From the Blog

Summer 2017 – Live music lives in SF/Northern Cali

Posted on Jun 21, 2017

Welcome to Summer 2017!  I have been on hiatus from posting the past two months due to personal reasons.  However, I”m back feeling renewed and refreshed.  I saw a trio of terrific Cuban and Salsa shows during these weeks: Alexander Abreu and Havana D’Primera were phenomenal at Roccapulco..what a tight and dynamic orchestra!  The huge and talented presence of bandleader/vocalist/trumpeter Abreu was matched by the charismatic star presence of ex-Van Vanero, Mayito Rivera who is quite an exceptional vocalist.  They teamed up on an incredible tribute to Juan Formell with Rivera singing one of Los Van Van’s anthems “Soy Todo”.  Simply a great show. Around Carnaval SF Weekend, I just caught some fine acts such as Grammy Award winner Javier Cabanillas “Cabanijazz Project” smoke it out with guest vocalist Edgardo Cambon as well as the hot “La Misa Negra” with their fresh Cumbia sounds and great stage show.  Also caught the reunion of Ramocue with ex-Los Mocosos Victor Castro and Shorty throwing down the funk Mission style. That same weekend, I caught one of the finest Salsa orchestras in the world today, The Spanish Harlem Orchestra under the direction of pianist Oscar Hernandez at Yoshis in Oakland.  SHO were debuting a couple of songs from their forthcoming album as well as some of the favorites from their last few recordings.  SHO were very impressive with a power packed band including timbalero Luisito Quintero, trombonist Doug Beavers, saxophonist/flautist Mitch Frohman and their explosive trio of vocalists: Marco Bermudez, Carlos Cascante and Jeremy Bosch (also exceptional on flute). The Western Region Puerto Rican Council presented the 39th edition of the El Dia De San Juan Festival at History Park in San Jose.  This year’s festival featured the exceptional vocal stylings of Herman Olivera, one of the top Salsa singers in this day and age and the youthful and energetic Salsa of Norberto and Gerardo of NG2.  Backed by the impressive all-star <strong>Orquesta Taino, Olivera shined with a powerful set of his past hits that he’s recorded with Eddie Palmieri, Manny Qquendo and Libre and his acclaimed recording La Voz Del Caribe.  Olivera’s fierce soneos combined with his smooth dance moves to deliver a great performance which ignited the audience. NG2 kept the energy up with their high octane show displaying their great voices which combined their well-known songs with their new material.  NG2 kept the dancers going with their contagious commercial Salsa sound tailored for today’s audiences.  Taino did a great job backing up both Olivera and...

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Con Sabor – Sat. 4/1/17 9 pm – KPFA 94.1 FM/El Dia De La Salsa, etc.

Posted on Mar 28, 2017

“Con Sabor with Luis Medina” is presenting a special report from this past weekend’s star-studded El Dia De La Salsa in Puerto Rico that starred the iconic El Gran Combo, salsa goddess India and other huge stars. Our guest corespondent, Julio Bravo was there in San Juan covering the concert and all the happenings prior to the concert.  Plus information on the upcoming 60th SF International Film Festival.  Also featuring the hottest new Salsa, Latin Jazz, Musica Cubana and more!  Tune in this Saturday April 1st, starting at 9 pm on KPFA 94.1 FM and streaming on-line at where music programs are archived for 2 weeks after...

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Benefit for Jose Ruiz-Casa De Cultura 3/5/17

Posted on Mar 9, 2017

There was a packed gathering of folks at the benefit for esteemed DJ/radio host/community stalwart Jose Ruiz at Berkeley’s Casa De Cultura this past Sunday. Jose is undergoing treatment for throat cancer and the benefit was organized to help him with living expenses during the next few months.  Los Cenzontles, John Santos Sextet with special guests Orestes Vilato and Bobi Cespedes, Orquesta La Moderna Tradicion, DJ’s Carlitos Way and Reyes from L.A. provided the musical fireworks.  KCSM’s Chuy Varela and I had the opportunity to say a few words about Jose and introduce La Moderna and John Santos Sextet respectively.   But the real story was the love and concern of the audience for Jose who has helped many in his community work for such places as La Pena, Los Cenzontles Cultural Center, Casa De Cultura, the Cheeseboard and his late business Casa Latina in Berkeley.  Jose showed up to the benefit, hugged old friends, family and colleagues and danced with a few lady friends and his mother.  Jose was looking thinner due to the chemotherapy but was in great spirits.  He got up in front of the audience to declare that he was going to come back to host his programs on KPFA and KPOO and resume all the wonderful work to thunderous applause. I wish you a speedy and lasting recovery, my brother Jose...

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Hola 2017!!

Posted on Jan 2, 2017

As we start the new year 2017, I’ll recap what came down during the past holiday season. Los Van Van put on a spectacular show at Roccapulco (although I thought their Herbst Theater show was a better show). Both Charanga Habanera and Alexander Abreu/Havana D’Primera cancelled their SF Bay shows due to inept national producers and visa problems. We missed seeing International and National Salsa acts visiting the area during the month of December and especially NYE. The annual SF International Salsa Congress was sorely missed this year. They would always feature international Salsa greats as headliners. As we enter this new year, a new promising venue Calle 11 is opening South of Market on January 5th at the old Paradise Lounge site at 11th & Folsom St. in SF in the same neighborhood as Slims. The club features 3 floors with a ground floor Salsa club and an upstairs Puerto Rican restaurant. Latin Jazz icon Pete Escovedo has been added to Yoshi’s January lineup on January 21st and 22nd. And…my radio program “Con Sabor” on KPFA 94.1 FM and worldwide on on Saturday evenings from 9 to 11 pm is celebrating 20 years on the air! Thanks to all the listeners for your support…2017 will be full of bright moments during this anniversary...

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