Timbalive featuring Mayito Rivera & Osain Del Monte "EN MI SOLAR"
Miami timba group Timbalive has a new video for a song “En Mi Solar” from their 2018 album Consumelo featuring one-time Van Van singer Mayito Rivera and Osain Del Monte. Solars are the term for shared Cuban housing – in some cases originally single-family manions that were divided up amongst a neighborhood of residents after the revolution. Successful timberos such as David Calzado were known for driving around in expensive cars in expensive clothing but still living and practicng in the humble acommodations of their solar. Solars occupy a similar place in the fabric of timba music as do the housing projects – Melphomene, Magnolia – of New Orleans bounce. “En Mi Solar“ is a nice mix of guaguanco and fast and furious timba. 
Timbalive featuring Mayito Rivera & Osain Del Monte "EN MI SOLAR"
A new video for a not so new track, “La Guarapachanga” from Septeto Santiaguero’s A Mi Que: Tributo a los Clasicos Cubanos (I have listened to their amazing version of the changuï “El Guararey de Pastora” made famous by Los Van Van countless times). This song and video features trumpeter Alexander Abreu known far and wide for his group Habana de Primera. “La Guarapachanga” was a hit for fellow trumpeting legend Felix Chappotin, known for his work with the Septeto Habanero, tresero Arsenio Rodriguez’ group as well as his own conjunto. The montuno/diablo/mambo section (the more lively call-and-response and instrumentally fervent second half of a son montuno, whatever you want to call it) is smoking hot!
Septeto Santiaguero featuring Alexander Abreu, “La Guarapachanga”

Timba – The Sound of the Cuban Crisis - Vincenzo Perna

Vincenzo Perna’s Timba: The Sound of the Cuban Crisis delves deep into Cuban Timba – the music, the dancing, the fashion, etc as well as the socio-economic history in which timba came to fruition.

With the brutal ‘special period’ that hit Cuba when the Soviet Union collapsed, and funding to Cuba from the Soviets came to a sudden halt, the urgent need for an alternative economic model led to a focus on tourism. Increased tourism led to a sudden need for a revitalized music and entertainment industry to entertain the sudden influx. The government requirement that professional musicians be professionally trained and certified in order to work in an empresa (union/agency), provided a wealth of musical talent waiting for an opportunity such as this. 

This unique set of conditions led to an explosion in dance music which, though the rest of the world was largely unaware, had been steadily evolving far beyond the son, mambo, and other pre-revolution musical forms that had been very successfully exported outside of Cuba.

The stage was set for cutting edge bands such as NG La Banda, Charanga Habanera and other that followed – Paulito FG, Los Van Van, Manolin, El Medico and others that followed. These bands pushed forward with a radical new Cuban sound that built on the existing Cuban foundations of son, songo, rumba and so on, and also incorporated newer influences from jazz fusion, salsa from New York (and beyond), as well as hip hop, funk, soul and other new American sounds. 

The book goes into the lyrics, the music, the politics, race issues, sex tourism, changing values, and son on. It also casts over the course of an entire chapter what I feel is a needlessly critical eye on the Buena Vista Social Club and the effect that it had on Cuban music. 

Although weighed down at times with the intellectual-speak and ethnomusicology aspirations of its writer, this is still a good read with a wealth of interesting information for the timba fan.

Featured Move


The name – Spanish for rainbow – presumably comes the look of this figure It starts with a setenta, but the lead wraps themselves in front of and facing away from the follow, and then lifts the follows arms up as the follow does a turn to get out of the figure, ending with a dile que no (or finishing up like the end of a setenta etc).   
View this move

Salsa Loca demonstrate Arcoiris
  • Aug 30-Sep 8 - Festival de Salsa, Bachata et Kizomba de Québec 2019 in Quebec City - various parties and workshops, including 5 workshops by esteemed Cuban dancer and teacher Yeni Molinet the weekend of September 6-8. I’ll be driving up from Nova Scotia for this if anyone from Halifax would like to join.
  • Sep 6 Rueda Congress - Bergen Norway
  • Sep 13-16 - Calle de Timberos in Wroclaw, Poland – impressive looking event with a concert by Barbaro Fines y su Mayimbe and lots of great teachers and workshops
  • Nov 7-10 - Havana en Belgrado - in Belgrade, Serbia - short event but with an extremely impressive roster of teachers including Jennyselt Galata Calvo, FredyClan and other illustrious names in Cuban dance, as well as concerts by Maykel Blanco with Mayito Rivera and 2019 Cuba Disco winners El Niño y la Verdad. 
  • Nov 17-22 - Baile en Cuba – 6 days of workshops and concerts in Havana, with an unbelievable lineup of bands: Van Van, Septeto Santiaguero, Pupy, Adalberto Alvarez, Manolito Simonet, Haila, Maykel Blanco, Alan Daniel, Elito Revé, Havana D'Primera and Los 4. Includes 22 hours of classes at all levels with instructors from the top national schools of the arts ...
  • Dec 7-8 Casino Festival Barcelona - 2 days of workshops and parties in Barcelona
  • Feb 8-23 Rueda in Playa Del Carmen - very open-ended opportunity to do and learn rueda in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico with people from Boston Rueda
  • Feb 13-16 Salsa Rueda Festival - in San Francisco. The 2020 schedule is not up yet but you can see from the 2019 schedule that it will be an impressive program
  • Mar 29-Apr 5 2020 - Havana Dance Experience 2020 - Group from Halifax, NS going to Cuba for private classes and dancing. $1349 fixed price includes accommodations, breakfast, a SIM card, classes and taxi dancers as well as some daytime activities. Airfare, transportation and admission to dance clubs not included.  
  • Apr 20-26 2020 Ritmo Cuba – includes 7 days of workshops and classes (30 hours of classes I believe, with four tracks to choose from), tours, a pool party, a beach party, as well as admission every night to the best clubs in the city with top bands in Cuba
  • May 29-31 2020Rueda Fest - in Brighton UK - has some intriguing workshops on rueda in all kinds of funky formations and more
Some intriguing events in Cuba  this summer
  • The second Varadero Josone Jazz & Son Festival is coming to Varadero from August 22-25 featuring big names like Van Van, Adalberto Alvarez, Pupy y Los Que Son Son, Paul FG, Manolito Simonent, Havana de Primera, Alain Perez, Halia, Buena Fe, El Chacal, and more
Of interest to our Halifax readers
  • Wed Sep 4 - Son Latino at Obladee
  • Thu Sep 5 - Haliente on the waterfront 
  • Fri Sep 6 - Free to Move is back indoors at their Oxford/Bayers studio with two rooms for salsa/bachata and kizomba
  • Sat Sep 14 - Son Latino Musica Cubana - at the Music Room, 7-9pm
That’s all for this week, thanks for reading!
Copyright © 2019 Gordon B. Isnor, All rights reserved.

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