The Kennedy Center



¡Cubanismo! is a journey to the dancing heart of Latin music. A 15-piece orchestra of Cuban all-stars showcases the bright tropical blasts of Cuba’s hottest dance music. Led by Jesús Alemañy, the brilliant young trumpeter formerly of Sierra Maestra, the band features famed conguero "Tata" Güines and several stars from leading Cuban dance bands including Irakere and others. Together, they punch out an irresistible blend of freewheeling dance tunes, traditional rumba, cha-cha, son, and lesser known danzon and pa’ca rhythms, composed by various members of Alemañy’s band and arranged in the descarga (jam) tradition developed by Cuban jazz players of the ‘40s.

The expression cubanismo designates something specifically Cuban, or unique to the island and not common to the general Spanish culture of Latin America. Utterly different from the genre known as Latin jazz, ¡CUBANISMO! features danceable music from beginning to end, celebrating the legacy of Cuban music in other dance styles from around the world. The Cuban son, which dates back to the turn of the century, is the root of much of the up-tempo international pop music, from African soukous to New York salsa.

The leader of ¡Cubanismo!, Jesús Alemañy, was a trumpeter for Sierra Maestra, one of Cuba’s leading son groups, from the age of 15. Now residing in London, Jesús immerses the listener in sweet dance sessions full of swaggering horn charts and wild polyrhythms that recall the vintage big-band son sound. The orchestra is filled with the likes of Irakere veteran flutist Orlando "Maracas" Valle; saxophonist Yosvany Terry from Los Terry, his family’s Afro-Cuban group; the great Cuban bassist Carlos del Puerto; and tres player Pancho Amat. The all-star percussion lineup boasts the venerable "Tata" Güines and Roberto Vizcaino on tumbadoras (conga drums), and the always inventive timbalero Emilio del Monte.

Jesús Alemañy’s ¡CUBANISMO! began as a recording project for Rykodisc’s Hannibal label. The album was recorded in Havana with British producer Joe Boyd in May of 1995. Breaking sales records in Europe and the US, ¡Cubanismo! became one of the Latin crossover albums of 1996, and made the Top Ten lists of Billboard, Latin Beat and Afropop Woldwide. Last year, Alemañy reassembled the band and recorded their second album Malembe, also on Rykodisc’s Hannibal label.

Jesús Alemañy: Trumpet & Band Leader
Carlos Luis Alvarez Guerra: Trombone
Rodolfo Arguin Justiz: Piano
Jorge Luis Torres Paumier: Congas
Jose Espinosa Martinez: Drums
Hildegardis Vasquez Suarez: Vocals
Jesus Maria Cantero Llanes: Vocals
Eduardo Felipe Lavoy Alonso: Bongos & Percussion
Rolando Martinez Lopez: Vocals
Jorge Emilio Maza Valdes: Saxophone & Flute
Rolando Feliciano Perez Perez: Alto Saxophone
Pablosky Rosales Penalver: Guitar & Vocals
Roberto Riveron Mederos: Bass & Vocals
Eduardo Elier Rodriguez Saura: Trumpet