece #2
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Por hacerme caso! -- The first three songs on Ritmo Oriental's 1976 LP are all brilliant, and not one of them ever made it onto CD. The deeply complex Por hacerme caso twisted my poor little brain into a pretzel, but with the help of bloque guru Rob Holland I think I've finally made sense of it! The song, by the way, was written by Rodulfo Vaillant, whom Michelle will be interviewing on her upcoming trip.

cuban music, musica cubanaRoots of Timba, Part Deux -- Irakere! -- Only a small portion of what Irakere has recorded falls into the "roots of timba" category, but when they did turn their talents to dance music, they really made an impact. Check out this passage and consider that it's almost 10 years before timba was supposedly invented! Also check out the young Arturo Sandoval on trumpet. As with Revé, I'm still in the fact-finding portion of the Irakere learning curve and there's a LOT to learn! Here's a page in progress. Please add anything you can!

cuban music, musica cubanaRoots Times Three -- Speaking of Revé ... my God! What a great band. Fresquecito is killing me and I've now just discovered Changüí homenaje - 45 años. I thought this was just a compilation, but it's actually a 2003 studio gem - the only recordings made with one of timba's all-time greatest singers, Rosendo "El Gallo" Díaz (ex-Manolito). The album has compositions by Piloto and Limonta, arrangements by Ceruto and Yoel Domínguez (ex-PFG and Issac), guest vocals by Lele, great audio quality and great playing all around.

I also recently learned of yet another Revé spinoff band, this time from the late 70s: the cult favorite Orquesta 440, formed by several more musicians who started out with Revé: Germán Velazco, who would go to Irakere, and then NG; Armando "Andy" Gola, who would go on to found Colé Colé, and Pepe Maza, Michel's dad. Please check out the latest additions and refinements to the History of Revé page and add anything you can.

Salsa Mayor in Sweden
cuban music, musica cubana

Michelle's Salsa Mayor Concert Report La gente de Suecia called it the show of the year. See for yourself - there are lots of video clips!

cuban music, musica cubanaTom's Travels -- Tom Ehrlich filed a nice set of fotos from Danny Lozada's recent New Jersey concert. Tonight, Monday, he'll be at SOBs for Ileana Santamaría with The Pedro Martínez Project. And Tuesday he'll be at the Zinc Bar for Juan Carlos Formell.

Lozada video from Saturday Night -- See Melao.

El Pikete's New Album -- With Braily's recording now on sale, LatinPulseMusic turns its attention to the mix of El Pikete's "live in the studio" album. I heard a snippet and it got my adrenaline pumping!

Valentín and El Padrino -- Both of these ex-Revé cantantes live in Miami now. Can anybody get me in contact with them?

Civil Liberties in Cuba -- See Mr. Bryans. Cuba moves towards freedom as the US moves towards totalitarianism. Is it 2009 yet?

Friday, December 1, 2007
cuban music, musica cubana
Ileana Santamaría

Ehrlich's Excellent Adventures in the Big Apple -- Tom will be filing fotos from Danny Lozada's concert soon. His next stop is Monday night at SOBs for The Changó Celebration featuring Ileana Santamaría and killer percussionists Pedro Martínez and Mauricio Herrera.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Danny Lozada at Club Zaña TONIGHT! -- Tom Ehrlich flew 3,000 miles to take photos! For more, see Timba in New York.

Friday, November 30th
11:00 PM - Club Zaña
152 23rd Ave
Paterson , New Jersey 07513

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
1976: Ritmo Oriental's Lost Masterpiece
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Saludos amigos! -- Of EGREM's many sins of omission, this one has to rank #2. Unlike Elio Revé y su ritmo changüí, at least a few of the songs on this album made it onto compilations, but the number of Ritmo Oriental masterpieces that are lost except to vinyl collectors is still staggering. Please take the time to Write EGREM!

In any case, today we pick up where we left off, in late 1976 with Tema de saludos amigos.

CH in Perú, Salsa Mayor in Europe, and Klímax in Canadá -- see Michelle.

Cuban Timba All Stars Dec. 15th -- see Melao for more details.

Revé -- The timbageeks, myself included, are going nuts over Fresquecito. So is Yemayá's Verse. Timba seems to be coming back to life just in time for the long-awaited Yuma regime change. Meanwhile, thanks to your helpful emails, I've been able to make a number of additions and corrections to the History of Revé page. There's still a lot of work to do. If anyone can fill in the lead vocalist column on Elio Revé y su ritmo changüí please email me!!

Melao Gets Political Again -- I love it -- send Melao your right-wing email and send me the personnel of Revés 1982 band!! Seriously, cultural exchange is an issue that everyone should be able to get behind.

New Look for Mr. B -- Also, more on cultural exchange.

Video - Mayito Salutes the Saints and John Lennon -- see Timba TV

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Back in the Saddle -- Thanks to Michelle for filling in. I've been out of town, but not idle -- lots of new updates to the History of Revé page. The problem is ... as I keep getting closer to the present with my Roots of Timba obsession, the present keeps moving farther and farther into the future! The latest new development that I've been behind on is the long-awaited release of Braily Ramos' solo album. Most people think of Braily as the trombonist for Manolín and CTA, but he's a brilliant songwriter with a fabulous voice and along with his brother Bayron, a masterful producer. Musicians include: Tomás Cruz, Reinier Guerra, Carlos Manuel (!), Victoriano Nápoles, and Hilario Bell.

cuban music, musica cubana
Braily Ramos

Braily Ramos and the new paradigm -- You won't find Braily's album in record stores because LatinPulseMusic's first original production can only be bought electronically. It's the future of the music business -- cutting out untold numbers of middlemen and allowing much more of your record-buying dollar to actually go to the artist. Thus, far fewer copies have to be sold to generate a profit, allowing artists to survive without selling out -- making music for specific niches -- diehard timba fanatics, por ejemplo. What a concept! You can also hear excerpts of each track online. Next in LPMs queue is El Pikete. If you want your timba better, sooner, in larger quantities, and for less money ... get with the new paradigm and support your local timbero!

Trivia Question: Who Were the First, Second and Third Women to Record With Van Van? -- #3 is Yeni Valdés, #1 was Omara Portuondo, and for #2 (with a classic video) ... see Melao.

Revé's Fresquecito -- See Yemayá's Verse -- now with a comments section!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Melao updates -- DJ Melao has the latest on Leonardo's solo project including a poll where you can express your opinion of the new songs. He also has an update on Alexander Abreu's Cuba-based project Havana D'Primera

My updates -- I'm still running way behind on my own Salsa Mayor reports but fortunately the Italians are filling in for me. We have a new report including pictures from the Modena concert. There is also a report from the Rome concert at Mambooo Kings.

Timba in Alaska -- That's right, there's no escaping it. Timba has spread to the far corners of the world and now you have the opportunity to combine a 7-night cruise, August 13-20th, from Vancouver through Alaska's Inside Passage with 5 timba parties and 18 hours of Cuban style dance workshops! And don't miss the opportunity to dance Alaska's biggest rueda with the casineros of Juneau! For all the details check out http://www.havanainalaska.com

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The History of Revé - In Progress
cuban music, musica cubana

Much Help Needed! -- I've accumulated all the information I've been able to find about Revé into one page, with charts for personnel, composers, lead singers, etc. There are lots of blank spaces! If you're a Revero, please check through it and send me any missing info.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The New Revé CD is Out! -- Today marks the long-awaited official release of Fresquesito.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

New Live Video of Charanga Habanera & Manolito! -- See Melao

Any comments on this amazing dancer? -- Sort of a solo modern dance performance combining guaguancó (without the girl), a wide variety of folkloric moves, and James Brown.

Friday, November 16, 2007
cuban music, musica cubana

The New Sublette Book! -- It's not the long-awaited Volume II of Cuba and its Music, but it looks almost as fascinating ... the histories of New Orleans and Havana are inextricably linked. I just ordered it from amazon and am waiting with bated breath for its arrival! Reading Cuba and its Music changed my concept of music more than anything since my first trip to Havana.

Revé Updates -- Thanks to everyone who wrote in - keep the info coming! I've added a lot to the rough draft page and will be expanding the whole Revé section in the coming days.

Interview with Samuell on the new LVV album -- See Yemayá.

Mr. Bryans on Klímax in Toronto -- Best motivation to move to Canada since the Vietnam draft. Click here. He's also got a nice ongoing Havana blog series.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Important notice! -- DJ Carlotta reports that the Casa de la Música Galiano is closed indefinitely due to the collapse of a nearby building. So when you get to Havana you need to find someone who can tell you what venue the artists have moved to for the time being.

¡Calling all Revé Experts!
cuban music, musica cubana

Thanks to Michelle for filling in. While I was out of town I started doing serious research on the great Revé bands of the 80s and 90s. I've collected the info on this discography page. If you can fill in any of the blanks, or provide information, anecdotes, moral support, etc. please email!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Klímax in Toronto! -- Wow! On the heels of the Charanga Habanera concert, Toronto will play host to the 13-man band Klímax, led by percussion legend and winner of the Timba.com Best Drummer Award Giraldo Piloto. All hardcore timberos know Klímax, one of the most innovative yet danceable groups in Cuban music. But newbies may not realize that bandleader Giraldo Piloto was a member of groups such as NG la Banda and Issac Delgado before starting his own group, Klímax.

The band will play two gigs at Lula Lounge, November 16 & 17. But that's not all. Drummers must absolutely NOT lose the opportunity to take a percussion workshop with Piloto on Saturday the17th at 2:00pm. I promise you, if you miss this you will never forgive yourself!

There is a lot to say about Giraldo Piloto and Klímax but let's let video speak for itself.

Klímax 15th Anniversay at la Tropical in Havana

Giraldo Piloto with NG La Banda

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Charanga Habanera Video -- DJ Melao has added more videos from the Quebec City concert, including something especially for the ladies.

Calle Real Goes to Africa -- Los Callejeros are back after their trip to the International Salsa Week in Venezuela where they performed October 19, 20 and 21. Later this month the guys head off to Africa where they will perform in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at Club Sheridan on November 21 and at the Tamani Festival in Bamako, Mali on November 28. They will also do several smaller shows which will be planned on location. So if you find yourself in Addis Ababa or Bamako...need I say more?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Charanga Habanera Concert Reports -- DJ Melao has posted his report from the Charanga Habanera concert in Quebec City including video of Esta es mi charanga and El baile de azúcar. He confirms that once again David Calzado has proved than he knows what he's doing when he makes changes in the band.

There are also a couple of videos from the Toronto concert at google.com. I don't know who posted them so I can't give credit where it is due. The audio quality varies a little, but it's still a good look at the new line up. Click here for the Intro + El expediente. Click here for Hit parade with Andro on lead.

Los Van Van & Paulo FG in Mexico City --  A big thank you to Luis who informs us that Los Van Van will be playing in Mexico City at Salon 21 on November 23rd. Other dates may be scheduled later. Salon 21 is located on Calle de Moliere about five minutes from Colonia Polanco.  

On November 30 and December 1st Paulo FG will play at La Maraka (Palacio de la Salsa). La Maraka is in the Eje 5 Sur Colonia Narvarte. I hope those directions make sense to people in Mexico City!

So if you live say in southern California or Texas and felt like Canada was too far to go and are now suffering pangs of depression because you missed La Charanga Habanera, you can make up for it with a trip to Mexico for Los Van Van and Paulo FG! Yes, this is the moment for all you southwestern US timberos to take the rare opportunity of catching these monsters of Timba en vivo!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Kevin's supposed to be back now but since he hasn't posted yet today, I'm doing some updates.

Grammy Winners -- DJ Melao has posted the results of the Grammys in the salsa and tropical categories.

Charanga Habanera in Canada -- La Charanga Habanera hold their last concert of the short Canadian tour tonight in Sherbrooke, Quebec. The concerts are getting rave reviews. The Toronto concert also featured special guests Bamboleo who stopped off in Canada on their way to Japan. See Billy Bryans for more.

Salsa Mayor in Europe -- Maykel Blanco y Salsa Mayor kicked off their second European tour on Friday with a great concert in my hometown of Stockholm, Sweden. Report to follow, but for now I just want to say that the venue was beautiful, the fans were fantastic and the band sounded great. I have finally got the complete list of concerts. They play in Turin on the 13th. Right now they're on a 30-hour bus ride from Copenhagen to Turin, ¡ay mi madre! [Michelle]

cuban music, musica cubana
Salsa Mayor at Berns in Stockholm

Friday, November 9, 2007

DJ Melao Interview with Leoni -- DJ Melao is in Quebec City where he was DJ at the Charanga Habanera concert. He took the opportunity to do a quick video interview lead singer/heartthrob and soloist Leoni. Or perhaps I should say Leonardo since he is talking about his solo project for which he is using his full name to differentiate from his work with La Charanga Habanera. Click here to watch the interview.

Tumbao Habana Concerts in Peru -- Tumbao Habana will perform this weekend at El Palacio de Cerveza and at Karamba November 10.

Habana Abierta Tonight at SOBs -- This is Habana Abierta's debut performance in NYC. Check out SOBs website for details.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Charanga Habanera Interviews at Locosporlasalsa.com -- For those lucky people planning to attend one of the Charanga Habanera concerts in Canada, we reminds you that at locosporlasalsa.com you will find video interviews with David Calzado, Leoni (about his solo project) and a video interview with the three new singers: Juventino, Junior and Andro, which can be found in the interview archives. So if you want to arm yourself with the latest info about the boys before you go to the concert so that you can converse intelligently with them, or maybe you just enjoy the visual aspect, this is for you.

Danny Lozada in New Jersey November 30 -- Danny will be playing with an all-star Florida band and the venue only holds 200, so the concert is expected to sell out quickly. Get your ticket before it's too late!

Danny Lozada at Club Zaña on Friday Nov 30th, 2007
11/30/2007 11:00 PM - Club Zaña
152 23rd Ave
Paterson, New Jersey 07513
Cost:22 advance/28 door

Juan Kemell Writes Homenaje for Pedrito's 25 Anniversary -- Juan Kemell, director of La Barriada, has written a tribute to Pedrito Calvo in honor of his 25 years as an artist. Invitados include Leoni among many others. For more info check out Piso 6 at muchoswing.com.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Get ready for Revé -- DJ Melao says the release of the long-awaited CD Fresquesito has been delayed. Keep an eye on his blog because he'll be the first to know when it's finally available. In the  meantime, I have made a few suggestion in my own blog as to how you can prepare for the CD release, such as watching the six live Revé videos we have of songs from the new CD, reading the Italian interviews at locosporlasalsa.com and also checking the upcoming tour dates for the Charangón.

Piloto in Toronto -- Billy Bryans has information about Klímax at Lula Lounge in Toronto November 16. The major Cuban events in Canada just keep coming! So Yuma timberos, it's time to book another trip!

Tumbao Habana in Peru -- In my world-wide round-up I failed to mention that Pascualito and the boys have been in Lima since October 25th. We still don't have any concert details.

Mundocharanguero blog -- Speaking of Peru, there is a blog specifically for Charanga fans, Mundo Charanguero, with live video from performances in Peru. Good way to whip yourself into a Charanga frenzy before the upcoming Canadian tour.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Salsa Mayor Update -- Alas, they only recorded some 1 minute jingle for the radio. So indeed we have to wait until after the tour for new recordings. At least as consolation they'll be here in my hometown of Stockholm in just 4 days!

Salsa Mayor in the Recording Studio Today -- Word on the street is that the third anniversary concert of Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor on Saturday at La Cecilia went very well. There was a large audience and among others timba photographer Cristian Muñoz was there to document the event. I hope we get to share in a picture or two when he gets back to Canada. In the meantime, fans will be interested to hear that the band is in the recording studio today! I don't know what they are recording. They leave for Europe on Wednesday so they don't have time to do much. I know many of us are hoping that they've started working on the new CD. As soon as we hear more, we'll let you know. [Michelle]

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Breaking news on Carlos Manuel's group -- DJ Melao has the scoop.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Filling in for Kevin -- Kevin will be out of the office until November 10th, so I'll be updating La Última for him. [Michelle]

November looks good for Timba -- On Thursday I did a little wrap up of events taking place next week around the world, including Salsa Mayor on tour in Europe Nov. 8, Charanga Habanera on tour in Canada Nov. 8 with DJ Melao at the opening concert in Québec City, Interactivo in London Nov. 8, and the Aquí Cuba festival in France, which begins Nov. 9. But that's not all. I missed a few events so I'll mention them here.

QBA at Moe's Alley -- Jesús Díaz y su QBA will perform on November 9th at Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz.

New Cuban night in Boston -- ¡Azucar! is the name of a new Cuban dance club hosted by Jenn Jonay and Adrian Cuban DJ. The grand opening takes place Saturday, November 10 at 288 Green St., Central Square, Cambridge. I've been told this is the best venue in the state. The evening begins with a rueda class followed by a dance party from 10:30pm - 2:00am. Don't miss this opportunity to show your support for Cuban music and dance in the Boston area!

Entrevista con Maykel Blanco -- Tonight Maykel Blanco y Salsa Mayor celebrate their third anniversary with a special concert at La Cecilia. This is the final concert in Cuba before they leave for their second European tour. The Italian site locosporlasalsa.com has uploaded an interview with Maykel (in Spanish and Italian).

cuban music, musica cubana

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tom Ehrlich's Issac Photos, cont. -- Click here for the new photos from the concert, and here for the soundcheck posted earlier.

Melón Tonight in Miami! -- See Melao

Salsa Mayor in Copenhagen in November -- See Michelle.

cuban music, musica cubana

Peter Maiden's Issac Delgado Photos - Click here for the full set of Peter Maiden photos from Saturday's concert at the SF Jazz.

Mick Guzmán's Issac Photos - Click here. We also have another set of photos coming later tonight from Tom Ehrlich, whose soundcheck report is already filed here.

Bad News - Pepe Monte leaves El Pikete. I hate it when that happens. He was important to the chemistry not only as a pianist but as a composer and arranger. Ugh.

Pupy & Manolito Video - See Yemayá's Verse.

Monday, October 22, 2007

DJ Carlota Reviews Pupy -- CH in México -- Adonis in LA -- See Michelle.

Cuban Timba Congress with LVV & CH -- Watch out Albert Torres! Next March in Munich, LVV & CH will both play at this major dance congress in Munich, Germany. Melao has the details.

En frecuencia -- Muchas noticias - Tony Pérez, Melao con la CH, y mucho más.

More Issac Photos Soon

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Súmala, réstala, divídela ... multiplícala
cuban music, musica cubana
esa es ... mi matemática

Issac at the SF Jazz - Part I -- Peter Maiden (top fotos) had some automotive problems and will check in with more fotos soon. Meanwhile Tom Ehrlich (bottom fotos), filed this report on the soundcheck, and, after he returns from David Sánchez at Yoshi's tonight, he'll start on the two concert sets.

So ... what about those two concert sets, you ask. Well ... wow ... this was much more aggressive and exciting than the Monterey Jazz a month ago. When Issac Jr. tore into the piano tumbao to La temática I started to get the old timba adrenaline rush and when Issac followed it -- the encore -- with El malecón I closed my eyes and felt like I was back at El Morro in 1999 again. The show was also a lot more creative, with Issac improvising horn mambos. coros and pregones with effortless grace. The first set started out like Monterey, with the medley and Dile a Catalina, but quickly switched gears to extended, timbafied versions of songs from the full range of Issac's career, including a healthy assortment from the last two albums ... but with lots of aggessive new timba coros that the audience hungrily devoured.

Bimbo's hold 675 people and both (separate admission) shows were filled to capacity. The 2000s have been a brutally hostile economic environment for live music but Issac and his world-class promoter Elena Peña have made it look easy with a coast to coast string of mega-successful concerts.

The band had many changes ... all for the better in my opinion. SF was thrilled to finally hear the legendary Wickly Nogueras in person and he was rock solid on bongó, but an even more significant change was the addition of hardcore timba bassist Edward Magdariaga (Manolín, CTA, etc.). Papacho was brilliant as always, both as a conguero and as the leader of the rhythm section - during the pedales you could see him conveying the next bloque - as if by ESP - to the other drummers ... amazing! So, by this point, Issac's experimental multi-national rhythm section is again all Cuban except for Venezuelan timbalero Roberto Vilera. Vilera now has a MIDI kick drum pedal which sounds great. Each time I hear him, he's more and more in the timba groove and his solo brought the house down. I have only one, horribly unfair, criticism ... he's not Reinier Guerra. Add Reinier to this band and we'd have a reprise of the 1906 San Francisco fire on our hands.

More to come ...

Friday, October 19, 2007

cuban music, musica cubana

cuban music, musica cubana

Issac & Wickly Saturday in SF-- Together again after 16 years - at Bimbo's. Wickly will be on bongó instead of congas. Two shows - 8:00 and 10:30. And on Youtube now.

Pupy in Bilbao - la CH in Canada -- See Michelle and Melao and Mr. Bryans

New Poll -- Best LVV Singer. Armando Cuervo is running away with it.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

New Los Van Van Album! -- Always a major event, this will be LVV's 22nd album of new material (there are lots of live ones of course). So far we've covered the first 4 in microscopic detail in The Roots of Timba. There were 2 more in the 70s, 8 in the 80s, and then, in the timba era, Aquí el que baila gana, Disco Azúcar, Lo último en vivo, Ay Dios ampárame, Te pone la cabeza mala, Llegó Van Van, Chapeando, and now A que me matengo. Melao has the scoop.

New Poll -- Best European Timba Band. Click here to vote.

Issac in San Francisco -- Two shows at Bimbo's next Saturday. If it's not already sold out it will be soon.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Cuban Timba All Stars Tonight
cuban music, musica cubana

Tonight at El Clique -- Check out Tomasito & Co., just back from Germany, at El Clique tonight.

Chuchito Fotos from Santa Cruz
cuban music, musica cubana

Tom Ehrlich Fotos -- Shown here is Afrocuba de Matanzas alumnus Sandy Pérez, who (everyone agreed) was unusually brilliant, even for him. I'm trying to scrounge up a clip of one of his gorgeous solos. Stay tuned. And click here for the rest of Tom's photos.

Monday, October , 2007

Issac - Manolín - Carlos Manuel
cuban music, musica cubana

Melao: "The Latin Grammy street party in Miami was by far the best timba related event that I have ever attended in Miami."

That sounds promising, eh? As per Melao, it was packed to the gills with people and the bands were playing real timba. And in Carlos Manuel's case, he actually had a band - now there's a novel idea. Issac Jr. promised that he had charted out La temática and they'd playing it soon. It looks like the stage is set for some healthy competition in Miami - let's see how it plays out.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Mano' pa'arriba la gente de Youtube!
cuban music, musica cubana
The Sony ECM MS908C

Friends, Romans, Timba Videographers ... You can find one of these clip-on microphones on the net for between $50 and $100. They clip onto any digital videocamera and they do not distort! No seas tacaño! You need to buy this microphone or all of your precious timba videos will sound like crap! Take it from old Kev:

sólo darte un consejo quisiera
pero no lo tomes a mal
el video tiene tantas maneras
que te hacen perder o ganar

si quieres filmar seguro de tí
apréndete bien la lección
si vas a filmar un concierto
debes tener microfón

sé que la vida es una sola
y hay que filmarla, ¿por qué no?
pero debes hacerlo con Sony
para no destruírla!

porque ya los tiempos han cambiado
y hay que saber con que hay que grabarlos
y no como otros, que sólo saben decir
de esta manera, mami

Video from Danny Lozada In NYC !
cuban music, musica cubana

Hay que tocármela - flash version

Usa condón - flash version

Interview - flash version

...more on this soon!

The Roots of Timba Returns Soon -- We'll be picking up where we left off, in 1978, with probably the best Cuban album ever to not be released on CD. Here's a fascinating clip to get you in the mood:

El Tosco, Pedrito and Changuito - 1990: a spirited audio clip from Cuban TV with El Tosco, Changuito, Pedro Calvo and others candidly discussing and comparing the music of the 70s and 80s.

And now, 17 Years Later ... a similar discussion -- Melao found this YouTube video of Tirso Duarte singing a reguetón song by O Kopia, a group founded by the sons of Issac Delgado and El Tosco. In the 1990 discussion above Tosco bemoans the fact that the sophisticated songo of the 70s had become watered down with commercial salsa in the 80s. When The Roots of Timba reaches the 80s, we'll have plenty of opportunities to see if we agree with Señor Tosco, but after listening 3 times to Melao's reguetón clip, I'd be inclined to register a complaint similar to El Tosco's: the sophisticated timba of the 90s has become watered down with commercial reguetón in the 00s.

What do you think about both questions? Were the 70s better than the 80s? Were the 90s better than the 00s? And consider that in the years immediately following El Tosco's comentarios, Cuban music exploded anew with Charanga Habanera, Bamboleo, Manolín et al. Will the current moña - timbalite - reguetón movement somehow morph into the next great phase in Cuban music? And what about this new reguetón track? Is there some spark there that my jaded ears are missing? I do hear one nice harmonic hook but that repetitive reguetón rhythm just doesn't get me. ¿¿Y qué piensas tú??

Saturday, October 6, 2007

New Poll: Best US Timba Band ... click here to vote.

Dame un día sin luchar ... says Bill Wolfer over at the recently resuscitated MamboBlogorama. Reflecting back on the Unterese odyssey (his writing style reminds me of Hunter S. Thompson), it's quite a fascinating tale, especially if you happen to be pathologically obsessed with understanding how the creative process works in Cuban music. If you spend a couple hours at MamboBlogorama, you can find many clues in the details of the long journey that's led to this new song and its autobiographical coro. It's sung by Carlos Kalunga - for my money, the most melodic singer since Leo Vera..

Friday, October 5, 2007

cuban music, musica cubana

Tom is on a roll - here's the latest batch of photos from Maraca's recent NoCal tour. And last night was Chuchito Valdés in Santa Cruz, featuring Sandy Pérez and his most melodic and inspired. Photos from that show coming soon.

Melao Updates -- click here!

Wednesday,October 4, 2007

El Pikete Concert Photos
cuban music, musica cubana

Tom Ehrlich checks in with a comprehensive set of concert photos from El Pikete's September 22 concert in Oakland.

Issac at the Monterey Jazz Festival - With Audio!
cuban music, musica cubana

Concert Report, Photos, and Audio -- A short concert report with gorgeous photos from Tom Ehrlich and pristine audio from a live radio broadcast of Issac's recent performance at the 50th anniversary of the Monterey Jazz festival with featured guest Gonzalo Rubalcaba.

Lozada Concert News -- con muchas fotos - see Melao

Leoni Torres Interview -- see Michelle.

Monday, October 1, 2007
cuban music, musica cubana
Rebeca Mauleón-Santana

New Peter Maiden Photos -- Yesterday's Sunday in the Redwoods concert featured a huge list of master musicians: Rebeca Mauleón-Santana, Orestes Vilató, Carlos Caro, Jimmy Branly, Bobi Céspedes, Marco Díaz, Jeff Cressman, Marty Wehner, Vernon Black ... the list goes on! Click here for Peter's photo set.

Tumbao Habana para Perú -- See Michelle.

First Reports on Danny Lozada at SOB's -- Great show -- almost sold out ... more shows in NJ coming ... West Coast hopefully.

New Maraca Video -- See TimbaTV.

Telmary & Pedro Calvo -- See Mr. Bryans.


Sunday, September 30, 2007
cuban music, musica cubana

Tom Ehrlich Fotos - Maraca -- Saturday's performance at the Mariachi Festival -- that's my kind of Mariachi!

Mick Guzman Fotos - Maraca y Pikete - Maraca's Sunday's performance at Yerba Buena Gardens. Mick also shot this set of El Pikete in Oakland. And we're still looking forward to sets from both these shows from Tom.

Osvaldo Down Under -- The ex-Bamboleo singer/songwriter is in Australia with a new group, Son Veneno, and Yemayá's Verse wasted no time catch up with him. He has quite a lot to say about my favorite subject - the collaborative process in timba.

Saturday, September 29, 2007
cuban music, musica cubana
(photo by Tom Ehrlich)

Maraca Saturday & Sunday Afternoons in NoCal -- On Sunday, you can hear him -- for free -- at 1:00 p.m. at the Yerba Buena Gardens. Osmani Paredes is on piano. Also playing at the Festival is Karabalí, featuring Michael Spiro (author of this must-read book book on Cuban rhythms), Karl Perazzo, and a collection of the very best Bay Area musicians, including a stunning horn section of Jeff Cressman, Marty Weiner and Bill Ortiz. On Saturday, at 1:30 p.m. Maraca is at the San José Mariachi Festival at the Arena Greens across from the San José Arena. (Don't worry - he won't be playing Mariachi music!). The Mariachi Festival (which also features Ozomatli) is only $5.

Friday, September 28, 2007
cuban music, musica cubana
Danny Lozada at SOB's TONIGHT!

Click here more all the details. This show has been in the works for months. It may be covered for network television, and it should be the most complete, well-rehearsed of Danny's US bands with the addition of a bona fide musical director, Yorgis Goiricelaya, on piano. Send us your reports!

cuban music, musica cubana
Tomasito Cruz - Workshop Tour of Germany

Tomasito will be giving conga workshops in 5 German cities over the next couple weeks. A lot of people have asked for Volume IV, and he's put together 16 new marchas, including guarapachangeo, several new timba marchas and a variety of new adaptations of batá and other folkloric rhythms.

Frankfurt: Sept. 28, 29 and 30,
October 4 and 5
Info: info@waggong.de or 069 466202

Duesseldorf: September 27
Info: conga-academy@web.de
Tel. 0211-3858000

October 1
Info: Markus Reich percussionreich@aol.com

Mannheim: October 2 and 3

Schorndorf (Stuttgart):
October 6
Info: Drums Only Schorndorf
Tel. 07181/22126 email: info@drumsonly-schorndorf.de

Melao Has News on Practically Everybody: A free Miami street concert with Issac, Manolín and Carlos Manuel, a torrid Roicel Riverón video, a musical about Celia Cruz, Cachao's 80th birthday bash, and a documentary on the life and career of Adalberto Alvarez.

The Verdict is in: According to y'all, the #1 Charanga Habanera singer of all time is ... Michel Maza ... followed by Danny Lozada, El Boni and Leonid.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

El Pikete Recording Session Photos
cuban music, musica cubana
cuban music, musica cubana
cuban music, musica cubana

Tom Ehrlich files another phenomenal set of about 40 photos - this time from the recording session for El Pikete's new album of nine new original songs. Concert photos also coming soon.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Michelle B. DeMille -- Cecil B. DeMichelle? Well, in case, Michelle has outdone herself with her latest video creation. It's sort of a European travelogue, chronicling the Salsa Mayor tour against the audio backdrop of Anda pégate, which, I have to admit, is becoming one of my favorite songs of recent years.

Melao on Lozada, Makumba, Internet Radio -- Melao has a mountain of news. The next big event is Danny Lozada at SOB's in NYC this Friday. Miami's Makumba nightclub is reopening, and Melao has teamed up with the West Coast's best DJ, Walt Digz, for an online radio station called La Manana.

Danny Lozada on TimbaTV -- Check it out.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Salsa Mayor Voted Best Timba Group of 2006-7 -- Salsa Mayor, playing their 3rd anniversary concert at La Tropical in the 2nd half of October (and various other venues in Havana each week), won the reader poll from salsalento.it. Michelle has the details along with the 6th installment in the Salsa Mayor Summer 2007 Tour Report - from the concert in Lecce, Italy. Speaking of SM, last night between sets, DJ WaltDigz played a live version of Recoge y vete that floored me. Is timba coming back to life just in time for 2009?

Tom Ehrlich's Monterey Jazz Photos
cuban music, musica cubana

Many tales to tell about Monterey, but I'm still transferring all the video from Pikete for the upcoming live DVD product that LatinPulse has planned. See below for a preview. In the meantime, check out Tom's amazing photos.

Speaking of Polls -- Melao poses a painfully difficult question: Best Charanga Habanera singer of all time! Narrowing it down to 5 is easy ... then it gets nasty. Actually, narrowing it down to 4, since I guess Tirso didn't sing enough tracks to make it onto the list of nominees.

Ay dios mío! -- Where to start? It's been an insane weekend so I'll just start with the very last thing I heard, and from which I'm still buzzing -- El Pikete's encore at 2:00 a.m., featuring some of the most electrifying piano-playing I've heard in a long time. Check out the motion of his fingers ... like Melón, Tirso, Rolando and Noroña, he's got what I call "that velocity thing". Maybe some pianist out there can explain it.


Stay tuned for much more: photos, clips, news and reports on Issac in Monterey, El Pikete's recording session and El Pikete torrid show at Karibbean City.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Best Charanga Habanera Singer - New Poll -- Melao has started a poll for the Best Charanga Habanera singer from the original Charanga through today. Click here to vote!

Other Upcoming Concerts in North America -- Kevin has been to see Isaac and is now with El Pikete for their recording session and concert tonight at Karibbean City. In the meantime I have put together a short, and no doubt incomplete, list of other upcoming concerts in North America. Good to see so much activity on the other side of the Atlantic!

Tour Scedule for Pupy y Los Que Son Son -- We have all of the confirmed dates for the European tour which begins October 11 in Madrid.

Entrevista con DJ Geppo de Salsalento.it -- Also an interview with DJ Geppo (in Spanish) from Salsalento.it, on the occasion of the Salsa Mayor concert of July 7th. See the full Lecce concert report tomorrow. [Michelle

cuban music, musica cubana

El Pikete at Karibbean City Tonight -- It's been a long wait for this timba-starved reporter, but the day has finally come! Karibbean City is in downtown Oakland and the show will be videotaped for a live DVD to be released later this year. Saoco opens. See you there!

El Pikete: Este es mi tumbao
written by Jeáns Valdés
arranged by Jeáns Valdés & Alexis "Mipa" Cuesta
cuban music, musica cubana
es que la llevo de chiquito ni lo sueñe
yo no imito esto es porque yo tengo calle

The chain of events that led to the formation of El Pikete was set in motion in the early 90s by José Luis Cortés when he decided to champion the career of a young singer-songwriter for whom he coined the apodo "Manolín, el médico de la salsa". For five years, "El médico" was arguably the most popular act in the history of Cuba, filling 90,000 seat sports stadiums and staying at the top of the charts month after month. His young band included four future members of El Pikete: Alexis "Mipa" Cuesta, Victoriano Nápoles, Dileivys "El Niche" Romero and Jeáns Valdés. The band was like a family -- working, rehearsing and traveling together -- even living together in Colombia for a period of months.

click here to continue reading "Este es mi tumbao" ...

Friday, September 21, 2007
cuban music, musica cubanacuban music, musica cubanacuban music, musica cubana
cuban music, musica cubanacuban music, musica cubanacuban music, musica cubana

Issac, Mipa, Manolín, Alain, Jeáns, Melón -- 1997 -- In this insane 1997 recording you can hear Issac, Melón & Alain sitting in with Manolín, Mipa, Jeáns & Co. at La Cecilia. This is a perfect recording to hear the genius of El Pikete leader and conguero Mipa Cuesta -- the congas practically jump out of the mix and you can hear why Mipa was chosen for the coveted Team Cuba conga chair. He starts out simply - so use the opening moments to home in on the two conga pitches (G# and D) - then close your eyes and follow the congas til the end. ¿Entiendes ahora? It's also very interesting to hear the drastic differences in the styles of two of timba greatest bassist when Nápoles hands his his 5-string to Alain from about 1:15 to 6:06. (We'll have lots of photos of Nápoles after tomorrow night).

Issac, Mipa, Manolín, Alain, Jeáns, Melón -- 2007 -- And on this insane weekend, you can hear Issac (tonight at the Monterey Jazz Festival), Manolín (tonight at Bongo's in Miami), and Mipa, Nápoles and Jeáns with El Pikete (tomorrow at Karibbean City in Oakland). Melón won't be here til October and Alain just left, but I'm sure they're raising hell this weekend somewhere near Madrid.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Issac Delgado ... Down in Monterey -- Tomorrow night at the Monterey Jazz Festival at 11:00 p.m. Tom and I will be there but we won't have photos or a report until Sunday because the all-day Pikete-fest starts bright and early Saturday with a live-to-CD recording session.

What is Timba - complete -- Melao has assembled the whole collection

Manolín at Bongo's Friday Night -- See Melao.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What is Timba? -- A fascinating video with the omnipresent questions answered by a whole series of famosos like Piloto, Vannia, Haila, Tosco, Pupy, Adalberto, etc.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tomasito Cruz Workshops in Germany Next Week -- Many people have asked when Tomasito would publish Volume IV of his conga method. Well, he's been working hard on the material - creating new marchas based on combinations of batá rhythms, songo, and a variety of other sources. Euro-timberos will be the first to get a chance to hear some of these when Tomasito travels there next week for a series of seminars and workshops. Stay tuned for more details.

And speaking of Tomasito -- En frecuencia has exclusive new video of the recent Cuban Timba All Stars concert at El Clique with new singer Xavier Mili and new-old pianist Tony Pérez.

El Pikete and The Art of Pedal
cuban music, musica cubana

In anticipation of next week's concert, I had decided to let the two tracks from El Pikete's MySpace page loop quietly while I slept last night to get their songs into my head. About 4 hours later I sprang up out of bed -- bolt upright with my heart pounding. I couldn't stop listening to this passage. So much for sleep -- I had to get out the headphones and try to figure it out - coming up with this - probably not quite right, but you get the idea. It's like Pupy, the left hand goes up while the right hand goes down -- but the harmonies and emotional impact are more like Sergio Noroña of Paulito's glory years. And that symphonic, majestic bass theme! And that coro ...

ay yay yay - qué gozadera
ahora yo me voy a bailar
con El Pikete la noche entera
(transcription: Melao)

cuban music, musica cubanaAnd check out the first guía ... Michel Calvo sings his first "por qué" so that Jorge Carlos Oviedo's violin guajeo seems to answer it -- and then answers that himself -- and then uses it a third time to begin the next phrase before giving a master class in the art of the quote by paying tribute to his namesake Pedro Calvo's 1992 Van Van recording of Ese es mi problema (source). J.C. Oviedo, the composer and co-arranger of Seco y guardao, is another critical member -- he's a consummate violinist, combining classical chops with charanga phrasing. He's clearly paid his dues with the music of Ritmo Oriental and the other great charangas and he knows exactly how to sift through the dense timba orchestration and find the perfect holes to fill with his punchy, perfectly in-tune double stops. The horn lines are also full of clever references to everything from the American jazz tune, Softly as in a Morning Sunrise to El Médico's Te conozco mascarita. El Pikete has a deep knowledge and understanding of the histories of both Cuban and North American music. They pick the best influences and use them in ways that are originally rather than derivative.

By now, many of the musical breakthroughs of timba have become standardized. The singer yells "manos pa' ariba!", the bass tumbao drops out, the timberas strut their stuff, the bass and congas roar back in, the drummers play a break and it's back to the original groove. Even the yumas know how to do it now ...

But there's one more ingredient: the "hook". The pedal section, as Tomasito puts is, is the emotional climax of the song. Everybody knows you're going to break it down -- the secret is how you break it down. In the best timba, the band saves its killer coro and best tumbao for the pedal, builds you up to it, and slams it home, sending a jolt of electricity up your spine. It's a break down in rhythm, but it's also a surge up in emotion -- it's an arrival -- the great Cuban bands of the 90s understood this secret -- as did their fans. The pedal is a formula, but it can't be a formula -- it has to be the most inspired compositional hook the band has to offer.

El Pikete Gets It -- Listen -- Oh my God! Listen! These guys played soccer stadiums for crowds of 90,000 at the very peak of "El Médico Manía". They know what the "timba rush" feels like. On my very first night in Cuba, I felt that timba rush myself at a life-changing, sanity-annihilating Manolín concert at La Cecilia on Quinta Avenida. A few weeks later, excerpts from the tape I bought there were the first thing ever posted to a new, one-page website called timba.com.

No less than four members of El Pikete were on La Cecilia's stage that night. They got it then, and they get it now.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Dan Den in the News -- Melao has the latest on their 25th Anniversary DVD. Wait! How can that be? I thought Juan Carlos Alfonso was just starting with Revé in 1982. Can't wait til I get to the 80s in Roots of Timba to find out. Speaking of Dan Den, that's where El Pikete's singer, Michel Calvo, got his start.

New York Update -- See Home, Clubs and Events. And get ready for Danny Lozada on the 28th. This is going to be by far the most interesting Lozada show this year. He's adding 4 songs from Tanto le pedí and one of timba's greatest unrecorded classics - Hay que tocármela. As far as I know, the only public performance of this erotically-charged "banned in Buena Vista" masterpiece was the infamous Charanga Habanera Suspension Concert. Better make it to this concert before it gets banned in the Big Apple too!

Manolín Breaking Away from the Competition -- in the Live CD Poll -- In terms of "live" it's hard to disagree - I love El puente - but Lo último contains the only recordings of Mándalo y ven, Soy normal, Qué tiene Van Van, Mi socio, Hierbero ven, and Pura vestimenta (the only LVV version - there's also this glorious recording).

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Salsa Mayor Tour Report Moves to Rome -- Michelle's series continues.

Soneros All Stars - Calle Real -- Los Oviedo -- Varadero Festival -- Orly Solomon Brings Timba to Paris -- also see Michelle.

Friday, September 14, 2007

cuban music, musica cubanaChuchito -- Tom Ehrlich's fotos from Wednesday's Chuchito Valdés concert are in. Joining him were folkloric master Sandy Pérez, Sawa Pérez and Raúl Piñeda.

El Pikete's Weekend Schedule -- See Melao -- and NEXT WEEK, El Pikete comes to Oakland -- I expect it to be one of the best US concerts of the Bush Adminstration -- if you're anywhere in CA, don't miss it!

Pedrito Lives! -- As confirmed by Piso 6 via Michelle, Pedro Camacho, pianist, arranger and leader of El Clan, is okay. Drive carefully timberos! Manejen con cuidao!.

Pupy in Paris -- See Michelle - also more on Salsa Mayor.

Pepe Espinosa & Timbakó Tonight in Sweden -- at Festival Latino.


Tonight: CTA with Tony Pérez, Yordamis, Xavier Milí
cuban music, musica cubana

Anda Pégate -- Stay tuned for Michelle's video collage ... coming soon.

Rumors on Pedro Camacho NOT CONFIRMED -- Duniel and Melao have both checked with their contacts and, fortunately, there has been no confirmation of the rumors of a car accident involving the extremely talented pianist/arranger Pedrito Camacho. Let's hope this one goes the way of most rumors ... false and soon forgotten.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
1976: The End of an Era
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Conclusion of Los Van Van, IV -- After the experimentation of Volume I, the trilogy of Volumes II, III, and IV could be taken as whole as the first of Los Van Van's many important style periods -- their pure songo phase. They didn't record again until 1979 and by that time they were very much back in experimental mode, gradually piecing together the elements of their drastically different 1980s style.

After today's excerpt, we move to 1977 & 1978, which were all Ritmo Oriental. They had already developed a sophisticated rhythmic approach which no one, to this day, has yet catch up with, and during this period, they churned out two and half albums of dumbfoundingly brilliant new material that kept pushing the envelope farther and farther. It'll be a few days before the next chapter, but get your seatbelts fastened! A lot of wild tracks and elaborate transcriptions are forthcoming and many of them never made it onto CD. (So, while you wait, please take the time to join our Write EGREM campaign!)

New CD from Havana NRG in December -- I'll have some great excerpts soon - stay tuned.

Video of Michel en Perú ... sounds great ... looks like crap! Can't David Calzado go down and rescue this guy? The timba generation, as a whole, has wasted more talent in the last 6 years than Bush has wasted money. (At least as calculated by the official timba.com talent <==> money exchange rate).

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cuban Timba All Stars el viernes -- Revisa En frecuencia -- Regresan Tomasito y su Cuban Timba All Stars este viernes en "El Clique" con nuevo cantante Xavier Milí. También, Duniel tiene fotos del último concierto en el Rumba Palace.

The New Look of CH on Video -- see Melao

El Pikete on TimbaTV -- I can't wait for Sept. 22!

Manolito on TimbaTV -- With a little guaguancó from Mayami.

Best Live Timba Album -- El puente is leading in our latest readers' poll. Salsa Mayor is coming in second, with the Van Van vote split between the 1999 Miami concert and Lo último en vivo. Every one of these albums is a treasure. Lo último is actually LVV's 1995 album -- containing the original versions of 10 of their greatest songs -- they just recorded them live at La Tropical instead of in a recording studio. The double CD Concierto Eurotropical #1 has, among other things, 9 classic live tracks by Klímax and Manolito, including the definitive, to-die-for, versions of Catarro chino and El águila. Concierto E2 has only one track by a major timba band - Klímax's "banned in Buena Vista" El ventilador -- but it's worth getting just for that track! As for Bamboleo's ñññño!, a lot of people associate it with the remix tracks, but its real value is 4 powerful long live performances from the 1999 band with Vannia, Yordamis, Paceiro, Ludwig, Duñy et al -- one of the greatest live bands ever. And of course, Live in the USA, one of the last performances of Charanga Habanera before the departure of Tirso Duarte.

Riddle me this .... Mr. Bryans asks: What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? And the answer is ...

New York Updates -- Events and Clubs.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
1976: Mi son entero
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

A beautiful piece of music -- As we approach the end of the Van Van's first major style period, we come to Mi son entero, with an interesting guest analysis from LA drummer Victor Barrientos.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Gracias Michelle -- For filling in, and for getting me hooked on Anda Pégate. I needed to get hooked on a song that came off the assembly line after my 1996 Honda Civic did.

cuban music, musica cubana
Chuchito Valdés (photo by Tom Ehrlich)

Chuchito at Yoshi's Tomorrow -- On Wednesday, Chuchito Valdés plays one night only at Yoshi's in Oakland with Sandy Pérez on congas, Raúl Piñeda on drums and Sawa Pérez on bass.

The last time it was Tuesday, September 11th ... I had not yet recovered from hearing Issac at the Sportman's Lodge in LA when all hell broke loose. Let's hope it goes down a little more peacefully this time around.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
1976: Pupy Pedroso
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

It's about time ... we started giving some props to Pupy. He was of course a founding member of LVV, but he didn't begin to show his songwriting abilities until album #5 in 1979. But even in 1976, he was already a good 20 years ahead of his time in the piano department, as we'll hear in Si mami se va.

Monday, September 10, 2007

¿Qué Pasa en Miami? -- DJ Melao begins a new interview series asking Miami timberos the question "Qué pasa en Miami?". The first interview is with El Pikete pianist José Antonio Montes "Pepe Salsa" (in Spanish). The interview is followed by audio of El Pikete rehearsing Lo Bueno No Pasa. Check it out and get ready for the El Pikete/Son Sublime concert on Wednesday in New York. [Michelle]

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Entrevista con Maykel Blanco -- The Salsa Mayor Tour Report has now covered the Zurich concert. July 5 was spent on a long road trip from Zurich to Rome. While I work on that report, you can watch the short video interview, (in Spanish) that I did with Maykel as we were leaving Zurich. He tells us about his impressions of the tour through the Zurich concert.[Michelle]

cuban music, musica cubana
Maykel en la guagüita

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Speaking of El Pikete -- On September 12 in New York Miami's El Pikete will be going mano a mano with New York's Son Sublime. See DJ Melao for all the details.

Los Mayores en Suiza -- I have finally uploaded the Salsa Mayor in Switzerland report with behind-the-scenes video filmed by Los Mayores themselves on the road to Zurich. The report also includes exclusive footage of Maykel teaching the singers a new song that I call Marisela. I hope it will be on the new CD, because it sounds good to me.

In other news, on the heels of the release of their Live, Desde la Casa de la Música CD, Salsa Mayor has already been back in the studio recording something, but I don't know what. Hopefully we'll have more details soon. [Michelle]

Donde El Pikete Va a Tocar -- In honor of the upcoming September 22nd El Pikete concert in Oakland, California, Timba.TV has posted a video of a recent concert. Timba.TV tells us that it was filmed at the opening of Makumba on Calle Ocho, and Manolín joined in during the second half of the show. Click here to watch the band do their version of Pupy's De La Timba a Pogoliti.

I admit I haven't seen them live yet myself, but all the video/audio I seen so far tells me that this band knows how to tirarla duro. So if you are in the vicinity of California, i.e. Nevada, México, Vancouver, don't miss you chance to see El Pikete on the west coast. For more info about the concert in Oakland see Añejo Production's website. [Michelle]

Friday, September 7, 2007

Out of Town for the Weekend -- I'll be back Sunday night. Michelle will be updating La Última.

Juan Carlos Formell Tomorrow Night in NYC -- The Grammy-nominated songwriter will be on the lower east side celebrate the Day of Ochún.

The Living Room
152 Ludlow Street
Lower East Side
Saturday September 8th @ 8 pm

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Cuba in the 50s -- Ned Sublette's epic "Cuban and its Music" ends in the early 50s and our Roots of Timba series fast-forwards rather abruptly after Arsenio's departure in 1951. Ironically, the 50s was by far the most successful decade in terms of the popularity of Cuban music in the rest of the world. To help fill in the gap, Christian Smalt points us to this fascinating interview with Juan Cruz, the ex-president of the Marianao Social Club and the current master of ceremonies at Salon Beny Moré Nightclub in Havana. It's a long interview full of Cruz's priceless personal memories of the personalities and music of Arsenio Rodríguez, René Scull, Miguelito Cuní, Chappottín and others.

cuban music, musica cubana
Timba in Dubai - Ritmo de Havana
- An extensive new dance site with lots of video, audio and links.

Peter Maiden's Fito Reinoso Fotos -- Peter checks in with this updated report on "El Cándido de California" just in time to christen our new Photographers section as we attempt better organize the site. Also stay tuned for news about an upcoming photo exhibit in Northern California.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
1976: Una vieja tonada
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Continuing with Los Van Van, Vol. IV -- More glimpses into the future of timba bass playing. Savor every track of Volume IV as LVV is about to complete their early songo phase and fly off in several wild new directions.

Sat. 9-22: Massive Cachao Concert with Issac, Orestes Villató, Jimmy Bosch ... One of the giants of Cuban bass-playing joined by ... well, just about everyone -- Melao has ticket info and more details. Issac will play the 21st in Monterey, then fly 3,000 miles for Cachao's espectáculo.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Arsenio Erratum -- Two great things about writing these articles online are that brilliant people write in and teach you things, and that you can change your mistakes instantly without a "second edition". I've gotten a huge amount of help with Roots of Timba from Rob Holland, Brett Gollin, Victor Barrientos, Nils Fischer, Richard Pagano, Osvaldo Martínez and many others. Most recently, Christian Smalt, well-known in the various newsgroup communities, filed a beautifully notated transcription of Los sitios acere. Here's the corrected Arsenio chapter, and here's a page with Christian's transcriptions.

Melón in the USA! -- Wow! The legendary timba pianist will be back in the US for the first time since Issac 1997 tour. He's coming with Concha Buika and he'll be in New York, Miami and Washington D.C. in late October. Melao has more.

New Poll -- Best Live Timba Album of All-Time. This one is brutally hard. There are at least 4 on that last that I couldn't live without!

Mountains of Reading Material! -- I'm skipping today's Roots of Timba update because there are so many fascinating new things to read. Grab a cup of coffee and pull up a chair.

cuban music, musica cubana
cuban music, musica cubana

Timba Marketing Made Easy -- For starters, we have a short concert report which turned into a long and extremely interesting interview with Elizabeth Sobol, in which she explains how she's countered the negative trends currently afflicting live Latin music to make Tiempo Libre the workingest band en la Yuma.

cuban music, musica cubanaEntrevista con Enrique Lazaga (en español) -- We'll also soon have the English version of this massive 2-part interview with the leader of Ritmo Oriental. I think people will be still reading this interview in 100 years when the world finally catches up with la Ritmo.

The Deeper Roots of Timba: Abakuá -- After nearly 100 years, the world is beginning to catch up with, and fully apreciate, Agustín Gutiérrez, Sexteto Habanero's ground-breaking bongocero. Don't forget this long and extremely well-done article on Abakuá and its influences on son. Ned Sublette interviews Voice of the Leopard author Ivor Miller.

Timba TV -- We've added this new Video Blog to our newly designed blogroll. Question of the Day: The Silvio Rodríguez song sung by Manolín in today's episode of Timba TV was the inspiration for what 90s timba classic?

Papacho Videos and Maraca's New Tour -- see Melao.

Is Reguetón Dying? -- We can always hope!
Is Reguetón Maturing? -- We can always hope!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Cuban Timba All Stars at el Clique
cuban music, musica cubana

CTA -- A Week From Friday -- Tomasito, Reinier, Yordamis, Felipe Lamoglia ... don't miss it! For more info, click here.

The Deeper Roots of Timba: Abakuá -- Here's a long and extremely well-done article on Abakuá based on an interview between Ned Sublette and Voice of the Leopard author Ivor Miller.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Nils Fischer & Timbazo
cuban music, musica cubana

Here's something you don't see every day -- an album of timba arrangements of the hits of Joe Cuba, featuring two of the world's most talented and creative Cuban musicians -- bassist/arranger Alain Pérez and timbalero Pepe Espinosa (Azúcar Negra, Bamboleo, Klímax, Danny Lozada, Cubanismo) -- and arguably the world's greatest Latin recording engineer, Jon Fausty.

To give you some perspective on the project, let's go back to Chano Pozo's 1940 hit, Ariñañara (source). About 30 years later, New York salsero Joe Cuba recorded this version (source), which made a lasting impression on the young Nils Fischer as he learned his trade listening to old vinyl LPs he had sought out in European record stores. Fast-forwarding to 2007, here are three excerpts from Nils, Alain & Pepe's timba version - 1 - 2 - 3

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Tu decisión, ¿cuál es?
cuban music, musica cubana
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

This one nearly killed me -- I love Juan Formell, but if I end up in an insane asylum, send him the bill! For those who enjoy clave puzzles, Tu decisión cuál es will give you a run for your money.

"The Stupidest Policy on Earth" -- The US Embargo -- but don't get mad at me -- or even Billy Bryans -- that's a direct quote from Lawrence Wilkerson, the conservative Republican ex-chief of staff to the Secretary of State.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Tribute to Armando Peraza
cuban music, musica cubana
Javier Navarrete, Armando Peraza, Micky Hart, Giovanni Hildago, Karl Perazzo

cuban music, musica cubana
Arturo Riera (upper left), Edgardo Cambón, Michael Spiro, John Santos

Tom Ehrlich files this photo report for Saturday's Tribute to Armando Peraza concert at the Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. Joining those shown above were Bay Area icons Fito Reinoso, Yaya Maldonado, José Luis Gómez, Chepito Areas, Arturo Riera, and others.

En frecuencia - la Charanga -- Tenemos una revista del nuevo disco de Charanga Habanera, El rey de los charangueros.

The Clave and the Backbeat -- If you listen to the first 60 seconds of this wacky clip , and/or read this Formell interview, it should get you in the mood for today's chapter on the relationship between Cuban and North American dance music, wherein Pupy Pedroso, Aretha Franklin, and Changuito find themselves up to their necks in enough x's and 0's to make Bill Walsh rise from the grave.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
The Clave and the Backbeat
cuban music, musica cubana
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Jonesin' for La Habana -- Pobre Yemayita -- six weeks in Havana and now ... the withdrawal symptoms! Her doctor seems to have prescribed Trabucodol for the pain and one of the side effects is a fascinating analysis of three great arrangements -- Respeta, Y ya para que, and Amar ... y.

Pedrito and Hilario Durán do Beny in Toronto -- If Beny Moré were alive today, he'd be 88. Mr. Bryans expounds.

Grupo Dansón More Popular Than Bamboleo, Paulito, Manolito and La Charanga Combined -- The voters have spoken!

Friday, August 31, 2007

cuban music, musica cubanaTiempo Libre on National TV This Monday! Tiempo Libre will perform on national (US) television Monday, Sept 3, 2007 between 9:00-9:45 AM as part of the Jerry Lewis Telethon. To find your local US station click here.

Tiempo Libre Concert Review From Katherine Bonalos -- Click here for a concert review from Los Angeles-based writer Katherine Bonalos, with photos by Tom Ehrlich.

66 Great New Tiempo Libre Photos from Tom Ehrlich -- Behold them in their full splendor here!

More TL Coming: Tomorrow I'll add my concert report, plus exciting news on Tiempo Libre's future plans.

The Norwegians are Holding a Cuban Rueda Congress in England -- Y por qué no?

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
1976: Si tú te vas
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Most people associate this song with Ángel Bonne's gorgeous ballad version on Esta es mi música in 1999 ... or Van Van's killer up-tempo version from 1995's Lo último en vivo, but as we discovered yesterday on Dale dos, the song first came out in 1976 on Los Van Van IV.

Complete Lazaga Interview Tomorrow! Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

El Space Cadet Soy Yo -- Okay - sorry - I know - no more emails! I announced the chapter on Resuelve but didn't add it. Resuelve is there now, and also ...

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
1976: Dale dos
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Of course, for those of you living in 2007, Dale dos is the new Van Van track! You'll be amazed as we go along how many LVV songs had multiple versions. In almost every case they're very different and both versions are well worth having. It's also interesting to have all the early LVV in your ear so you can recognize the timbero vocalists and arrangers quoting them. Interestingly, Robertón, pictured above, is probably the most prolific and tasteful Van Van quoter of them all.

Don't Forget to Check Duniel's Video of All 3 Pututii -- see En Frecuencia.

Don't Forget to Vote -- see Melao.

More Photos and Articles on Tiempo Libre Coming Very Soon!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Issac Nominated for Two Grammies! Best Album, Best Song -- see Melao.

Pututi Video and new Azúcar Negra -- see En Frecuencia. Yikes -- check out the video clip! All 3 Pututi in the same rhythm section!

Manolín, Carlos Manuel, Elain, and Obama -- see Melao.

Timba in Sydney -- Yemayá's Verse reviews Mi Tierra, a great Australian band that's been around for at least 7 or 8 years now.

Grupo Dansón Dominating the Latest Poll! -- Have you voted?

La Maldición Claims Another Victim -- Revenge is sweet.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
1976: Resuelve
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Resuelve is the final part of the trilogy of slow-grind songo grooves that began with La Habana joven and Llegué llegué, and one of the many examples of Changuito's and Formell's experiments with layering multiple tempos.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tiempo Libre at Yoshi's
cuban music, musica cubana

Tiempo Libre played brilliantly to a large crowd at Yoshi's Monday night Latin dance series. Here's the rest of their extensive tour.

Many Tom Ehrlich photos are forthcoming, but here's a small preview, including a shot of Tony Pérez, who sat in for a brief but astounding piano solo.

Monday, August 27, 2007

cuban music, musica cubana
Tiempo Libre at Yoshi's Tonight at 8:00 --
See you there!

Michelle's Video Report: Salsa Mayor in Paris
Michelle's text and video tour is the next best thing to being there.

Grupo Dansón Surges into the Lead ... in our "Best Album of 2006" poll.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
1976: Los Van Van: Volume IV
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Welcome to 1976 -- The trilogy of Volumes II, III & IV chronicle Van Van's first great stylistic period. After this, they began the experimentation that would lead to the drastically different LVV of the 80s, but in here in 1976 we find them still in the eye the perfect storm -- adding ten more pure songo classics to complete the amazing run of hits that began five years earlier with La candela.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Melao Declares for Obama -- All of Washington is buzzing!

Obama on Cuba =======> Melao on Obama

I used to get scads of hatemail every time I dissed George Bush and his braindead Cuban policies. ¡Ahí na' má! I think people are finally coming to their senses. (Either that or my squiggly email graphic is too much for their Limbaugh-addled brains to handle).

Sun-Sentinel Says End the Travel Ban -- That does it ... I'm convinced!

Is The Nightmare Finally Ending? The LA Times hopes so. And the NY Daily News.

Tiempo Libre Monday Night at Yoshi's in Oakland -- It starts at 8:00 -- see you there! For tickets ...

More Salsa Mayor Tour Videos and Reports -- coming soon from Michelle. The sneak previews look great - so keep checking.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Wrapping Up 1975
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Un matrimonio feliz and a mystery track -- Un matrimonio wraps up La Ritmo's third album and get ready for 1976 and Los Van Van IV, the original source of Los Van Van's "new" hit, Dale dos. Also coverered in today's chapter is a extremely rare 1976 track called Enseñame tu baile Lola.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Salsa Mayor on Top for Best Album of 2006 ... followed by Grupo Dansón.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Lágrimas negras
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

We're down to the last two songs of Ritmo Oriental's 1975 masterpiece. Ritmo Oriental puts their unique stamp on one of the most recorded Cuban standards of all time, Miguel Matamoros' Lágrimas negras.

Friday, August 24, 2007

III National Changüí Festival this December -- This is the big one. Michelle, who will be there in person, provides all the details.

New Poll: Best Album of 2006 -- Revé won "Best Summer Tour Band" by a healthy margin. Now we move on to "Best Album of 2006". Check Melao for the nominees. You can only vote once, so consider it carefully!

Entrevista (audio) con Vanessa Formell -- Sonia Pérez and Melao, the Ken Burns of timba, have collaborated on a two-part audio interview (en español) with Vanessa Formell. It's an audio interview with a photo slide show, and the highlights summarized in English. Very interesting indeed -- it answered several questions I've been curious about for years.

cuban music, musica cubana

Stunning Cachao Photos from Indochino -- See Michelle.

Azúcar Negra Tonight (Friday) in Amsterdam -- See Michelle. And to get psyched up, check out En frecuencia's video clips.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Ahora si voy a gozar -- The Tumbaos
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

We conclude our chapter on Ahora sí, voy a gozar with a study of Humberto Perera's bass tumbaos. We hope to soon have an interview with this giant of Cuban music. Keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
"Avísale a Tete ...
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

... que la Ritmo está en la calle!" -- This one has to be heard to be believed!

Too Old to Be Drafted, but I'm Still Moving to Canada! Mr. Bryans gets Toronto residents psyched up for a visit from Yoruba Andabo, yet another group I'm dying to see live. Is it 2009 yet?

ILE-IFE Dance Fest in Colorado -- Melao has their press release.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tony Pérez en San Francisco!
cuban music, musica cubana

Tomorrow, Friday and Saturday! -- The veteran pianist of Issac, Klímax, Irakere, Cuban Timba All Stars and countless solo albums and studio recordings has made his way to San Francisco, has a hot new hardcore timba demo, and is currently organizing a group scheduled to play Thursday through Saturday at a new Cuban restaurant in the Mission. Click here for a flyer.

Chan Chan
4690 18th St.
San Francisco
7:00 - 10:00 - August 23, 24, & 25
415-255-1291 or 650-759-9915

Bamboleo en Japón -- See Michelle.

New Polls Coming -- Revé has definitely won the Best Live Band of the Summer poll, followed by LVV, Salsa Mayor, and Manolito. We'll have more polls coming soon. Check Melao for details.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Ahora sí, voy a gozar
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

L a o O r q u e s t a o R i t m o o O r i e n t a l

If you don't know this song, drop everything and check it out -- this period of la Ritmo is absolutely not to be missed and Ahora sí voy a gozar in particular. It's going to take us several days to get through this arrangement - today, the cuerpo. Tomorrow we'll pause for some geeky bass tumbao analysis before getting to the bloque section which is guaranteed to knock your socks off. If you're not a musician, don't worry - just listen to the audio and you'll become a fan. I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but in some respects, even the best timba has yet to catch up with this incredible group.

Entrevista con Enrique Lazaga (en dos idiomas) -- It's complete and being transcribed and translated this week. This will include a previously unpublished interview from several months ago, and now the followup from last week. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Entrevista con Grupo Dansón -- aquí!

Revé Pulling Away -- Looks like El Charangón is the summer's hottest touring band in our latest timba.com poll. If you're stuck in the States, you'll have to settle for the multimedia musings of Michelle, who also has some great Bart De Bruycker photos from the Antilliaanse Feesten in Belgium, featuring Haila, Tirso and many more.

Céspedes, Rubalcaba, Bola de Nieve -- Melao has the latest on a star-studded tribute to the great Bola de Nieve. If you've been reading Cuba and Its Music, you'll know who we're talking about! If not, Gonzalo alone should be reason enough to mark your calendars for this huge show at the James Knight Center on October 20th.

Vanessa Formell Returns -- See Melao. Will somebody please skip a night of El Pikete and send me a report?

Pedrito Calvo in Toronto -- Mr. Bryans has the scoop.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
La chica mamey
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Another Classic Hit from 1975 -- You've got to check out the basslines on this one!

Monday, August 20, 2007

cuban music, musica cubanaNew Section: Grupo Dansón -- Melao has put together a section for Alexander Abreu and Grupo Dansón.

Revé Overtakes LVV! -- It's been a back and forth battle for "Hottest Summer Tour". Have you voted? Here's my poll: "How many touring timba concerts did your braindead government allow you to attend this summer?"

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Que crezca la mujer
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Another brilliant track from Humberto Perera and Ritmo Oriental -- We've come to expect brilliance from the Cubanos, but here's something a little less common: feminist lyrics!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

cuban music, musica cubanaNew Peter Maiden Photos - Fito Reinoso -- Taken last weekend at the SJ Jazz Fest. That's timba.com's Mike Lazarus on bass, with Afrocuba de Matanzas legend Sandy Pérez on congas. Click here for more. Check back later for captions.

Yow! -- Oh my god! Check out the Alexander Abreu solo about halfway through Revé's sultry new version of El martes (originally recorded in 1968 when Juan Formell was still in the band). Also check out the hat tip to Empezó la fiesta in the closing vamp.

Revé en Europa! -- Michelle saw them in Copenhagen and has video of an interview with Elito. More to come soon.

Meanwhile, Revé and Van Van are still battling it out after all these years in our Best Live Band of the Summer poll. Last night they were dead even, but LVV has pulled ahead again this morning.

Alexander Abreu -- The trumpeter, legendary for his ability to invent coros, breaks one off for Melao in this video. Alexander, who seems to be everywhere at once these days, also sits in and plays a fantastic solo on Michelle's El martes video. Melao also a video of Kino Martínez improvising up a storm with Oscar D'León.

Bamboleo's New Hit - Lo que Manda -- ... gets a rave review from Mr. Bryans, who also poses two LVV questions:

1) Who sang Marilú? Well, it's not Formell, and it's not Lele, so by the process of elimination, it has to be José Luis Martínez, now in New York singing with the group Son Amigos.

2) When did Pedrito Calvo join LVV? It must have been in late 1974. He sings on Ritmo Oriental II and Los Van Van III, both released that year.

Timba Down Under -- A survey of the local scene from Yemayá's Verse.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Yo bailo de todo - The Bloques
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Another note-for-note transcription -- Before looking at the transcription, see if you can clap clave, or even count 1, 2, 3, 4, along with this!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Yo bailo de todo - The Cuerpo
cuban music, musica cubana
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Humberto Perera - note for note -- By 1975 la Ritmo's bassist was reinventing Latin bass-playing every time he stepped into the recording studio, blazing the trail for Feliciano Arango, Pedro Pablo, Alain Pérez, and the other monster bassists of the 90s. For those who asked for written notation, here's Humberto's bassline for the extraordinary cuerpo of Yo bailo de todo, written out in its entirety.

Friday, August 17, 2007

La Timba Loca is now La Clave Secreta -- Melao catches us up with lots of news and video of Gonzalo Grau's group.

LVV Narrowly Edging Out Salsa Mayor for Best Live Band of the Summer -- Have you voted?

Take the timba.com poll -- Who was the hottest touring timba band this summer? (Of course this only applies to those of you who live in the free world). Melao has the poll. There will be more! Send in your ideas

Van Van in Japan - Pedrito in Canada -- See Michelle.

Juanito Formell le entró a los 65 -- Pon clik aquí.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Yo bailo de todo - The Tumbaos
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1975 Yo bailo de todo -- Yo bailo de todo is to Ritmo Oriental as De la Habana is to Paulito, or as La bola is to Manolín -- their greatest hit and theme song. It will take us three chapters to even attempt to do justice to this major milestone in the history of Cuban music. Today we tackle the three basic grooves, and before we make sense of them we find ourselves fast-forwarding to NG, Paulito FG, Issac and la Charanga. Tomorrow, the bassists who have written in asking for full musical notation of Humberto's artistry will get the first example of their wish being granted, so get ready to do some serious woodshedding.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Bailando de todo
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1975 -- We finally arrive in 1975 with Ritmo Oriental second onda Areíto LP.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

cuban music, musica cubanaTirso & Michel's Album -- The promising collaboration of these two rebellious ex-Charangueros didn't last very long, but apparently it yielded an album. See Melao for more details.

Tirso with Pachito -- It's amazing how many top timberos began their careers with Pachito Alonso: Tirso, los Mengual, Issac, Robertón, Lele, Vannia, Lázaro ... the list goes on and on. Yemayá's Verse has a video and commentary on a recent anniversary gig with Tirso et al sitting in for old time's sake.

Vanessa Formell to Record with Van Van -- See Melao

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
La cosa es aprendizaje
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1974 -- We conclude our survey of LVV's 3rd album with Mi ritmo caliente and A ver si sale. For those of us whose introduction to Cuban music was the timba of the 90s, it's incredible to go song by song through LVV history and hear the original sources for so many timba quotations - in this case Robertón's wonderful adaptation of A ver si sale to Te pone la cabeza mala.

1974 was a landmark year with four brilliant albums by our three groups. Tomorrow we finally forge into 1975 with Ritmo Oriental's breakthrough Yo bailo de todo album. ¡Preparen!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ileana Santamaría
cuban music, musica cubana

Tom Ehrlich checks in with a photo-essay on Mongo Santamaría's talented daughter and her group, featuring phenomenal percussionist Pedro Martínez, at the San José Jazz Festival last weekend. Tom says check out Mayeya, arranged by Yosvany Terry, which you can hear at her website.

El Pikete in Oakland! -- This is the one I've been waiting for! I'm so excited about this band that I was about ready to rent a hearse to take me 3,000 miles to the timba graveyard, but mercifully I'll only have to drive and hour and a half to see Pikete September 22nd at Karibbean City (where Danny Lozada recently played). Check Melao for the details and poster, and when you're there, check out the Korean restaurant downstairs.

More Upcoming Bay Area Timba -- At Yoshi's, Jesús Díaz y su QBA on Monday the 20th and Tiempo Libre on Monday, August 27th, and it's time to start getting read for Issac at Bimbo's 365 for two shows in October. It will definitely sell out - I already have tickets for both shows.

Majela's New Site -- Remember Majela? She did our Team Cuba section, but was also our #1 guru for our massive Charanga Habanera section. She's also a talented singer and now has an interesting website/band/school in Germany. Soon she'll be adding a large timba.com section, but in the meantime, click here.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1974 ¡Changüí! -- One of Cuba's greatest and least understood musical genres, most timberos associate changüí primarily with Orquesta Revé, but as you'll hear in today's chapter its influence is everywhere - from Manolito y su Trabuco all the way back to Los Van Van's third album in late 1974.

Maravilla de Florida -- We're about a decade away from studying the great 1980s charanga band that gave Manolito Simonet his start. They've now reinvented themselves as a timba band and Mr. Bryans (to say nothing of Yemayá and Melao) have been going nuts over their new album, Luchando con fe.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fascinating Formell Interview -- In this extensive interview, from 2001, and translated to colloquial English, JF talks about Arsenio, Beny Moré, The Beatles, NG, Adalberto, and much more. Not to be missed. The interviewer is Ernesto Juan Castallanos of Cuba Now.

Rumba Misteriosa -- First, here's an entire website devoted to how different Cuban artists play rumba clave. But for an even more in-depth look at just exactly how the Cubans "swing" the clave, I'll again recommend Michael Spiro's latest book, now only $5.99 for the dowloadable version. The audio files supplied with this book are incredible. He's plays a typical figure in metronomic time, which sounds great until he follows it with the same figure played with the Cuban feel he calls "fix" (four plus six).

Bush & Cheney are Corrupt Anti-American Morons! Oh no ... Kevin must be back. Did anyone miss me? Don't worry, your more dignified guest host Michelle is just a click away. To say nothing of Melao, Lara, Duniel & Juan Tomás, Yemayá, and Mr. Bryans.

Anyway, I am back from my undisclosed location and I'm loaded for bear (let's hope I shoot better than Dick). Armed with my new blazing fast quad-core PC I've churned out a breathtakingly thrilling analysis of Los Van Van's multi-tempo masterpiece Llegué llegué. (while I look forward to Se fue se fue in 2009).

One thing I discovered on my vacation: Dick Cheney was not always such a moron. Here's Dick in 1994 explaining how ludicrous it would be to occupy Iraq. But we'll have to go almost all the way back to old Shooter's Watergate days for the next exciting chapter of ...

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Llegué llegué
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Azúcar Negra is Back! -- Wow - check out the new Azúcar Negra at En frecuencia! Best new Limonta I've heard in a long time.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Salsa Mayor's Concert in Esch-sur-Alzette -- I'm slow but eventually I get the job done. I have finally uploaded the full-length report from June 30, 2007 - the day of Salsa Mayor's very first concert in Europe. Yes, this was the very first time the band and their European fans met, and it was a great experience for everyone. The report includes 8 video clips and several pictures from the road trip and the concert. Stay tuned for the Paris report. [Michelle]

cuban music, musica cubana
Ramón, Maykel and Vladimir at a rest stop in Italy

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Interviews at Locos por la salsa --
The Italian site http://www.locosporlasalsa.com has uploaded some new interviews (in Spanish). One is by Besito de Coco with the legendary Israel López Cachao. The other is by Michela with the new Charangueros, Juventino, Junior and Andro, who I still haven't seen live myself.

Tip: Keep checking with http://www.locosporlasalsa.com for interesting articles (in Italian) and interviews. Next month they will feature an interview with Leoni Torres about his solo work.

Manolín Performing Tonight in Miami -- Calling all timberos in Miami! DJ Melao has all the details about tonight's performance by Manolín at Tropicana Rice and Beans restaurant.

cuban music, musica cubana

cuban music, musica cubanaTimba en Perú -- Perú es un país timbero y Renzo Urcia y Kaló, reporteros para Timba.com en Perú, están trabajando mucho para mantener los lectores al día con lo que pasa en Lima.

Por ejemplo, hay mucha especulación sobre lo que hace Michel Maza en Perú y si piensa regresar a Cuba.

Renzo y Kaló realizaron una entrevista con Michel Maza en Lima, en que responde a esta pregunta, entre otras.

También hablaron con Juan Ballestero que está trabajando con una pila de proyetcos tales como el disco de D'Farandula y varias actuaciones con Los Conquistadores de la Salsa y Explosión Habana.

cuban music, musica cubana

Thursday, August 9, 2007

cuban music, musica cubana

L.A. Debut of La Farandula --
La Farandula will be appearing this Sunday, August 12 at the Florentine Gardens. It is a one night only debute of the 13 musicians who made up the band of Aramis Galindo. Get there early because the first set begins at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.

5955 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA.

For more info, www.salyson.com. For advance tickets and table reservations, call (818) 371-5947

Danny Lozada homepage -- Danny's new official homepage has gone up today: http://www.dannylozadamusic.com It has a bio, photos, videos, information about all his various projects over the years, CD reviews. It is quite simply a great site and a good complement to his MySpace site.

Tiempo Libre this Saturday -- I thought about trying to live up to Kevin's horrible pun reputation during his continued absence (he should be back on Monday with a new and improved computer) and saying something about what to do during your "free time" on Saturday, but I give up. Instead I'll just say that Tiempo Libre will be playing Saturday, August 11, at Valentino Italian restaurant. Here are the details.

Tiempo Libre
Saturday, August 11
Valentino (Italian restaurant)
7330 Ocean Terrace (Collins & 74th St.)
Miami Beach, Florida
9 p.m.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

New York, New York -- More timba news from New York. Tomorrow, August 9, La Bolá will perform at Crash Mansion. The concert will consist of two sets: 10pm and 11:30pm. DJ David Medina will take care of the music when the band is not playing, and Cuban salsa classes will also be offered. If you get there before 9pm the cover is only $10, after 9pm it costs $12.

For more information see http://www.labolanyc.com, http://myspace.com/timbonlabola and http://www.crashmansion.com

Melao update -- Dj Melao has updated his player with the latest from Alain Daniel. He also gives us a personal account of his experiences at previous Danny Lozada concerts.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Lozada Returns to New York -- Danny's recent concert at Crash Mansion was so successful that he already has another gig for New York, this time at SOBs. The September 28 concert will include  songs from the new Lozada repertoire so if you're anywhere near New York don't miss it!

To find out more about what's up with Danny check his MySpace site http://www.myspace.com/dannylozadamusic

 cuban music, musica cubana

Monday, August 6, 2007

Habana Abierta in Miami and Noche Cubana in New York -- Melao has the latest, including a video link, on the the alternative group Habana Abierta who will be performing in Miami on October 27. He also brings us the good news about a new weekly Cuban night in New York, approriately named Noche Cubana.

Maraca Concert Video at MySpace -- Maraca's MySpace site www.myspace.com/maracavalle, has been updated with several new concert videos from the 2007 European tour. You will also find other useful information there, such as upcoming tour dates. In fact, the band is playing tonight at Village Tropical Festival in Geneva. 

News from Canada -- Billy Bryans has a brief review of the Habana Norte concert with special guest Telmary at Lula Lounge in Toronto last Friday. For the concert Roberto Linares put together a timba arrangement of Telmary's song Ves.

Jorge Maza's group, Típica Toronto, which plays traditional Cuban dance music, recently performed at the salsa on St.Clair Street Festival. Telmary was also invited to this performance. Click here for  full-length audio clips from the concert. [Michelle]

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Salsa Mayor Tour Report : La Máquina Llegó -- It has taken me a long time to download and edit all the video and pictures, but I have finally uploaded the first part of the Salsa Mayor Tour Report. This installment covers the band's arrival on June 27th and how they spent the first couple of days leading up to their first concert. [Michelle]

cuban music, musica cubana
Click here for Part I - June 27-29

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Track listing from upcoming Revé CD -- Kevin is off relaxing somewhere, but Timba.com never sleeps. Melao has got a list of the tracks that will be on the upcoming Revé CD, Fresquesito.com. Orquesta Revé is currently on tour in Europe, so catch their show if you can and maybe you'll see some of the new songs live.

Monica & Los Pututis Band Tonight -- There is also information about tonight's concert at El Clique with Monica & Los Pututis Band.

En Frequencia checks in -- Duniel has uploaded some great pictures of Issac's concert at the James L Knight Center in Miami including links to five videos from the concert. If you scroll a little further down the page you will also find YouTube video of the new Charanga Habanera in concert. Yes, those of us who haven't seen the new group yet finally get a chance to see how they compare to previous incarnations. The videos are of the new songs El Rey and El Duro.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Kelvis Has Left the Building -- Michelle will be taking over La última until next Tuesday while I'm out of town recharging my batteries. I'll be back with more horrible puns and the next Roots of Timba excerpt on Wednesday. Today I leave you with the first chapter on Los Van Van's third album.

Apostrophlypse Now -- Today Melao features N'Talla and D'Farándula.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Los Van Van the Third
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

No - LVV weren't moonlighting as NFL referees, but their third LP was another amazing piece of work. Today we explore Formell's haunting and beautiful bolero songo compositions.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

cuban music, musica cubana --
photo by Indochino

Not since Pupy y Los Que Son Son hit the scene in 2001 has a new Havana band broken through and stirred up the amount of excitement among timba fans that Salsa Mayor has. They still sound a lot like Los Van Van to me, but hey -- if you're gonna sound like somebody ... and the LVV hooks are of the highest quality and woven together in very creative ways. If you haven't listened to the Te pone la cabeza mala album 1,000 times as I have, you might not even notice. And in any case, the raw timba energy oozing out of their recent live videos is so strong that I can't wait for George Bush to go away so I can hear them live in the US. Seventy-nine months down and only seventeen months to go, my friends. We're almost there.

But I digress! Salsa Mayor is on a roll and they're here to stay, so it's time to start getting familiar with the players, and who better to introduce us than Michelle White, who just spent almost a month touring around Europe with them. Here's her report on the músicos of Salsa Mayor.

Salsa Mayor Tribute on Radio Melao -- click here.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
La señora perorata
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Early Cuban Rap -- The rap genre hadn't been invented, but that didn't stop la Ritmo. This concludes our survey of La Ritmo's second album (their first of the 70s). Tomorrow: we return to Los Van Van and begin our survey of their extraordinary third album and the two groups continue their historic game of leapfrog.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Yoruba Andabo in Canada -- Probably the top modern rumba/guarapachangeo group. See Michelle.

Danny Lozada adds 7 New Tunes in His Live Show-- Including - finally - songs from his masterpiece, Tanto le pedí, and the never released rarity "Hay que tocármela" from the 1997 suspension concert. See Melao for more.

Klímax Concert Review -- Michelle and her sister have lovingly translated a Danish review of Klímax's concert in Horsens earlier this month, which hails it as the best concert of the last couple years.

More Salsa Mayor video -- This time it's Anda pégate, another of the band's recent breakthrough hits.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Polo Tamayo - Flautista Extraordinaire
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

(photo by Victor Barrientos - 1986 - Mexico City)

In today's excerpt, we continue our survey of la Ritmo's first album of the 70s with María baila el son, featuring a masterful flute solo by Polo Tamayo, whose quick-witted, brilliantly creative style was a perfect match for la Ritmo.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Michel Maza in Perú with D'Farándula -- See Melao.

cuban music, musica cubanaRolando Luna -- One of my top 5 favorite timba pianists, Rolando Luna has won a prestigious European competition. See Melao.

New Salsa Mayor video -- Anda pégate from the recent concert in Modena. See Michelle.

Robertón y Revé -- Robertón is a featured guest singer on Elito Revé's new album, due out in September. Might he become more than a guest? See Melao.

Timba Slideshow -- All the major groups performing live in Havana last month. See Yemayá's Verse.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
More of La Ritmo's Second Album
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Adiós, no estoy loco and Tema R.D.A - Funky bass tumbaos, political intrigue, and an undeniable link to Charanga Habanera's Soy cubano, soy popular.

Monday, July 30, 2007

El Boni está pasma’o
El Boni está en Palmbiche

cuban music, musica cubana

Palm Beach, that is ... Miami, actually. You heard me right, ladies - Cuban heart-throb número uno is now the best-looking corpse in the Timba Graveyard.Contrólase muchachas! If you can still your fluttering hearts long enough to wrap your trembling, expectant fingers around the mouse, click over to Melao for the rest of the story.

Issac's New Timbalero - Finally, some details on Issac's band, along with more video. See Melao.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Ritmo Oriental's First Album of the 70s
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

The Race is On - Van Van raised the bar considerably with Tránsito, but shortly afterwards la Ritmo answered with this masterpiece. Today we introduce the album and listen to the first song, El que no sabe, sabe

Sunday, July 29, 2007

VIDEO!: Issac with Manolín and Carlos Manuel - Half the people haven't even driven home yet, and Melao's already got video and a review of Issac's concert tonight in Miami!

cuban music, musica cubana
Feliciano Arango - photo by Patrick Bonnard

Phenomenal Photography! - Patrick Bonnard and Indochino are on a roll over at fiestacuba.net. Check in with Michelle for a lot more of these, and for Timba in Spain: Manolito, NG, and Edy-K.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
El que tiene batá no tiene na'
cuban music, musica cubana
cuban music, musica cubana
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Pedro Calvo's Early Career with Ritmo Oriental - Everyone knows that Charanga Habanera's David Calzado and NG La Banda's Tony Calá began their careers with Ritmo Oriental, but you might be surprised to discover that the same thing holds true for Los Van Van icon Pedro Calvo. Two of the best songs he recorded with la Ritmo were never released on CD, and if EGREM released them on vinyl, we haven't found the records or any record of the records. But Cuban music expert Osvaldo Martínez tiene su mecánica and provided us with a mysterious Calle Ocho bootleg, so we can finally hear these two gems.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Live Revé - On Radio Melao -- also, lots of information about, and directly from, Vanessa Formell. Also, more on Charanga in Canada.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Y se baila así
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

This one kicked my butt! - Enriqe Lazaga's Y se baila así is such an amazing arrangement that it knocked me off schedule for a few days ... it was worth it though!

Friday, July 27, 2007

New Charanga Habanera Videos - See En Frecuencia. Also, Azúcar Negra in Germany.

Charanga Habanera in Toronto - See Mr. Bryans.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Manolito in London This Weekend! - Michelle has the details, Gilito's new Envidia contract (with video), Charanga Habanera in Spain, etc.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Big Weekend in Miami - Melao gets us ready for Issac, Carlos Manuel and Vanessa Formell and adds a section on hip-hop artist Alberto GV.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Too Much Talent
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1972: Lazaga the Songwriter - According to noted Ritmologists Brett Gollin and Rob Holland, Enrique Lazaga originally played congas with Ritmo Oriental , and it was when he and Juan Claro Bravo switched instruments that the sound of the band really took off. There's little argument that Lazaga is the greatest Cuban güiro player -- listen to this passage -- but few people realize that, after Piloto, he may be the island's second most prolific percussionist-songwriter. Today we cover Canto de felicidad, and tomorrow, one of his most famous pieces, Y se baila así.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Haila Mompié - The new En Frecuencia update (en español también) has European tour dates and a great video of Haila at the 2005 Bamboleo anniversary concert, singing the Limonta classic Con un canto en el pecho -- the last track of Bamboleo's masterpiece album, Yo no me parezco a nadie from 1997. Also, more on la banda del momento -Salsa Mayor.

Fresh Video of Salsa Mayor - El Noro singing La Masa in Pamiers

Another Entry in the timba.com coro competencia - Salsa Mayor checks in with a video version of their timba.com coro, joining LVV and Havanaway. Who will be next?

cuban music, musica cubana

Salsa Mayor Returns to Cuba - Michelle has the details and a CD Review with audio examples. More video coming soon.

Dan Den en Perú - Revisa Timba en Perú.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Give the Fiddlers Some
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1974: Ritmo Oriental's String Arrangements - The history of Cuban string section guajeos is the subject of another large section, but we take a short sidetrip here that also includes a bit of Manolito y su Trabuco. That's the young Tony Calá on the left by the way.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Klímax! - Melao has one video and Hendrik has another which also features an astounding trumpet solo from Alexander Abreu.

Yemayá's Salsa Mayro Pics - aquí -- Also: Paulito with Vannia video, and fotos of Andy Montañez with el Trabuco. More on Andy Montañez at En Frecuencia.

Café Cubano - Mr. Bryans reviews their killer show at Lula's in Toronto. Also some mysterious unspecified rumors about Pedro Calvo ... or something.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Sea of Holes
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1974: Ritmo Oriental's Se perdió el amor - My old music teacher used to say the same thing every time I played a violin solo -- "MORE HOLES! DAMNIT! LEAVE MORE HOLES!" He was gently trying to tell me that if I would just play an idea and then shut up for a second, someone else in the rhythm section would play something in response, and that, in turn, would give me an idea for my next phrase. Today's excerpt begins with an unusually large hole in one of Humberto Perera's bass tumbaos and ends up on a quest for the holey grail -- with stops along the way to compare and contrast jazz, changüí and timba. I don't think my fever has gone down completely ...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

This Just In:
Scientists Discover Signs of Intelligent Life in Miami!

cuban music, musica cubanaN'Talla - Yet another promisingly hardcore timba band ... music to my ears! Melao has rehearsal video and Juan Tomás will be hosting their new artists section.

El Pikete - This band is the real deal -- check out Radio Melao for a variety of burning hot demos and live tracks.

¡Ha regresado En Frecuencia! - Pon clik aquí, y revísalo con frecuencia por poner clik a la izquierda con los otros blogs.

Vanessa Formell Next Friday in Miami - This one has quite a bit of backstory and I only know some of it. In 2000, Ralph Mercado released an album by a singer known only as "Vanessa". The rumor was that it was Juan Formell's daughter but that RMM was afraid the dreaded music mafia would stop it from being played on the air if she used her last name. The best song on the album was the last track and the rumor was that the song was written by, but not credited to, Juan Formell, and that he, Samuell, and various other members of LVV played on the track. I didn't know how much of this is true, but it was a great track. In the 7 years since, I heard nothing more about Vanessa until now -- which didn't necessarily mean anything since I usually have my head deeply buried in the Oru Seco, the Tomás Cruz Conga Method, Arsenio Rodríguez, or some such thing. The song, Yo soy caramelo,, however, resurfaced in 2004 on Michel Maza's ¡Fieeesta! -- another scorching version, this time properly attributed to Papá Juan. So by all means, get yourself down to El Clique next Friday the 27th and let us in on "the rest of the story".

And the following night: Issac Delgado Returns to Miami - Melao has the details on next Saturday night's concert.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Moment of Silence ... to mourn the passing of one of the greatest rumberos who ever lived -- the last surviving founder of Los Muñequitos de Matanzas -- Esteban Vega Bacallao "Chachá”. Click here for a eulogy in Spanish, translated by Ned Sublette, via Louis Head.

Friday, July 20, 2007

cuban music, musica cubanaNYC - Lozada Update - Fotos and reviews from the recent Danny Lozada concert in New York. More to come soon.

Amazing Tosco Fotos - Pat Bonnard's amazing shots of the International Man of Mystery.

The International Man of Animated GIFs - aquí

Time Out! - I thought I was ready with today's installment of The Roots of Timba -- Se perdió el amor by Ritmo Oriental -- but it needs a bit more work to even begin to do it justice. Here are some great audio excerpts to get you in the mood though: audio 1, audio 2. Manolito fans will be especially interested in this excerpt. Pop Quiz: What famous singer was just getting his start in 1974 adding the vocal interjections on audio 2?

Arturo Sandoval Goes Timba - Check Melao for details on Arturo's new CD with Tomasito, Gola, Tony Pérez, Pututi I, and Felipe Lamoglia. Also in Melao latest batch of updates - new demo tracks from El Pikete and Cuban hip-hop star Alberto GV.

El Pikete - Get Ready! - El Pikete's studio album is going to be the bomb -- raw hardcore creative timba.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

DJ of the Month: DJ Ahínamá - Melao hooks us up with the hottest DJ in Paris.

Making Sense of El Tosco - Peter Watrous and Mr. Bryans are doing their darndest. I made sense of him til there was no more sense to be made. But before El Tosco founded NG La Banda, before El Tosco joined Irakere, before El Tosco joined Los Van Van, in 1974, back when Tony Calá was still a dancer in Los Hoyos, a certain funky charanga band went into EGREM studios and cut nine tracks that changed everything ... forever.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
CA-718 - The Manolo Sessions
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Sigue aguajeando Manolo - Listen -- Read.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Discographical Dementia
cuban music, musica cubanacuban music, musica cubanacuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

It Ain't Easy ... trying to piece together these recordings in order, without missing any great ones. Please join our email campaign to convince EGREM to release their extensive back catalog in remastered form with proper documentation!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Happy 90th Birthday Generoso Jiménez -- Beny Moré's trombonist was eight years old when Sexteto Habanero made their first record, and still going strong today.

Salsa Mayor -- Tour update, journal update, new fotos - see Michelle.

Issac in Miami July 28th -- see Melao.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
"The Album"
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1974: Los Van Van's Tránsito -- Some call it Tránsito -- some call it "Volume II" -- -- some find it strange -- some insist that it's still LVV's greatest album. However you feel about it, it was the first true Cuban "album" -- not just a collection of tracks, but a complete musical statement. Enjoy!

Monday, July 16, 2007

New Artists Section: N'Talla
cuban music, musica cubana

Graveyard No Más? --Juan Tomás has added a section for N'Talla, the latest addition to Miami's growing roster of hot young bands. Go check them out and let us know what you think!

Audio Clip of Manolito's New Hit -- Dice Mr Bryans: "This is about as perfect a salsa composition and arrangement as it gets.

More on the New Salsa Mayor album -- see Melao. Speaking of Salsa Mayor, we should be getting more from Michelle soon.

Danny Lozada well-received in NYC -- TimbaGeeks has photos and comments.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Chirrín chirrán and La habana joven
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1974 - Formell's First Double A-Side Single -- Even if you're only familiar with the new Van Van, you'll recognize these classics. Tomorrow: "The Album".

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1974 - Changuito's Kick & Snare -- This guy was truly ahead of his time. Today we begin to deconstruct his use of the kick and snare -- in Los Van Van's Ana -- and 20 years later in Los Que Son Son's La bomba soy yo. Today's little chapter is just the tip of the iceberg - between 1974 and 1976, Changuito came up with a dizzying array of ways to illuminate and exploit the parallels between Cuban clave and North American R&B. Stay tuned!

Según Melao: The World's Top Dancers
cuban music, musica cubana

Melao's Dancers' Directory -- Go to Melao's home page and then click on the Dancers button. Following up on the response to his new DJ Pool, Melao is creating a directory for the dance performers and instructors. Check it out!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Irakere's Quindiambo
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1974 - Meanwhile, in another part of town ... The handful of dance tracks that Irakere recorded in the 70s had a disproportionately vast influence on timba. See if you can listen to excerpt #3 without our hair catching fire! We're not sure if the pictured 45 contains the same recording as Irakere's first LP, or, like the early singles of Van Van, if it's an entirely different earlier version. If you have the 45, or if you know the answer, please write in!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Worldwide Timba DJ Pool -- Melao's latest brainstorm is Conexión Timbera -- if you're a timba DJ, or you're looking for one, or if you just want to hear Robertón sing that Pachito Alonso track again, pon clik aquí!

Yemayá's Withdrawal Symptoms -- Complete with video of Mandy dancing guaguancó with Pupy at Café Cantante. Pop Quiz: Which Ritmo Oriental song do Mandy & Co. quote at the end of the video clip? The answer will appear in The Roots of Timba in about a week and a half.

Mr. Bryans on Salsa Mayor -- Le gusta.

Back in the Day -- Melao's latest "back in the day" track is a killer - featuring Roberto Van Van from his early days with Pachito Alonso y su Kini Kini. Sounds just like the Robertón of today.

Pop Quiz: Name 8 famous timberos who started with Pachito. (answer).

Michellevision -- Today's live Salsa Mayor video clip is Ella dice. This is no overcompressed YouTube bluriness -- the camera work and audio quality are as superb as SM's musicianship, which is world-class. I'm still at the stage where Salsa Mayor sounds so much like Van Van to me, but I have to admit -- they're starting to draw me in. Their professionalism and raw groove are as strong as anyone's, and now I can't stop singing tú sabes que la llave la tengo yo.

Did someone say "Van Van"?

Qué tiene Van Van anway? It's a question they asked themselves in 1982, and they were still trying to figure it out in 1995. But as you'll hear in from today's Roots of Timba excerpt, whatever it was that they had, they already had it in 1973. But wait! -- you say -- ese Kevin 'tá loco -- none of those clips sounds anything like today's Salsa Mayor excerpt. The incarnation of Van Van that most inspired los Mayores came a little later, in 1997. Eso es lo que tiene Van Van! They're forever reinventing themselves. Speaking of which ...

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Into the Eye of the Storm
cuban music, musica cubana

==click here for today's excerpt==

1973 - Ponte para las cosas -- For me, this is the greatest early Van Van song.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Melaovisión! -- The latest episode introduces us to California-based timba singer Gonzalo Chomat.

cuban music, musica cubana

What Happened to Michel Maza?? -- Melao has the answer.

Shabi's Lozada Ticket Tips -- the concert is tonite and paypal will be open till 3pm for last minute ticket sales. Save $5 in advance. There is no transaction fee for buying tickets online.

Lozada - Crash Mansion - NYC - Tonight!
cuban music, musica cubana

Beam me to NY! -- I would love to see this show! The well-rehearsed combination of Danny Lozada, Lizandro Arias and Mauricio Herrera Tamayo is going to be electrifying. If you're anywhere near New York - wake up! Over the years, Manhattan has nurtured the "perfect storms" of many musical genres. It's time for the next one! Tonight at Crash Mansion in New York. To get yourself into the mood, here's a recent WBAI Interview with audio clips.

Salsa Mayor Video Clip from Paris -- Michelle's Salsa Mayor coverage is expanding geometrically. She'll soon have more on July 2007 than I have on the whole decade of the 70s! And the tour is only half over!

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
1973: Pero qué falta de respeto
cuban music, musica cubana

==click here for today's excerpt==

R-E-S-P-E-T-O -- If you've never heard this infectiously funky song, you'll be surprised - and you'll begin to understand why Bobby Colomby was Changuito's favorite drummer. On the other hand, if you're already a diehard Los Van Van Volume II fan, you're still going to be surprised when hear the single version! And then there's the psychedelic songo bolero B-side, never released on any album. Strange, but quite beautiful, and a great candidate for Van Van's recent project of re-recording earlier classics. Tomorrow: Perhaps the greatest early LVV track.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

cuban music, musica cubanaMelao's Latest Scoops

Hasta venga la policía! Sting and The Police have been invited to perform in Cuba. See Melao.

Pedrito Calvo, Jr. -- El negro no tiene ná, but he does have a lot of kids, and one of them is touring Europe. See Melao.

Enhancements to Radio Melao -- See Melao.

Melissa Cornick's Lozada Pre-Concert Report -- New York Timbaphile Melissa files this report from Danny Lozada's latest rehearsal with his NY band, which includes the great Mauricio Herrera, whom I saw tearing it up on drums with Paulito in 1999, Lizandro Arias on piano, and many other veterans of top Timba bands.

Cuban Timba All Stars Quintet Tonight - No Cover! -- I think I need tot move to Miami. Arturo Sandoval's Jazz Club tonight. First set at 8:30, 2nd set at 10:30

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
1973: Another Lost Classic Van Van Track
cuban music, musica cubana

==click here for today's excerpt==

Formell's First Use of "Clave License" -- Y que se sepa was a fascinating single for so many reasons. It was never released on a Van Van album, but was released on compilations with two different singers -- one version with Lele, Sr. (father of the current LVV singer Lele), and a second version with Buena Vista diva Omara Portuondo. Y que se sepa is also the first example I've found of Formell's intriguing "clave license" arranging technique. Finally, the flip side, a haunting songo bolero called Me basta con pensar, was later turned into an up-tempo song in 1990 on LVV's monumental double album Aquí el que baila gana.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Michelle Returns! -- For a week anyway -- she has all sorts of tour updates and some amazing Salsa Mayor fotos from Indochino. Also, Yanek Revilla links are fixed.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
1972: Los Van Van - The Singles
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Fasten Your Seatbelts -- When you first hear Pero a mi manera you may find yourself wondering whether it was a different "Los Van Van" that recently played in your town. Well, it's the same band, and there's a surprisingly large community of diehards who still swear that this was their greatest period. I could make a convincing argument for any of three decades -- and if you held a gun to my head, I'd still probably wind up choosing the era of Soy todo, Cabeza mala, Ni bonbones ni caramelos, Voy a publicar tu foto, Pura vestimenta, Camina pa' que te cononzan and El tren se va -- but it wouldn't be easy. If LVV had never made another album after Volume IV, we'd still be talking about them today. Qué dices tú?

Monday, July 9, 2007

"Dancing on 2" -- Three words that strike terror into the heart of dance students everywhere. Fortunately, a video is worth a thousand words, and François and Yamilah give us three in their monthly dance tutorial section.

Above and beyond the call of duty! -- Michelle - touring Italy for the benefit of timberos everywhere! Latest stops: Lecce and Turin.

cuban music, musica cubanaDanny Lozada WBAI Radio Interview -- In anticipation of Thursday night's show at Crash Mansion in New York, Mario Murillo of WBAI's Wakeup Call interviewed Danny with translation by timba.com's Shabi Samoohi.


There's also audio of a live version of another great post-Tanto le pedí song.

Great New Timba Video from El Pikete -- A great new timba original - Seco y guardado -- when are these guys going on tour?

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Los Van Van for Collectors
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

A Yen for El Tren -- Are you the kind of person who just has to have every single note Los Van Van ever recorded? Or is a well-chosen "greatest hits" package bastante para ti? I fall into the first category myself, and for those similarly obsessed, I'll lay out everything I've learned on the subject over the next few chapters. Maybe if I'm lucky, someone out there will write in with some new information I don't have! Or at least write EGREM and encourage them to properly release the entire catalogs of LVV, la Ritmo and Irakere.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Melao's "Back in the Day" Bonus Track -- If you do nothing else today, you have to listen to this track -- all the way through. Break out a shot of that Havana Club 7-Year you've been hording away in the cupboard, click here, and fasten your seatbelts. This, my friends, is TIMBA! Timba dura, timba brava, la timba que tú conoces.

Batá! -- I sometimes forget that I spent a year listening to nothing but batá music, so I didn't realize my latest chapter was incomprehensible until people started writing in. I've now added an audio file to demonstrate the iyesá rhythm that Irakere borrowed as the basis of their batún-batá rhythm. The performance is by Grupo Olubatá (members of which played many recent concerts with Danny Lozada). If you're interested in batá, Olubatá has an amazing educational product that lets you study the parts separately and then play them in a "music-minus-one" setting.

Lozada Fest 2007
cuban music, musica cubanacuban music, musica cubana
Tonight: San Diego -- Thursday: New York
cuban music, musica cubana

Tonight, Sunday July 8th at Anthology in San Diego with Gustavo Ramírez on piano and band of SoCal's best musicians including Raúl Piñeda. And get ready for Crash Mansion in New York this Thursday, July 12th. Not in SD or NY? Here's some Cuban TV video of one of Danny's greatest unreleased songs, La habana es mía. Or Estoy hecho from Tanto le pedí live in 1998 with JCG on piano and Pepe Espinosa on timbales. Or Danny and Michel really getting themselves into trouble during Charanga Habanera's infamous "Suspension Concert" from August, 1997. Or hear his masterpiece Tanto le pedí online at LatinPulse. Or check out 7 galleries of photos from Tom Ehrlich, and another from Peter Maiden here

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Irakere's Answer to Songo -- Batún batá is a fascinating mixture of guaguancó, iyesá, and raw funk. In today's excerpt we meet the original members of Irakere's rhythm section, including Bernardo García on drums and Miami resident Lázaro "Tato" Alfonso, the originator of the incredible batún-batá conga/bell marcha.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Audio! Bamboleo & Salsa Mayor -- Vete a Radio Melao!

Melao's Review of En Talla -- This new Miami band gets high marks from Melao -- especially repartero lead singer Nicolás Martínez. Are we detecting signs of life in the timba graveyard?

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
1972: Introducing Irakere
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1972 - Enter Irakere -- The primary interest of our third 70s band was Afrocuban jazz, but when they did get around to breaking out their dancing shoes, they played a very important role in our story of the roots of timba. NG La Banda, in fact, was formed by about a half a dozen Irakere musicians, but only one, Carlos Averhoff, was in the band when they recorded their visionary masterpiece Bacalao con pan.

Friday, July 6, 2007

cuban music, musica cubanaThe New Adalberto CD -- When Adalberto's son Ali contacted us, I almost convinced him to start writing a blog: El son de Adalberto, but with his college studies he just didn't have enough energy.

Undaunted, I connected him with timba.com's own 21st century renewable energy source -- Melao -- and now the scoops are pouring in. You can hear Adalberto's new hit Gozando la Habana in Melao's online Top 10.

Melao also has the latest on En Talla, DJ Cabrera and various other Miami happenings.

Speaking of Timba in Miami, after her brilliant Issac review, Lara Greene is also back on the scene over at El otro lado del puente.

Fresh Manolito Video from Havana -- At Yemayás Verse.

Two Updates to Michelle's Salsa Mayor Journal -- Zurich & Rome.

cuban music, musica cubanaISAAC - No, not Issac - this is the Instituto Superior de los Artes afro cubanos. They have a huge website and a wide variety of interesting classes and other services.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
¡Encendiendo la candela!
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Los Van Van's First Masterpiece -- No one knows why Aquí se enciende la candela was never released on a Los Van Van LP. I managed to get Dita Sullivan-Formell to ask her father-in-law about it, but even He didn't remember.

The song was like a bolt of lightning on a moonless night. For one brief moment it illuminated the future of Cuban music for all to see ... and then it was dark again. If you study it carefully, you'll hear many of the most important arranging breakthroughs of the timba era.

And I think you'll find tomorrow's featured track equally enlightening. The perfect storm is upon us!

Meanwhile, back in the present ... Just in case anyone is interested in what's happening in Cuba today, Melao has added a virtual iPod to the top of his blog which plays -- with uncanny accuracy -- the 10 new timba songs that you're most curious about at any given point in time.

And if you can't decide if you're in the past or present ... Yemayá's Verse has a review of the new album by the cult-fave 80s charanga-songo band, Maravilla de Florida. The band where Manolito Simonet got his start has recently rebounded to the cutting edge with its new timbafied lineup. NOW ... let's test my theory that Melao's Playlist always has the song you wanted to hear ... yup ... #10.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

cuban music, musica cubana

Fito's Fotos -- Master Fitographer Tom Ehrlich has checked in with two new galleries from Fito Reinoso's CD Release Party at Yoshi's. Concert -- Soundcheck. You can listen to and purchase the album here.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
The Conga Marchas of the 70s
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Conga Marchas of LVV & RO -- In today's excerpt we'll examine the revamped and re-rumbafied role of the congas in the early 70s. Tomorrow: ¡Encendiendo la candela!

Melao's New and Improved Audio Top 10 -- Check it out!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

cuban music, musica cubanaHappy Birthday Melao! -- Our new blogger David "DJ Melao" Figueroa has been brilliant since he started posting regularly last month. Today is no exception:

Alexander Abreu and Grupo Dansón -- This extraordinary trumpeter was a key part of Paulito's greatest group in the late 90s and has since probably recorded on more albums than any other Cuban musician. In Grupo Dansón he also sings and writes. We hope to add a complete section for this group soon, but in the meantime, see Melao for their upcoming European tour.

El Pikete's Seco y guardao -- Audio clips from recent performances of one of Miami's hottest new groups. See Melao.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Let's Do the Time Warp Again
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1971 - Seguimos Sabroseando -- Today we explore two more mind-boggling bloques from Sabroseao con la Ritmo. It's amazing to realize that this newly-discovered gem came out several years before the recordings we previously thought of as being La Ritmo's first in the new style.

cuban music, musica cubanaIf you're just getting started on Ritmo Oriental, I'd suggest devouring the whole section on Sabroseao, which contains a very scratchy, but complete streaming mp3 of this otherwise unavailable masterpiece. Then get yourself a copy of La historia de la Ritmo, Volume I, which we'll be reviewing almost track by track over the next month or two. You'll begin to hear timba in a whole new way after you've become familiar with this astounding group, and you'll also be prepared for the 1980s when David Calzado and Tony Calá joined the band.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Michelle & Salsa Mayor - Report from Zurich -- Click here.

cuban music, musica cubana
Fito Reinoso Pictures Coming Soon

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
"con efecto"
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Jugando con el Tiempo -- As we close in on the real beginning of the perfect storm, we pause to explain perhaps the most unusual feature of Ritmo Oriental's music -- an incredible stroke of rhythmic genius that no one, before or since, has ever fully caught up with. As I learned from master Ritmologists Rob Holland and Brett Gollin, the musicians of Ritmo Oriental called this special technique "con efecto". "Efecto" is another one of those Cuban terms -- like songo or mambo -- that has more definitions than it has letters. In the world of la Ritmo, "con efecto" means to manipulate the tempo in the most extreme ways imaginable. If not for streaming audio, I wouldn't even attempt to write about it, but thanks to the miracles of MIDI and wave editing, I think I've found a way to explain it that will make immediate sense to everyone (famous last words). Today's excerpt will prove me right or wrong!

Monday, July 2, 2007

cuban music, musica cubanaAdalberto's European Itinerary -- More info forthcoming, but here are the July dates of Adalberto's imminent European tour.

04 - Lllegada a Milano
06 - BARI
07 - ROMA
19 - TOULONE (F)
21 - TAMPERE (F)
25 - ZURICH (S)


Broadway's Tribute to Celia Cruz
-- See Melao

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
The Art of the Bloque
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

The Art of the Bloque -- In today's excerpt we compare the bloque masters of three generations: Arsenio Rodríguez, Ritmo Oriental and Charanga Habanera. The audio excerpts in this one are unbelievable. If you haven't got your computer set up to stream audio yet, now's the time!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

On the Road with Salsa Mayor -- Michelle is touring and unable to post to her blog, so I'll be keeping a journal here: MICHELLE'S SALSA MAYOR JOURNAL. Tonight, Salsa Mayor tears it up in Luxembourg. Paris is next.

MIchelle's SM Journal Continues -- Arriving in Paris. (God, California is boring).

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
The Missing Link: Ritmo Oriental's Answer to Songo
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

~1970 - Sabroseao con la Ritmo -- This previously lost masterpiece is the missing link. Ritmo Oriental had been churning out top quality charanga since 1958, but amidst the divine madness of "the perfect storm" they developed a dramatic new rhythmic style which still sounds very modern today and which swung the tempo in ways that no one else has, before or since. The song that began it all was Sabroseao con la Ritmo. It's never been released on CD and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Brett Gollin of Bongó Logic for pointing out its existence and historical significance, to Burrell Spates and Luis Carranza for providing a priceless old cassette overdub (which you can hear in its gloriously scratchy entirety), and to our mysterious Havana musicologist Cristóbal for tracking down its EGREM catalog number.

Also in today's excerpt is a fascinating (if you're a geek) study of tempo in Cuban music.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fito Reinoso's CD Release Party Monday!
cuban music, musica cubana

cuban music, musica cubanaIn Oakland Monday Night -- Northern California's world-class sonero, Fito Reinoso holds court at Yoshi's Monday, July 2nd in celebration of his latest CD, Comunicación. Also featured is his talented daughter, who memorably danced onstage with Los Van Van at age 6, and is now a singer in her own right.

The band features many of the Bay Area's best musicians, including Jason Moen of Parallel 23, Patricio Angulo of Rumba Aché, and Mike Lazarus and Evelio Roque of Danny Lozada's Northern California band.

Click here for more on the show and the album.

Click here for a review of Fito's guest appearance with Danny Lozada, and here for more fotos of the event.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
La Ritmo's Rhythm Section
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Meet La Ritmo -- The storm is gathering, and tomorrow the first bolt of lightning will strike, changing the face of Cuban music forever. Today, enjoy the last moments of calm and get to know the phenomenal rhythm section of la Orquesta Ritmo Oriental.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Timba in Miami Updated - More on the big weekend in Miami - El Pikete at Makumba, En Talla at Rumba Habana, Tiempo Libre at Aché and the Ife-Ile Festival.

cuban music, musica cubana
Maikel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor Taking Europe by Storm
New Shows Added

While I've been buried in Arsenio and la Ritmo, Salsa Mayor has risen to the upper echelons of the Cuban music scene. They're playing 15 shows over the next month in Europe - Italy to Luxembourg to Paris to Zurich to Italy to France to Belgium and back to Italy. Catch them if you can -- the live clips I've heard are incredibly tight and professional, and as an added bonus you might even catch a glimpse of timba.com's Michelle White!

Mr. Bryans on Coming Attractions - Including rumors of the new LVV -- click here. By the way, if anyway sees Carlinhos Brown, see if El Majá (ex-Issac, ex-PFG) is still playing piano with him.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
La Ritmo
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Ritmo Oriental -- Today we introduce the second of the three great bands of the 70s with audio from their charanga period of the 60s and their breathtaking new approach of the 70s.

Timba IQ Test was too easy?? -- So says my email inbox. Timba.com readers from far and wide scored perfect 30's and were offended that the test was too easy. All righty then ... try these! If you can name all five, you'll be inducted into Timba-geek Hall of Fame! (or infamy!)

#1 -- #2 -- #3 -- #4 -- #5

Fito Reinoso at Yoshi's Next Monday -- Full press release and audio preview coming soon!

cuban music, musica cubanaJet Lag no más! -- Gabriel of Yemayá's Verse, seen here dancing blissfully with photographer extraordinaire Cristián Múñoz is back and posting with a vengeance.

YV has new posts on Pupy y Los Que Son Son, Cubadisco 2007, and the new Charanga Habanera album El rey de los Charangueros.

Riverón TEARS it up! -- click here. Lord have mercy!


Another Huge Weekend in Miami!-- see Melao on Ife-Ile, El Pikete Lisandro Arias in NYC, and Salsa Mayor in Paris. Michelle is on tour with Salsa Mayor and will no doubt be madly updating so, so stay tuned.

Danny Lozada in San Diego and New York City -- Danny will be at the Anthology Night Club in San Diego on Sunday July 8, 2007, and then at Crash Mansion in New York on July 12th.

El Pikete audio preview! -- Check out these great demos from El Pikete.

Thursday, June 28, 2007 --Test Your Timba IQ -- Here's a simple test to determine just how far over the deep end your obsession with timba has taken you. For each of these 10 audio excerpts, try to name the group, the song, and the album. (The correct answers are in today's excerpt of The Roots of Timba). For each correct answer, give yourself one point. A perfect score is 30. If you score above 25, we recommend that you seek professional help.

Ready? Here we go:

#1 -- #2 -- #3 -- #4 -- #5 -- #6 -- #7 -- #8 -- #9 -- #10

Now -- The Bonus Question: What do all 10 of these albums have in common? (answer below)

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
The Perfect Storm
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

The Perfect Storm -- Exactly ten years ago today, June 28, 1997, Havana's music scene was in the eye of a "perfect storm". All ten of the musical examples above were released within a few months of that date. Think about that for a second. All of those songs and many dozens more, all of those albums, all of those bands -- all peaking at the same time, in the same small town, feeding off of each others' energy and electrifying every resident and tourist within earshot.

Most of the time, the live music scene is terrible -- you try to get a band together -- you try to get a gig -- you don't rehearse enough -- not enough people show up -- you don't make very much money -- the horns and coros are out of tune -- you can't keep the band together -- no one is inspired to come up with great new arrangements ...

... kind of like Miami, eh? Kind of like San Francisco. Kind of like your town. Even Havana is a bit out of sorts these days. And the way it is today is the way it is normally. Most of the time it's downright depressing to be a musician or a passionate music fan. But every now and then, all hell breaks loose and it's so exciting that it keeps you going for another ten years, waiting for "it" to happen again -- that magical air of excitement -- the dozens of brilliant new songs repeating over and over in the back of your head -- the buzz from head to toe that comes with the first note of each concert -- the looks of euphoric disbelief on the faces of the ocean of people surrounding you in front of the stage. It was like that when I went to Cuba for the first time in early 1999. I saw Charanga Habanera, Manolín and Van Van back to back to back, and they were all on fire in a way that I had never experienced -- or dreamed possible. I got so excited that I could barely breathe and when I got back I went to the record store and scooped up all the albums excerpted above -- then I really lost my mind!

In the last 100 years, Havana has had more than its fair share of perfect storms -- both of the musical variety and of the type shown in the graphic. In today's excerpt we set the stage for perhaps the most mysterious and least well documented -- the one that began somewhere around 1971.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The New Charanga Habanera Album (with complete audio clips) see Melao. Is it just me or does the first song sound almost exactly like Soy cubano, soy popular?

cuban music, musica cubanaLozada & JCG -- The buzz is building!

Danny Lozada and Juan Carlos González, who collaborated on CH's Tremendo delirio and later on the amazing Tanto le pedí, emerged from a 2-hour Transatlantic phone conversation with big plans and palpable enthusiasm.


cuban music, musica cubana They've heard the message loud and clear that the timba fans of the world are not going to be satisfied until they get another take-no-prisoners album that lives up to the standards set by their previous masterpieces. Stay tuned, Tanto le pedí groupies - the best may be yet to come!



The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
The Detroit Connection
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

The Detroit Connection -- Everyone knows that timba bands such as Charanga Habanera and Manolín were inspired by their love for the music of Earth Wind & Fire and other North American R&B groups, but the Cuban bands of the 70s were also influenced by their counterparts to the north -- especially in the bassline department. Today we pay homage to James Jamerson -- perhaps the most creative and influential pop bassist who ever lived. Tomorrow: The Perfect Storm.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Didacticiel en français -- Merci beaucoup, François! (This is a French translation of the tutorial to understand the rhythmic examples in The Roots of Timba. Here's the English version. Translation by François Bégin of the Dos Con Dos dance instruction section, which is also available in French and English

Los Muñequitos de Montreal -- and elsewhere in Canada ... via Mr. Bryans.

Even after leaving the island ... Yemayá's tales of la Habana continue.

Great video clip of Pupy's De Timba a Pogolotti -- via Yemayá - click here

Monday, June 25, 2007

cuban music, musica cubana
Great New Lozada Fotos
-- New fotos from last week's concert
from Tom Ehrlich.

Melao Update -- Maravilla de Florida, the classic 80s band where Manolito got his start, has reinvented itself and returned to the cutting edge, and Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, who have been tearing it up since the early 50s, are about to embark on an extensive tour of Canada. See Melao for the details.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Conclusion of Los Van Van, Volume I
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Los Van Van's First LP, pt. 2 -- Click here for the conclusion of Van Van's quirky maiden voyage and see if you can spot the clues as to what was about to come down. The puente from Havana to la Yuma was closed and boarded up in 1969, but the radio still worked, and Juan Formell was listening carefully. Tomorrow: The Detroit Connection.

The New Manolín Album - see Melao. This would be the one with Melón, Joel Domínguez et al.

cuban music, musica cubana

Melao & Duniel Interview Issac - AUDIO - Melao has more concert updates and and long audio interview with Issac.

Entrevista con Issac en español - Pon clic aquí.

Timba en Perú - Mr. Bryans.unearths a large Peruvian timba site called Rumba Negra. Today's featured artists are Paulito FG and Maikel Blanco.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Melao's Massive Issac Review with VIDEO!! -- Gorgeous photography and multiple video clips highlight Melao's review of last night's historic concert.

Issac Reviews Rolling In:

Lara Greene timba.com link
Melao timba.com link
Jordan Levin Miami Herald link
Fernando Ruano, Jr. Miami New Times link
Olga O'Connor El Nuevo Herald link
Eliseo Cardona El Sentinel link

Expanded Ritmo Oriental Discography -- Now extended to 1989 - click here.

cuban music, musica cubanaNew Section: La Ritmo Oriental -- Attention timba fans: if you're not familiar with Ritmo Oriental, you're not going to believe it took you this long to discover one of the greatest and hippest bands in Cuban music history. This is no history lesson -- this music sounds as modern and exciting today as it did 20 years ago. This is the band where Van Van's Pedro Calvo, NG's Tony Calá and CH's David Calzado all got started. When it comes to bloques and nuances of groove, the rest of the world has yet to catch up. We begin with a gallery of fotos that Martin Karakas scanned from the personal collection of RO's leader, Enrique Lazaga (father of Charanga Habanera's founding timbalero, by the way). This section will be growing in leaps and bounds all summer.

Lara on Issac! -- Este lado del puente is the first to check in with a great review of the Issac concert. She takes it song by song, gives us plenty of musical and behind the scene details, and offers by far the best and most thorough insights on Issac's new show, band, and musical direction available anywhere on the internet.

Jordan Levin on Issac -- Coming in a close second, via Mr. Bryans, Jordan Levin of the Miami Herald also has a must-read review, holding out hope that Issac will catch the mainstream wave that's thus far eluded Manolín and Carlos Manuel.

Meanwhile, en el otro lado -- Michelle checks in with an amazing concert review of her own. This one occurred spontaneously in a Havana restaurant and in case we don't believe her, Michelle gives us the whole show on video! She's also finished her article on the albums of Maikel Blanco and Salsa Mayor.

¡Oye timbero! - you're going to have to quit your day job to keep up with all these updates!

And on the 37th day, she rested ... Tragically, Yemayá has left the building - no more timely Havana blogging until she get back to Oz and recovers from her jet lag. It's been an amazing run of concert reviews, Havana travelogue, and the personal tales of a timbera in paradise. You can relive her journey almost day by day at Yemayá's Verse.

Y Melao? Probably still at the concert partying.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
Los Van Van's First LP
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

cuban music, musica cubana1969: Los Van Van's First LP -- Armed with a bit of knowledge about songo, we return to 1969 -- shortly after the budding genius of Juan Formell had inspired most of the musicians pictured above to defect from their steady jobs with Orquesta Revé and join in the unproven and oddly named experiment that Formell called "Los Van Van". Changuito had yet to arrive -- the drummer was Blas Egües, brother of the late great flautist, Richard Egües. The music of LVV's first LP may surprise you, but beneath its odd, paisley-meets-bubblegum veneer, a primordial songo stew was bubbling and churning in Formell's cauldron -- about to boil over into the streets of Havana.

Tutorial Updated -- The first guinea pigs have reported in and I've revised and extended the Roots of Timba tutorial accordingly.

Awaiting Your Reports on Issac! -- How was it?

Dance Section Updates -- Instructors, Special Events and Recurring Events have all been updated.

More on Hilario Durán y Familia -- via Mr. Bryans.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Test Your Rhythmic Skills! -- I've gotten a lot of emails from people who were really enjoying the Roots of Timba book ... until ... they got to the rhythmic notation with all the x's and 0's. One reader requested a tutorial, so today's excerpt is in fact a tutorial guaranteed to teach you to read the x's and 0's in a mere 10 minutes! if it doesn't work, you'll be compensated with an all expenses paid trip to Miami to see Issac Saturday night (and I have a bridge from Havana to Miami that I want to sell you -- and I'll throw in the mangas largas at no extra charge). Seriously though, this tutorial turned out to be much quicker and easier than I though it would be and should be extremely valuable to anyone who wants to learn to count, improve their rhythm and dancing, or read my silly articles.

Tomorrow: Dateline 1969 - Los Van Van's first album

Los Oviedo en Concierto! -- Calixto, Yulién and Yarién -- together again with a great new band. See Michelle.

All Eyes Turn To Miami

cuban music, musica cubanaSaturday's Issac Delgado concert at James L. Knight Center in downtown Miami is shaping up to be the biggest and most widely anticipated Miami event since Los Van Van's historic 1999 concert. Is it timba? Is it salsa? Read on ...

Issac Video! --Melao has fresh video of Issac's band in rehearsal for tomorrow night's show.

Issac TV: -- Lara Greene's Este lado del puente is back just in time to provide the scoop on Issac upcoming television appearance. o

Yemayá on Pupy -- click here.

Mr. Bryans on Telmary - July 12th at Lula's Lounge-- click here.

cuban music, musica cubana

Lozada Heads East: The last show of the West Coast Tour was the best of the bunch, and attending it has delayed the next chapter in my online book -- check back a little later today for that. Also check back for lots of Lozada photos from Tom Ehrlich coming within the week. Now Danny heads east to New York City where he'll play at Crash Mansion on July 12th.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lozada & Saoco - LAST SHOW TONIGHT!
cuban music, musica cubana
Karibbean City in Oakland at 10:00 p.m. Don't miss it.

cuban music, musica cubana
En frecuencia más frequentemente -- En frecuencia is back! They have photos of Issac in Miami and at the Hollywood Bowl y mucho más - en dos idiomas. Revísala!

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

¡Changuito! -- In today's chapter we conclude our introduction to songo with a tribute to the great Changuito, who has finished latest solo album which will be released very soon. Tomorrow: Los Van Van releases their first album!

cuban music, musica cubanaTest Your Rhythm! -- Coming soon. A tutorial to teach you how to decipher those annoying x's and 0'x ... and unravel the mysteries of clave in the process.

cuban music, musica cubanaLast Lozada Show Tonight - Thursday -- Karibbean City in Oakland. Tomorrow the next big timba drought begins anew ... sigh. If it weren't for the fact that LVV is releasing their first album, I'd be really depressed. Such are the advantages of living in the 70s.

El Malo Cantidad! -- All this talk about Cuban singers moving to Miami has led to speculation over the fate of Carlos Manuel. Speculate no further -- Melao has tracked down El malo cantidad and his new album.

Sun Sentinel on Issac -- Better get tickets for Saturday night's show. It's going to sell out if it hasn't already. The Miami press core is all over this one! Ruth Morris reports at The Sun-Sentinel.

Duñy con Pupy -- As per Yemayá's Verse, Duñesky Barreto, the brilliant conguero of Bamboleo for so many years, is now with Pupy y Los Que Son Son. But the best news is that Yemayá, for better or verse, is picking his brains on some geeky subjects which will come mightily in handy when our "year by year" survey makes its way to 1997.

Hilario Duran in Toronto -- One of the great Cuban pianists plays Lula's Lounge this Friday. See Mr. Bryans.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 - The Miami New Times on Issac -- click here.

Lozada Plays Oakland Thursday but Friday in SF has been cancelled -- The bad news is that the Danny Lozada concert on Friday June 22nd at Caribbean Gardens in Burlingame has been cancelled. The good news is that tomorrow night's show at Karibbean City on Webster St. in Oakland, is definitely happening. So if you were planning on going Friday, go Thursday instead. This will be the last chance to hear this extraordinary talent before he goes back to Miami.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

What is Songo? -- In today's chapter we try to make sense of the many meanings of the word "songo". Trust me -- the old "what is timba?" conundrum pales in comparison! Make sure to click on the blue links to hear the audio examples! Tip: shrink Windows Media Player (or whatever you're using) down to its smallest size and move it out of the way so you can listen and read at the same time.
xxxxxxxxxxxxTomorrow: Introducing Changuito.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007-- Saoco & Lozada Thursday

Leyder Chapman, of Saoco, one of the Bay Area's best bands, has been sitting in, and bringing the house down, at each of Danny Lozada's recent shows. He's like a cross between between Cándido Fabré and Tupac. On Thursday at Karibbean City in Oakland, you can hear both bands in action. To get into the mood, check out Tom Ehrlich's newly-expanded gallery of photos of the Café Cócomo gig. And on the SFO side of the bay, don't forget Danny's farewell concert at Caribbean Gardens in Burlingame on Friday night.

cuban music, musica cubana==ISSAC CENTRAL==

El médico y El chévere de la salsa -- See Melao.

Melao & Duniel's 40 minute Issac Interview is Coming! -- They also heard the band rehearse and were blown away. See for yourself Saturday night at James L. Knight Center in downtown Miami.

Looks Like I'm in Trouble! -- Melao also says that Issac has some bones to pick about timba.com's past reporting on him. What? Me? Offend someone?? No ... it couldn't be ... must've been Michelle!

More on the LA Times article -- Agustín Gurza's article in the LA Times is no fluff piece. Issac speaks out on the frustrations facing Cuban musicians in Cuba. Make sure you read it before it disappears behind the firewall. Sounds like somebody at the Ministry of Culture ought to take a look at it too. The Cuban government only agrees with the Bush cabal on one thing: screw the musicians.

Kicking back con el Trabuco -- See Yemayá's Verse

More on Arlenys Rodríguez -- Everyone's going nuts for the ex-NG La Banda diva's new CD. See Mr. Bryans.

The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

1969 - The Arrival of Juan Formell and Los Van Van -- Today we introduce a little-known Cuban bassist by the name of Juan Formell. You can hear rare, out-of-print examples of his curious early work as the musical director of Orquesta Revé and a small taste of his first strokes of true genius with Los Van Van. Tomorrow: The Songo Enigma.

Mon., June 18, 2007 - Agustín Gurza on Issac -- With Peter Watrous having left Pinch and Judy's tainted New York Times for the underworld destination of descarga.com, the official title of "leading traditional media Cuban music journalist" falls to Agustín Gurza of the LA Times. Click here for his insightful analysis of the reasons behind Issac's journey to el otro lado del puente.

Issac, El Pikete, Tiempo Libre -- See Melao.

Payola poisons the scene on both sides of El Puente -- See Mr. Bryans.

How is it that Gabriel is in Havana and we're still here? -- See Yemayá's Verse.

Enrique Lazaga -- He's the world's greatest güirero, the leader of Ritmo Oriental, and the father of Charanga Habanera's founding timbalero. Martin Karakas is working on the followup portion of timba.com's soon-to-be-published interview with one of the most important figures in the history Cuban music. Stay tuned!

Starting Today:
The Roots of Timba - Year by Year
cuban music, musica cubana
==click here for today's excerpt==

Today we're publishing the first excerpt from what was originally supposed to be a chapter in an online book. However, the subject matter turned out to be so fascinating that the "chapter" has itself reached book length. It's the tale of the 20 years leading up to the dawn of timba -- concentrating on the three greatest bands of the 70s and 80s: Ritmo Oriental, Irakere, and of course, Los Van Van.

Eventually this will be part of Volume I, which explains the role of each instrument in the rhythm section in order to set the stage to explain "timba gears" in Volume II. Thus, on surface it's structured like a course on bass tumbaos, but don't let that scare you away. You don't need to be a bassist or a musician to follow this -- just a timba fanatic (how hard could that be?). Most of it consists of click-to-listen audio excerpts, historical information, amusing anecdotes, and cool pictures like the one above, showing a very young Juan Formell playing bass with Elio Revé, Sr. in 1968. The photo was sent to us by Osvaldo Martínez, just one of the many experts who have donated time, energy and materials to this overly-ambitious project.

The idea is to leisurely follow the Havana Hit Parade from 1969 to 1989 when NG La Banda lept into the fray with La expresiva and people started calling Cuban music "timba". We'll do our best to hijack a time machine to Havana, dateline 1969, and experience the debuts of Van Van, Irakere and la Ritmo first-hand.

Six years ago, my first article for timba.com began like this:

The musical genre we now call timba was created by NG La Banda, but as Cuban music expert Arturo "Marcané" Gómez points out, it was not created out of thin air.

The truth of Marcané's statement has become more and more apparent with each passing year, but studying the immediate "prequel" to the timba era has really driven it home. I think you'll be as amazed as I've been to discover the inspirations of so many of your favorite timba songs.

From Arsenio to Songo -- Today's excerpt is a brief overview of the twenty years that began where our Arsenio survey (and Cuba and its Music) left off, setting the stage for the dramatic debut of Los Van Van. Tomorrow: Van Van's first record!

cuban music, musica cubana
Sunday, June 17, 2007 -- Lozada & Chuchito Fotos

Tom Ehrlich just checked in a great set of fotos from Friday's concert at Club Cócomo in San Francisco. Captions will be added soon.

Danny with Saoco -- Danny sat in with Saoco, led by the Bay Area's leading timbarapista, Leyder Chapman. Click here, then on Gallery.

Rising Star Arlenys Rodríguez and the new NG La Banda CD -- See Melao

El Zorro -- See Michelle

La Habana -- See Yemayá's Verse

cuban music, musica cubanaIssac Sightings, cont. -- from timba film-maker Jennifer Paz: "Issac was in great form and did requests! I heard timba, I heard Issac. Muy Issac y muy cubano. A friend requested Sandunguita and the band did an extended version, it was incredible and they had never rehearsed it. He was improvising constantly. No songs from the new CD other than the medly. After speaking with members of the band I got the idea that for now they feel that the older songs are safer but they will start including new songs from the CD Primera Plana soon -- such as the Victor Manuelle duet. The timbalero was amazing, the musicianship and coros impeccable."

Saturday, June 16, 2007 -- Issac Sightings -- Ginny from Southern California writes in with some impressions of Issac's San Diego warm-up gig for today's Playboy Jazz Festival. She loved it. Very little of the material was from the new album -- it was mostly his standard repertoire, and played in hardcore timba fashion. Most of the percussionists weren't Cuban, but an unnamed Venezuelan trap drummer got rave reviews. Meanwhile, over at the ultra-feisty Nuyorican Latin Jazz newsgroup, the show was roundly panned, with great disappointment over the absence of Giovanni, Sergio George and the other guest stars on the CD. We're still waiting on reports from the Playboy Jazz, but the jury will probably remain out until the roadshow makes its ways to Miami's James L. Knight Center next Saturday, June 23rd.

Tom's Lozada Fotos ... should be here by tomorrow. I just can't get enough of Danny Lozada - the guy is a kinetic marvel and hands down the best and most efficient front man/bandleader since James Brown. It's truly amazing to see him adapt to each challenging new situation, such as trading 4's with jazz virtuoso Chuchito Valdés! The band continues to evolve and the final two West Coast shows should be the best of the tour. If you're in the Bay Area, don't miss Thursday at Oakland's Karibbean City and Friday near the San Francisco Airport at Caribbean Gardens.

Friday, June 15, 2007 -- Lozada Tonight! - Special Guest Chuchito Valdés -- Café Cócomo in San Francisco.

Free Cuban Festival in London -- See Timba con Melao -- also new: Adalberto Álvarez, Miami's top rumberos, and the ever-changing "Top 4" (the latest and greatest new timba tracks). Keep checking that link - it changes more often than I have time to announce it.

Alain Daniel & Sombrilla -- See Michelle and Yemayá's Verse. The latter also has a lengthy new Manolito piece.

an cuban music, musica cubana

Wednesday, June 13, 2007 -- Lozada in San Francisco Friday Night
-- (photo by Tom Ehrlich) -- Danny was back at Secret Studios tonight rehearsing an enhanced version of the original band that played Jelly's in April, while his stunning new front line of coristas perfected their part of the espectáculo. See you at Café Cócomo on Friday!

Meanwhile, Michelle ... has a report on Soneros All Stars latest project, La timba soy yo, featuring Pupy, Mandy, Pepito, Sinsonte and Cristina Azcuy.  And our latest blogger sensation Melao? On the 7th day, he rested! But Dos Con Dos has been doing the work of dozens. Their site is now available in French! Parlez vous français?

Sunday, June 10, 2007 -- New Cristián Muñoz Fotos -- Click here.

Melao Update -- Click here for the latest on Danny Lozada and Chuchito Valdés at Café Cócomo this Friday. Tom Ehrlich and I will be at the rehearsal Wednesday and post photos and a report. This is a return to original band that played Jelly's last April, with Carlos Caro on timbales, but with a new pianist. As a Tremendo delirio purist, my prediction is that this will be the tightest Lozada show yet, with an already battle-tested group getting a chance to log a couple more rehearsals with timba's most efficient bandleader. Another promising bit of Lozada news is that the drummer for the July 12th NYC show will be the great Mauricio Tamayo, of Paulito's 1999 band.

cuban music, musica cubanaMore Dance Updates -- Click on DANCE above for updates to the main dance section, the Kid Casino section, and Dos con Dos.

Timba Time Travel -- Within the next week - te juro! - I'll start publishing what has become an online book following the adventures of three bands -- Los Van Van, Ritmo Oriental, and Irakere -- from their beginnings in the 60s up to the dawn of timba. I'll be releasing a chapter a day. If you haven't heard the early music of these amazing groups, you're in for a treat. There will be MIDI excerpts and also lots of unreleased audio from out of print EGREM LPs. And don't forget to participate in the timba.com WRITE EGREM campaign! If Fania and Buena Vista Social Club can re-release everything they've ever done, why not EGREM?

cuban music, musica cubanaSaturday, June 9, 2007 -- Dance Section Upgrade We've added a massive new section with video dance instruction from Dos Con Dos, a school in Québec with over 600 students that teaches only Cuban dance.

Teaching the world to dance timba is probably the single most powerful tool for increasing timba's popularity outside of Cuba and Dos Con Dos has had more success than anyone, so we're proud to add them to our lineup.

What I find particularly compelling about the Dos Con Dos approach is its integration with the music. When the timba "gear" changes - so does the dance style. Check it out. (If the videos keep opening blank pages in Firefox, trying IE.)

cuban music, musica cubanaFriday, June 8, 2007 -- El Pikete Section Added -- Thanks to Juan Tomás and Duniel for putting together our new El Pikete section. Everyone is going nuts for this group, led by Mipa Cuesta, Manolín (& Team Cuba)'s conguero. It also features one of Manolín's arrangers and musical directors, Jeáns Valdés, and Manolín's original bassist, the sublimely funky Victoriano Nápoles. Pictured are singers Michel Calvo (ex-Dan Den) and Honey, formerly of Sello LA. The pianist, José "Pepito" Montes, played, wrote and arranged for Paulito FG. Catch El Pikete tonight, tomorrow night, and every Friday and Saturday night at La Makumba. Also see Melao for more recent news on the group.

cuban music, musica cubanaCuban Timba All Stars at Sandoval's Wednesday
Wednesday, June 13th at Arturo's Jazz Club. At this rate Miami may finally live down its dubious reputation as the "timba graveyard".

Melao Melao Melao -- About half a dozen new updates since my last update!

Michelle Michelle Michelle -- Likewise.

But I'm not slacking off! Tomorrow I'll be christening our updated DANCE section with a massive collection of really cool instructional clips, and I'm almost ready to start publishing the songo section of my online book. I'll be publishing it chapter by chapter, a little each day, starting ... well ... very soon!

Nor is Mike: There are some reallyl major upgrades coming to timba.com which will change timba on the web in some exciting ways that will pave the way for a lot more reader participation, so stay tuned.

The Continuing Adventures of Gabriel: Trabuco is back in Havana and Alain Daniel is tearing it up. Reading Yemayá's Verse is the next best thing to being there.

Lozada in SF June 15th : At Club Cócomo a week from tonight. More details forthcoming. For Bay Areans, this band will be closer to the one which played the first Jelly's gig. Special guest artist: Chuchito Valdés. Meanwhile, in New York on July 12th, the backup band will be La Bola. Here's a full list of upcoming shows.

Thursday, June 7, 2007 -- On a Roll -- Melao is updating about 3 times a day so keep hitting this link for the latest on a wide variety of subjects.

Elain y El Gallo -- Timba in Miami every Friday and Saturday on an ongoing basis:

El Gallo del Son y Carlos Faroy
Cielo - Coconut Groove
3390 Mary St, Coconut Grove
(305) 446-9060
Empieza a las 10:30 every Friday

Elain & su Orquesta
En vivo todos los Sabados desde las 8:00 hasta las 5:00 am
Cafe Nostalgia
34 St between Collins Ave & The Ocean
Para mas info llamar al: 305-531-8838

Issac in Miami - June 23 -- The buzz is building. Melao has details and fotos and Jacira of salsapower.com has an interview scheduled

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 -- Tiempo Libre in Miami & NY -- Maraca in France, Vienna and Geneva -- See Melao for more details and fotos.

Tueday, June 5, 2007 -- More Melao -- Click on Timba con Melao at the left under BLOGS for the latest on Mayito's solo tour, Clan 357, En Talla, and Los Herederos. Meanwhile, Michelle has a great summary of the Havana scene, and Yemayá's Verse bemoans the currently state of Paulito's repertoire. And if you're in LA, don't forget Danny Lozada tonight in Hollywood.

Los Van Van on The Today Show -- Here's a link to the video clip. If Matt Liar can go to Cuba, why can't the rest of us?

¡Timba con Melao! -- The latest addition to timba.com's family of bloggers is David "Melao" Figueroa from Miami. Through his experience as a DJ and timba promoter in various countries he's made many contacts, so he should be providing some timely scoops. Melao is also the official DJ for the Cubamemucho Cuban Salsa Congress. He launches his new blog with a rave review of Miami's hottest new band, El Pikete. Click on Timba con Melao at the left under BLOGS.

cuban music, musica cubanaDanny Lozada in Hollywood Tonight!

Tuesday, June 5th
King King

555 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028 Tel: (323) 960-5765
Tickets: $15 at the Door
9:00PM - 10:00PM - Dance Lessons $12
DJ Saoco spinning the best in Timba

Pictured are bassist Rigoberto López (ex-Adalberto) and Gustavo Ramírez (ex-NG), both of whom blew me away at the recent SF show. We also have a full gallery of Tom Ehrlich's photos from the SF show.

Gustavo Ramírez, for me, was the highlight of the show -- a consummate master of the extremely difficult and complex art of timba piano playing. He nailed all the parts from Tremendo delirio, as well as Danny's more recent hits, and, of course, the infamous "Mango" song, which has now evolved from double entendre to a very pointed "single entendre" -- you'll see what I mean!

More Lozada News -- Another show has been scheduled for San Francisco -- Club Cócomo on June 15th, featuring special guest star Chuchito Valdés. Rejoining the group will be timbalero Carlos Caro. Stay tuned for more on this one.

Finally, Danny has plans to spent several months in Europe beginning in December, during which he'll resume his amazing collaborations with master arranger Juan Carlos González, hopefully preparing the material for the long-awaited followup to Tanto le pedí.

cuban music, musica cubanaTuesday, May 29, 2007 -- Danny Lozada Returns to the West Coast - This Friday in San Francisco! - Here's the list of eleven shows in the Western US. And don't forget July 11th coming up in New York. The West Coast band features stars Jesús Díaz, Sandy Pérez, Raúl Piñeda and Fito Reinoso. The East Coast band will be comprised of members of La Bola.

Friday - June 1st: Danny returns to Jelly's

Sunday - June 3rd: Ruby's Café in Oxnard, CA (between LA and Santa Barbara)

Tuesday - June 5th: King King on Hollywood Blvd.

cuban music, musica cubana
Sunday, May 20, 2007 -- Reports from the Front Line -
Gabriel is in fine form over at Yemaya's Verse - reporting on Cubadisco, Pupy, Salsa Mayor, her Havana adventures (rivaled in entertainment value only by Hunter S. Wolfer), and of course, Manolito. Riverón ("a tempest in a drumkit") is apparently in rather fine form himself. Check daily -- she'll be there for quite a while. And the best news? She's promised to track down Ritmo Oriental's Enrique Lazaga and has already tracked musicologist Neris Lezbello, who has written a book on Los Van Van and will hopefully soon become a timba.com contributor.

Thursday, May 17, 2007 -- Many Updates!

cuban music, musica cubanaCuban Timba All-Stars FREE Friday Night: After

a huge festival Friday night in Coral Gables, the full Cuban Timba All Stars band, complete with Yordamis, Reinier et al, will play a free midnight show at the Globe Café:

Globe Café
377 Alhambra Circle
Coral Gables (Miami)
Midnight - Friday May 18th

Salsa Mayor Section: Michelle has added a full section for Maikel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor, with interviews, videos, bios and tours.

cuban music, musica cubanaEGREM Discography Section: This has a brief history of Cuban recordings, a partial discography of Ritmo Oriental, and partial lists of singles and albums from the 70s and 80s. There's also a plea to get you to ...

EMAIL EGREM!! Think about it: Fania is making money hand over fist by re-releasing its entire remastered catalog with lovingly prepared documentation. Why not EGREM? Wouldn't it be great to have remastered, well-documented box sets of the complete early recordings of Los Van Van, Irakere, Ritmo Oriental, Revé, Adalberto, Aliamén, etc.? If we all email EGREM perhaps we can goad them into action. It's a tragedy that all this great music is on the virge of being lost.

cuban music, musica cubanaRest in Peace Pérez Pérez: The legendary saxophonist of Irakere and later "Los Metales de Terror" (NG La Banda), Rolando Pérez Pérez, has passed away. Michelle has a nice obituary.

cuban music, musica cubanaEl Gallito del Son and Carlos Faroy:

Cielo - Coconut Groove
3390 Mary St, Coconut Grove
(305) 446-9060
Empieza a las 10:30
Every Friday

Miami's up and coming vocal duo will continue playing every Friday night with a powerhouse band including Reinier Guerra (timbales), Denis "Papacho" Savón (congas), and Issac Delgado Jr. (Piano)

cuban music, musica cubanaDanny Lozada on the West Coast and in New York: Several dates have already been confirmed. Stay tuned for more details. Click here for the Danny Lozada Tours page.

The East Coast band features members of La Bola and the West Coast band is rumored to included the likes of Raúl Piñeda, Jesús Díaz, Sandy Pérez, and Rigoberto López.

Monday, May 7, 2007 -- Michelle's Klímax Report from La Tropical! - Click here.

Entrevista con Maikel Blanco: Coming soon.

cuban music, musica cubanaThurs., May 3, 2007 -- QBA!
Master photographer Peter Maiden was on hand for two recent shows by Jesús Díaz y su QBA, an exciting San Francisco timba band with two CDs of original and a lineup of the very best Bay Area musicians. Jesús Díaz, born in Cuba, has been a dominant force in the Bay Area for over a decade, playing and recording timba, rumba, and folkloric music with QBA, "Talking Drums" (with David Garabaldi and Michael Spiro) and in countless other high profile settings. Click here for the full gallery of new Peter Maiden photos.

Audio Link to the New Issac Delgado Recording: see Michelle
Charanga Habanera's New Lineup Plays Guadalupe:
see Michelle
Rundown of New Timba CDs:
see Michelle

Manolito y su Trabuco in Canada: Date added in Montreal:

June 2nd
7474 Plaza st hubert
Caballero's Sport Club
doors @21:00

For tickets or info Alyana or Anais at Multidestinos (514) 526-0022. For other dates, and the European tour, see Michelle.

Cuban Timba All Stars Quintet at Sandoval's: Next Tuesday, May 8th.

Showtimes 8:30 pm / 10.30 pm / Cover $15
6701 Collins Ave.,
Miami Beach
305 403 7565

cuban music, musica cubanaTuesday, May 1, 2007
Danny Lozada Takes NYC by Storm!

Our intrepid NY reporter Shabnam Samoohi heard DL in no less than seven impromptu performances with various New York bands (shown here with Clave Aché). Shabi (and NY in general) were blown away by DL's improvisational skills and his amazing ability to light a raging fire under every musician, dancer and listener within the sound of his voice. She's added a page of great new photos plus updates to NY Clubs, NY Events, and NY DJs. While in the Big Apple, Danny also began rehearsing with La Bola for his upcoming concert, and made plans to hook up with Chuchito Valdés and others on his June California tour, which should consist of at least 9 shows in LA and SF. Most exciting of all, he's back in touch with Juan Carlos González and planning a reunion to work on the long-awaited followup to Tanto le pedí.

Pupy's Next CD: Michelle has the scoop.

Saturday, April 27, 2007 -- El Pikete and DJ Melao Again Tonight: Everyone is raving about this band! They do modernized arrangments of a lot of cover songs (Marcando la distancia, Locos por mi Habana etc.), but they also have six great originals. Whatever it is they've got going, they've captured the imagination of Miami, and that, my friends, is no easy feat!

cuban music, musica cubanaFlashback to 1974: What a year for the Havana music scene! Check out Los Van Van, Volume II, aka Tránsito, Irakere's first album with Bacalao con pan, and Ritmo Oriental's La historia de la Ritmo, Vol. I.

All of those albums came out in 1974 and if you give them each a few careful listenings, they put most current releases to shame. I'm about 75% done with a long article on the amazing era of the 70s, so stay tuned.

cuban music, musica cubanaFriday, April 27, 2007 -- Friday in Miami: El Pikete: As usual in Miami, there's either nothing to do or too many choices ... better the latter! So far, tonight you'll have to choose between El Gallito (see below) and Mipa's new group, El Pikete, which returns to Club Iré tonight with DJ Melao spinning tunes.

Click for a larger poster.

El Chisme de La Charanga: Rumors have been flying about a shakeup in Charanga Habanera for a while now. Thanks to Fara in La Habana, we have the inside scoop. It looks like the only remaining singers will be Aned and Leonid, now joined by three new dancers, who apparently won't be singing lead: Juventino had previously sung coro with Yulién's group, Junior was a dancer with Haila, and the third is a professional dancer named Sandro. Apparently the horns and rhythm section are still intact.

Thursday, April 26, 2007 -- Friday in Miami: El Gallito: Singer El Gallito has an amazing band with the incomparable Reinier Guerra of Manolín & CTA on drums, Issac's conguero Papacho, and Issac's son on piano.

Cielo - Coconut Groove
3390 Mary St, Coconut Grove
(305) 446-9060
El Gallito del Son y Carlos Faroy
"Del Son a la Salsa"
Empieza a las 10:30

Reinier Guerra - Timbales
Papacho - congas
Trompetica - Trompeta
Hector - Sax
Issac Jr. - Piano
Alexis - Bajo y director musical
El Gallito del Son - voz
Carlos Faroy - voz

cuban music, musica cubanaWednesday, April 25, 2007 -- CTA Quintet Tonight in Miami -- Tomás Cruz & Reinier Guerra in a relaxed jazz setting -- featuring phenomenal saxophonist/arranger Felipe Lamoglia (photo by Peter Maiden)

Clique Miami
Showtime 10:30 p.m.
Cover: $15
1252 Coral way, Miami

Fixed Links on ISAAC -- The links in the following post are now correct. Also, Denis adds:

"... the ISAAC project is more about teaching cuban music than dance, we have some dance lessons but the big topic is about music from palo monte to timba."

We hope to have a whole section on this soon!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007 -- ISAAC! -- No - I didn't mispell Issac's name - I'm talking about El Instituto Superior de los Artes Afro Cubanos: ISAAC. It's the brainchild of Denis Jacquest and consists of a large dance school and a booking agency. You can click here to read more about the instructors, including Raúl Hernández, who played drums on Danny Lozada's Tanto le pedí, and Yosvanny Quiros, who sang with Charanga Forever. For more information you can email Denis.

Monday, April 23, 2007 -- Michelle Returns with Many Treasures! -- Revé, Azúcar Negra, Issac, Paulito, Sello LA ... and more to come soon. Check frequently.

Danny Lozada on MySpace -- click here

Saturday, April 21, 2007 -- Con la conciencia tranquila -- AVAILABLE! -- Ever since I co-wrote the Tomás Cruz instructional conga books I've been getting emails complaining that the album on which Volume III is largely based, Paulito FG's masterpiece, Con la conciencia tranquila, is hard or impossible to find in stores or online. No más! You can buy it and download it in minutes directy from LatinPulseMusic. Also available is the previous album, Paulito FG (aka El bueno soy yo), also featuring the arrangements of Juan Ceruto and the percussion genius of Tomasito & Yoel Páez. Finally, there's a free download of the radio demo of Laura, a spectacular PFG arrangement which never made it onto an album. It's my favorite PFG track of all-time and timba.com's Majela Serrano loves it so much that she uses it for her email handle.

In addition to providing timba classics for download, LatinPulseMusic is also financing the recording of new timba, such as the upcoming release from Manolín/CTA trombonist/composer/singer Brailly Ramos. This is the way of the future folks -- from the artist directly to the public -- via the internet -- without crooked politicians, corporations and radio stations getting in the middle and screwing everything up. The time has come to take back our music -- or lose it for good.

And if you've ever wondered how timba.com has stayed afloat all these years -- well, it's a long story, but the current answer is also LatinPulseMusic. Michelle, Lara, Duniel, Majela, Ilán, Shabby and I all write for timba.com for free because we love timba, but it's LatinPulse that pays for, organizes and maintains the servers, writes the code that makes them work, and keeps everything running smoothly. All we have to do is bring you the news. So if you want access to classic timba, and if you want to encourage the production of new timba, and if you enjoy reading timba.com, please Support LatinPulseMusic!

El Pikete Again Tonight at Club Iré -- Don't miss it if you're anywhere near Miami. Support live timba!

Friday, April 20, 2007 - El Pikete Tonight and Saturday at Club Iré -- See below for more on this hot new group led by Team Cuba/Manolín conguero Mipa Cuesta.

Club Iré
833 SW 29th Ave.
Miami - irenightclub@bellsouth.net

cuban music, musica cubanacuban music, musica cubanaTuesday, April 17, 2007 -
Ned Sublette Lecture
in San Francisco Wednesday

Ned Sublette, author of Cuba and its Music, a book which continues to drastically change my life, will be speaking at San Francisco's Mission Cultural Center tomorrow (Wednesday) night at 8:00 to promote his new book Rock the City with their Congo Dances: New Orleans and the Cuban Collection. Click here for information. See you there!

El Pikete -- El ciclón checked in to say that El Pikete played a great show at Club Iré this weekend. We'll have more concert dates for them shortly.

Timberos in San Diego -- Another scoop from El ciclón is that most of the members of Aramis Galindo's band are now living in San Diego. We're trying to get ahold of Kevin Mastro to see if they're playing gigs yet.

cuban music, musica cubanacuban music, musica cubanaThursday, April 12, 2007
A Tale of Two Congueros

Among those who spend hours geeking out about such things, the "greatest timba conguero" debate usually boils down to two names: Tomasito Cruz and Mipa Cuesta. Their styles are very different, but each has left an indelible mark on the history of Cuban music. Now they're both in Miami, they're both bandleaders, and they're both playing soon. In fact Mipa is playing both nights this weekend with his new timba band, El Pikete.

Tomasito Cruz' CTA Quintet consists of the CTA rhythm section of Reinier Guerra on drums, Edward Magdariaga on bass, Orlando Guanche on piano and Felipe Lamoglia on sax and arrangements. Here's their next gig:

Tomasito Cruz' CTA Quintet
Wednesday, April 25, 10:30 p.m.
Clique Miami
1252 Coral Way, Miami

El Pikete is the name of Mipa's new band and we'll have an artists section for them soon. It features three other Manolín alumni: saxophonist/arranger Jeáns Valdés, bassist Victoriano Nápoles, and El Niche on trumpet. On piano is Pepito Salsa from Paulito FG and on vocals are Jany from Sello LA and Michel Calvo from the Habana Power Band. They play this weekend:

El Pikete
Friday & Saturday, April 13th & 14th
Club Iré
833 SW 29th Avenue, Miami

Tiempo Libre Saturday -- Tours, news and intro are all updated and they're also playing this weekend - conflicting with El Pikete of course! Try to catch them both if you can.

cuban music, musica cubana
Tiempo Libre
Saturday, April 14
Jazid 11:00 p.m., $10
1342 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach

Still More Lozada! -- We have several new photo galleries from Tom Ehrlich and the whole Danny Lozada section has been updated.

cuban music, musica cubanacuban music, musica cubanaTuesday, April 10, 2007 - Danny Lozada Concert Report -- Here's the full report if you weren't lucky enough to be at Danny Lozada's amazing concert at Jelly's in San Francisco last Friday. Photos by Tom Ehrlich. Next stop New York City.

BNK on Tour -- We interrupt this Lozada fest to bring you a breaking Duniel Deya scoop on another ex-Charanguero, Eblis "El Bony" Valdivia. He and his brother Kelly now call their band "BNK". They're in Miami (where they appeared on the local TV show "Seguro que Yes") before going on tour to Santo Domingo. Angelito Pututi (Pututi II) is the main producer of their new album. After going to Santo Domingo they'll be touring Spain and then the US. More on this soon.

El Pikete -- Jeáns Valdés reports that the legendary conguero Alexis "Mipa" Cuesta has formed his own group which includes not only Jeáns, but founding el Médico bassist Victoriano Nápoles and various alumni of Paulito FG and Dan Den. More on this soon as well.

cuban music, musica cubanaSunday, April 8, 2007 - The Lozada Interview -- (audio en español / text in English) -- This was one of the most revealing interviews since Pepe Martínez sat down with Alain Pérez in Madrid several years ago. Timba.com's Mike Lazarus, also the owner of LatinPulseMusic, and also the bassist of Danny's San Francisco band, did a fantastic job of keeping up with the lightning quick mind of his subject, who is as dynamic and intelligent in conversation as he is on stage, and that's saying a lot. In addition to the usual interview topics, he goes into utterly fascinating detail on the creative process -- how the transcendental musical ideas of Tremendo delirio and Tanto le pedí were created, the musical lifestyle differences between Havana and Miami, the real story of the infamous "suspension concert", the exciting possibility of a future creative reunion with Juan Carlos González, and so much more. Check it out! Photography by Tom Ehrlich.

cuban music, musica cubana
photo by Peter Maiden

Saturday, April 7, 2007 - Off the Hook! -- Dany Lozada is the most complete singer/bandleader I've ever seen. Beyond that, I'm speechless.

Over the next few days we'll be posting exciting news, a fascinating interview, a concert report, two amazing guest performances, and two separate photo exhibits. To begin, here's a view of the concert through the eyes of photographer Peter Maiden.

Stay tuned.

cuban music, musica cubana
Carlos Caro-timbales -- Colin Douglas-congas
Omar Ledezma-bongó -- photo by Tom Ehrlich

Friday, April 6, 2007 - Dany Lozada TONIGHT at Jelly's in San Francisco - Yesterday's 4-hour rehearsal was an extraordinary experience for me. I'd never seen Lozada in person and I'd definitely never seen a bandleader like this. He's able to instantly sing everyone's part and was brilliantly efficient as he led the band through a long list of complex arrangements from Tremendo delirio and his solo albums, plus the legendary and controversial original version of El Mango, which Dany said was played only once in Cuba before being banned (at a pre-suspension La Piragua concert in 1997).

cuban music, musica cubanaAs I watched, I was reminded of stories I've read about the great Beny Moré rehearsing his banda gigante by singing each part. Lozada has an overwhelming rhythmic energy that lights up the room and brings out the fire in the músicos. I've been working on yet another long article on Tremendo delirio -- this one analyzing the rhythm section parts, so as you can imagine, I was a very happy timba geek as I watched each arrangement take form before my eyes. Lozada even added a bomba gear (complete with improvised hand signals), something which the original CH inexplicably never incorporated.

Paulito alumnus Carlos Caro, who was voted Best Bongocero in our timba.com poll, was astounding on timbales, channeling Eduardo Lazaga and he effortlessly reproduced each brilliant bloque and gear change. Also brilliant were batá master and Parallel 23 drummer Colin Douglas, and Omar Ledezma, who sang perfect coro while playing bongó and campana. On bass was timba.com's own Mike Lazarus, who called the rehearsal one of the peak experiences of his life.

Click here for concert information, directions, etc. An interview and lots of exciting news is forthcoming. Just for starters, Lozada is planning to remix, remaster, and re-release the 1998 masterpiece Tanto le pedí! Also, future collaborations with Juan Carlos González just might be in the works! Stay tuned.

Mónica in Miami Tonight - ... and if you're in Miami, don't foget Mónica Pututi at Nostalgia tonight. See below for more details.

cuban music, musica cubanaMonday, April 2, 2007 - Mónica Pututi - In concert Friday with songs from her new album - Mónica will be performing songs from her upcoming Los Pututi-produced album, at:

Friday, April 6th - Mónica Pututi
Café Nostalgia
3425 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach

She has a particularly fabulous band this time, with my favorite guitarist since Jimi Hendrix, Hamed Barroso, at least two of the three Pututis on percussion, the brilliant arranger/saxophonist Felipe Lamoglia, and others.

cuban music, musica cubanaFriday, March 23, 2007 - Dany Lozada in San Francisco! - It's not often we get a timba show on the left coast these days, and we've never gotten a visit from Mr. Lozada, even in the glory days of the late 90s, when we had multiple Cuban concerts every month.

The show will be on Friday, April 6th, at Jelly's, which is right on the docks with a great view of SBC Park and the San Francisco Bay. See you there! The band will feature, among others, the great Carlos Caro, winner of timba.com's reader's poll award for best timba bongocero of all-time.

Click here for more full size posters with more details on the upcoming show.

Another Singer for Miami - Duniel reports that Michel Calvo (ex-Dan Den and Habana Power Band) is officially in Miami. Among others, the timba graveyard is now home to almost a dozen top vocalists:

Issac Delgado
Danny Lozada
Carlos Manuel
El Kid
Juan Carlos Alvarez
Michel Calvo
Rolando Casas (from Rolando y su Dan Den)

The timba.com Coro Competition! - We're challenging ever band to come up with a coro that mentions timba.com. When we have enough audio and video clips, we'll have a readers' poll to choose the best one. First out of the gate is the band that started it all, Los Van Van. We'll be posting a clip of that soon.

El Trabuco y El Clan en Europa - Michelle has the details.

cuban music, musica cubanaMonday, March 5, 2007 - Cuban Timba All Stars at Sandoval's Tomorrow Night - Now with a steady band and a front line that everyone loves, and in terms of exciting guest appearances, the possibilities are endless. Check it out..

Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Arturo Sandoval's Jazz Club
6701 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach (in the Deauville)

Good News & Bad News - Pepe is back with Pupy, but el Negrón and el Toro have reportedly stayed in Italy.

Cristian's Havana Report - Michelle has the link

Los Van Van Stockholm Video - Coming soon. Lele and Yeni improvised a "timba punto com" coro! We're thinking of having a contest. Stay tuned.

cuban music, musica cubanaThursday, March 1, 2007 - Alain Pérez at Hoy Como Ayer Tomorrow - Friday, March 2! - Catch him while you can. This will be the first performance of Alain Pérez under his own name in the United States. He promises to do a combination of songs from his solo albums, songs he's written for Issac and instrumentals. The band includes Osmany Paredes, William Paredes, Issac's conguero Papacho, CTA saxophonist arranger Felipe Lamoglia and others.

Alain was one of the principal figures in the timba revolution of the 90s -- arguably the greatest Cuban bassist of all time, arranger of Issac's monstrous Con la punta del pie, composer of La sandunguita, Que me disculpen, Amigo Juan, etc. He's been in Spain since 1998 and is due to return soon, so take advantage of this rare opportunity to see him in action.

Alain Pérez in Concert - 11:00 p.m.
Friday, March 2, 2007
Hoy Como Ayer
2212 SW 8th St.
Little Havana, Miami

Michelle's Blog Updated - Click here for the latest on Maikel Blanco, Yulién Oviedo (with video) and keyboardist Richard Ortega's move from Azúcar Negra to Salsa Mayor.

Tuesday, Feb, 27, 2007 - Alain Pérez is really in Miami! - Jennifer Paz confirms that she saw Alain sitting in with Manolín last Saturday at Habana 1900.

He's apparently going to be in Miami for at least a couple weeks -- probably to work on Issac's album. Keep your ear to the ground -- this guy is the real deal.

Meanwhile, Manolín and Luis Bu are off to Europa to finish work on el Médico's new album.

Sunday, Feb, 25, 2007 - Michelle's Video Interview with Calle Real - In English, no less! Click here.

TONIGHT: Last Chance to See Los Pututi at el Palacio de la Rumba - Don't miss it!

cuban music, musica cubanaThursday, Feb, 22, 2007 - Four More Nights of Great Timba at the Rumba Palace - NO COVER - The lovely Mónica Pututi will be fronting an all-star band comprised of:

vocals: Mónica Pututi
drums: Pututi I
bass: Gola
piano: Issac Delgado, Jr.
guitar: Hamed Barroso
sax: Felipe Lamoglia

Rumba Palace
600 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach

Don't forget to check out the guitar player - he's the guy from the El puente CD - extraordinary!

Papacho in Miami - Denis "Papacho" Savón, who's played congas with Issac since 1998, is definitely now in Miami.

cuban music, musica cubanaWednesday, Feb, 21, 2007 - Lozada Concert in San Francisco?- Stay tuned for more info.

Friday: Timba & Rueda in San Francisco - For five years, DJs WaltDigz, Rick Washington and Alvaro Batista of Añejo Productions have been tirelessly promoting timba and rueda in the Bay Area.

They celebrate 5 years of "La Tropi-Cal" this Friday night at Il Pirata. There'll be plenty of timba music, rueda dancing, Cuban appetizers and giveaways. For more info check out their website.

La Tropi-Cal Dance Party
Il Pirata
2007 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 626-2626

Saturday, Feb, 17, 2007 - Songo con timba y rap - y clave de guaguancó ... Check Michelle's Blog for some very promising timba-hip-hop fusion.

cuban music, musica cubanaSaturday, Feb, 17, 2007 - Issac Sighting at the Rumba Palace!! - Get the details at Este lado del puente. Also note that the guest pianist with CTA Thursday night was Issac's son, and that Issac's conguero since 1998, Denis "Papacho" Savón, has also come to Florida.

More News - Now it turns out Issac, Jr. (piano) and Pututi II (timbales) will play the whole string of 4 CTA concerts at Rumba Palace. In fact, Tomasito himself will miss the Saturday night gig as he'll be at the Ventura Music Festival with Arturo. Subbing for Tomasito is no less than Team Cuba/Manolín alumnus Alexis "Mipa" Cuesta. So Miami's rhythm section of stars from the major timba bands of the 90s now includes:

timbales/drums: Pututi I, Pututi II, Pututi III, Reinier Guerra
congas: Tomasito, Mipa, Papacho. Wickly
piano: Chaka, Luis Bu, Tony Pérez
bass: Victoriano Nápoles

Everyone calls Miami "the timba graveyard" -- isn't it about time for another sequel to the night of the living dead?

Friday, Feb, 16, 2007 - CTA Continues at the Rumba Palace - Lara reports that last night went well with guest drummer Pututi II. Everyone loves the new singer Carlos Ávarez. NO COVER! And don't forget to say hi to Duniel in the DJ booth.

Tiempo Libre Saturday - Is the Miami scene finally starting to heat up?

Tiempo Libre
Saturday, February 17
Jazid 11:30 p.m., $10
1342 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach

Ari Álvarez - timba.com may soon have a new blogger: Ari, the 18-year old drummer and hijo de Adalberto Álvarez. If his dad helps him write the blog, they can call it "Adalberto Álvarez and his Son". jajajaja ...

cuban music, musica cubanaThursday, Feb, 15, 2007 - CTA to Open Rumba Palace Thursday - Tomasito Cruz and the Cuban Timba All Stars will play Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Arturo Sandoval's new club, Rumba Palace in Miami Beach. There will be NO COVER CHARGE - (the three words that our Miami timbero brethren most love to hear).

The buzz is that the new male singer, Juan Carlos Álvarez, is fantastic and has great chemistry with ex-Bamboleo diva Yordamis Megret, who has been with CTA since their opening tour in February 2006.

Álvarez, pictured here with Chaka Nápoles' group El Tumbao, also has the distinction of being the cousin of Carlos Manuel.

Cuban Timba All Stars
February 15 - 18 (Thurs - Sunday)
10 p.m., FREE
Rumba Palace
600 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach

More Miami Updates - There's more on CTA, Manolín and Tiempo Libre at Lara Greene's freshly updated Este lado del puente. Looks like all three will be up against each other within a radius of a few miles on Saturday the 17th. It's a good week to be in Miami. I wish I were.

cuban music, musica cubanaThursday, Feb, 8, 2007 - Haila Section Online -- The new Haila Mompié section is online, complete with interviews, photos, an autobiography, a concert report and several album reviews.

Pepe Espinosa on MySpace -- Pepe Espinosa, master percussionist, now in Europe, who played with Bamboleo, Azúcar Negra, Dany Lozada, Klímax, Cubanismo, and now Calixto Oviedo, has an interesting MySpace page with lots of audio.

Alain Pérez Rumor Mill -- Alain, apparently now in the US with Paco de Lucia, is rumored to be about to participate in the production of Issac's first album for Univisión.

Manolín Still Playing Weekly at Habana 1900 -- Apparently the band is rehearsing weekly and playing every Saturday at Habana 1900.

Havana 1900
Live timba Fridays and Saturdays
3850 SW 8th St.
Coral Gables FL 33134

cuban music, musica cubanaWednesday, Feb, 7, 2007 - Haila Section Coming -- Michelle is adding a new section with album reviews.

Haila Mompié recorded on the first two Bamboleo albums before leaving, with Leonel Limonta and others, to form Azúcar Negra in April of 1998. In 2001, she launched her solo career, benefitting from the producing talents of Issac Delgado, and more recently, David Calzado of Charanga Habanera.

Rumba Palace Opening STILL delayed - We'll let you know when we hear something.

Lozada to Tampa - Dany Lozada, who has family in the Tampa area, has left Miami.

Another Preview Chapter Coming - The next preview chapter from my online book will cover the bass tumbaos of Los Van Van, Ritmo Oriental and Irakere from the early 70s.

Friday, Feb. 2, 2007 - Miami Updates -- Click here for the latest from Lara.

Rumba Palace Opening Delayed - The opening of the new Sandoval club has been delayed due to logistical concerns, but it will likely open next Wednesday. The Cuban Timba All Stars will probably play 4 or 5 days in a row, starting with that first night. There will be no cover for some or all of the first weekend.

Carlos Manuel Cancels, but Manolín still on for Saturday - ... at Havana 1900.

cuban music, musica cubanaWednesday, Jan. 31, 2007 - Cuban Timba All Stars to Open New Sandoval Club -- Give the man some props. Arturo Sandoval continues his quest to single-handedly save Miami's ailing music scene. Last night, his jazz club hosted another stunning CTA show. Tomasito and timba.com's Lara Greene both love the latest male vocalist, who also happens to be Carlos Manuel's cousin. This weekend CTA will open a brand new club which featuring TIMBA several nights a week. The club is called the Rumba Palace and I'll have full details before the weekend.

Revé Video & Interview with Pepe Gómez ... at Michelle's Blog.

cuban music, musica cubanaTuesday, Jan. 30, 2007 - Cuban Timba All Stars Tonight - If you're near Miami, don't miss CTA at Arturo Sandoval's Jazz Club tonight.

Downloading Danny - You can now download 3 Danny Lozada albums, including the hard-to-find masterpiece Tanto le pedí at LatinPulseMusic. I think of TLP as the rightful successor to Charanga Habanera's Tremendo delirio. After the infamous suspension concert of August 1997, Juan Carlos González, CH's primary arranger, and Danny Lozada, who had written Usa condón, Lo siento por tí, Dime si te quedarás, and Qué quieres de mí, left the group in order to be able to continue working. The new group was a monster, with Pepe Espinosa on timbales, Miami's own Kid de la Salsa on coro, and a full stable of other monster musicians. The songs, arrangements and performances on Tanto le pedí sound almost nothing like Tremendo delirio, just as Tremendo delirio sounds nothing like any other album. Tanto le pedí is one of a kind - with a unique sound that's won it a large cult following among timba geeks around the globe. If you haven't heard it, get it and listen to it about 10 times through. It's packed to the rafters with musical treasures.

cuban music, musica cubanaThis Weekend: Manolín & Carlos Manuel at Miami's Latest Hotspot - Miami has got to be the most frustrating city in the world. It's bursting at the seams with brilliant Cuban musicians and Cuban music fans, and yet it seems that nothing can jumpstart its sleepy, lackluster nightclub scene. If you live in the "Timba Graveyard", will you do the rest of us a favor and get up off of your sorry ass, pick a club, and make a scene? Please? You're embarrassing us, Miami. This is worse than Katherine Harris and the hanging chads. If the timberos of California and Europa were in Miami, you can be damned sure we'd never miss a single one of these shows. Club Ire has apparently turned out to be a bust, while Club Mystique seems promising, but the latest contender, on Calle Ocho, is Havana 1900 with Carlos Manuel and Manolín live this weekend plus DJ's Melao and timba.com's Duniel Deya.

Havana 1900
Live timba Fridays and Saturdays
3850 SW 8th St.
Coral Gables FL 33134

Friday, February 2nd - Carlos Manuel live in concert. - DJ Melao & DJ Duni
Saturday, February 3rd - Manolín el Médico de la Salsa. - DJ Melao

Pupy's New Singer on YouTube- Check it out!

Monday, Jan. 29, 2007 - Pupy Update - For informed commentary on Pepe's replacement, check out the discussion over at timba_geeks. Also lots of first hand discussion of recent concerts by Elito Revé.

Pepe Gómez Leaves Pupy and Takes Over Issac's Old Band? - So says the grapevine, according to our intrepid reporter Duniel Deya. I don't have a second confirming source, but it makes sense. There were already rumors of Pepe's potential departure from Los Que Son Son, and we now know conclusively that Issac has left Cuba. Conguero Denis "Papacho" Savón is reportedly also in Tampa with Issac, but the rest of his first tier group of músicos remains in Cuba, needing a first tier vocalist to continue working. Next questions: who will write new material for Pepe? Who will take his place in Los Que Son Son? Will the efforts of the new Congress allow either or both of these bands to play in the US?

iLozada - Within days you'll be able to buy one of the greatest, and hardest to find, masterpieces of the 90s, Danny Lozada's Tanto le pedí, in electronic form, directly from LatinPulseMusic.com. Several other Lozada albums will also be available, including one that hasn't yet been released, and, most exciting of all, a live concert from Cuba which will include a bonus track - a live Miami version of the infamous "Green Mango" song with the original censored lyrics! I've been searching for this song for 7 years and never heard it. Aside from the provocative lyrics, it's supposed to be a great song and arrangement.

Bookwatch, pt. 1- The very first Cuban music lesson I took on my first trip to Cuba was with an extraordinary percussionist ,Raúl Valdés, who studied in Pinar del Río along with Melón and Tomás Cruz. After teaching for several years at la ENA (Reinier Guerra was one of his students) he moved to Texas in 1999, where he's played and recorded with Havana NRG and a wide variety of jazz groups. Raúl has been working on a method book, Melodic Drumming, for several years and he's now finally finished it. You can contact him through his website or by calling 817-320-9519. I'll have more on the book soon.

Bookwatch, pt. 2- Cuba and its Music is finally out in paperback. If you haven't read this book, drop everything and read it cover to cover -- you'll thank me!

Sunday, Jan. 28, 2007 - Pupy in Italy - "Clicca qui per la recensione in italiano del Concerto di Pupy che si è tenuto ieri a Venezia" - di Luca Lando.

cuban music, musica cubanaSaturday, Jan. 27, 2007 - Klímax on MySpace - In case you've been sleeping under a rock for the last few years -- or listening to Arsenio Rodríguez and Ritmo Oriental as I have -- you may or may not have noticed that the latin record industry, and the latin music scene in general, have been in a truly horrendous slump -- perhaps more than a slump. Even the non-Cuban salsa scene, which had so much corporate money and radio payola pushing it, has fallen on hard times.

If this dark cloud has a silver lining it's that the record industry has, since its very inception, been a negative force in many ways -- often taking advantage of and frustrating the creative urges of both artists and fans. Sometimes, if you've got a tumor, you can cut out all or part of the organ on which it's growing and still survive. The internet, if you will, is like some sort of nihilistic cross between a surgeon and a madman, with its ability to (legally and illegally) transfer music electronically and to bring communities of fans together without respect to geographical boundaries. As a result, in 2007, the music industry, and all of its constituent parts, have been tossed high into the air on a windy day. Where those pieces will land, no one really knows, but YouTube and MySpace are two key places to begin to look for answers.

And so, MySpace bypasses the old paradigm to bring you one of the greatest and least recognized geniuses in the history of Cuban music, still kicking after all these years, Giraldo Piloto.

Miami Updates - Tiempo Libre Tonight - Cuban Timba All Stars Tuesday - Lara has all the Miami News, including these upcoming shows:

Tiempo Libre
Saturday, January 27
midnight, $15
Cafe Mystique
7250 NW 11th St.

Cuban Timba All-Stars
Tuesday, January 20
8:30 & 10:30, $15
Arturo Sandoval Jazz Club
6701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach (in the Deauville)

Issac in the Mainstream Press - Here are links to a variety of articles on Issac:

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5

...and this from Pedro in Boston:

"the great news is that Boston-based pianist OSMANY PAREDES
& ALAIN PÉREZ will take part in ISSAC's upcoming recording project to take
place in Miami after Paco de Lucia's tour."

Friday, Jan. 26, 2007 - The Annual Bi-Partisan Push to LIft the Cuban Travel Ban - Conservative Republican Congressman Jeff Flake of Arizona is teaming up with the Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee to introduce legislation to lift the ban on Americans traveling to Cuba.

Before you get too excited, remember that this happens every year, and this isn't the first time it's been initiated by President Bush's own party. In the past, the bill has appeared certain to pass both houses of Congress, but when "The Decider" has threatened to veto it, the Republican leadership has withdrawn the legislation to save him the embarrassment.

There are reasons to hope things will be different this time. First of all, the Democrats now control the Senate and the House and saving George W. Bush from embarrassment is not high on their list of priorities. Second, at 28% in some polls, facing open rebellion from within his own party, and desperately grasping for support for his almost universally unpopular Middle East policies, Bush might think twice before vetoing a bill that's supported by so many conservative Republicans. And even if he does, the 67% margin required to override a veto just might be there in today's political climate.

Question for Political Experts: If a bill is vetoed, and the veto is overridden, does that bill become law without the President's signature, or is he simply required to sign it by the Constitution? The reason I ask is that Bush is well known for his "signing statements" where he signs a bill, but adds language whcih essentially redefines it, often reversing the original intent. Would a veto prevent him from doing that?

Friday, Jan. 19, 2007 - Issac Signs with Univisión - I hope I don't sound like the boy who cried wolf, but this time it looks like it's really a done deal. The William Morris Agency has sent out an email to concert promoters stating that Issac has officially signed with Univisión, will be releasing an album soon, and is available to tour. This reinforces several other strong reports to the same effect.

Bienvenidos Issac! We hope you like la Yuma of the 2000's as much as we liked la Habana of the 90's! (but somehow, we kind of doubt it).

Tuesay, Jan. 16, 2007 - US Premier of Charanga Habanera Film -- Popular will debut in the US in Santa Barbara, California on January 31st and February 1st. For more details, here's the PRESS RELEASE. Al Gore, Helen Mirren and Will Smith will also be on hand to receive awards for their recent films.

Friday, Jan. 12, 2007 - Oops ... apparently Issac didn't return to Cuba -- Sorry for the false alarm. Still no word about when and if we'll be able to hear him in concert, but while you wait, check out the insanely great unreleased song, La temática, from February 1997 with Melón González on piano, Alain Pérez on bass and Georvis Pico on drums. And now, No me mires a los ojos, the second song from the same legendary concert, has also appeared.

Juan Carlos Formell's "Son Radical" -- In conjunction with drummer Jimmy Branly (NG, Issac), and bassist Carlitos del Puerto (Emiliano Salvador, Caravana Cubana), guitarist Juan Carlos Formell and his new rock en clave album are being showered with critical acclaim, not the least of which is coming from ... Well, I have to bite my tongue here, because, like J. C. Bach, J. C. Formell hates having his famous father mentioned in the first paragraph of every article that's written about him.

So I'll have to start a second paragraph to point out that the famous father in question was reportedly deeply moved by this album and considers it the best thing he's heard in quite some time. Decide for yourself by listening to some audio clips at narada.com.

Michelle's Preview of 2007 - Click here for the latest on Paulito, Manolito, Pachito, La Charanga, Azúcar Negra, Leonid Torres' solo album, and Hatuey.

DJ Gary en Boricua -- Although I'm having trouble keeping up with Issac's whereabouts, I can say with aboslutely certainty that DJ Gary Domínguez has gone to San Juan, Puerto Rico and will be hosting the opening of the San Sebastian street party with a Cuban Boricua night at RUMBA Old San Juan.

Downloadable Timba -- In addition to its original electronic-only offerings, Latin Pulse is now offering a growing number of classic timba albums in downloadable form. Check it out.

The timba.com Dance Section -- Kid Casino and others are adding frequently to the new Dance Section so remember to check it regularly.

Friday, Jan. 5, 2007 - Issac Returns to Cuba -- As confirmed by reliable sources, Issac has concluded his mysterious trip to Florida and is back in Havana.

cuban music, musica cubanaArsenio Tribute Link Coming -- While we wait for the links to Emiliano's last two shows, we've updated his section.

Click here for new photos by Tom Ehrlich

And here for a newly-revised list of previous shows.

timba.com Dance Section Launched! -- There's a lot more to come but you can check out the basic structure here.

Thursday, Dec. 28, 2006 - Arsenio Rodríguez Radio Special

Tuesday, 22 March 2011, 07:32 PM