A joint project by FUNDarte and the Miami Light Project, the Global Cuba Fest returns for its third annual edition this weekend. But where last year it was a multiple-day, stand-alone event with daily concerts that weren't cheap, organizers have wised up this year. It's now being mounted in one evening, as part of the Sleepless Night art shebang all-nighter this Saturday on Miami Beach. The line-up has a definite jazz bent this year, a genre sorely under-represented in Miami's current musical landscape. Best of all, admission is free, and the music happens in a full-on, legit venue -- the Fillmore Miami Beach! This is likely the only time you'll get into the place gratis, so pay attention.
Here's a run-down of the entertainers on the bill, which kicks off at 6 p.m.
6 - 9 p.m.: DJ Snowhite
Big up the female DJs! Snowhite is a Miami staple who has specialized in crossing cultural boundaries with her mixes. She even won Miami New Times' Readers Choice poll for Best DJ in 2003. She'll get the evening started off by spinning in the Fillmore lobby before and between the live sets.
7 p.m.: Carlos Averhoff Jr. and the IRESI Quartet
in Havana, Carlos Averhoff Jr. is a jazz and funk saxophonist and
bandleader, now based in Boston, where he's a resident artist at
Berklee College of Music. His IRESI music project , and in-progress
solo album, mixes in more of the rhythms of his native country,
including danzon, son, bolero, timba, and more. Here's a video of him performing with pianist Alexis Ortega -- wait for his killer solo.
9 p.m.: [email protected]
The 33-year-old [email protected] Ramos (yes, that's really how he insists on spelling it) proved himself a musical wunderkind in his native Santa Clara, Cuba. As a trombone whiz, in his early 20s he toured with Manolin, "El Medico de la Salsa." Since defecting and winding up in Miami in 1998, with his brother Bayron (also a trombonist) he's played on albums by nearly every local Latin artist who matters. Seriously, [email protected] has played trombone for Celia Cruz, Willy Chirino, Albita, Alejandro Sanz, Gloria Estefan, La India, Frankie Negron, and a bazillion other people. He also plays in the local group the Cuban Timba All-Stars. Here's a video of him performing live with Albita; and again, wait for the solo on this one.
10 p.m. to 1 a.m.: DJ Duni
Halfway through the night, DJ Duni takes over turntable responsibilities from Snowhite. A Havana native who moved to Miami in 1995, Duni is the founder of Timba.com, an exhaustive record of everything current in Cuban music. In 2005, he helped launch and online Cuban music show at salsa2salsa.com, and most recently has been running, with DJ Melao, timbastars.com.
11 p.m. Jose "Pepito" Gomez
Singer Pepito Gomez arrived in the United States just about a year and a half ago, in May 2008. Previously, he sang for the timba groups Pupy and Los Que Son Son. Lately, though, he's pursued a solo career, and his rare, piercing tenor has made him a critical darling. Further, his backing band numbers some 10 musicians, so expect an intense performance. Here's a video of him performing with local group Tiempo Libre, at New York's Lincoln Center last summer.