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Victor Manuelle

Go ahead and choose a subject. It could be as simple as a glass of water or as delicate as a soured relationship. Whatever it might be, chances are Puerto Rican master storyteller Victor Manuelle could take the topic and instantly spin a breathless yarn that would leave you transfixed.

Its called improvising, and the smooth-delivering Manuelle is a virtuoso at it. There's no better proof than his latest CD, Victor Manuelle en Carnegie Hall, in which he turns the final six minutes of "La Vida Es un Carnaval" ("Life Is a Carnival") into a bevy of spicy one-liners that salute the crowd in the hall and pay homage to Puerto Rico and his musical influences in attendance. For someone who was satisfied playing instruments as a youngster, Manuelle has in a short time elevated himself to star status thanks to an uncanny ability to compose and perform on the fly. It's the equivalent of a student taking a final exam without having studied -- only this student passes with flying colors every time. And who knows: Victor might even bring Roselyn along for his next exam.

Details

performs at 11:00 p.m., Friday, September 9, at Bongos Cuban Café, 601 Biscayne Blvd, Miami. Tickets cost $25. For more information, call 786-777-2100.

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