¡La Nueva Cuba! The Next Generation Brings Together Three Contemporary Cuban All-Stars—Roberto Fonseca, Daymé Arocena and Pedrito Martinez—for the First Time!
One night only event on Saturday, April 21 at 8:00pm
Los Angeles, CA Apr 6, 2018) Cuba’s rich musical traditions explode onstage as three next-generation Cuban jazz artists converge for the first time on the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts Stage (The Soraya) on Saturday, April 21 for one performance only. Grammy-nominated, Afro-Latin percussionist-singer Pedrito Martinez brings his earth-shaking drumming, vocalist Daymé Arocena lets loose her powerful voice that breaks free like a cry from Havana, and Grammy-nominated, composer and producer Roberto Fonseca demonstrates why The New York Times called him “a charismatic spark plug of a pianist.”
“In a season that celebrates the idea that ‘Music Knows No Borders’ and features music from 14 different countries, it is also a special joy to present the next generation of great musical artists from Cuba,” said Thor Steingraber, Executive Director of The Soraya. “Pedrito Martinez, Daymé Arocena and Roberto Fonseca—La Nueva Cuba! The Next Generation—are international solo stars that are taking the rich musical legacy of Cuban music into the 21st century and we are proud to present their debut performance together.”
About ¡La Nueva Cuba! The Next Generation
The Soraya brings three solo artists together for the first time with ¡La Nueva Cuba! The Next Generation. All three are major stars in their own rights. Since the beginning of his musical career in the early 1990s, Cuban-born multi-instrumentalist Roberto Fonseca has stated his mission clearly: “I want my music to reach people who don’t know me, and I dream of one day becoming a point of reference for my audience.” Although still very young – by the standards of jazz, hip-hop, world music or any other genre – Fonseca has maintained a sharp focus on his mission that has already garnered him global recognition.
Showcasing unforgettable stage presence at every performance, the critically hailed singer-composer, Daymé Arocena, combines Santerian chant, rhythmic complexity, fluid jazz styling, and a nuanced Afro-Cuban soulfulness. Her latest album, Cubafonía, was praised by Pitchfork as “a vibrant, bold record that is, at its heart, a love letter to her home country.” At only 26, she’s garnered international acclaim and comparisons to such musical giants as Nina Simone and Celia Cruz.
Pedrito Martinez is recognized as the world’s leading Afro-Latin percussionist, and his Grammy-nominated group is a high-energy band that performs “Africa-to-the-New-World funk” (The New York Times). Cuban-born musician and New York fixture, Martinez, packs a powerful punch with guaguancó, timba, R&B, gospel, and flamenco grooves. Equally at home in popular music, his perfectly intoned tenor voice, seamlessly combines popular and folkloric influences, infectious energy, humor, charisma and dance moves make him as formidable a front man as he is a percussionist. He draws on these many talents simultaneously and continuously in PMG.
Single tickets for ¡La Nueva Cuba! The Next Generation beginning at $33 are now available by visiting www.valleyperformingartscenter.org or calling 818-677-3000. The Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts is located at 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330. Ticket prices subject to change.
About Roberto Fonseca
The UK Guardian is just one of the many voices in both the music and mainstream press worldwide to have recognized Fonseca’s immense talent by heralding him as “a fabulously gifted pianist, composer and bandleader with a gift for melody that outshines more celebrated peers.” The Guardian further proclaimed him as “one of a new breed who can transcend musical boundaries through sheer quality.”
Fonseca’s appearance at Havana’s International Jazz Festival at the tender age of 15 was not only a revelation to audiences, but the launching pad for a musical education that resulted in a degree in musical composition from the Instituto Superior de Arte. At 21, he embarked on a tour through Italy with singer Augusto Enriquez, which included performancees on RAI, the state TV channel, which introduced him to audiences well beyond his Cuban origins.
Shortly after the Italian tour, Fonseca joined saxophonist Javier Zalba to form Temperamento, a group that became his creative platform for the next 15 years, beginning with the release of En el Comienzo in 1998. The album won the award for Best Jazz Album at the Cubadisco 1999 festival.
En el Comienzo was followed by three solo albums in rapid succession – Tiene Que Ver (1999), No Limit (2000) and Elengó (2001). In between these projects, he also composed the soundtrack for Black, a film by French director P. Maraval, and produced Un montón de cosas, an album by the hip-hop group Obsesión.
In 2001, he joined the Orquestra de Ibrahim Ferrer for a world tour that logged more than 400 performances throughout Europe, the UK, South America, Australia, Asia and just about every other corner of the globe. Led by Ferrer – an alumni of the Buena Vista Social Club™, the legendary Cuban collective that had taken the world by storm some five years earlier – the tour with the Orquestra positioned Fonseca alongside legendary figures like Cachaíto López, Guajiro Mirabal, Manuel Galbán and many others. The tour marked the beginning of an ongoing and fruitful relationship with various members of BVSC.
Fonseca’s relationship with Ferrer strengthened in the years following the tour. When Ferrer set out to record his treasured collection of boleros, he tapped Fonseca to arrange the compositions and co-produce the recording. Mi Sueño: A Bolero Songbook was released in early 2005, and a world tour followed later in the year. The project was Ferrer’s last – and arguably one of his greatest – before his death in August 2005.
Despite the heartbreaking loss, Fonseca had established his reputation as a creative bridge between traditional Cuban music and the sound of a new era. As such, he drew the attention of not just enthusiastic audiences but seasoned musicians as well. Omara Portuondo, another Buena Vista alumni also invited him to join her on tour.
The intensive touring and multicultural exposure planted the seeds for Zamazu, Fonseca’s monumental 2007 recording that assembled more than 20 musicians and integrated elements of his various influences: Afro-Cuban, jazz, classical and traditional Cuban music. Among the musicians on this diverse and ambitious recording were Portuondo, Zalba, Carlinhos Brown, Vincente Amigo, Ramsés Rodríguez and many others. Following the release of Zamazu, Fonseca showcased generous portions of the recording at some of the most prestigious festivals in the world in front of spellbound audiences.
“Llegó Cachaíto,” one of the tracks from Zamazu, appeared in Hancock, the 2008 film starring Will Smith. That same year, Fonseca also played on Portuondo’s Gracias, a recording that won a Latin Grammy for Best Contemporary Tropical Album.
Zamazu was a tough act to follow, but Fonseca found a way to bring the magic and energy of his live show into the studio for his 2009 release, Akokan. The album featured his quartet with guest performances by Cape Verdean vocalist Mayra Andrade and American guitarist Raul Midón.
The following year, 2010, he collaborated with director Jorge Fuentes in the filming of Temperamento, a documentary chronicling the history of the band that Fonseca had co-founded more than a decade earlier. Fonseca also arranged and co-produced Havana Cultura with British DJ Gilles Peterson. Later that same year, he also released Live at Marciac, a CD-DVD set that captures Fonseca and his band at a 2009 festival date in France.
His recent studio effort Yo, was nominated for a GRAMMY® in the category of Best Latin Jazz Album. The album has also received positive accolades, topping the Best of 2012 album lists in The Sunday Times, Le Monde, The Guardian, Vibrations, Telerama and after his release in the U.S.A continuing the tradition with the Best of 2013 in The Washington Post, “Songs of 2013″ on NPR.
ABUC, his latest album, was released on Impulse! Records on November 11th, 2016, and is a look backward at the evolution of Cuban jazz. Although nearly all 14 of the tracks on the album were written or co-written by Fonseca, the project as a whole overall feels like a retrospective of various musical styles and sources spanning several decades.
About Daymé Arocena
Daymé Arocena has received wide praise for her latest album. NPR said “Her voice and music defy expectations. There is not a dull moment on Cubafonia…and it reminds us that the best music moves the body and spirit.” The Guardian adds “Arocena is Cuba’s finest young female singer. She has a powerful, versatile style and enormous crossover potential. An entertaining, impressively varied return.”
Daymé Arocena is a skillful, charismatic presence in Cuban music. Her powerful voice and her ability to absorb music of any kind, particularly jazz and Cuban neo-soul, with her devotion for Afro-Cuban culture, has made her one of the most exciting artists of Cuban contemporary scene.
In the beginning of her musical academic career, she tried her luck with different instruments like piano, violin and guitar, and choir directing, when she realized that her voice was her best instrument.
Since she was a child, she joined several bands, and in 2010 she became a member of Sumsum Corda, a fusion jazz quintet with which she participated in tours for Norway and Nicaragua.
After the experience being a member of Joaquin Betancourt’s big band, she decided to create Alami, an all-girl band. In 2013, after participating with Alami in the Jazz Plaza Festival, she was invited by Canadian saxophonist Jane Bunnet to join to her project Maqueque (with which she continues collaborating today), recording the album of the same name that won the 2015 Juno Award (Canada) for Best Jazz Album.
Her work attracted the attention of organizers of Havana Cultura, a platform for the promotion of contemporary Cuban culture that invited her to became part of Havana Cultura Mix. This resulted in Havana Cultura Mix – The Soundclash! an album produced by the DJ Gilles Peterson. Arocena sang on three tracks on the album, including “U Knew Before”.
Arocena released her first EP in 2015 The Havana Cultural Sessions, and later she made her first album as a soloist: Nueva Era, which attracted the attention of the public and critics in both Europe and the United States.
She has collaborated with various artists such as the jazz players Roberto Fonseca and Yasek Manzano, the rapper Kumar, and the Russian Dj Raumskaya.
She has performed on many prominent stages like Jazz Na Fabrica Festival in Brazil, Les Voix Humaines Festival in Cuba, the Duc des Lombards and Worldwide Festival in France, St. Pancras Old Church in London, Peter Barakan Live’s Magic Show in Japan and Het Depot Club in Belgium.
About Pedrito Martinez
Pedro Pablo “Pedrito” Martinez was born in Havana, Cuba, Sept 12, 1973 and was raised in the Cayo Hueso neighborhood of Old Havana and began his musical career at the age of 11, performing as vocalist and percussionist with such Cuban legends as Tata Guines and Yoruba Andabo.
Since settling in New York City in the fall of 1998, Pedrito has recorded or performed with Wynton Marsalis, Paul Simon, Eddie Palmieri, Paquito D’Rivera, Bruce Springsteen and Sting and has contributed to well over 100 albums.
Pedrito was a founding member of the highly successful, Afro-Cuban/Afro-Beat band, Yerba Buena, with which he recorded two albums and toured the world.
His career as a leader began in 2005 with the formation in NYC of the The Pedrito Martinez Group with fans that include Eric Clapton, Derek Trucks, Steve Gadd, Wynton Marsalis, Taj Mahal and Quincy Jones.
The Pedrito Martinez Group’s, Grammy-nominated, first studio album, was released October, 2013 and features special guests, Wynton Marsalis, John Scofield and Steve Gadd. The album was chosen among NPR’s Favorite Albums of 2013 and The Boston Globe Critics Top Ten Albums of 2013.”
“Habana Dreams”, PMG’s second album, recorded largely, in Cuba in October 2015, was released on June 10, 2016, on Motema Music. Guests include, Ruben Blades, Isaac Delgado, Wynton Marsalis, Descemer Bueno, Roman Diaz, Angelique Kidjo, and Telmary Diaz.
A consummate master of Afro-Cuban folkloric music, Pedrito Martinez, who is also a babalawo, or Yoruba priest, doesn’t just play the obligatory handful of standard batá rhythms – he plays the monumentally complex Oru seco exquisitely on each drum, or on all three at once. He’s also the world’s first-call rumbero – playing, singing and dancing with dozens of groups and on over 100 recordings and contributing to or appearing in several important films, including Calle 54 (2000) and Chico and Rita (2010).
The group has appeared at Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Apollo Theater, Newport Jazz Festival, globalFest, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, TED Conference, Montreal Jazz Festival, The Red Sea Festival, Montreux Jazz Fest, Sydney Festival, Bonnaroo, SF Jazz, Yoshi’s/San Francisco, London Jazz Festival, Umbria Summer and Winter Jazz Festivals, North Sea Festival, Saratoga Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Fest, among many others.
About the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya)
The Soraya opened its 2017-2018 season on September 16 with a performance of AMADEUS Live (Milos Foreman’s 1984 Academy Award-winning Best Picture with live orchestra) with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and members of the LA Opera Chorus. The evening honored the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Foundation in recognition of the family’s recent $17 million gift that will rename VPAC as the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Performing Arts Center, known as The Soraya. The gift is one of the largest in the history of the California State University and the system’s largest single gift to support the arts; gift to support the programming and operations of the award-winning Valley Performing Arts Center – which has become one of the cultural jewels of the region in the six years since it opened.
The 2017-18 Soraya season signals a new era for the premier event venue. Under the leadership of Executive Director Thor Steingraber, the renamed Younes and Soraya Nazarian Performing Arts Center expands its programming and outstanding multidisciplinary performances. The mission of The Soraya is to present a wide variety of performances that not only includes new and original work from the Los Angeles region but also work from around the world that appeal to all of LA’s rich and diverse communities.
Located on the campus of California State University, Northridge, The Soraya’s season offers a vibrant performance program of nearly 50 classical and popular music, dance, theater, family and international events that will serve to establish The Soraya as the intellectual and cultural heart of the San Fernando Valley, and further establish itself as one of the top arts companies in Southern California. The award-winning, 1,700-seat theatre was designed by HGA Architects and Engineers and was recently cited by the Los Angeles Times as “a growing hub for live music, dance, drama and other cultural events.”
Calendar Listing for ¡La Nueva Cuba! The Next Generation
Date: Saturday, April 21 at 8:00pm
Venue: Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya)
18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330
Tickets: Prices: Starting at $33. Prices subject to change.
By Phone: (818) 677-3000