The Havana Cuba All-Stars will bring their Spanish guitars, trumpets, congas and much more next week to Stony Brook — one of many stops during their first U.S. tour.
Inspired by the rhythms of traditional Cuban son, a style of music and song that originated in Cuba and is the root of most salsa music today, this 12-man band has been working for the past two years to bring a unique contemporary sound of Cuban traditional music to an American audience. Their show “Cuban Nights” will be held on Saturday, Oct. 8, at 8 p.m. in the Staller Center for the Arts.
“For those in the audience who are Hispanic, the show is sure to make them proud, the musicians are world-class,” Alan Inkles, the director of the Staller Center, said. “For others, it will reinforce or introduce an appreciation for traditional Latin American musical forms, like the Cuban son.”
The band will be taking over the U.S. during their three-month Asere Friendship Tour with over 60 scheduled concerts. Asere, which is the Cuban Spanish word for “friendship,” is the core band of the Havana Cuba All-Stars. Bandleader Michel Padron and his good friend Vincente Arenicibia, who leads vocals and plays the congas, formed the band 20 years ago.
Starting out as a seven-man band, Asere has been playing and touring together since 1998. Though they incorporated a contemporary style to their music, they kept true to their Cuban musical roots. In 2011, they spent three months on tour in Europe. They brought nothing but their passion for music and delivered a special acoustic show to their European audience.
Now years later, the band with five additional members is delivering a bigger and brand-new acoustic show to a new continent.
“We hope they will feel our heart and soul,” Padron said of the band’s American audience. “And we hope they will join in with us in the dance and fun. We just hope to leave our American friends with the memories of our great music and we will leave with many memories and many new friends.”
Born in Havana to an artistic family, Padron became interested in playing music professionally at a young age. He learned to play the piano at the age of 8 and the trumpet at the age of 10, which eventually became his main instrument. For the next few years, he advanced his musical talent and shared it with others.
“I was a teenager and just wanted to play music and have people enjoy my music,” he said.
Padron is now a well-known trumpeter, educator, composer and music producer. He has been around the world, performing at various jazz and world music festivals in over 20 countries around the world and has collaborated with artists from various music genres and backgrounds.
The Stony Brook performance of “Cuban Nights” is just in time to help celebrate and recognize National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is observed from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. During this month, the history, culture and contribution of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America are celebrated.
“The Havana Cuba All-Stars are energy on stage,” Peter Dake, the company manager of Columbia Artists Management, said. “They represent Cuban music proudly and are great entertainers.”