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Band Jazz Latin


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"Musicians give Sturgeon students real taste of Spanish language"

NAMAO - For a few moments, a hot rhythm took Justin Classen right back to Cuba.

"I close my eyes and it's like being there," the Grade 12 student at Sturgeon Composite High School said Friday. "¡Bomba! is as close to actually being there as you can possibly get."

Classen, 17, visited Cuba last spring on a school-sponsored trip.

RITMO LATINO: Luis Emilio from the Latin band Bomba! shows Sturgeon Composite High School students how to dance Latin-style on Friday.
He revisited -- in his mind at least -- when Spanish teacher Shelley Speer invited ¡Bomba! to spend Friday at Sturgeon Composite.

Five of six members of the critically acclaimed Latin jazz band hosted workshops with students who are studying Spanish and music.

The visit closed with a concert in the gym. Students sang along in Spanish to Guantanamera. Principal Brian Brigden joined dozens of other dancers in a rhumba line led by singer-guitarist Luis Emilio Rios.

"We don't want the Spanish language just to be about grammar and verb tenses," Speer said of why she organized the event. "We want to give context to what they're learning.

"We want the Spanish students to learn about the people who speak this language, and we want them to understand where the music comes from.

"And for the band students, it's important for them to deal with these professional musicians who know these different rhythms and can explain how the music is different from each country."

In an afternoon workshop, ¡Bomba! leader Mario Allende taught music students the distinctive clave rhythm which is the foundation of Latin music.

After about 30 minutes of instruction, students picked up their trombones, trumpets, flutes and other instruments and took part in a loud, long jam.

"This is like a team effort," Allende, a percussionist, said in encouragement.

"All of this stuff comes together and creates a rhythm, a style that you can't resist. Together we're creating something very elegant, very complex ... very beautiful."

Travis Brenneis, 15, got a bongo lesson from drummer Raul Gomez Tabera, while his friend Brett Sheehan, 15, played standup bass alongside bassist Rubim de Toledo.

"They knew what they were doing and they gave us lots of input and advice," Sheehan said after the jam.

Music teacher Darwin Krips said playing with the pros helped his students gain a deeper understanding of the music.

"Those kids thought they were only going to listen," Krips said.

"They didn't realize they were going to play. But when they're open, and they try like that, that's what's really cool. I think it's amazing that they can take that leap of faith and trust themselves, musically, to do that."¡Bomba! was formed in Edmonton about eight years ago. Three of the six musicians are from Cuba. Allende, who was born in Chile, said he and his bandmates learned as much as the students.

"If I really want to understand something, I should sit down and try and teach it to you," he said.

"We're teaching a bit, but we always learn so much more. They give back to us." - David Howell, The Edmonton Journal

"Concert Review Ottawa Jazz Festival"

Dave Brubeck is the kind of music legend who can pack Confederation Park on a chilly Saturday night and spark an impromptu and lengthy standing ovation the moment he strolls out onto the Ottawa Jazz Festival's stage.

Edmonton-based Latin jazz outfit !Bomba!, the talented main stage opening sextet performed brilliantly despite a piercing setting sun. The group formed when !Bomba!'s founders, percussionist Mario Allende, bassist Rubim de Toledo and pianist Christ Andrew invited along three major Cuban musicians, Emilio Rios (vocals and guitar), Aldo Aquirrer (violin) and Raul Gomez Tabera on drums and timbales.

Last night they displayed a musical style that veered between bossa nova, cha cha and even the tango, combining whimsical arrangements with a peppy sound.

Spirited original

The group is largely instrumental, though they brought guest singer Luisito Orbegoso along to fill in on vocals for part of the hour-and-15 minute show.

As conga player Allende pointed out, !Bomba! was due to perform at last year's festival, but was grounded by lightning in Toronto. With a tornado in the Winnipeg area yesterday, two of their members just skated into town in time for their inaugural performance last night. And a good thing too.

With mostly original songs by Andrew and Rios, the group was an early-evening delight through to their spirited, timely closer Si, Canada. - Ann Marie Queen


Cuatro Caminos - 2008
Entre sol y Luz - 2006
A mi me gusta - 2003
Lo que Bomba te da - 2001



¡Bomba!'s founders, (percussionist Mario Allende, bassist Rubim de Toledo and pianist Chris Andrew), have invited Cuban music giants Emilio Rios (vocals and guitar), Aldo Aguiller (violin) and Raul Gomez Tabera (drums, timbales) to join forces with them. Other guest artists also include Peruvian born percussionist/vocalist Luisito Orbegoso and Cuban percussionist/vocalist Israel 'Toto' Berriel.

¡Bomba! has toured across Canada at Jazz festivals and Folk music festivals to great public and critical acclaim. They have been invited to perform at South Korea's top international drumming festivals in both 2005 and 2006, headlined at the Seattle Brazilfest and have performed at the Havana International Jazz festival in Havana, Cuba.

With their latest release, 'Cuatro Caminos' (their 4th release to date), ¡Bomba! has combined the classic sound of Cuba's Charanga era with Afro-Cuban song and drumming, modern Latin-Jazz and even Swing and North American Jazz flavours.

With an inventive mix of instrumental, percussive and vocal song and music, Bomba’s latest production showcases guest artists Inti-Illimani, Los Munequitos de Matanzas and Alexander Abreu and ontroduces audiences to a rich array of Afro-Cuban drumming and song; rich Brazilian rhythm, Andean instruments and Jazz improvisation. The material maintains the joy and spirit for which Bomba is renowned and will be a pleasure for listeners, dancers and connoisseurs of Cuban, Latin, Jazz and World Music.