Random Notes 12/7/15

Posted on Dec 10, 2015

Christian Pepin and his Orquesta Bembe will be inaugurating the new Con Sabor sessions on my program Con Sabor soon.  I will be recording the band and interviewing Christian Pepin this month to be broadcast in the very near future.  More details to come later in the month!!…..Jose Alberto “El Canario” will be celebrating his birthday and Christmas on Saturday, Dec. 19th at SF’s Roccapulco.  Opening up the show will be local favorites N’Rumba and Pacho y Su Orquesta Evolucion.  El Canario has just won a Latin Grammy for his collaboration with Cuba’s Septeto Santiaguero “Tributo A Los Compadres – No Quiero Llanto” on his Los Canarios label. Expect him to play his greatest hits, dazzle us with his great showmanship and use his “voice flute” to solo with the band. Not to be...

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SF Salsa Congress 2015

Posted on Dec 4, 2015

SF Salsa Congress featured two world class legends during their four days at the Oakland Marriott Hotel the weekend of Nov. 19-22.  The incomparable Charlie Aponte, formerly of El Gran Combo electrified the stage with his signature voice, hot dance moves and overflowing charisma in front of an adoring crowd on Saturday evening.  Aponte delivered the goods as he was backed up by a crack band of SF based musicians which included Karl Perazo of Santana, Christian Tumalan of PMO, Christian Pepin of Bembe, Braulio Barrera of Somos El Son and Mike Rinta of Avance.  His repertoire included his great hits from El Gran Combo and songs from his latest solo recording “Una Nueva Historia”.   On Friday evening, the famed Colombian bandleader Fruko y Sus Tesos impressed the congress crowd with their dynamic musicianship and classic hits such as “El Preso”.  Despite a few gliches with the sound system, Fruko delivered powerful no-holes barred Salsa, Latin Jazz and descarga that had the dancers sweating on the dance floor.  His band of seasoned veterans were tight and swinging!  The Salsa Congress also featured what is the norm of Salsa/Tropical scenes these days: rooms devoted to Bachata and Kizomba music that were packed with happy dancers.   This year’s congress also featured an evening entirely devoted to Bachata (a sign of the times) with a live band Invasion Latina from L.A..  El unico Pepe Gonzalez and his TV program “El Show De Pepe” locally on Channel 50 hosted the opening night party featuring his orchestra and a DJ showdown featuring 10 local DJ’s.  The main emphasis of the congress was the dancers who taught workshops, performed during the Dance showcases each evening, offered their services and products and partied each night until 4 am.  What a fieston for the dancer, aficionado and...

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Random Notes 11/11/15

Posted on Nov 11, 2015

Salsa mainstay Julio Bravo will be celebrating the 21st Anniversary of performing with his band Salsabor on Saturday, November 28 at Roccapulco.  There will be special guests that include Alexis Guillen and more.   I will be there as guest MC/DJ for the evening.  It should be one explosive party…..For those who want to pay their respects, there will be a celebration of life honoring the late, great Raul Rekow, the long time percussionist for Santana as well as former conguero with Malo and Sapo who died on November 2nd.  The event will take place on Sunday, November 15th, 4 pm at SF’s Great American Music Hall…Quite a Halloween weekend at SF Jazz Center featuring powerful appearances by Chucho Valdes and his updated version of Irakere.  This phenomenal band of young lions more than helped Valdes pay tribute on their 40th Anniversary.  John Santos also celebrated his 60th Birthday with a great bash featuring his sextet, timbales legend Orestes Vilato, violinist Anthony Blea, renowned Cuban conguero Raul “Lali” Gonzalez, powerhouse vocalist Destini Wolf, hip hop artist Rico Pabon and singer/guitarist Jose Roberto Hernandez.  Both were incredible shows!…And if that wasn’t enough, the SF International Salsa Congress goes from Thursday, Nov. 19 through Sunday, Nov.22 at the Oakland Marriott Hotel.  Appearing will be Charlie Aponte, lead vocalist formerly of El Gran Combo,  the Columbian legend Fruko Y Sus Tesos, Bachata sensations Invasion Latina and Orquesta Bembe,  the hot local band led by renowned percussionist Christian Pepin.  There will also be a Bachata and Kizomba Room, Dance Performances and Workshops, DJ’s and more.  Check out...

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RIP Raul Rekow

Posted on Nov 9, 2015

Former Santana percussionist and all-star conga player Raul Rekow lost his bout with cancer early last week on November 2nd.  He was 61.  Rekow was known as a show-stopping conguero with power, chops and taste.  He was a long time member of Santana from 1976 to 2013.   In his early professional career, he was a member of Malo and a member of Sapo with singer/percussionist Richard Bean who wrote the international hit “Suavecito” for Malo.  He was invited to record 2 songs with Santana in 1976 and so impressed Santana that he was asked to join the band.  Santana would boast an all-star percussion section which featured Armando Peraza and Orestes Vilato along with Rekow.  Raul’s powerful attack on the congas both complimented and pushed the percussion section into greatness on Santana’s live shows.   He also had a series of Latin Percussion instruments named after him.  Known for his radiant smile and outgoing personality, Rekow was always accessible and friendly.  After his stint with Santana, Rekow was a frequent collaborator with different groups and all-star ensembles in the SF Bay Area.  He was last seen making a public appearance at the dedication of the late radio DJ Chata Gutierrez mural on 24th Street in early October.  He will be sorely...

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