US invaded by Cuba with Salsa

Cuba is bringing the big guns of salsa into the US with the Dream Team and timba too.

After the event of the Twin Towers in New York, the US government administering the country in 2001 silenced the Cuban timba once more.

But last year, making a big impact on the audience, the Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñeiro travelled to the US carrying knapsacks loaded with genuine son rhythms.

The group, funded on December 13, 1927, was invited by the Hostos Community College of the City University of New York, and 76 years after its last visit, it made the skyscrapers shudder once again.

"The best of the best is in New York", pointed out the local press while referring to the presentations of this septet founded by Cuban composer Ignacio Piñeiro.

Following the Septeto Nacional, was David Calzado's Charanga Habanera on December 29, 2009, the performance of which was a resounding success.

Prior to this visit were those of Orlando Valle "Maraca", X Alfonso and Paulo FG, but all of them travelled on their own, with European passports.

Touring the US so far this year have been the groups Los Van Van and Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco, as well as troubadours Carlos Varela and Silvio Rodríguez, who offered concerts at the famous Carnegie Hall.

Frank Rubio, a member of Chucho Valdés' band, said that Gente D´ Zona caused a sensation in Miami, since in spite of the cost of tickets -150 dollars each- the place where it performed was packed.

Now, it's the turn of Pupy y Los que Son Son, and a few meters away from the spot where John Lennon was killed, at the Central Park, they organized a powerful concert.

The New York Times journalist Ned Sublette reported: "Pupy left the public for dead. Cuban music is very strong."

Looking back at the visits of Cuban musicians to the United States, we have to go back to December 4, 1996, when Los Van Van began an extensive tour of that country.

"Having performed the world over, we're finally in the city that was missing" exclaimed lead singer Mayito Rivera in the first concert in New York. "Salsa comes from Cuba and I'm bringing it," said Los Van Van's director, bassist, singer and composer Juan Formell in a chorus.

The AP, UPI, EFE and AFP cables reported: "For the first time, Los Van Van has obtained permission from the US government to tour the country". "Cubans have finally arrived," "Los Van Van makes New Yorkers go crazy", "Los Van Van attracts thousands of fans on the West Coast," "They came, played, and won the hearts of the members of the audience," read the headlines of the most well-known newspapers.

The "guru" of salsa, Tito Puente admitted: "Once Cuban musicians begin to arrive in the United States, we'll have to go back to school."

The visits of other salsa and timba bands to the US followed that of Los Van Van.

Eight years after the White House closed the doors to Cuban artists, Colombian star Juanes, on September 20th, 2009, organized in Havana the mega-concert Peace without Borders, a real acknowledgement to Cuban music and culture.

From that moment on, everything recommenced. Residents in the Unites States are very happy with this new reunion with brothers and friends.

By Rafael Lam Translated by Brenda Sheehan Link to original report