Brilliance And The Spirits at Global Cuba Fest

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Dafnis Prieto, drums, leading his Sextet at the Light Box, Miami, Friday
Photo by Elvis Suarez, Glassworks Multimedia/ Miami Light Project @ The Light Box

Drummer Dafnis Prieto and pianist Omar Sosa closed this year’s Global Cuba Fest at the Light Box in Wynwood, Miami, with shows on Friday and Saturday, respectively, that suggested a sort of musical yin and yang. For an annual festival that celebrates the music of Cuba and its diaspora, the weekend was a perfectly tuned statement — artistically ambitious, global in its vision and brilliantly executed.

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David Peña Dorantes And The Invention of Piano in Flamenco

 

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Mention flamenco and the immediate associations are with dancing, singing, and the guitar. The piano has a rather tentative history in flamenco. While some scholars include the instrument in proto-flamenco history going back to the 19th century, the piano emerged in flamenco with figures such as Arturo Pavón and Pepe Romero beginning in the late 1940s, often attempting to translate the language and role of the guitar.

Fast forward to today and not only is there a substantial list of talented flamenco pianists, but the piano is creating its own vocabulary in flamenco.

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From the GroundUP, a festival of music by the ocean, home-made and worldly.

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From left to right, Eliades Ochoa, Michael League and Sammy Figueroa at the GroundUP Music Festival, Sunday. Photo by Luis Olazábal / Rhythm Foundation

Sunday night was the end of a long day that included more than six hours of music and a program of panels and workshops (including an “A Capella by the Sea” gathering right on the beach) and the final set of the three-day GroundUP Music Festival at the North Beach Bandshell in Miami Beach. But you never would have guessed it from the sounds of the stage and the response from the audience.

Musically, the set was another tour the force by Snarky Puppy, whose label curated and produced the festival. The band took the audience on yet another wild ride that this time touched on Brazilian and Middle Eastern music, down-home church music and a bravura showcase of rock guitar that, somehow, they made sound logical and musical.

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