FROM HAVANA TO THE WORLD

The Cuban Soneros All Stars Orchestra is composed of 14 incredibly talented musicians, six of whom were members of the world-renowned Buena Vista Social Club.

When BVSC announced its retirement, many fans were left longing for more. Soon after its Adios Tour ended in May 2016, Son de Cuba JF Management announced through Billboard Latino that the legacy of these musicians would live on.

Those roots of our Cuban music today continue to grow as the Cuban Soneros All Stars, anchored by the six master musicians that will carry on the tradition: bassist-director Pedro Pablo Gutiérrez, trumpeters Manuel "El Guajiro" Mirabal and Luis Manuel "El Guarjirito" Mirabal, tres guitarist Gilberto "Papi" Oviedo, percussionist Alberto "La Noche" Hernández, and vocalist Ignacio "Masacote" Carrillo.

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About Cuban Son music...

"Son" translates loosely as "rhythm". As accepted by many expert, Son is a musical genre originated in the Cuban eastern countryside at the beginning of last century. Up-beat and danceable with roots coming from Africa, France and Spain, Son became the music and comfort of slaves and poor farmworkers before reaching popular dancing venues. Cuban Son's decades of wide popularity throughout Latin America gave rise to other musical genres, like Salsa. Ry Cooder's Buena Vista Social Club project (documentary, album and live performances) reawakened the world's interest in Son, although some have said it had been merely resting in the shadows.

 

 

Originally, a typical Son ensemble would mainly include a regular guitar, a tres guitar, a marimbula (plucked box), bongos, maracas, claves (rhythm sticks) and a singer. Musical evolution brought in a trumpet and replaced the marimbula with a double bass. Later groups have added more percussion (like timbales), more horns and more singers. With a stroger sound, Son orchestras have built up around the traditional core of heavily polyrhythmic -- and intricately syncopated -- rhythm sections. Cuban Soneros All Stars are today's best example of this powerful music .

 

GILBERTO “PAPI” OVIEDO

is a Cuban tres guitarist from Havana. The tres is a distinctive type of plucked instrument in Cuban music. Its name derives from the three sets of double strings it has. Papi, the son of the legendary tresist-song writer Isaac Oviedo, started playing the tres when he was around 15. A veteran of many bands, Papi was the tres player in the "Elio Reve and his Charangon Orchestra" for 13 years. He was on tour with Buena Vista Social Club, exposing the Son style to wider audiences.

CRISTINA AZCUY

If you go three kilometres south of Havana’s city center, you will notice how the sun-bleached tarmac turns into red and brown soil. You would now find yourself in Marianao. In this old suburb, not far from the legendary but now closed dancehall called Buena Vista Social Club, some of Havana’s top musicians and vocalists gathered in the summer of 2002. The purpose was to make an album with an astounding singer: Cristina Azcuy. Cristina is one of Cuba’s strongest singers. Her voice resonates with the sound more than 500 years of cultural and racial overtones. Her powerful energy and charisma stems from the afro-european tradition.

 

LUIS MANUEL "GUAJIRO" MIRABAL

learned the trumpet at a very young age and began playing professionally in 1951. He joined the Swing Casino jazz band in 1953, before founding "Conjunto Rumbavana" three years later. In 1960 he joined "Orquesta Riverside", whose singer, Toto Gomez, gave him the nickname "Guajiro"l. There followed spells with various ensembles, including the official orchestra of Cuban State Radio and Television. In 1996 Guajiro became one of several Cuban musicians who joined American guitarist Ry Cooder for the Buena Vista Social Club collaboration. Guajiro went on to play a prominent role as lead trumpeter on both recordings and performances featured in the 1999 documentary "Buena Vista Social Club". Guajiro has since released solo works under the BVSC, including an album paying tribute to Cuban music legend Arsenio Rodriguez. In 2004 Miribal released a widely acclaimed album in partnership with BVSC, titled "Buena Vista Social Club Presents Manuel Guajiro Mirabal". Throughout his years of musical experience, Guajiro worked alongside some of the greatest Cuban legends in history, such as Ibrahim Ferrer, Omara Portuondo, Ruben Gonzalez, and Compay Segundo.

PEDRO PABLO GUTIERREZ

is a native of Guanajay, in the Cuban province of Artemisa, the son of renown percussionist and teacher Jorge Luis Gutierrez. Encouraged by his parents, he first studied cello at the Alejandro Garcia Caturla Conservatory, and later at the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory. At 14, Pedro substituted as bassist with "Oriental Orchestra". At 16 he became the regular bassist of trumpeter-band leader Felix Chappottin. After graduating, Pedro he began his professional career with flute master Richard Egues' orchestra. In the 1990s he joined world-renown "Charanga Habanera", having the privilege of performing for the prince of Monaco in Monte Carlo and touring throughout Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the U.S.

 

IGNACIO "MASACOTE" CARILLO

The first orchestra Ignacio "Masacote" Carrillo worked with was the "Supremo de Berto Ramos", alongside José Calvo Cueras. From then on, his career really took off. He was the lead singer of "Conjunto Bolero", "Chappottin y sus Estrellas", and later sang with "Orquesta de Neno Gonzalez" and "Septeto Matamoros". All of these accompanied Carrillo in a long list of recorded hits, earning him Cubadisco´s Best Traditional Cuban Album award in 2001. One of Masacote’s oustanding traits is the way he adapts his voice perfectly to his accompanying music.

LUIS MANUEL "GUAJIRITO" MIRABAL

was born in Havana. He began music and trumpet lessons at age 7, insprired and guided by his grandfather, Luis Manuel "Guajiro" Mirabal. At 11 he was part of a musical group from Old Havana's Cultural House. Then he began studies at Fernando Carnicer's Primary School of Music. In 2004 he continued his studies at the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory, receiving a classical formation but with special interest in traditional Cuban music. Guajirito was part of several different ensambles , among them quartets, bands, jazz, symphonic and others. In 2006 he was called to play with the "Jorge Triana's Big Band" and with the "Joaquin Betancourt Jazz Band". Guajirito was part of the Cuban-Canadian project "Los Primos" in 2007, by which he went on a cultural exchange to Nova Scotia. In 2006 he began working with Buena Vista Social Club, which he considers the most important musical experience of his life. He traveled around the world with this project until its dissolution in May 2016.

 

WORDS FROM THE MASTERS...

Some of the founding band members wanted to express their love and passion for the music they have played to the world for the past 20 years and what the legacy continues tour represents to them.

"To be part of Cuban Soneros All Stars has huge meaning, for I always have had as my objective to be able to represent our traditional Cuban music and I consider this an honor to play alongside musicians that form part of Cuban music history".
- Manuel "Guajirito" Mirabal

"Cuban Soneros All Stars will allow me to pay a musical tribute to my father, Issac Oviedo, interpreting his music and continuing performing the Cuban music that is most important to me."
- Gilberto "Papi" Oviedo

"Cuban Soneros All Stars will allow us to maintain the values of our Cuban music, based on its rhythms and genres without ever losing its originality."
- Alberto "La Noche" Hernandez

"Cuban Soneros All Stars is a way we honor the writers and singers of our Cuban music, such as Benny More, Celia Cruz, Rolando Laserie, Tata Guines, Celina Gonzalez, Issac Oviedo and many other artists that have made our Cuban music historic, and continue alongside master musicians such as Papi Oviedo and Guajiro Mirabal."
- Pedro Pablo Gutierrez

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