Calle Real is a Timba band from Sweden founded in 1999. Calle Real is now twelve guys who play modern timba with distinctive pop influences. Its well arranged and tightly played music for the club scene. Theres a definite heavy groove with a sound that differs from the masses. It can be rock, funk, R&B or mostly pop, which is not unexpected since the band grew up with MTV.
The band was founded towards the end of 1999 by Patricio Sobrado, initially as a trio, playing old Cuban songs in a Buena Vista Social Club style. Since then, new musicians have been added while others have moved on. The style has changed to timba.
Today Calle Real consists of the following members:
Thomas Sebastian Eby – lead vocals
Karl Frid – giro, backing vocal & trombone
Petter Linde- trumpet
Jacek Onuszkiewicz – trumpet
Patricio Sobrado – tres, backing vocals & band leader
Gunnar Thullberg – keyboard & guitar
Cezary Tomaszewski – trombone
Andreas Unge – bass
Rickard Valdés – congas & timbales
Harry Wallin – drums & timbales
Michel Zitron – backing vocals
Magnus Wiklund – trombone
Several of them have spent long periods in Cuba and have studied music, although no one in the band is actually Cuban except Rickard Valdés, who is the son of the legendary pianist Bebo Valdés and who is half Cuban. There are a variety of ethnic origins within the band, including Patricio Sobrado who has his origins in Chile and the trumpet player, Jacek Onuskiewicz and the trombone player, Cezary Tomaszewski originate in Poland, but all of them grew up in Sweden.
In 2003, the band received an invitation to play at a festival in Cuba, Benny Moré. It is a festival that assembles the best salsa- and timba-bands in Cuba and which also invites some international acts. The whole adventure was filmed, which resulted in a music documentary Spelplats Cuba (A Gig in Cuba), later shown at the Gothenburg Film Festival in 2005 and bought by Swedish Television.
Over the years, Calle Real has also played Swedish festivals like Folkmusikfestivalen in Umeå, Urkul, Linköping Jazz & Blues, Stockholm Jazz Festival and Göteborgskalaset. They have also performed on several stages around Sweden.
Timba is an afro-Cuban music style which developed from salsa, with a hard beat and a heavy bass. It was initially created during the early 90s by leading Cuban bands, foremost NG La Banda. It was further developed by groups like Charanga Habanera, Isaac Delgado, Paulito FG and Los Van Van.
The fact this music is so well performed by Calle Real is not so strange, as interest for Spanish and Latin-American culture and music has grown during the last few years. However, the fact that it would lead to young Swedish musicians adopting a music style and taking it further is not so common. One can also clearly hear that the band members have grown up with a lot of different musical influences, this without losing the Cuban style though.
The music Calle Real is making is composed and written by themselves, and although its partly influenced by other bands sounds, it is still something completely new. This was proven when the band was in Cuba, where the reactions were extremely positive and the Cubans themselves thought the music felt new and exciting.
In 2004 the band get the offer of help, in the form of a recording, from Swedish hip-hop label Redline Records. They start to record five songs that summer, which leads to the debut album Calle Real con Fuerza in 2006.
The debut album, Calle Real Con Fuerza was released in Sweden on 1 March, 2006.
2009 “Me lo Gane” top up the charts across Europe after 3 years of absence.