CongaDr+ '''Tony's Conga Adventures: Opportunities and insights - connecting with my Cuban family

Thursday, February 9, 2012

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CongaDr

Opportunities and insights - connecting with my Cuban family


Upon returning from such an amazing trip to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, I wanted to reconnect with my Cuban family here in the bay.

I've been busy with other things, got detracted and forgetful. I have to remember the situation I am so fortunate to enjoy.

Being in DR reminded me of my love of Cuban culture, religion and music. Upon returning, I set out to reaffirm my Cuban connections here in California.

Playing a rumba downtown the day after I arrived, I had the great fortune to play and hang with Chris Flaco Walker, Butch Haynes, Fito Reinoso, Tito Gonzales, Javier Navarette, and Hector Lugo, among others. We are so lucky to have such close ties, and I feel so comfortable with my brothers and sisters in the Rumba scene here in the bay.

I quickly reconnected with dear friends Sandy Perez and Mejail La Brada, two of the heaviest Rumberos alive. We played a Guiro together this week.

Sandy talked about putting together a performance troupe this year.



He asked me to join him for weekly rehearsals with some other cats he has in mind for a new group, presumably with whom to gig and tour.

Working with the Maestro has always been a dream of mine, and at 44, time is short. This may be one of the best projects I will ever be a part of, should it materialize as Sandy believes.

I am looking forward to reapplying myself to my instrument, and seeing where that takes me.

I have an opportunity to really stretch out this year, with my group Rumberos de la Bahia, and if all goes well, as a member of Sandy Perez Y Su Lade. Who knows, I may get busy with some recordings as well, this year.

At the moment, I am producing a benefit show for a dear friend of ours Cecil Carter, who is battling cancer. I will do a post about him soon.

So, most of my free time is going to making sure this show goes over well. So far, John Santos and Sandy Perez, along with a large crew of talented musicians have committed to play the evening of Feb 23rd at la Pena Cultural Center. It should be off the hook, but these benefit shows are nerve racking. With all the musicians and volunteers donating their time, its not so easy to know they will be there for sure.



I hope it goes over well, and I will be very happy to see it earn some money for Cecil in his time of need.