Orquesta K'Che ["kah-CHAY"] is now vying for the title of the Triangle's Latin Party Band. The legendary Cinco de Mayo party at Dos Taquitos in Raleigh is hardly a level playing field, though; the supply of Coronas never outlasts the partiers at this redoubtable outdoor fiesta. It was K'Che's first year playing at this event, which has been held down in the past by Carnavalito.
I came in for the last two sets, and by then, things were loose and lubricated. In the front row, sonero Jaime Roman was stoking the attention of a cadre of ladies in giant straw hats. Finding a safe cul-de-sac, I got busy dancing to the salsas, cumbias, merengues, and occasional son. Some casino rueda dancers were making space to dance their Cuban formations in the parking lot. At one point, a conga line snaked through the tiny dance tent, which was an endless traffic jam of jubilating bodies.
It was a party that just wouldn't quit, and this young band was drinking it in. Pushing their time an extra 30 minutes, they kept jamming even as the percussionists were packing up, and friends like Brevan Hampden and Cristian Cañaveral jumped in for a swan song.
The only video I took (because I was too busy dancing) was this one, a juiced descarga very close to the end of the night:
K'Che's official lineup: Andres Leon (piano, musical director), Billy Marrero (percussion, leader), Julio Correa and Pako Santiago (percussion), Levy Vargas (electric bass), Jaime Roman (vocals/hand percussion), Nelson Rodriguez (vocals/hand percussion/tres?), Channing McCullough (sax), William Villalba (trumpet), Mathew Parunak (trombone).
LINK: Orquesta K'Che on Facebook