Even if you're neither Cuban nor into Cuban music, you've no doubt heard of the Buena Vista Social Club, originally a members club where musicians would meet in Cuba during the 40's, but better known for the rediscovery in the 90's, championed in large part by American guitarist/producer Ry Cooder. A successful documentary was made, an more successful album pressed and Cuban classics that were mas viejo que'l frio (older than the cold) like "El Cuarto de Tula", "Chan Chan", "Dos Gardenias" and "El Carretero" suddenly began to spring forth from stereos across the country.
But while the names Buena Vista Social Club and perhaps even Ry Cooder may ring a bell, you might be less acquainted with the name of one individual who made it all possible -- Juan De Marcos. De Marcos is a Cuban bandleader who helped Cooder round up the talented roster that included such names as Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, Eliades Ochoa and Ruben Gonzalez.
He is also responsible for The Afro-Cuban All Stars, a collective of Cuban musicians known for launching into spirited descargas containing all the best elements of Cuban music and seamlessly shifting from bolero to chachacha, salsa to timba, danzon to son montuno, some rumba of course and even guajira.
The All Stars is a justifiable name, as the group has boasted some of
the best talent Cuba has to offer over the years, including Ruben
Gonzalez, "Cachaito" Lopez, Ibrahim Ferrer, Raul Planas, "Puntillita"
Licea, Caridad Hierrezuelo and Pedro Calvo.
The Afro-Cuban All
Stars have just announced a show in Miami where De Marcos will be
leading a 15-piece orchestra, and fans, on a journey across Cuban
landscapes, good for you, your mom and your abuela.
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Afro-Cuban All Stars will be performing at the Knight Concert Hall in
the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts (1300 Biscayne Blvd,
Miami, FL 33132) on Saturday, April 11 at 8pm.Tickets start at $35, with $75 for Orchestra seating.