CongaDr+ Tony's Conga Adventures: Rumba for Enrique - the most incredible scene!

Monday, November 17, 2008

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Rumba for Enrique - the most incredible scene!

Wow wow wow...

once in a while i start a post like that... and this is by far the fattest rumba i have witnessed at La Pena, and it was beyond my wildest imagination of how this tribute would go down.

Every heavy, i mean virtually every single significant player of rumba from San Jose to Santa Rosa who was in town came to honor Enrique. It was incredible. totally packed with dancers, players, those from the religious community.. fans of the music.. they all came out to represent.

We played way past the usual cutoff time, and the rumba screamed into the dusk.

Carlos Aldama, Sandy Perez, Jesus Diaz, John Santos, Chris 'flaco' Walker, Fito Reinoso, Yaya Maldonado, Javier Navarrette, Yagbe Oline, Francisco Barroso and a huge cast of rumberos graced the stage for over four hours.. pumping the fattest public rumba i have seen in these parts.

At one point Carlos played the living daylights out of the quinto to a sweet Columbia.... what an honor to witness.

The Coro was absolutely huge! Thunderous.... almost drowning out the drums at times... so Fat!

Everyone was so kind, and warm... Enrique would have been proud of us.

Enrique's family was there - his brother, also named Enrique, but we call him Nestor, came out from NY to help Michelle and family organize the funeral and the associated festivities.

Enrique and Nestor were as close as bothers could be. They both have such golden hearts.. kind, loving, warm and egoless. Im sure the qualities we all enjoyed in Enrique were formed hanging with Nestor as a young man... He is such a sweetheart, and its not easy to feel even a small part of his pain.

Enrique, with huge influence, was a relatively small part of our lives compared to growing up with the man, for example. With the impact he made on us as a friend, I couldn't imagine how much i would miss him if he was a part of my every day life. He was a absolutely huge presence, in his quiet and respectful way.

Enrique's young son, Julian, played cata for hours... on just about anything or anyone... at the age of 14 months... we will keep him up to speed, that is for sure. I have to smile when i think that Enrique started a family in his 60's.. too cool. Yea, it would have been ideal for him to live forever.. but Julian will know his father well, we'll make sure of that - he is one lucky cat to have the old man's blood flowing in his veins. Michelle is about the best mother that nature can produce.. and im sure they will be more than loved and will grow to be kind and respectful like their father, no doubt.

At one point, all the heavy kids, as i call them... Barroso's, Jesus', Vladamir's and Sandy's kids were playing outside on the newspaper machines and dancing hip-hop like you could not imagine. It was succinctly poignant to see the next generation cutting it up for Enrique, without even realizing it... so cool. A large group of rumberos circled them, throwing dollar bills, laughing and cheering... this is what we have to look forward to in our old age... watching these young cats cut it up. How lucky are we?

It was a call from Rustin, later that night, that reminded me... we are such a tight and supportive community, like few people in the modern industrial world enjoy. It is sacred to us and we are more than lucky to be a part of it. To me, for some reason, this is quite unexpected and an amazing bi-product of the direction the Orishas have for me. - guess they knew that.. Enrique will be one of my guiding spirits, so fortunately, and has taken us by the hand to travel down a beautiful and familiar path.

The services are on Wednesday and Thursday.. Ill post details soon - hope you all can make it out.

So, it looks like we will be holding a tribute show, at La Pena probably, and it will include an unbelievable line-up, more than likely. The show will be a couple of months out, so we can promote it correctly. Of course, we'll keep you informed on the details as they develop.

Love, as Enrique taught us,



  1. Bless it man, glad to see him honored by all present. I'll look to see if I have any good photos of him or his beautiful cajones. Peace

  2. Thank you so much for this. It is great to see how much my father's music touched people. It reminded me of growing up in the parks on sundays with my dad and his friends playing music all day. Thank you so much for this.

    Enrique's oldest son

  3. Desmond,

    It is my grand pleasure.

    Feel free to consider yourself family and know that you have many brothers and sisters on the west coast. Anytime youre in the area, please do let us know.

    Your father was one special person, and was very well loved.

    send me an email -




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