CongaDr+ Tony's Conga Adventures: Pedrito Martinez, Roman Diaz, Felix "Pupi" Insua - wow, these cats are all that.

Monday, July 21, 2008

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Pedrito Martinez, Roman Diaz, Felix "Pupi" Insua - wow, these cats are all that.

Roman Diaz is one of the most respected folklorists on the east coast, and is one of the top players of this tradition in the world. Here is a shot of him playing with no less than:

Left to right: 'Goyo' Hernandez, Roman Díaz on bonko, 'Maximino', Pedrito Martinez, Miguel Chappotin, Juan de Dios (Director of Raices Profundas)

"Roman Díaz is a master percussionist from Havana, where he was trained by elders in the fine arts of classic Afro-Cuban musical traditions. He performed with groups including Raices Profunda (Juan de Dios Ramos), Grupo T con E, Ochestra Sublime, Yoruba Andabo, and Grupo Anaki (Pancho Quinto). In the US, Diaz has collaborated with musicians including Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, Oriente Lopez, Paquito D'Rivera, Juan Carlos Formell, Pedrito Martinez, Onel Mulet, Candido Camero, "Chocolate" Armenteros, and Orlando "Puntilla" Rios. He organized a performance ensemble called Omi Oddara. A collective that soon became the thunder behind Insua's dance company known at that time as Oriki. They perform ritual Santeria, Abakua, and Palo Monte music, as well as continue the rumba and Son lineages of Arsenio Rodriguez, Chano Pozo, and Ignacio Pineiro's Septeto Nacional, all of whom drew upon Cuba's African heritage in their music. Contrary to the typical use of these traditions as "spice" for "world music", Diaz's ensemble is distinguished for respecting these traditions through artful and passionate performances based on deep ritual knowledge. Diaz is recorded on Calle 54 (film/CD), Del Yoruba al Son, Ache IV and V, and Montvale Rumba (LP Productions) to name a few. He produced and arranged Wemilere (2002). Diaz is currently working on new compositions for Oriki's upcoming performances."

here is Roman on quinto, playing with Yoruba Andabo... wholly molly....

Pedro Martinez

Pedrito Martinez began performing at the age of 11, where he played and sang in comparsa groups in school. Born and raised in Cuba, he had the unique opportunity to work with numerous Afro-Cuban groups, such as Yoruba Andabo, Obba Ilu, Tata Guines, Changuito, Anga and many others. He also recorded several albums, one of which was entitled "Guemilere", which was produced by Roman Diaz, as well as the group Los Nani.

Pedrito also had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica, France, Spain, and the Canary Islands, and came to the United States in July 1998 after performing with saxophonist Jane Bunnett at the Canadian Jazz Festival in Toronto.

In September 2000, Pedrito won First Place in the Thelonious Monk Institute's Afro/Latin Jazz Hand Drum competition at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. This honor led to several more high-profile projects, including work with Nelson Gonzalez, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, Robby Ameen, Paquito D'Rivera, Giovanni Hidalgo, Patato, and Candido Camero, among many others. He also performed in the motion picture "Calle 54", as well as other television works.

Dancer and renound folkforist Felix "Pupi" Insua, founder of Oriki, and one time principal dancer for Yoruba Andabo.

"Oriki's repertoire illuminates the roots of the Cuban rhythms beginning with the sacred music, song and dance of the Yoruba, Congo, Calabar and Dahomey cultures and their influences on contemporary and social dance forms. Given his mastery of the folkloric technique coupled with his extensive training in classical and contemporary ballet, modern, and jazz, Insua’s choreography surpasses the realm of traditional dance."

There are great bio's of each of the performers on the Stanford jazz site -

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