Sunday, October 4, 2009


After a 9-month hiatus, Charanga Carolina is BACK, baby. I am pretty sure this is the first time Los Van Van charts have been performed live, by any band, in The Triangle:

[VIDEO] UNC Charanga Carolina directed by David Garcia. Street dancers: Adriana Dwyer and Betto Herrera.

They also performed a lovely, lilting bomba, "Juventud Boricua," and a medley of "Boranda" and "Isla del Encanto." This orchestra has been together for just a matter of weeks, since the beginning of the school year, and the verdict of the old gang from El Barrio was unaminous: tiene swing. This young ensemble laid a solid foundation at Sunday's Festifall in Chapel Hill, with nowhere to go but up.

This year's Charanga has a whole different configuration than it has had before, heavier on the trombones making it just about right for a foray into timba territory. I'm just getting to know the new students, but there are two pianists, Alex Baumgardner and Alex Williams, both with Latin chops. Williams, a UNC freshman (loving it! 4 more years) comes from Atlanta where he played Latin jazz in high school. The violins, about 4 or 5, are turning into a rhythm section; there's also flute and cello.

Best news of all: Next opportunity to hear LA UNICA Charanga Carolina comes already THIS FRIDAY (10/9) at the Fiesta Latina at Durham Academy Upper School (corner/Pickett Rd), 7-9 pm. This diversity outreach/cultural evening is free and open to the public; some Latin American food will be for sale starting at 5:30.

Also on the Fiesta Latina music program: Colombian harpist Pavelid Castañeda who will have just returned from France, where he is currently helping son Edmar select and customize a harp model that will bear his name. Bomba dancers representing the Asociacion de Puertorriqueños Unidos de NC are also expected to perform.

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