Timba In The City-SF Salsa Rueda Festival 2016

Posted on Feb 15, 2016

I checked out the SF Salsa Rueda Festival over the weekend at the Hotel Whitcomb.  Producers Serena Wong and Nicholas Van Eyck (of the dance troupe Salsa Vale Todo) curated a great event that celebrates Cuban dance and music featuring dance performances, dance workshops for beginners to advanced dancers, lectures from dance experts such as Roberto Borrell and plenty of Timba throughout the weekend.


The headliner was the dynamic showman Tirso Duarte, who has played with Cuban timba music royalty such as David Calzado’s Charanga Habanera, Manolito Y Su Trabuco and Pupy Y Los Que Son Son, rocked the crowd with his swinging vocal improvisations.  His charisma and colorful hip hop fashion style connected with the festival crowd as they danced, put their arms up in the air and responded loudly to his calls during his irresistible tunes.  Duarte lived up to his reputation as one of Cuba’s finest modern dance music vocalists.


Miami’s Timbalive was impressive all weekend with their tight sound as they headlined on Friday night and backed up Duarte on Saturday night (augmented by a trumpet that added to their trombone sound).  Fronted by singers Boris Monterecy, Eylen Remon and Michel Marcos who provided vocal power as well as eye candy, the band led by timbalero Leo Garcia were explosive! Their latest recording “Gasolina De Avion” is a fine recording featuring great all star guests but Timbalive on stage proved to be a force of nature.


SF based DJ’s Walt Digz and Dark Rum of Anejo Productions who produce the longest running monthly Timba party La Tropi-cal expertly spun the hottest timba in-between sets.  The dance floor was constantly packed with sweaty and smiling dancers! The official after parties ran until 5 am with guest DJ’s from other parts of the U.S..


The Salsa Rueda Festival celebrated their 8th year in San Francisco this past weekend.  The energy and joy that was displayed by the dancers, bands, dj’s and the public was magnetic.  Timba and Cuban music has been a mainstay of the SF Latin scene for many years.  Thanks to Serena and Nick who elevates the love for the music and culture of Cuba to a grand scale with this fine festival.