CongaDr+ Tony's Conga Adventures: January 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Haitian relief - $10 each now.. give it up!

If you love your life, understand it may be temporary.

The unbelievable devastation of the earth quake in Haiti has reminded us of how fragile life is.

If you would like to contribute to the aid, the Red Cross has set up a way to make it very easy to make a difference.

The red cross: "You can text "HAITI" to 90999 to donate $10 to Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti."

So far, Americans have donated more than 10 million using this text fund raising idea.

Take a moment, and send $10 to the Red Cross. For the price of a six pack, we can make a difference in these peoples lives.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tito Gonzales Y Su Nuevo Proyecto - at The Red Poppy Jan 9th at 8pm

The Red Poppy Art House Presents: Tito Y Su Nuevo Proyecto

Heriberto “Tito” Gonzalez is well-known to Red Poppy fans as the leader of Tito y Su Son de Cuba. While that band plays traditional Cuban son, Gonzalez unveils his new band, Tito y SuNuevoProyecto. It is in the same vein but adds more Cuban and Caribbean dance rhythms: cumbia, merengue, and boleros as well as rumba, guaracha, and son montuno. In other words, it’s like a cornucopia of Cuban music done Tito style. The other big difference is that Gonzalez’ new CD (due for release early 2010) is all original music composed by Gonzalez, then recorded in Cuba. In addition to those songs, NuevoProyecto also plays some of the great Cuban classics for dancing.

Before moving to America, Gonzalez played and sang in several of the great Cuban bands – including an Arsenio Rodriguez tribute group assembled by Arsenio’s daughter. “Since I was a child I’ve been in music and I’ve always loved it,” he explains. “The music, and especially El Son, is part of my being.” Tito, who now lives in the bay area, sings and plays the Cuban tres guitar that drives the sound of the son, leading a band that includes percussion and horns in shows at clubs and festivals around the Bay.

Date: Saturday January 9, 2010
Admission: Suggested donation $15
Time: 8:00 - 10:00 p.m.
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Red Poppy Art House
2698 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

Monday, January 4, 2010

Rumba at Sweets ballroom every Sunday!! THE All-Star linup

Wow. We are either extremely lucky, or truly blessed.. Either way, im so stoked to report:

Every single Sunday: Jesus Diaz, Sandy Perez, Mejail la Brada, Erik Barbaria, and Rosita Perez will completely rip a whole in the roof of Sweets Balloom in down town Oakland.

From the bill - 'Live Rumba! 7pm to 11pm every Sunday at Sweet's Ballroom, 1933 Broadway in Oakland at 19th St. Jesus Diaz, Erick Barberia, Sandy Perez etal will be raising the roof with their drumming and singing. Only $5.' It actually said $10, but they were charging $5 a the door.

So, the first two sessions were incredibly fat. If this is the start, I hate to see what they pull off next, it might raise the bar to an uncomfortable height.

Uncomfortable for all of us wannabes sitting in awe of these cats.

A powerful and fat couple of sets, they play in this huge hall of a venue. Like a basketball gym with a stage on one side. The acoustics are quite bad, with the wood floor and all. If it wasn't for the talent, the sound wouldn't work.

Its just hard to fill up the place.. 40 or so people on a Sunday night.. not bad, but the place looks empty. Its chilly, this time of year, so bring a coat. (I'm hearing the laughter from the east coast!)

But be prepared to be blown away!

Jesus has an All Star lineup. Small and tight, with absolutely no chance of anything less than amazing.

Jesus has Sandy playing the supporting rhythms of a classic Rumba by himself, for the most part, and Jesus plays Quinto - dropping fat Bajo kicks and such, singing all the while.

Sandy displays his complete mastery of Rumba, paying ultimate respect while completely going off on a bajo cajon and two tumbadoras. He is simply incredible how he plays with Rumba, like a sculptor with clay.

The rest of us are happy to just make a lump of clay... Sandy's just getting started.

Jesus, the organizer of this is extremely talented, and I am just now becoming aware of just how good he is. Its incredible.. how many talented people we have among us here.

I have to find out who taught Jesus, or who he hung out with in Cuba. Im embarrassed not to know, actually. But we will find out.

Anyway, back to the setup..

The front line is comprised of three complete bad asses, if i may say.

Mejail La Brada.. what a talent.. this cat is Rumba. Mejail has an incredible sounding voice that screams 'Havana'. The cat knows the street sound.. that unbelievably engaging and vibrant culture of pure joy, in the most difficult of circumstances. It comes through loud and clear in Mejail's voice. I feel so blessed to actually get to perform with him regularly. It's unbelievable to me.

Anyway... back to the front line..

next up.. Erik Barbaria.. super heavy singer, dancer and percussionist. Such a gracious person and very studious about his approach. Deadly serious about the exactness of the tradition, with uncommon lightheartedness. He seems wicked smart.. an academician, with the most comfortable performing style. Like he was born on stage.

Last but not least by any means.. The one and only, Rosita Perez. A complete ball of fire.

Rosita is Sandy's cousin from Matanzas. She is one of those people who has a direct phone line with the Orishas. Like a red phone in the oval office. She just dials it up, like her ancestors are at her fingertips. She has the coolest voice.. right out of the past.. so specifically Rumba.

All of these very talented musicians have tons of performance experience, so Its really fun to see them in such an intimate, if not cozy setting.

All in all.. just about the best Rumba in the country.... Like we have our own Rumba house... who knows.. that may be what comes of it.

How fortunate to see them every week. Its so dang cool. For someone studying the music in the states, you cant get any better than this.

Do tell everyone you know. This is way too cool not to survive.