CongaDr+ Tony's Conga Adventures: Playing with Pedrito Martinez, Roman Diaz, Carlos Aldama - wow!

Monday, July 21, 2008

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Playing with Pedrito Martinez, Roman Diaz, Carlos Aldama - wow!

So, unbelievably.... after the rumba at La Pena, we went over to a house in North Berkeley for an after party. So blessed, so blessed...

We showed up at this party and were welcomed with open arms by Michael La Brada, Carlos Aldama and his wife, and a few other Cuban cats we know.

They immediately gave us big hugs, and bigger smiles - grabbed me by the hand to introduce me to the heavies from New York, like i was royalty or something. I felt so honored.

Here are these cats, who's musicianship is so incredibly profound, one would think they would be stuck on themselves. But they were so welcoming and kind, and when we started playing, so respectful, patient, and down right brilliant.

Pedrito Martinez is one of the best rumberos ive ever seen up close, much less played with.

I was on tumba, with Orlando singing, Rick on cata, Pili on quinto and Super monster Maestro Roman Diaz (Yoruba Andabo) on segundo. I had no idea it was Roman Diaz, i'm embarrassed to say, and I was trying my best to drive the bus on the tumba... not knowing who i was playing with. - oh, THAT Roman Diaz!! man... what a heavy player, religious leader and such a gracious cat. He was the musical director for the CD Wimillere, one of the best folkloric cds i own.

Next thing i know, im tapped out by the one and only Pedrito Martinez. I had no idea he was right behind me, respectfully waiting to play. As lame as it must have sounded to him, for a few minutes, he patiently waited and let me have some fun; how polite and respectful these cats are.

He sat down and completely rocked the house with the funkyest low end ive heard in a long time. It made me look like an armature - no surprise there. What in incredible talent.

Tony Esencio, the trap player in the band, picked up the cata, and it was on!

Carlos Aldama singing and dancing... Master Dancer and folklorist Felix "Pupi" Insua picking up where he left off, working the Rumba like a world class jockey on a thoroughbred.

I was thinking to myself, playing chekere and singing with these masters - providing a very small part of this fattest of fat rumbas: this is unbelievable.... and I feel right at home. Life is amazing.

I'm planning on making the workshop at La Pena tomorrow night, (Tuesday the 22nd) and who knows what we get ourselves into then!

..off to play for a dance class in Napa...

Tony