CongaDr+ '''Tony's Conga Adventures: Sandy Perez Y Su Lade with Lazaro Galarraga and Ana Perez

Monday, July 18, 2011

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Sandy Perez Y Su Lade with Lazaro Galarraga and Ana Perez


What a beautiful day in the grand, green plaza of Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco.

It was one of those super clean and bright days in the city. The clouds parted and gave us a pristine, Spring-like day for one super show.

The 'gardens' are a treasure.. an open field of grass in the midst of the highrises of downtown... a sanctuary of tranquility surrounded by monolithic monuments of industry.. skyscrapers standing guard... tall, sharp and statuesque.

One gorgeous city, our beloved San Francisco.

We knew we were in for a treat this day, as Sandy Perez was performing with an incredible line-up.

Ana Perez, Sandy's mother and one of the best voices in the history of Rumba, blessed us with her immense talent and truly wonderful spirit. It is so fun to see Sandy perform with his mother. It's part showing off, part harmonious collaboration forged by hundreds of performances together.. it is really fun to see them share the stage once again. video

They were joined by the grand maestro Lazaro Galarraga, another legendary Rumba voice; the talent pool running deep (pictured here, upper left, singing with Giovanni Hidalgo and Francisco Aguabella).

The coro was totally incredible, with local masters Rosita Perez, Mijail La Brada and one serious heavy singer from out of town, Jadele McPherson. video
The texture of these peoples voices is beyond tasty... so earthy, so raw, powerful and beautiful. And so specifically the timbre of Cuban folklorico from the barrios.

It was amazing to see several of my favorite singers in this tradition on the same stage together. It was almost too much talent, as one can only display a hint of what is possible in a one set show.

Sandy brought percussionists Toby Gaster, Jesus Diaz, and John Santos to lay it down for the comfortable and appreciative crowd... all stretched out in the sun.
video
Suzana Arenas was back in town for the show, and danced beautifully as always.

She was joined by the oft sword wielding dancer Alain Soto, who was totally on fire.

...and if that wasnt scary enough.. another female dancer with two swords joined the fray...

Sometimes the sword play, bottle tricks, conga jumping, etc is a bit hokey for me.
video
Sometimes I have to giggle at how silly some of it is to me. For some reason it's hard not to laugh when Alain is pretending to cut his tongue off with a machete... but perhaps that's just me.. in need of counseling..

.. anyway.. it was a wonderful afternoon. Gotta love the bay area.. free summertime shows in one seriously world class setting.

After the show, we all headed back to Sandy's house to celebrate his birthday. We feasted large and hung out enjoying the great energy. We played rumba with the maestros into the warm and sunny afternoon.

At one point, Irish Rick and I were playing. Sandy and Ana poke their heads out with big smiles on their faces, obviously enjoying what they were hearing.

Ana came over, busted out her camera and started filming us! Now that was cool!

It's so wonderful to be with my extended family. Maestros or not, they are brother and sisters to me. I feel lucky to know them, and blessed to be around such amazing people.

Tony