Changüí, the granddaddy of salsa, the music of bucolic Caribbean-steeped Eastern Cuba, has a raw intensity and grace that lovers of folk music, jazz, and blues listeners will appreciate. It got into the ear of an LA-born guitarist and grew into Changüí Majadero, a Los Angeles-based group devoted to spreading the joys of changüí .
“The beautiful thing about Changüí is the way the rhythm and melodic elements work together,” reflects Gabriel Garcia, guitarist, tresero, and founder of Changüí Majadero. “There are these wonderful African elements in the music, the syncopation of the rhythms, the call and response, but a lot of decimas and quartetos are sung and improvised like in other Latin folk traditions. You can talk about almost any subject, from love to politics, just like the blues.”
Tres arpeggios dance around rock-solid bongos, while the bass plays the role of the marimbula (a large thumb piano-like instrument), adding both drive and harmony to the sound. Soulful vocal harmony, shimmying percussion, and general jubilance make for addictive songs, bringing a youthful energy to this often overlooked, century-old Cuban style. www.changuimajadero.com
BombaChante is an explosive Afro-Cuban salsa ensemble that features some of the finest musicians in the Los Angeles area. Their tight rhythm section sets the foundation for the band’s screaming horn section. BombaChante features Gabriel Gonzalez on lead vocals, with credits that include performing with Stevie Wonder, Los Lonely Boys, Juan Gabriel, Francisco Aguabella, and Los Van Van. Directed by bassist/producer Ernesto Molina, BombaChante continues to make its presence felt in the L.A. scene while spreading its reach to Northern and Southern California.
Kati Hernandez Cuban Dancers
Kati Hernandez was born and raised in Cuba where she began her dance training at the age of nine. Kati received her masters in modern dance from the prestigious Artes school in Havana. She is trained in many different forms of Cuban, modern and International styles of dance with an exceptional knowledge of dance history and experience in choreographing many dance forms. Kati began her performance career in Havana while still attending the arts school, sharing the stage with master Cuban jazz musicians such as Bobby Carcases and Chucho Valdes. Kati performed with the legendary Afro-Cuban singer Mercedita Valdez. She was also privileged to dance with the renowned choreographer Santiago Alfonso from Tropicana and perform in the International Bienal of Habana with the visual artist Manuel Mendive. These early unique experiences revealed her intricate and versatile style.