In 1995 Juan-Carlos Formell came to Miami for six weeks from New York City to perform Cuban classics with his band at Calle Ocho's Café Nostalgia. Although the gig was successful enough, another Miami experience had a more profound influence on Formell and his music. One afternoon he accompanied conga player Wickly Nogueras on his day job, selling flowers. As Nogueras entered barber shops, cafeterías, and stores, he began to sing, inventing whimsical lyrics that extolled the virtues of his bouquets and flattered potential buyers. Working as a street vendor, the conga player was performing a common rite of passage for recent Cuban immigrants. But his singing evoked a far more venerable tradition: that of the merchants who once crowded the streets of Havana each morning and hawked their wares via... More >>>