Timba Report from Cuba

| 02/01/2011

Jennifer and Eriko together in DC Because I cannot travel to Cuba myself, I love when friends go and report back about the happenings on the island. Whether it be sociological, music, or related to dance – I enjoy all the updates. Recently, my good friend Eriko took a trip to the island and saw as many bands as she could fit into her schedule. Below are her reports and opinions.

Eriko was able to see Havana d’Primera (HdP), Manolito, Bamboleo, Kilmax, Elito Reve, and Pupy twice. She also was able to see a new band, Combinancion de la Habana. She mentioned that the most popular band was HdP. This doesn’t come to a surprise to most of us who drool over their music and want them to come to the United States just as soon as possible. Eriko replied about the concert, “I did enjoy the concerts but as my friend pointed out and I have to agree, with just one cantante, it does get a bit boring, since Timba bands usually have more than one cantante. I know I am spoiled!! Although their percusionista ROCKED!! Even had a close to 10 min. solo during the break, and it was awsome!!”

Next she commented on Manolito and the new cantante Pepitin: “With each concert, he seems to improve on the ‘pouring heart and soul’ style singing (according to my friend, he has improved soooo much since she last saw them last Oct.). Filling in for El Noro and El Indio for that matter is a tall order I know but I think he has it in him to do it well. [There was] more balance in songs between Amaray, Lazaro and Pepitin – a fun mix. They are doing some recording….. yay! Oh, and Leo Vera sang four songs, including Loco por tu amor AND Mi estrella. I was bawling….”

Eriko saw Bamboleo, recently here in Washington DC, and said, “Bamboleo also has a new cantante, not sure what his name is, but clearly eye-candy material – sort of looks a bit like Ricky Martin. Couldn’t really tell what his voice sounded like, since he did not have any solo parts but the faranduleras seems to be enjoying him. Of course, as always, Tania worked the crowd very well. And Ronnis, with his great big smile and sparkly eyes sang his heart out. Love him!”

I am still reeling about not seeing Pupy when he was here in Virginialast summer, but, at least I can have Eriko’s updates: “Pupy started the concert with three tops, but in the middle, Pupy had one of the backup singer come forward and made it four tops. He has a beautiful voice, in the mid-range, and
charanga material handsome face (dancing needs a bit of work… a bit nervous and shy?) At the second concert we were told his name is Pedro, and he is a cantante lilico (so we were told by a proud auntie who sat in front of us). We have witnessed a debut of a new cantante! The song ‘Loco con un moto’ was their top song.”

I, myself, do not know much about Klimax. I probably should although I know some of their music. Thankfully Eriko is well-versed in all things Timba but this was her first time seeing them in concert. She comments, “My first Klimax concert. He had two singers from Charanga – Leo and I forget his name but one with a afro (I know, that narrows it, right?). So, needless to say, they had some Charanga signature moves and they seemed to dance more. His conga player was superb! The crowd seemed to be more mature crowd but the concert definitely had a lot of energy. I enjoyed it. Danceable, too!”

Now for my favorite: Elio Reve. I’m so jealous that she was able to see him and the group in concert. Eriko said, “He had a very loyal crowd and they danced to most of the songs with certain moves – sort of like the electric slide? I did enjoy it but since it was the last night after Bamboleo matinee I was a wee bit tired. Don’t remember a lot of the songs, but did perform the ‘Mi amiga chichi’ song that is popular now.”

And finally, the new band, Combinacion de la Habana. Eriko reports that they are just okay but that, “The musicians were good but the singers are not in the same league (yet) as the above noted ones.”

I really appreciate the fact that Eriko shared her information with me. Thanks chica!!

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Category: News

About the Author ()

Hello! I love Cuban salsa. While I really love all salsa music my heart, soul, and body just responds best to Cuban salsa. It doesn't matter if it is the early work of Celia Cruz or Ibrahim Ferrer or the current Bamboleo album - I'm gonna move to it! I live in the Washington DC area and work to promote Cuban dancing and music and try to educate people about what timba is... what rueda is... what salsa casino is... and how, historically, it all played a big part in them being able to go to a club and dance salsa.

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  1. Habanaudio says:

    Ex-charanguero You are mentioning Franz is Noel Diaz 🙂