A Blast from the Past: Septeto Nacional at Hoy Como Ayer

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If time between shows is any indication, you may have to wait another 76 years to catch Cuba's legendary Septeto Nacional on yanqui shores again.


band made its last U.S. appearance at the 1933 World's Fair

in Chicago, where it won a Gold Medal by spreading the Afro-Cuban music

made popular in the 1930s called "son." That was long before the Buena

Vista Social Club, which Ry Cooder made  famous.

Fans of Cuban roots music have what could be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to catch the

legendary group -- composed of the fourth generation of musicians

who've kept the music of its prolific founder and composer Ignacio

Piñeiro alive.

The band will play two shows at Hoy Como Ayer, a cafe night

club on SW 8th Street and 22nd Ave., Saturday, November 21.

"They've never received the recognition they deserve," said Fabio Diaz, one of the nightclub's owners.

The group's current singer and director Eugenio Rodriguez joined the

band in 1982, but most of the current members came on board in 1995 and

2000. The music, as old Cubans would say, "es mas viejo que andar a pie"

(is older than walking), and includes such standards as "Esas no son

cubanas" and "Échale salsita."

It is said that when George Gershwin visited Cuba in 1932, he studied

Piñeiro's sones and cited "Échale salsita" in his "Cuban Overture."

For New York promoter Leo Tizol -- who brought Los Van Van and Orquesta

Aragon to the states -- bringing Septeto Nacional on a U.S. tour was a

no-brainer. "I'm a traditionalist," Tizol said. "I needed (to bring) the crown jewel."

The shows at Hoy Como Ayer, 2212 S.W. 8th St., start at 10:30 and 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 and can be reserved by calling 305.541.2631.

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