BAM - Red Hot + Cuba

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BAM presents Red Hot + Cuba, Nov 30 & Dec 1
at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House

Featuring Alexander Abreu, José Luis Cortés (El Tosco), CuCu Diamantes, Andres Levin, Kelvis Ochoa, David Torrens, Carlos Varela, Osdalgia, and Cucurucho (Roberto Rodriguez)

BAM’s 150th anniversary celebration continues through Dec 2012

American Express is the BAM 30th Next Wave Festival sponsor

Red Hot + Cuba
Musical direction by Andres Levin and CuCu Diamantes

Produced by BAM
Co-Produced with Paul Heck/The Red Hot Organization
& Andres Levin/Music Has No Enemies

Visual Designer¬–Yuki Nakajima

Band features José Gola (bass), Ray Angry (keyboards, Hammond B3), Guillermo del Toro (percussion), Keisel Jimenez (percussion), Ron Blake (baritone sax), Nam Sam Fong (guitar), Antuan Perugorria (drums), Amaury Perez (trombone)

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Ave)
Nov 30 & Dec 1 at 8pm
Tickets start at $25

The music continues with Red Hot + Cuba at BAMcafé Live
Nov 30 at 10pm: José Conde
Dec 1 at 10pm: Aruán Ortiz Camerata Urbana Ensemble
Free admission, no drink minimum

Brooklyn, NY/Oct 15, 2012—BAM presents Red Hot + Cuba, a dynamic all-star snapshot of Havana’s contemporary nightlife. For two nights only—Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 1—BAM brings together a host of Cuba’s top-notch contemporary artists for one program that showcases Cuba’s tremendous musical diversity, presenting the island’s veteran artists alongside exciting young talent.

“Few people know how rich and active the live music scene in Havana is,” says producer Andres Levin, who has collaborated with the Red Hot organization on musical productions in various corners of the world for the past 15 years. Levin and co-musical director CuCu Diamantes are longtime stage and production partners and have curated Cuban artists from diverse genres, styles, and local scenes for this production—ranging from traditional Afro-Cuban grooves to the new underground, from intimate nueva trova singer-songwriters to big salsa dance bands. “In Cuba the pantheon of music is so large and eclectic,” says CuCu Diamantes. “We have songwriters, singers, great interpreters of the classics, big-band leaders who are also virtuoso instrumentalists, and also the rappers. The musicians we are bringing together represent different styles, but they all respect each other creatively, as artists.” Adds Levin, with a smile: “With all these musicians here, Havana will be very quiet!”

What distinguishes the BAM shows from the Havana scene is that, on their home turf, all the artists represented here are bandleaders in their own right; for these two special shows they will be part of an extraordinary all-star band.

Red Hot producer Paul Heck is excited about the organization’s first Cuban music project. Says Heck "We've been thinking and talking about how we could do a Cuban music-based Red Hot project for years, going back to the mid-90s. It's hard to believe it's actually going to happen! Red Hot's partnership with BAM and the extensive work Andrés Levin and Cucu Diamantes are doing in Cuba are the elements that finally made this show possible."

About the Artists

CuCu Diamantes is known for her sassy, flamboyant personality and sultry voice as lead singer of the Grammy-nominated band Yerba Buena. Cuban-born Diamantes released her first solo CD CuCuland in 2009, in which nods to vintage styles meld with funk and hip-hop. She recently took her multi-cultural fusions of Latin rhythms, New York funk, and cabaret glamour back to Cuba, starring in a movie titled Amor Crónico—a combined romantic comedy, travel documentary, and loving homage to classic Cuban cinema.

Alexander Abreu is the bandleader of the powerful salsa-timba collective Havana d’Primera, presently one of the hardest working bands in Havana. Abreu is recognized as an exceptional arranger, songwriter, and singer, and one of the best contemporary trumpet players on the island.

José Luis Cortés (El Tosco) is a veteran of two of the most seminal bands in Cuban music history, Los Van Van and Irakere. The groundbreaking flautist founded NG la Banda in the 1980s. Cortés created his own chapter in Cuban music history when he took the band’s fusion of salsa and timba outside the city’s established club scene and into the Havana back streets, and his band still packs in audiences in Havana three nights a week. Cortés is also responsible for jumpstarting the careers of many younger musicians, including Alexander Abreu, whose first recording session was with El Tosco.

Roberto Rodriguez (Cucurucho) is currently Los Van Van’s pianist and part of a dynasty of Cuban pianists that include his grandfather Bebo Valdés and his uncle Chucho Valdés (founder of Irakere). Although young, Cucurucho’s sound and feel is anchored in the great tradition of Cuban piano. Prior to his work with Los Van Van, Cucurucho worked with a number of Cuba’s most famous bands, including Charanga Habanera, Paulito F.G., and Isaac Delgado.

Osdalgia is an heir to the vocal traditions made famous around the world through the Buena Vista Social Club recordings. The young songstress possesses an elastic range and mesmerizing stage presence, specializing in such classic styles as son, son-montuno, rumba, salsa, and bolero. Her first album, released in 2000, won her Cubadisco’s prestigious “Best New Artist” award and since then she has performed constantly. Her second album was internationally released on the Lusafrica label.

Carlos Varela is considered Cuba’s premiere new-generation exponent of trova (a poetry-focused genre most associated with the Cuban revolution). Varela has been active as a singer-songwriter since the 1980s, taking up the reins of the nueva trova musical movement from Silvio Rodriguez and Pablo Milanes. He has released numerous albums internationally during his three-decade career.

Kelvis Ochoa grew up in Isla de la Juventud (Island of Youth), a small island about 85 miles south of Havana. The singer-songwriter mixes Afro-Caribbean rhythms (particularly the sucu-sucu of his native island) with trova lyricism and rock energy. He has released several solo albums internationally and composed the music for the film Havana Blues.

David Torrens is a Havana-born singer-songwriter, pianist, and guitarist. He is a third-generation trova artist whose albums draw on international pop as well as Cuban music, but his live interpretations remain both rootsy and highly visceral. In the 1990s, interest from the Mexican-based EMI affiliate brought Torrens to Mexico, where he released his first album. Since then Torrens’ career has straddled the two countries, though Cuba remains his primary home and creative center of gravity.

Andres Levin will play guitar and electronics at BAM’s Red Hot + Cuba shows, but the young producer brings a scroll-length resume of diverse and genre-bending productions to the experience, including work with such artists as Caetano Veloso, David Byrne, Natalie Merchant, Chaka Khan, John Legend, Miguel Bose, Aterciopelados, and Yerba Buena—the band he created with CuCu Diamantes. In the spirit of his productions for the Red Hot organization, Levin has founded his own philanthropic organization Music Has No Enemies, which produces music and film content for socially responsible companies and nonprofit organizations.

BAM’s previous Red Hot productions include Red Hot + RIOT! Live: The Music and Spirit of Fela Kuti (Next Wave 2006); Red Hot + Rio 2: The Next Generation of Samba Soul (Next Wave 2008); and Red Hot + New Orleans (Next Wave 2010).

Red Hot + Cuba recognizes World AIDS Day on December 1.
A portion of the proceeds from Red Hot + Cuba will benefit AIDS awareness and prevention in Cuba.

About The Red Hot Organization

Since 1989 the Red Hot Organization has produced 20 groundbreaking albums and related television specials incorporating the elements of leading musicians, performers, producers, filmmakers, and visual artists to raise funds and awareness for HIV/AIDS. To date, Red Hot projects have raised over 10 million dollars towards AIDS awareness and relief around the world.

For press information contact:
Cindy Byram,, 201.400-4104
Sandy Sawotka,, 718.636.4190

American Express is the BAM 30th Next Wave Festival sponsor

Red Hot + Cuba is part of Diverse Voices at BAM sponsored by Time Warner Inc.

Leadership support for Red Hot + Cuba provided by Goldman Sachs Gives at the recommendation of R. Martin Chavez

Programming in the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House is supported and endowed by The Howard Gilman Foundation
BAM 30th Next Wave Festival supporters: brigitte nyc; Chase; Con Edison; The Irene Diamond Fund; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; MetLife Foundation; The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation; The SHS Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; The Skirball Foundation; Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; The Starr Foundation; Time Warner Inc.; Steve Tisch, Laurie Tisch, and Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch; The Wall Street Journal; The Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust; The Winston Foundation, Inc.
American Airlines is the Official airline of the BAM 30th Next Wave Festival. Sovereign Bank is the BAM Marquee sponsor. Yamaha is the official piano for BAM. R/GA is the sponsor. New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge is the official hotel for BAM.

General Information
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, BAM Rose Cinemas, and BAMcafé are located in the Peter Jay Sharp building at 30 Lafayette Avenue (between St Felix Street and Ashland Place) in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. BAM Harvey Theater is located two blocks from the main building at 651 Fulton Street (between Ashland and Rockwell Places). Both locations house Greenlight Bookstore at BAM kiosks. BAM Fisher, located at 321 Ashland Place, is the newest addition to the BAM campus and houses the Judith and Alan Fishman Space and Rita K. Hillman Studio. BAM Rose Cinemas is Brooklyn’s only movie house dedicated to first-run independent and foreign film and repertory programming. BAMcafé, operated by Great Performances, is open for dining prior to BAM Howard Gilman Opera House evening performances. BAMcafé also features an eclectic mix of spoken word and live music for BAMcafé Live on Friday and Saturday nights with a special BAMcafé Live menu available starting at 6pm.

Subway: 2, 3, 4, 5, Q, B to Atlantic Avenue – Barclays Center (2, 3, 4, 5 to Nevins St for Harvey Theater)
D, N, R to Pacific Street; G to Fulton Street; C to Lafayette Avenue
Train: Long Island Railroad to Atlantic Terminal – Barclays Center
Bus: B25, B26, B41, B45, B52, B63, B67 all stop within three blocks of BAM
Car: Commercial parking lots are located adjacent to BAM

For ticket and BAMbus information, call BAM Ticket Services at 718.636.4100, or visit