CongaDr+ Tony's Conga Adventures: Yosvany Terry and his brothers at La Pena - demonstration

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pin It


Yosvany Terry and his brothers at La Pena - demonstration

We were so blessed to see these cats one more time before they head out of town.

Once again, Silvia at La Pena comes through. Thanks for your support of the tradition!

Man, these cats rip... to say the least.

Yosvany was tearing it up on the sax, and Pedrito was singing so nicely, i thought i was on a beach in Havana.

It was billed as a workshop on Arara, and turned out more like a one set performance, and some general discussion. Its funny, these cats are such fluent musicians, it was a challenge for them to see how a novice would find their compositions a mystery, and thus had a challenge in explaining how the various styles of Arara inspired the various compositions where they were used, for example.

Yosvany and these cats are so smooth with their grooves - so comfortable with both idioms. Its hard for them to understand how someone outside of Cuba can be a bit overwhelmed by the complex fusion of the strict Arara tradition, and the freedom of Jazz.

Some of their compositions are way heavy....5 on 12, ok... i give... as in uncle...

It reminded me of my days studying East Indian Tabla... and some of the recent Flamenco fusion. 5 over 12 ending on 10!! That takes a while... .... a while for pattern to roll around again. Waiting for 15 to roll, as in some Indian Ragas, is difficult enough for me, for the moment.

so, after the session, the band and a few of us Rumba junkies (Pili, Javier, Josh Jones, Morgan Simon, among others) went over to Maria's house for some late night ripping.

Getting to hang with these cats, in such a comfortable space, is truly something special. ... ok, i could find a more powerful word, but these cats are especially special...
Roman Diaz, one of the most humble masters ive known, purchased a requinto from Pili (Isla Percussion), and a Matanzas style quinto Cajon made by our beloved brother Enrique Carrerao.

As homage to Roman and his mastery of, and contribution to this tradition, Im going to box them up and deliver them to his hotel today, to be shipped off to the east coast. To say thanks, Roman sported me a black beer... not the first time a grand master has sent a beer my way... and for an Austrian, there isn't a better way to thank someone. Thank you Roman.. I felt like keeping the glass as a memento.

Thank you Roman, for producing one of the fattest folkloric cd's in production, Wimelere... what a treasure for us all!

Here is a Rumba at Roman's house where you can see this drum in it's charmed life.

At one point in the night, Carlos Aldama takes my by the hand and tracks down Roman, to tell him what a dear friend i am to him, and how he respects me... am i dreaming? What have i done to be so respected... It makes me feel awkward, with this showering of respect from such heavies... who the hell am i, in the grand scheme of the tradition... ... just a humble student of such grand and talented masters... Im very lucky to know them.

The rumba at Maria's was more than 'all that'. Sandy was playing some of the most terrific quinto ive ever witnessed. Roman Diaz on tumba, Tony Escapa on segund, Yosvani Terry on Cata, Michael La Brada and Carlos Aldama singing, me on chekere and coro... was i dreaming?? I hope i never wake from this precious slumber... an unbelievable fantasy come true...

Late in the night, I was one of the last to leave. I just had to squeeze every last drop out of the experience.. and this morning, i'm more thirsty than ever.



  1. That was a great experience. Sandy was stoked to hear "Happy Birthday" sung Cuban style. Thanks for fixing up those drums for Maria- she is special, too. Very kind of her to open her house to all the rumberos. Peace

  2. yea Jonathan,

    Nice to see you there.

    I was just listening to the session. Sandy was on fire!

    Yes, Maria is one amazing person, and what a tenacious and sweet hearted Rumbera! Im so thankful she is such a supporter of all i do, and such a loyal friend.

    Its funny, Sandy is not sure how old he actually is... 39, 40. I'll ask Laila... she will know.

    ...may the Orishas bring us many years together as master and student, friend and business partner - well into our old age. We are so blessed to have him around.



Thanks for checking in, please feel free to contribute.

Feel free to contact me directly at