Latin pianist Raúl Yañez and turntablist DJ Radar played the same club in Phoenix, but on different nights. They finally met when DJ Radar (aka Jason Bellmont) wanted a jazz musician to check out his scratch notation. Before long, the two were jamming after hours, collaborating, and exploring the integration of turntables into a live, Latin band.
In 2001, Raúl wrote Concerto for Turntable, which world-premiered in Carnegie Hall in 2005 (with sponsorship by Red Bull).
Scratch forward to 2010, and UNC Music Department's Festival on the Hill, an annual symposium and letting-down-of-the-hair on a creative theme. This year's topic: The Art and Culture of the DJ.
Raúl Yañez & DJ Radar rehearse with Charanga Carolina
Here's what you need to know: Raúl Yañez and DJ Radar are here FRIDAY (2/19), and they are inviting you to their dance party with Charanga Carolina 8-10 pm, in UNC's Gerrard Hall (on the left side of Memorial Hall). There's a lovely wood floor, dancing is encouraged, and it's FREE and OPEN to the public.
Raúl wrote "Circulo," a new piece especially for the Charanga Carolina and DJ Radar. The first set will feature Raúl's original material and Cuban classics such as "Cumbanchero," integrating turntables + charanga; a second set will feature DJ Radar sitting in with Charanga's regular material, including their Los Van Van anthem "Esto Te Pone La Cabeza Mala."
I know you are all wondering what to expect; I've been to the open rehearsal, and I can tell you, this is fresh, limber, groove-based dance music, and the turntables are integrated to a surprising degree, embedded as it were, right into the Latin rhythm section. Here is a piece of video from the Q&A last night, where Raúl and Radar discuss what they are trying to do:
I don't want to spoil all the surprises, but here is a brief sample of DJ Radar's flashier side, soloing with the Charanga during the open rehearsal:
DANCERS: TURN OUT FOR THIS. ALL PEOPLE WITH EARS: YOU TOO.