The Ark was a patchouli-laced sweatbox Saturday night during a modern dance jam session for American Dance Festival participants. Jungle percussion was engineered by local drummers, including Bradley Simmons, Patrick Loebs, Jason [last name?] and late drop-ins including Beverly Botsford and Aaron [last name?].
Vladimir Espinosa, down here from Roanoke for ADF, blazed a wide forest path on his batá drums and timbales. (Vlad, a welcome presence here for 6 weeks each summer, also sat in with Carnavalito in June at their Brightleaf Square concert.)
Like a rhythm See 'N Say, the group dialed through a catalog of world rhythms to inspire full body movement. Here's a snippet of the rumba guaguancó:
Something tribal happened during the samba jam, as dancers locked in to a nightclub thump:
Newcomer to the Triangle music scene Alfredo Morua shook a shekere and added verses to the rumba. Morua, a pastry chef at Mad Hatter who was born in Cuba, settled in Angier 3 years ago after living in Manhattan and New Orleans.
Sweet update: Alfredo's bandmate from his New Orleans days, Mark Sanders, just sent me this excellent photo link of the two of them in 1977 in the band Conjunto Caché. Dashiki heaven!
Alejandro "El Niño" Jesus (vocal, center), Mark Sanders (batá drum), Alfredo Morua (far right, guiro). Photo © by Mark Sanders, used by permission.
Mark runs the incredible Cuban music and photo blog Fidel's Eyeglasses, definitely worth a visit if you've never been there. (It's listed in the "Blogs We Like" sidebar).
Cuban Night at Mosaic
Meanwhile, Alfredo Morua made his local music debut last Thursday (7/16) with Tambor Vivo at Mosaic. Primal energies ran high in what may have been the most extraordinary night in the monthly Cuban jam series since they started last year.
Mosaic's Moroccan wine cellar ambience took on a kind of beatnik vibe, where novices and nightclub habitues mingled with rumba aficionados and Cuban homeboys. I saw one New Yorker, a former Palladium dancer, summoning rumba steps from the same deep, mysterious roots that fed the original mambo craze.