Feliciano Arango: Cuban Bass Master
Feliciano Arango discusses the role of the bass in Cuban jazz, salsa, and timba and his work with group Los Hermanos Arangos.
Arango was born in the Guanabacoa section of Havana, Cuba where Yoruba, Abakua, and other African traditions are preserved in their most authentic form in the Americas. He was mentored by seminal Cuban bassist Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez and attended Escuela Nacional de Arte, where he studied with the top musicians from around the island. Soon after graduating from ENA, Arango joined the group of legendary pianist/composer Emiliano Salvador, who was a leading figure in Cuban jazz through the 1990s. After extensive touring and recording with Salvador, Arango went on to be the founding bassist for N.G. La Banda, with whom he performed for the next 15 years. With N.G. La Banda, Arango developed a new style of Cuban dance music called timba. He was responsible for leading Cuban bassists in a new approach to playing salsa that greatly enhanced the melodic, percussive sound of the bass. Since leaving N.G. la Banda, Arango has been the top-call bassist for jazz, salsa, timba, and other forms of Cuban music.
Feliciano Arango now leads Los Hermanos Arangos, along with his two brothers, Eugenio and Ignacio, and sister, Cristina. The Arangos are the only Cuban band to use completely unaltered Afro-Cuban ritual voice/hand drumming as the basis for a modern repertoire that integrates electric bass, keyboards, and brass/winds (no drum set).