Nov. 1, 2006 ~ Havana ~ Cuba
KoSA Cuba 06
We've had a great time in Cuba... Here's our KoSA Cuba 2006 Report...
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The annual Havana International Drum Festival -"Festival Del Tambor" - was held in Havana, Cuba this past October. The event was established in honor of the great Cuban drummer, composer and arranger, Guillermo Barreto (Tommy Dorsey, Nat "King" Cole, Johnny Richards, Chico O'Farril Band), who is the uncle of one of Cuba's top drummers - Giraldo Piloto. Giraldo Piloto now serves as the Artistic Director of the Festival.
For the fifth year, the KoSA Cuba Workshops teamed up with the Havana Drum Festival and held an unbelievable educational experience at the historic Havana Libre Hotel. Participants came from such diverse parts of the world such as Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, and North America to get immersed in Cuban culture and music. The week-long workshops which included both masterclasses and intimate hands-on classes with Cuban greats were led by the following distinguished faculty: Drumset artists Giraldo Piloto (Klimax), El Peje (Chucho Valdez), Oliver Valdez (Sylvio Rodriguez). and Julio el Pechere (National Television Orchestra). Conga artists included El Panga (Thomas Ramos), Julio (Klimax), Jesus Abreu (Los Papines), and Yaroldi Abreu. , Rumba specialist Alexis (Clave Y Guaguanco) got everyone playing and on their feet and extremely informative sessions on the development of Cuban music past and present were covered by ethnomusicologist Dr. Olavo.
All participants enjoyed the intensity of the mind-blowing concerts of the Havana Drum Festival which featured legendary Cuban artists such as Tata Guine, Changuito, Giraldo Piloto and Klimax, Yaroldi Abreu, Caraibe Girls, El Panga, Eliel, Oliver Valdés, Miguelon Rodriguez (Mestizaje), and Los Tres de la Havana.. Other facets of the event included an extensive visit to the musical instrument factory of Havana, participation in a traditional Rumba party, not to mention, a specially arranged open rehearsal of a traditional renowned Danson ensemble "Sensacion" featuring the famed soloist Amadito Valdez (Buena Vista Social Club). Nightly performances also included traditional folk music and dance groups (Grupo Bawson Samdi) and , Yoruba ensembles (Grupo Rumbatá), A special highlight of the event was the invitation to Columbian-born Memo Acevedo (Tito Puente), and Canadian artist Aldo Mazza (Répercussion; KoSA). Aldo and Memo played solo in the main concert event as well as sitting-in with Klimax.
Concurrent with the festival, a competition was held in five specific categories: conga, bongo, timbales, bata and drumset. It was amazing to see the young talent in this competition. Ages ranged from as young as 7 to 25 and all were at professional or nearly professional performing levels. Finalists performed in the grand finale concert on live national television and the winners each received an instrument and trophy. SABIAN cymbals provided the cymbal prize, the lucky drumset winner received a TAYE drumset and REGAL TIP drumsticks. Sponsors for the event included the Cuban Ministry of Culture, LP, Sabian, TAYE, KoSA, and Regal Tip.