One of the nicest cats in the local AfroCuban tradition, Cecil Carter, was honered with a birthday Rumba at Kittys this weekend.
It was no less than 35 years ago, that a very young Tony would go to Sproul Plaza and watch the drummers play. Back then, a blond headed, nine year old kid was of little notice to Cicil, Butch and a few other cats I now know as family.
Here is a clip of the Sproul Plaza days, 8mm no sound!! You can see Butch Haynes (1:20) in this clip from 1967 , the year of my birth.
These cats were playing Rumba in Berkeley back in the 60's, and they were instrumental to how developed the scene is today.
The Cuban masters would never have moved here without these pioneers setting the scene for them to feel so at home here.
Pioneers like Cecil Carter, Gene Golden, Yagbe Oline, Marcus Gordon, John Santos, Raul Rivera, Yaya Maldonado, Trevino Leon, Buddah, Butch Haynes, Chris Flaco Walker, Jerry Shilgi (spelling?), Hadley Louden, Bill Summers, Daniel, Bruce.. among others.
So, this weekend I got a call from Maria de Colombia, another elder/pioneer and matron of Rumba in the bay, and she told me about Cecil's Birthday... she was wanting to bring a cake for us to munch in celebration.
I went to Cecil's Facebook page to see if he wanted to put a Rumba together... and was blown away to see no less than 40-50 people wishing him a happy birthday. Cecil, a very spiritual man with a wonderful spirit, has touched many people in this community with his genuine love, and he has this wonderful Karma/Love flowing his direction these days, for sure.
He is a great example of how to build respect with respect itself.
If there is any doubt about how long this cat has been hitting hard..
here is a shot from 1976 - Grupo 'Erekusu'
A rumba group in New Orleans.
Rubén González, Humberto "Pupy" Menez, Cecil Carte, and the owner of the fantastic blog below:
Read more: http://fidelseyeglasses.blogspot.com/2008/05/ruben-gonzalez-cuban-singer-photo.html#ixzz1NDuSjIxD
Cecil and I, over the years, have developed really nice conversations musically, and we really enjoy playing side by side. It's always a highlight for me, no doubt.
So, we put together a rumba at Kittys on short notice... and a bunch of people came out to celebrate with us. It was too fun, and it was great to see Cecil so happy with his recognition.
(i didn't film it, but here is a clip from '09 at La Pena Cultural Center starting with Butch on quinto, Flaco on Secund, Trevino on Tumba, Bruce on Coro, then Cecil comes in to play Quinto.. Daniel is on Chekere, Yaya on Akpwon.. many a pioneer in this clip... and one very cool addition, Bob Ladu, who is the light-skinned brother on Coro, he is the youngest addition to the scene, and brings his fresh masters in percussion to complement our community... nice passing of the tourch in this clip, looking back...)
Happy Birthday Cec! you da man!
Thanks for all the inspiration over the last 35 years my friend, it's all your fault!! lol