• Wednesday, Mar 9, 2011

    Legendary Cuban Son Band, Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñeiro de Cuba, Performs in Zankel Hall



      Carnegie Hall presents Septeto Nacional Ingacio Piñeiro de Cuba, the preeminent Cuban son band whose music spawned an artistic movement, in a rare New York performance on Saturday, April 16 at 10:00 p.m. in Zankel Hall. The concert, presented in partnership with the World Music Institute, marks only the second time in more than seven decades that the ensemble has toured the US—its critically acclaimed 2009 tour was the first performance after a 76-year US touring hiatus. Now in its fourth generation of performers, Septeto Nacional is currently recognized as Patrimonio Nacional de la Cultura Cubana (a national treasure of Cuban culture) for the quality of its dedication to the roots of Cuban son. This event is part of the ¡Si Cuba! Festival—a citywide festival celebrating Cuban arts and culture from March-June 2011.

    Cuban son combines elements of Spanish canción and guitar music with African rhythms and percussion, and gained immense popularity around the turn of the 20th century, continuing through the 1940s. The history of the genre is closely tied to the late bassist and singer Ignacio Piñeiro, who founded the band—originally called Sexteto Nacional—under contract with Columbia Records in Havana in the early 20th century. Piñeiro wrote hundreds of sones for the sextet, which later became a septet with the addition of cornet player Lázaro Herrera, and Piñeiro himself playing bass. The septet performed throughout Havana and could be heard on all of the city’s radio stations, in public squares and in the theaters. When Piñeiro wrote the song “Échale Salsita” (“Spice It Up a Little”) in 1937, he also created the expression that would beget “salsa music” some fifty years later. “Échale Salsita” was later incorporated into George Gershwin’s piece “Cuban Overture.”

    In subsequent years, the group’s membership went through various changes as other son bands heightened the competition. Today, Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñeiro de Cuba is filled with Cuba’s finest instrumentalists and soneros, and their sound is classic yet fresh and completely infused with the verve and spirit of the island. The current lineup features Eugenio “Raspa” Rodríguez (lead vocals), Frank Oropesa and Crispín Díaz Hernández (percussion), Enrique Collazo (tres), Dagoberto Sacerio Oliva (guitar), Agustín Someillán García (trumpet), and Raúl Acea Rivera (contrabass). Frank Oropesa notes, “Playing at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall will be a milestone in our band's venerable history. It will be the perfect lead up to our 85th anniversary in 2012.” The ensemble’s most recent recording Sin Rumba no hay Son! (Without the Rumba there is no Son!) was released by World Village/Harmonia Mundi in 2010.

    Prior to this performance, beginning at 9:00 p.m., concert-goers are invited to enjoy a laid-back pre-concert experience in the Zankel Hall lounge and meet others who share their passion for music. The first 200 concert-goers to arrive will receive a complimentary drink, courtesy of Carnegie Hall. For more information please visit: carnegiehall.org/latenights.

    About The Artists
    For more than 80 years, Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñeiro de Cuba has reigned supreme as the world’s foremost champion and protector of Cuban son, the musical heartbeat of Cuba. The 7-piece band was founded in 1927 by Ignacio Piñeiro Martínez (1888-1969), the wildly prolific Cuban bassist and composer known affectionately as “El Poeta del Son.” Since then, the group has seen an array of Cuban musical superstars pass through its ranks, including Abelardo Barroso, Miguelito Valdés, Bienvenido Granda and Carlos Embale. Today, Eugenio “Raspa” Rodríguezand Frank Oropesa “El Matador” carry Piñero’s musical torch as leaders of the group, keeping the original acoustic Rumba sound while also incorporating elements of contemporary harmonization, wider rhythmic concepts, and an exceptional repertoire that includes the most important Cuban hits, many of which were written by Piñeiro himself. No other Cuban band has been as universally and constantly successful at extending its country’s musical traditions beyond its national borders as Septeto Nacional. In 2009, the septet made history with its highly acclaimed return to the United States—its first American tour in 76 years—with performances in New York, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago, where it was previously given an award by the city in 1933. The group also traveled to Puerto Rico for the first time ever, performing at The Conservatory of Music. The musicians of Septeto Nacional are the first from their country to receive US State Department performance visas since 2003. The septet is currently recognized as Patrimonio Nacional de la Cultura Cubana (a national treasure of Cuban culture) for the quality of its dedication to the roots of Cuban son.

    Program Information
    Saturday, April 16 at 10:00 p.m.
    Zankel Hall

    Presented by Carnegie Hall in partnership with World Music Institute.

    Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.

    Ticket Information
    Tickets, $38 and $46, are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website, carnegiehall.org.

    For more information discount ticket programs, including those for students, Notables members, and Bank of America customers, visit carnegiehall.org/discounts.

    # # #