Sunday, December 12, 2010

Guadalupan Procession 3 PM TODAY (12/12)

On my way home from Orquesta GarDel last night, I stopped in at Durham's Immaculate Conception Church. It was just the right time to catch the last of the Mañanitas for the Virgin of Guadalupe, which went from midnight to 4 am. While I missed the mariachis (doh!), I was just in time to see a new addition to the celebration this year: banda, a thunderous brass, woodwind and percussion ensemble, derived from the tradition of military marching bands.

Banda Los Guanajuatenses

Banda Los Guanajuatenses

12.12. is a busy day for Mexican musicians, and Los Guanajuatenses told me they had already performed for a baptism earlier that day. After this 4 am set, they quickly departed the church by a side door, and headed home to Raleigh. Just enough time to rest up for the next gig--this afternoon, in Creedmoor.

Banda Los Guanajuatenses

Because the Virgin's day falls on a Sunday this year, the parade and procession today will be earlier than usual--3 pm--and will take a longer route through the Burch/Morehead Street neighborhoods. Anyone is welcome to come observe and/or walk with the procession, which is a mingling of parade floats, songs, dancers, and congregants from various folk traditions all over Mexico. It's a sight worth seeing. There's usually hot chocolate and sweet rolls or tamales at the church afterwards, and more indigenous dance groups. You'll find the church right at the Chapel Hill Road Exit 13, off Durham Freeway.

Pictures from 12.11. Black & White Party

Some pictures from the Black and White Party at Mint, the new location for the Cobo Brothers' monthly Copa Night. It was Orquesta GarDel's last gig of 2010, and the first I've heard them since August.

GarDel, 12.11.10
Nelson, Andy, Tim, Blu, Alberto, Kyle and Jose

GarDel, 12.11.10

BNF - Eider and Luisa
Cute as buttons: floor show dancers Eider and Luisa

GarDel, 12.11.10
Kitchen staff checks out Pete and Eric's irresistible tumbao

GarDel @ Copa, 12.11.11
Brevan's eye view

It was too dark for me to take video last night, but GarDel's first CD, Lo Que Tu Querias, will be out in no time--sources say January.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Technicolor Salsa: Bio Ritmo hits Durham

Bio Ritmo @ Casbah

Life is always in technicolor when Bio Ritmo comes to town. They had a beautiful show at Casbah last night, with a nice turnout from the local salsa population. I met new member Mark Ingraham adding another trumpet to the horn section, making for a 1x sax, 1x bone, 2x trumpet lineup. Mike Montañez, who has gigged with them on and off for a long time, took the conga chair last night.

Here's some video of Marlysse messing with the keyboard settings on "Lisandra." Trombonist Toby wields maracas on this joint, and trumpet player "Mambo" Bob dips in to some programming near the end. This tune is from their 2008 release Biónico:

This kind of sparkling songwriting and innovative performance make Bio Ritmo Salsa Machine a great band: solid state yet always full of whimsy. You never hear a same-old cover of the usual Fania suspects. Formulaic salsa bands seem slogging and unimaginative after a hearty draught of Bio Ritmo.

Orquesta GarDel to Play Copa Night's New Raleigh Venue

Late add to the party calendar: Orquesta GarDel has been booked to play Copa Night this month at its new Raleigh location: The Mint Restaurant on Fayetteville Street.

Orquesta Gardel, Aug 2010

GarDel says this will be the last time to hear them in 2010 before the release party for their imminent CD.

Party hours: 11 pm - 2:30 am, with two live band sets at 11:45 pm and 1:15 am. Professional salsa and tango dancers Eider and Luisa and Cristian Oviedo will perform.

It's a Winter Black and White Party, so guests get a door discount for wearing all black and/or all white. Limited online tickets are available, which include a gift certificate to dine at Mint.


Cobo Brothers' Winter Black and White Party

Friday, December 3, 2010

Bio Ritmo TONIGHT 8pm @ Casbah

Richmond's Bio Ritmo plays tonight in Durham at the new live music venue, Casbah, 1007 W. Main St. $10 advance / $13 door; cash-only bar but there is an ATM on site.

I will be spinning old school salsa in the breaks, so this is a full evening for retro salsa fanatics. ATTENTION SALSEROS: Show to start promptly at 8 pm, or shortly thereafter. I'll be spinning from 7:30 on.

It's a big night for vinyl fans, too, as this is a Record Release Party for Bio Ritmo's newest 45 rpm 7". Hear it here.

Facebook event: Bio Ritmo @ Casbah w/ DJ Santa Salsera, Friday, Dec. 3

Official meetup event: Triangle Salsa Meetup

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Trova's Redhead & The Latin Project: SATURDAY (12/4)

Olguita Morales Serrano, "La Pelirroja de la Trova"

A special musical guest from Puerto Rico livens up the NC Assoc. de PR Unidos' Christmas Party this Saturday (12/4): Olguita Ramos, a direct descendent of one Puerto Rico's most esteemed musical families. Known artistically as "the redheaded troubadour" ("La Pelirroja de la Trova"), Olga is the niece of Ramito, and daughter of Luisito Morales Ramos, two of the island's most legendary singers of traditional highland poetry known as trova or música jibara.

In addition, salsa band The Latin Project, with members from The Triangle, Charlotte, and Columbia, SC, will keep the dancefloor jumping. Led by local trumpet virtuoso Alberto Carrasquillo, Latin Project is a band that we don't get to hear often enough, since their gigs tend to center in the Charlotte area.

In the holiday spirit, the PR Unidos Association is collecting donations of unwrapped toys at this event to benefit local children. Tickets are $20, available in advance online, and at the Havana Grill restaurant in Cary, and El Coqui restaurant in Holly Springs.

Olga Morales has performed extensively at festivals, private events, and on Puerto Rican radio and TV. She grew up singing with her father, Luisito, one of three musical brothers. Of the trio, Flor Morales Ramos, known simply as "Ramito," is without a doubt the island's most famous and beloved troubadour. A third brother, Juan, was known as "Moralito, and the three enjoyed solo careers as well as creating joint projects, well into their later years. Olga's father Luisito was the last survivor, until he passed away in June 2009.

Trovadores specialize in a declamatory singing style of improvised verses with strict formal rules, called décima. Its roots go back to Puerto Rico's agrarian origins, and the Andalucian farmers who settled there.

Here's Olga's father, Luisito, singing a tribute to his brother, Ramito, at a 2002 festival in his honor. The band is Joaquin Mouliert y sus Ecos de la Montaña:

Here is the same band again, playing live in Christmas parade. Trova music is especially associated with the holidays in Puerto Rico, and a distinct carolling tradition known as parranda. In this 1987 video, Luisito sings first (in the hat with heavy red-sequinned border), followed by his brother Ramito (wearing glasses). Check out these great views of Puerto Rico, as the band drives slowly down city streets accompanied by horsemen (caballistas):

It should be fascinating to witness the next generation of this revered lineage of Puerto Rican singers right here in Chapel Hill on Saturday.


Associacion de Puertorriqueños Unidos de NC - Events Calendar

History of Puerto Rican Trova (Spanish)
Olguita Morales artist webpage (Spanish)