Friday, July 31, 2009

Photos: My drums

My first drum made by Natalio "Junior" Tirado Ruiz.
My father bought it for me in 1973, this photo was taken in 1973, when I was 20 years old.
Sitting on a bench in front of Lake Pontchartrain
in New Orleans.

He bought a second one for me in 1974
(My father and I playing in my apartment in New Orleans)

21 years old,
Central Park, N.Y.C.
Three Mahogany drums made by  
Natalio "Junior" Tirado Ruiz.
An 11½' inch Tumbadora made in 1973, a 10¼' inch Tres Dos made in 1981 and a 9' inch Quinto made for me in 1994. The 10¼' Tres Dos was originally stained black, as Junior sometimes used stave's where the colors of the wood didn't match and he would stain the wood so the "off colors" wouldn't show. (As he also did with the Bongoes he made below)
I took it to 'Jay Bereck' and had him
remove the black stain and re-finish the drum, which allowed the true beauty of the Mahogany wood to show.

My 11½' inch Tumbadora made in 1973  
by Natalio "Junior" Tirado Ruiz.
I used to have another like this one, but sold it to a student of mine.

"Junior" Tirado in his early drum making days made the "V" in his hardware very wide, a full ½' inch.

A 12' inch Oak Tumbadora made for me by 'Jay Bereck' in 1980.

Jay Bereck's Oak 12' inch Tumbadora,
"Junior" Tirado's
9' inch Quinto and 10¼' inch Tres Dos.
 This is a drum my father bought in Havana for $35. in 1957.
Made of Cedar wood (Cedro). With a 10½ inch head. The lug plates look like stars with six points. The original bands were replaced with "brushed" aluminum bands.

Bongoes made of Mahogany by Natalio "Junior" Tirado Ruiz.
These were originally "painted" red not stained, to conceal the different color stave's he used. I used paint remover to take the red off, then sanded them and gave them a very light coat of wood sealer. 7½ inch Macho and 8½' inch Hembra.

These are my favorite bongoes, made in Cuba in the early to mid 1950's by drum maker and bongocero Candido Requena. Made of Cedar (Cedro). 6¼' Macho and 7' inch Hembra.
I recently sent them to master drum maker
'Matthew Smith' to have them re-finished.

I prefer to use only natural or white (bleached) "Cow" skin, which is impossible to find here in New York City.
I prefer the sound of "Cow" skin, very different than Mule. I don't like skin that you can see your hand through (opaque skin). The majority of skins (hides) sold commercially now are mostly inferior bull hide, steer hide, deer hide, horse hide, mule hide, and the cheap shitty "honey colored" skin (that you can read a newspaper through) that comes on every drum made by *Lp®.
(*Don't "trust the leader")

Los cueros - Cuba.
(Pancho Quinto; Iya - Martha Gallaraga; singer)
No "honey colored crap" for this young drummer!
Ni plastic synthetic shit either.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Justi Barreto - "Batanga" 1958 - Cuba

Justi Barreto' y Su Orq. - 1958
On 'Musart'

Justi Barreto, composer, singer, percussionist. "The Man"
Born 14 November 1923, Havana, Cuba. Living in the US. for many years.
Creator of the "Batanga"
Between himself and his half brother: 'Silvestre Mendez'... the amount of compositions are endless. Just about everybody who is anybody has recorded Justi Barreto compositions.
Especially Beny Moré.
Sometime listen to Arsenio Rodriguez singing "Lo Que Dice Justi".

Many people are familiar with the two LPs: "Guaguanco 69" and "Comparsas Cubanas"
(on 'Gema'), this LP is out of print,
never reissued and rare.
Recorded when he lived in Mexico. Big band.

2. " Batanga N°.2"

Monday, July 27, 2009

In Havana, U.S. turns off sign critical of Cuban government

  • Sign's deactivation comes as relations between U.S., Cuba improve.
  • Electronic sign was put on U.S. interests section building in Havana in 2006.
  • Sign ran quotes from U.S. heroes, blasted Cuban government's policies.
  • Cuba erected billboards to block the sign; billboards were taken down this year.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Oak Requinto custom made by 'Jay Bereck' "Skin On Skin"

A true "Requinto" I recently sold on Ebay, it was custom made for me in 1993 by 'Jay Bereck"
(Skin On Skin).
Made of Oak, 26' inches tall, with a 8½ inch head.

Photo of 'Chano Pozo'
playing a
8½ inch "Requinto" in 1947

Tipica Union Sanluisera 4 LPs - Santiago De Cuba

"Union SanLuisera - San Luis"
Vinyl LP - Siboney
  • José Ayala Pérez - Flautista-Director
  • Julio Morales Ortíz - Violín
  • Manuel Armero - Violín
  • Oscar Estable - Violín
  • Reynaldo Salazar Núñez - Bajo
  • Manuel Callí - Piano
  • Ibrahín Agramonte - Tumbas
  • Eloy Núñez García - Güiro
  • Luis Rubén Núñez García - Timbal
  • Enrique lozano Ayala - Cantante
  • Wilfredo Torres Alemán - Cantante
  • Manuel Fusté - Cantante
  • Luis M. García - Cantante
'Tipica Union Sanluisera' from the town of San Luis, in Santiago De Cuba.
With a unique swing typically from there.
All three LP's recorded in Egrem's Siboney studios in Santiago De Cuba.
"San Luis" their first LP. Late 70's early 80's.
"Un meneito Sabroso" mid to late 80's.
"La Leyenda de la Charanga" 1987
"Homenaje A Beny" 1987
All four LP's... long out of print.

Aqui No Ha Pasado Nada Compay

A La Union Le Echaron Picapica

Si quieres tomar Champola

"Un Meneito Sabroso"
Vinyl LP
A Casa Del Compay

Conmigo Mi China

"La Leyenda de la Charanga"
Orquesta Tipica Union Sanluisera
Vinyl LP - Out of print and obscure.

1. La leyenda de la Charanga
2. Quien toca en mi puerta
3. Aqui no hay trampa compadre
4. El gran consejo
5. Por favor cambia
6. Cuando pase por tu lado
7. Me odias porque no te quiero
8. Vuelve con tu marido

Vuelve con tu marido

"Homenaje A Beny"1987 - vinyl LP/LD

Elige Tu

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Video: Cuba - "Grupo Raices Profundas" de Juan De Dios 1978 - Cuba

"Grupo Raices Profundas" Director; 'Juan De Dios'
1978 - La Habana, Cuba

'Juan De Dios'
a Rumba Columbia

'Juan De Dios'
a Rumba Columbia

Photo: Gig @ the Cuban Masonic Temple

A gig playing at the Cuban Masonic Temple in Queens, N.Y.
January, 2009

Photo: Gig on the roof - Manhattan

This is a gig we do up on the rooftop of the 'Soho House' hotel in the "Meatpacking" district in Manhattan.

June 2009

'Grupo Irék'
"Chino" Poun
: leader, vocal, güiro, clave, bailarin.
Hensy "The Cripple" Peréz: bass,
Eddie Valentin
: bongoes,
: tumbadora,
Toso Hettenger
: tres

Me and my "main man", 'Eddie Valentin'

Myself and the photographer 'Eve'
Большое спасибо... thanks for the pics!

Pedro Depestre & 'Orq. Tipica Juventud' de Santiago, Cuba

"Mi Orquesta Sigue Igual" 
Vinyl LP/LD

5. Mi Orquesta Sigue Igual

"Lo Mismo Bailo un Son" 
(live en vivo)

1. Lola y Su Compay
Pedro Depestre; violin solo

"Presencia Cubana"
Vinyl LP/LD

7. Loco Me Llaman

"Se Va Pegando" 
Vinyl LP/LD

4. Tres Lindas Cubanas En Descarga
Pedro Depestre; violin solo

5. Popurrit De Exitos No.1 
Pedro Depestre'; violin solo

6. Que No Me Compliquen El Son

Four LP's by the late master Violinist Pedro Celestino Depestre.

Another great band that was from Santiago De Cuba, with a sound unique to that part of the island.
Pedro Celestino Depestre started playing violin at the age of five. As a 13 year old violin prodigy he joined Orq. Aragón in 1959 in order to replace his predecessor (his father) Filiberto Depestre. He formed his 'Orq. Tipica Juventud' in 1972.

The LP "Lo Mismo Bailo Un Son" is LIVE (en vivo) and is a killer with some amazing bass playing. The LP "Presencia Cubana" is a studio recording, also a killer.
Both done between '72 & '74.
Swinging "Onda Nueva" 1970's style Charanga.
His last CD "*Son Charangas y Pasiones" came out in 1999 and really showed his violin virtuosity... and his composing and arranging skills.

Pedro Depestre collapsed an died onstage after taking a solo at a concert in Basel, Switzerland in 2001.
He was 55 years old.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Charanga Ritmicos De Palma "Coge El Tumbao" & "No Cambien El Paso" - Cuba

"Coge El Tumbao"
1985 Vinyl LP/LD

1. Coge El Tumbao

2. A Natalia
3. Mentirosa
4. Que Dolor
5. Mueve La Cintura
6. La Golondrina y La Paloma
7. No Llores Mas
8. Diga Doctor

1. "Coge El Tumbao"

8. "Diga Doctor"

"No Cambien El Paso"
1987 Vinyl LP/LD

Video: Cuba - Conjunto Clave Y Guaguancó