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Los Buenos have a time in Cuba

Published: 
Thursday, June 9, 2016

Local parang band Los Buenos Parranderos recently participated in the International Music Festival, CubaDisco 2016. 

CubaDisco is a week-long music festival and awards event celebrating Cuban music. It is held in Havana City, Cuba, and was established in 1997. Each year the event celebrates a particular country and genre. There are also tributes to artists and personalities from the Cuban music scene. 

Manager of the band, Jason Ganpat, said, “From the moment we arrived in Havana until our departure six days later the experience was very rewarding and uplifting.” Their repertoire, which consisted not only of traditional and modern parang songs, but also popular Cuban musical items performed in parang and calypso rhythms, was well received in all the concerts where they performed. 

He said members of the audience sang along, danced and joined them on stage especially during their rendition of Guantanamera. They were very interested in the fact that the band was from an English-speaking country and yet was singing in Spanish. 

“We needed to give a brief introduction about our hispanic heritage and the origins of our parang,” explained Ganpat. The box bass and the way the maracas were played also caught the attention of many Cuban musicians.

A fantastic experience, especially for the younger members of the band, was sharing the stage with famous artistes from the Latin American world—singer Manuel Corredera from Panama and the band, Mariachi Premier from Jalisco, Mexico, as well as the Cuban “Son” band, Conjunto Chappotín, just to name a few. 

“We were also lucky to have had the opportunity to attend a performance by well-known Cuban artiste, Gerardo Alfonso,” added Ganpat.

Los Buenos also visited the province of Mayabeque where they performed for the community in El Patio de Tata Güines and enjoyed an interactive percussion session with the drummers, singers and dancers of this community project—Proyectos Comunitarios de niños del territorio.

“Our group was impressed by the fact that everywhere we went we were surrounded by music: in the streets, the squares and the restaurants. One of our members, Shawn Borde, declared that Havana was the capital of music.” 

The friendliness, the naturalness and the spontaneity of the Cuban people were evident at all times. “One night we went to dinner at La Calesa Real where the trio, 3 Palabras, was performing and as members of our group began to sing along, and they realised that we were also a musical group, some members were invited to join them. What followed was just great—an impromptu concert with clapping, singing and their lead singer even taught our members some dance steps. Even the chef and his staff left the kitchen to see this performance. It was truly ‘bomba’ as the Cubans would say.”

This exposure to the many different genres of Latin American music has had a profound effect on all the members of the band and will be very beneficial as they plan to expand their repertoire to include some “Son” music by the very famous Buena Vista Social Club for the upcoming parang season.

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