CongaDr+ Tony's Conga Adventures: La Pena Rumba 4/09 LA in the house!

Monday, April 20, 2009

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La Pena Rumba 4/09 LA in the house!

It was a fun time at the rumba this weekend.

Irish Rick brought his set of Cedar Bauers i helped him piece together. The set completely rocks.. so fun to play.

As far as the players of said instruments... we are sorting out a few things, as far as how we can make a more solid thing out of the new group of cats. Most of the additions, like myself, are not always the best players in the house, so it makes for a few awkward situations from time to time.

But somehow, and with the experience of a few heavies playing with straight, grooving parts.. we were all able to get the best sound with the players at hand. Its always amazing how well it all works out. I guess that's why the 9th anniversary is coming up soon. (BBQ, PARTY to be announced!)

Later in the day, the heavies came out, as usual, and really played well. Javier Navarrette, Trevino Leon, Pili Martinez, John Santos, Yaya Maldonado, Hector Lugo and the rest of the gang.

Yaya, Hector, Santos, Orlando singing some really fun tunes... mixing it up.

Hector has some great material, and he's really going for it, as far as learning the songs, etc.

I really appreciate his quinto playing. He has a really clean style.. very well thought out. He has a new project, i hear the heavies are laying tracks for.. not sure when its being released, but I will post it here when it does. It should be fat, with many of the biggest names of the bay on the recording.

Anyway, at the rumba, these cats from LA came to check out the scene and play for us.

I was giving him a hard time for asking me for the quinto, just as i sat down to play. I just wish they would give it a listen, then take the drum... That being said, if I knew who the cat was, and knew he wanted to play, I wouldnt have been sitting at the quinto.

I didnt catch their names, but word is, the cat ripping on quinto was Francisco Aguabella's cousin. He played some sweet licks, ripping it up. He had an unusual, but tasty style.

so.. I waited, and caught a super sweet wave...

I sat down on quinto with John and Javier, Yaya singing a Yambu that I will always remember. John and Javier are the most solid two players one can ask for... anywhere in the entire country... the two best cats to lay down a super solid, and gracefully tasty Yambu.

I can tell you, it was like the bombing the fresh powder shoots of Utah.. carving up the cleanest set at mavericks.. way more fun than nailing a 3pointer at the buzzer.. these moments, I adore.

Anyway, the session was packed and successful, the 9th year running.

Yaya has really to be commended. In fact, he should be eligible for some community arts award or something. The cat really has made a huge contribution to the art form and culture of Rumba in the Bay. Im going to look into it.. perhaps there is a way to nominate him for something.... he needs to be recognized for this incredible long run of La Pena Rumbas.

It really has been a fine work of management, on Yaya's behalf. Trying to keep the heavies happy with quality rumba, keep the new blood flowing in, while keeping those who cant play from messing things up.... all that while playing clave and singing... ;)

At times, Yaya will stop everything and say.. I dont know what to say man... someone gives a wink to someone.. players shuffle in and out.. it starts again and works fine, usually. Not a big confrontation or 'call out' on the offending 'rumbero'. Its masterful, actually.

He quells the overexcited and under experienced with well timed mini-speeches about 'this is not a practise session, if you cant play rumba, listen and sing coro'... the usual montra. I bet he has given that speech around 100 times in the nine years. Thanks from all of us, Yaya, we know its a pain in the ass.

All in all, that session was sweet, here is the master quintero Pili Martinez on his favorite ax, the quinto cajon.... Pili has the fattest technique, with crisp, biting slaps on this wooden box of a beautiful instrument. so fun to watch, as it would tear my chops up if i played like that... yea... as if.

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