Cuban band will sizzle at art center

November 29, 2012

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LUDINGTON — Hot off its third Grammy nomination for “Best Tropical Album” for “Bach in Havana,” and the release of its newest album, “My Secret Radio,” the sizzling, dance-inducing Cuban music group, Tiempo Libre, will perform and throw one big Cuban party at the Ludington Area Center for the Arts, courtesy of the West Shore Community College Performing Arts Series, on Sat., Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m.

The group will perform high energy, dance-inducing timba music featuring songs from “My Secret Radio,” as well as selections from their three previously Grammy-nominated timba albums “Bach in Havana,” “Lo Que Esperabas” and “Arroz Con Mango.”

Tiempo Libre’s goal is to serve as ambassadors to Cuba’s musical heritage, while celebrating the American experience and is one of the hottest young bands today. Equally at home in concert halls, jazz clubs and dance venues, Tiempo Libre’s Miami-based members are true modern heirs to the rich tradition of the music of their native Cuba.

Classically trained at Cuba’s premier conservatories, today the group is a hit in the U.S. and abroad, celebrated for its sophisticated performances of timba, a joyous mix of high-voltage Latin jazz and the seductive rhythms of son.

As teenagers, inspired by their Afro-Cuban tradition, but eager to catch the new trends and sounds coming from the U.S., Tiempo Libre’s members would fashion homemade antennas and secretly listen to the music pulsating from Miami radio stations at night, even though their government forbade such listening.

These secret radio sessions fueled Tiempo Libre’s dreams of living in America, free to perform their songs and build the careers they wanted, while helping them gather the strength that it took to leave it all behind – families, friends, and a country, a life – to pursue those dreams.

Their music is a tribute to the many powerful voices that rocked their world, including Michael Jackson, Chaka Khan, Gloria Estefan and Earth Wind & Fire,

Tiempo Libre’s first recording for Sony Masterworks, “Bach in Havana,” was nominated for a Grammy award for “Best Tropical Latin Album” and featured tracks with Paquito D’Rivera and Yosvany Terry. The CD, a fusion of Bach with Afro-Cuban rhythms, reflects the duality of Tiempo Libre’s childhood days studying classical music and nights spent playing timba music. Released in May 2009, the album received airplay on more than 200 radio stations, was hailed by Latin Jazz Network as “a landmark recording in the sense that Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue was approximately 50 years ago” and was selected as a best pick in new Latin music by “The Miami Herald.” The group performed “Tu Conga Bach” from the CD on “Dancing with the Stars.”

“Bach in Havana” is a landmark recording in the sense that Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue was approximately 50 years ago…. this is nothing short of miraculous,” says the “Latin Jazz Network.” “The Philadelphia Enquirer” calls Tiempo Libre “stunning.” The “Hispanic” magazine says, “Most times it is cliché to say that a Latin band as ‘hot.’ But with Tiempo Libre, we are reminded that clichés are so named because obviously truths are at their base. Be warned it’s muy caliente!”

In addition to stand-alone concerts, the members of Tiempo Libre draw on their rigorous classical training and introduce Cuban music to new audiences through performances with leading classical artists and orchestras.

The group was invited to collaborate on the duet “Para Ti” with violinist Joshua Bell, which was featured on Bell’s album “At Home with Friends.” The group also performed the track with Bell on “The Tonight Show” with Conan O’Brien, the “Live from Lincoln Center,” “Joshua Bell at Home with Friends” PBS Special and on WNYC radio’s popular program “Soundcheck.”

Tiempo Libre’s musical director Jorge Gómez and University of Miami’s Frost School of Music’s Raul Murciano collaborated to create a medley of traditional cha-cha-chás, sones, mambos and boleros as well as selections from Tiempo Libre’s “Bach in Havana,” which the band has performed with leading orchestras including the Oregon Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, the Lexington Philharmonic, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, the Austin Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra.

In addition to their performing and recording careers, the members of Tiempo Libre are particularly committed to the sharing of their rich musical traditions through outreach and educational activities and have participated in artist in residence programs at Michigan State University, Interlochen Academy, Indiana University and with the Cleveland Orchestra. The group has also become known for its inspiring classes on rumba, Latin jazz and traditional Cuban music, designed to reach audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

As an added feature for all area music aficionados, Tiempo Libre will offer a master-class on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 8, from 1-2 pm, at the Ludington Area Center for the Arts. In “An Introduction to Cuban Music,” the members of Tiempo Libre will talk about their native country and growing up in Cuba. They will illustrate their talk with examples of the forms of music that Cuba became famous for including danzón, cha-cha-chá, son and timba. The master-class is open to anyone and offered free of charge.

Tiempo Libre is presented by WSCC through partnership with the Michigan State University’s, The Wharton Center for the Performing Arts’ curriculum-linked school series programming, their Family Series events, and the Kennedy Center Partner’s in Education enrichment programs. This cooperative e­ffort is the result of the Ludington and Mason County Economic Development Task Force.

See and hear more about Tiempo Libre at www.tiempolibremusic.com.

Concert tickets may be reserved by calling the WSCC Box Office at 845-5507.

For additional information about the master-class or concert, call Plummer at 843-5928, or email him at [email protected]

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