June 11, 2014-Gerardo Contino Y Sus Habaneros at Lucille's Bar & Grill
Originally published on Timba.com
By: Ian Stewart
Wednesday, June 12th Gerardo Contino and his band Los Habaneros took the stage at Lucille’s Bar & Grill located in BB King’s Blues Club, one of midtown’s most well-known music venues and tourist destinations. For this particular event, aptly named Cuba: A History in Music, Contino had a platform in mind that differed slightly from his usual routine at his more regular gigs around town. Contino humbly described the premise of the concert as “an attempt to tell the history of Cuban Music in an hour and twenty minutes in an interactive manner with the audience”. For the interactive element, Contino employed the talents of a team of dancers who participated throughout the evening. He also mentioned that despite the title of the show, the aim of the concert was to actually break away for the “Museum” mentality that similar events seem to induce.
Since arriving in NY in 2009, the former NG La Banda vocalist has been one of the handful of key delegates in a new slew of NYC based Cuban artists that have been taking over Manhattan and creating a scene for themselves based out of supportive locales such as Guantanamera and Gonzales y Gonzales among others. Contino himself performs every Friday and Saturday at Guantanamera and a few times a month at Gonzales y Gonzales, making his band one of the most visible Cuban music groups in the city at present.
His battalion for the night included Sebastian Nickoll on congas, Mauricio Herrera on timbales and bata, John Benítez on bass, Roman Lajaro on tres, Dayramir Gonzales-Vicet on piano, Michelle Palmieri on vocals and guiro and special guest Yileidi Olazabal on vocals as well. From a historical perspective, the show surely lived up to its name. The music was a kaleidoscopic montage through the lineage of Cuban musical culture both new and old. The first five songs celebrated Cuba’s past with selections from the folkloric, bolero and danzon lexicons including “Damisela Encantadora”, “En El Tronco De Un Arbol”, “Si Te Contara” and “A Mi Manera”.
It was both interesting and engaging to watch the show escalate from traditional to Timba over the course of just an hour and a half. After the show warmed up with a series of older styles, with the implementation of a Timbafied version of “Que viva Changó” the concert turned a sudden corner into more exotic and exciting idioms. The repertoire that followed consisted of the band’s more commonly played material including the NG la Banda classics “Necesito una amiga”, “La expresiva”, and “Échale limón”. A great rendition of “Por encima del nivel” (Sandunguera) saluted the passing of the great Juan Formell. For their grand finale, the group performed “Siempre latino” the opening track from Contino’s recent album “Somos latinos”.
The interactive element proved to be very successful indeed and as the energy of the music rose, so did that of the crowd. Before you knew it there was dancing everywhere from the dance-floor to the bar and even the staircase to the restrooms. If nothing else, the concert succeeded at presenting Cuban music to the masses without compromising content in any way. Instead of watering down the music in hopes of attracting new listeners, Contino and his band proved that the music presented in its true form does the job just as well.
Timba.com's Ian Stewart has written a stellar review for Los Habaneros' debut album, Somos Latinos! Here's sneak peek:
"Los Habaneros, features an elite lineup of some of New York’s most highly regarded musicians in Latin music and beyond. One of the aspects of this album that is interesting and refreshing is that all of the tracks are quite different from one another. While the obvious influence of Manolin, Bamboleo and NG are quite present in the music, the contrast between each song and the utilization of other genres give the CD an identity that is very much its own. “Somos latinos” is a treasure trove of state of the art bass, piano and percussion work laid down by some the very best instrumentalists in the genre. Overall “Somos Latinos” is not only a strong Timba album, but also the kind of Timba album that could only be created within the confines of New York City itself.
Please click here to read the review in it's entirety.
Cuba: The History of Music!
We're excited to announce that we'll be performing an entirely new show: Cuba: The History of Music! We'll cover over 100 years of Cuban music, exploring all genres from Danzon, to Afro-Cuban, to Son, to Cuban classical music, to contemporary Salsa and Timba, with professional dancers from New York City. The show, presented by Den Entertainment, will take place on June 11th at Lucille's in BB King Blues Club and tickets can be purchased here. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
We're thrilled to perform at this historic venue and look forward to taking this Cuban musical journey with you. We hope you join us on Wednesday, June 11th at 8pm!
Please stay tuned on our website for more information about our summer and fall concerts, including an exciting announcement about a performance at Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in the fall.
Happy Holidays! We hope this email finds you well and enjoying the holiday season.Thanks so much for an amazing 2013! We released our debut album to high critical acclaim and have been on a roll ever since. We couldn't do any of this without your continued support!
Thanks so much for all your support with our first official music video, "Siempre Latino!" In less than one month it’s received over 16,000 views! We’re aiming for 20,000 by the new year, and we'd love it if you helped us spread the news!
After spending 10 days conducting interviews on radio and television in Cuba, we’re currently in Peru on tour throughout the country for the month of December and right before our departure, we released a new video, performing live at Congahead Studios, the legendary studio created by Latin Percussion founder, Martin Cohen.
The video is a medley of two songs from our debut album including “Amor de Adolescentes” and “Se Preguntan.” We hope you enjoy it! It features an all-star lineup of musicians, including Luisito Quintero, John Benitez, Axel Laugart, Sebastian Nickoll, Issac Delgado Jr., Chuito Quintero, Rey David Alejandre, and Luis Columna.
We sincerely hope you enjoy our new album and the videos. If you do, please help us spread the word by sharing them on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. Let’s get to 20,000 for Siempre Latino by January 1, 2014! We’re only 3,500 views away…
You can purchase our album on CDBaby, iTunes, and Amazon, and don’t forget to show us love on Facebook and Twitter by “liking” and “following” us.
Thank you so much for all your continued support. Wishing each and every one of you a very happy holidays and prosperous new year!
Gerardo Contino y Los Habaneros
Excited to be on a promotional tour throughout Peru for our debut album, #SomosLatinos. We'll be presenting at Rustica's throughout the country in the entire month of December, as well as other venues (TBA)---keep updated via our Twitter handle (@gerardocontino).
Just returned from 10 days in my beautiful Havana, where I conducted half a dozen interviews on various radio stations throughout the country for our debut album, #SomosLatinos.
I also had the privilege to record two new songs with Jose Luis Cortes y NG La Banda, which will be released on their upcoming album. Details to follow.