Cuban Ensemble Makes U.S. Debut

By
Allen Bush
February 9, 2012
Los Hermanos Arango, from Guanabacoa, Cuba, Havana’s epicenter for Afro-Cuban folkloric culture and West African traditions, makes its U.S. debut at Berklee on February 21. Students, faculty, and alumni will perform with the band.

Los Hermanos Arango is a seven-piece ensemble from Guanabacoa, Cuba, Havana's epicenter for Afro-Cuban folkloric culture and West African traditions. Unaltered ritual voice and hand drumming is at the core of the band's sound—rare by most Cuban groups—which also features electric bass, keyboards, brass, and wind instruments.

Los Hermanos Arango—joined by Berklee College of Music students, faculty, and alumni—makes its U.S. debut on Tuesday, February 21, 8:15 p.m., at the Berklee Performance Center (BPC), 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston. General admission tickets are $8 in advance and $12 day of show. Purchase tickets at berkleebpc.com, call 617 747-2261, or visit the BPC Box Office. The BPC is wheelchair accessible.

The concert's organizer is Neil Leonard, professor of electronic production and design. Leonard is also the artistic director of the Interdisciplinary Arts Institute that broke ground by bringing Berklee students and faculty to Cuba starting in 2010 for collaborations and performances with local students and musicians. Another trip is being planned for the fall. Also a saxophonist, Leonard will perform with the group.

Los Hermanos Arango leaders Feliciano and Eugenio Arango are the top-call bassist and percussionist in Cuba. Their work outside the group has included tours with Chucho Valdes, the Afro-Cuban All-Stars, Pablo Milanes, Buena Vista Social Club, and Emiliano Salvador. 

Feliciano Arango was a student of legendary Cuban bassist Orlando 'Cachaito' Lopez. He has toured with seminal pianist/bassist and composer Emiliano Salvador. Arango was the founding bassist for N.G. La Banda when he developed a new style of Cuban dance music called timba. He was responsible for leading Cuban bassists into the new melodic and percussive approach that greatly enhanced the overall sound of the instrument in Cuban music. 

Joining Los Hermanos Arango on stage will be Berklee alumni percussionist Ali Alvarez, trumpet player Yaure Muñiz, and saxophonist Carlos Averhoff—all sons of important Cuban musicians. Students Gerami Groover and Nandy Lopez will join on vocals.  Also appearing will be noted Cuban pianist Isaac Delgado