CongaDr+ Tony's Conga Adventures: September 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jorgito's Mojo Oyster Shots - A Dream In Full Motion

Ok, usually I reserve this blog for anything conga related, and this post is a stretch...

... my good friend, and aspiring Rumba singer Jorgito Duardo is starting a business venture that I find absolutely fairytale-like.

He is a Cuban American who's family sold Oysters back on the island for several generations. He is now launching a mobile business selling Oyster shooters! And they are seriously Tasty!!

He will be at most of the major festivals and farmers markets around the SF Bay area, and you can get uptated info of his location by hitting or

This is the American dream, live and well, here in the bay area.. Makes me proud that this is still the land of opportunity for many of us.

So, do throw down your support and a few Oyster shooters to boot! See you there!

Mahogany Junior Requinto up for sale

Heres a chance to bid on a rare Reqinto made by the master drum maker Junior Tirado.

Its up for sale on a popular auction site near you! Good luck! and feel free to send it my ass as a gift for all the wonderful posts I have published over the years.. ;)

...and the final price is!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Erick Barberia - Master of his tradition

As if the weather wasn't good enough to move here.. Master Singer, Dancer and Percussionist Erick Barberia is living in the bay area - openly sharing his deep knowledge with all of us. He is certainly a cultural treasure, and a large part of why the Bay area is the place to be.

Erick can be easily contacted for private and group lessons, DANCE CLASS SCHEDULE and directions, as well as booking a performance or workshop: (831) 818-4781, or at

To listen Erick in his various projects, visit, and to see videos of Erick in performance, check out and

We are greatly inspired by his solid knowledge and skill, as well as the loving way he shares his tradition to anyone who would like to know about it. We are some lucky people, to have him here.

Erick is one of very few Cuban folklorists in the area who knows the rhythms, the dance and the songs, along with deep knowledge of the practice and history of this amazing Afro-Cuban tradition, or set of traditions.

(pictured with Sandy Perez of AfroCuba de Matanzas, Fito Reinoso, and Jose Luis Gomez)

Here is a short bio of his posted on his facebook profile:

Erick was born listening to the music of his father, Luis Barberia, singer of the famous Orquesta Jorrin (the creator of the ChaChaCha). Erick began his studies in the School, Escuela Vocacional de Arte Juan Pablo Duarte. He continued his studies in the Escuela Nacional de Arte (ENA), graduating in Folkoric Dances, and studying under professors such as Lazaro Pedroso (Musician and Author), and Francisco Ofarril, who for twenty years was the principle dancer of the Conjunto Foklorico Nacional de Cuba.

(Erick is the singer who comes on at minute 3:00 of this video)

Erick graduated the ENA as a dance teacher and began his professional career working in Matanzas as a dancer, actor and percussionist, with the Proyecto Korimacao, directed by the actor Manuel Porto. In his two years with Proyecto Korimacao, he shared the stage with groups such as Pachito Alonso y sus Kini Kini, Conexción Salsera, Son Damas, La Farandula, La Karovan, La Reve, Maravillas de Florida amongst others. After Korimacao, Erick returned to Havana to teach Cuban Folkloric song and percussion in the ENA and in the Centro Nacional de Escuelas de Arte (CENSEA) for the next five years.

Erick is crowned Omo Eleggua, Awo Orunmila and comes from the Afro-Cuban Yoruba family of Papo Angarica. Erick, Omo Aña, was consecrated in the tambor Aña bi, of the deceased Nicolas Angarica and one of the oldest Tambores that exists in Cuba today. With Aña bi, Erick has played with many other drummers such as, Angel Bolaños, Regino Jiménez, Papo Angarica, Nene Carvajal, Alfredo Coyute, Cristóbal Larrinaga and many others.

Pasion Rumbera - Consuelate Como Yo from on Vimeo.

(The video above includes Master Ramon "Sandy" Perez and Tobias Gaster on percussion)

Erick currently lives and works in San Francisco, California. Working as a musician, he has had the pleasure to work with artists such as, Chucho Valdez, Papo Angarica, Michael Lazarus, Jesús Díaz, Sandy Pérez, Rebeca Mauleon, Pepito Gomez, Karl Perraza, Michael Spiro, Carlos Aldama, José Francisco Barroso, Susana Arenas, Raul Pineda, Fito Reinoso, among many others.

In 2006, Erick had the honor to record, in Cuba, with the great Chucho Valdez, creator of Irakere. and his Sister Maria Caridad Valdez (CD Obatala), produced by Colibri Records. Other collaborating artists included Yalordi Abreu, Dreiser Durruty, Orlando Vallez (Maraca), German Velazco, Jorge Reyes amongst others. Erick has also recorded with Fito Reinoso y su Ritmo y Harmonia (CD Comunicacion), Wobbly World (CD Wobbly World), Victor Little (Inner Portrait), John Santos (CD La Guerra No), P23, Sandy Perez y su Lade and others.

Besides performing, Erick also teaches Afro-Cuban Folkloric and Popular (Salsa, Mambo, Cha Cha Cha) dance, song and percussion. He teaches classes, in local dance studies, private classes, workshops, Middle schools, Junior High schools, High Schools and Universities. His entire schedule is available at

Blogger sentenced to 19 years in prison in Iran

Who knows if this is true, or actually happened, but if so.. makes me love the USA more every day! Bet this cat doesn't love Iran enough to stay there behind bars for 19years for simply posting his opinion.

from Y**hoo news:

TEHRAN, Iran – An Iranian court sentenced the founder of one of the first Farsi-language blogs, credited with sparking the boom in Iranian reform bloggers, to more than 19 years in prison for his writings, a news web site reported Tuesday.

Iranian-Canadian Hossein Derakhshan, 35, was a controversial figure among Iran's blogging community. Writing his blog from Canada, he was initially a critic of Iran's clerical leadership, and in 2006 he visited Israel — Iran's archenemy — saying he wanted to act as a bridge between the two countries' peoples.

But he later became a vocal supporter of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, praising him for standing up to the West and criticizing regime opponents. Derakhshan then visited Iran in 2008 and was arrested. Over the next two years, he was often held without communication with family or lawyers, according to rights groups.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Conga Classes Online!! Michael Spiro's

For all those who would like to learn more about this tradition, there is no better source than Michael Spiro. And now, with the miracle of the internet, and our evolving use of it, Mike has brought an extremely functional way of passing on this tradition to anyone who would like to learn about it - no matter where you live in the world. -More about Mike-

It cracks me up to think of some cat in the middle of winter in Fairbanks Alaska, nose buried in Mikes site, waist deep in 12/8 material... feeling the heat of the Cuban sun and the smell of the salty air.

gotta love the internet.. it's opened up an entire new world to so many.

So, If you find yourself in the wheat fields of North Dakota or somewhere, and want to take an incredible journey into Cuban music direct from the word of mouth tradition itself, there is no better place to go for accurate and respectful information than

Sounds like a commercial.. lol.. but just wait till you check out Mikes video lessons.. its a seriously sweet setup he put together, and has regular guest teachers of the highest order.

I am told that hundreds of students across the country use Mike's site.. now that is contributing to the tradition man! Long live Cuban Folklore! Long live Mike Spiro!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

FIESTA DE LA RUMBA! PlazaCUBA's 10-Year Anniversary

My good friend, fantastic dancer, and seriously heavy business woman Alisa Froman - Executive director of is putting on a fat event this weekend.. hope you all clear out your schedules for this one!

Event Details:

Cuban Dance Workshop - Saturday September 25, 12:00-6:00pm $15 per class / $60 for Day Pass

Lake Merritt Dance Center(Veteran's Memorial Bldg)
200 Grand Avenue, Oakland CA

Rumba and Salsa Dance Party
Sunday September 26, 2:00-7:00pm $10 Cover

Cafe Cocomo 650 Indiana St, San Francisco, CA

In Recognition of Carlos Aldama, His Life and Work

As part of our festivities, we are delighted to be honoring a distinguished member of our community, Carlos Aldama Perez. In Cuba, Carlos has been recognized for his significant contribution to the richness and livelihood of Afro-Cuban traditions. He was awarded a Doctorate on Folkloric Percussion and has a degree from the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) in Havana. He co-founded the Ministry of Culture, Havana (1959) and was a founding member of the Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba (1962). He has been residing in the US since 1999 and is a central figure in the Yoruba religious community here in Northern California. He is looked up to by many as a community leader. PlazaCUBA salutes his life and work. For more informaion about Carlos, see his website at:

Cuban Dance Workshop
Saturday, September 25 at Lake Merritt Dance Center – $15 per class / $60 for Day Pass
PLEASE PRE-REGISTER. You can pay online by PayPal or at the door the day of the event.

There will be multiple dance teachers in each class with some breakdown by level. Guest teachers include Carlos Aldama, Jesus Diaz, Eric Barberia, Royland Lobato, Idalmis Romero, Yismari Ramos, Alain Soto Jose Francisco Barroso, Manuel Suarez and more! LIVE MUSIC (except Salsa and Rumba for women).

11:30am Sign-in

12:00 – 1:00 Introduction to Rumba: Roots & Rhythms
Cuban master percussionist Carlos Aldama will discuss the history, rhythmic structure and dances of the Rumba cycle: Yambu, Guaguanco and Columbia. Live music with Jesus Diaz, Fito Reynoso and Eric Barberia. Dance demonstration with Royland Lobato and Idalmis Romero.

1:00 – 2:00 Yambú and Guaguanco
This multi-level rumba class will be taught by Royland Lobato and Idalmis Romero. They will show basic steps and advanced choreography and will focus on the relationship between men and women in Rumba.

2:00 – 3:00 Columbia (for men)
Aiain Soto and Royland Lobato will teach two levels of Rumba Columbia, a dance typically performed by men. They will break down the steps and show how the movements fit with the percussion.

2:00 – 3:00 Guaguanco / Rumba in Cabaret (for women)
Idalmis Romero will teach a Guaguanco class that focuses on 'the Vacunao' – the part of the dance where the woman must protect herself from the man's advances. Also included: Rumba influences in Cabaret.

3:00 – 4:00 Afro-Cuban Folklore
Jose Barroso and Alain Soto will teach a multi-level Yoruba class. Jose Barroso will teach advanced steps and choreography. Aiain Soto will work with the same rhythms but focus on basic steps for the more beginning students.

4:30 – 6:00 Folkloric influences in Cuban Salsa
This salsa class will be divided into two levels in separate dance studios and will be taught by Eric Barberia, Yismari Ramos, Manuel Suarez and Idalmis Romero. Classes will focus on Afro-Cuban and Rumba influences in Cuban Salsa.

Please register in advance. While drop-ins are welcome, with advance registration you can secure your space in the workshop and help us keep classes running on time. Click the link in the left margin to go straight to our registration page.

Rumba and Salsa Dance Party
Sunday, September 26 at Cafe Cocomo - $10 Cover

Rumba and Salsa all afternoon with a variety of local dance teachers, percussionists, singers and lovers of Cuban music. Live Rumba with the Bay Area's talented Rumberos, including Carlos Aldama, Sandy Perez, Jesus Diaz, Fito Reynoso, Mijail Labrada, Colin Douglas and more!

Cuban Salsa with Special Guest DJ DarkRum of Añejo Productions!

Win great prizes at our raffle at Cafe Cocomo on Sunday. Cost is just $1 (plus your email address). Prizes include SF Jazz tickets to Chucho Valdés and Omara Portuondo, free Cuban Music and Dance DVDs from Boogalu Productions, Carlos Aldama's Afro-Cuban Music CD and more!

Win a voucher for a free trip to Cuba with PlazaCUBA!
Winner can redeem voucher for the entire cost of registration in PlazaCUBA's Summer 2011 Music and Dance Program in Havana. (Actual cost $2,750.) Must be present to win. Voucher has no cash value and must be used by the winner (no substitutions). Airfare is not included in this offer.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Congadr Twitter Feed for Latin shows in sf bay area:

So, I figure its too easy to post tweets about shows that are going on, as I have most of them in my calendar as it is..

It also gets me to look for more shows to check out...

This place is so cool.. just witnessed Stanley Jordan last night.. front row for $7.

Anyway, my love of live music, seeing and playing it.. I thought Id tie in the blog about Latin music and add a twitter feed so you can see what live music to check out in and around the bay area public and private. Just go to the link, and follow me to receive the updates to your twitter page, and even have them sent directly to your phone.

or text "follow Congadr" to 40404
Too much fun, this will get you out more!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

John Santos Lecture series on African and Latin influences in music of the americas

This is a great example of how difficult it is to describe to people just how talented the cats are in this tradition.. John, for example can be called a Master percussionist.. and the man has so many other talents, from singing to his Ethnomusicologism (a new word, just for you John ;) ...a very long list of talents this cat enjoys. We are all lucky he likes to share!

He is the real deal.. knows his history and the music.. so nice for me to hear the material that fascinates me, as a musician and cultural explorer of some of the same traditions. I could listen to him talk on this subject until the moon comes back around...

I very much like his academic approach, knowing how grounded he is as a musician.. in the end, it just makes him that much better sounding on the drum!

You can catch him tonight and tomorrow, Sept 1 and the 8th, I believe:

SF Jazz: John Santos @ MoAD from Jenny Chu on Vimeo.