Ileana Santamaria Orchestra

Ileana Santamaria Orchestra

BandLatinWorld

From the main stages of Jazzfests to your living room, Mongo Santamaria's youngest daughter Ileana and her band of world-class musicians take you on a musical journey-she belts and croons her way through Afro-Latin musical idioms with ease and authority.

Biography

Biography
Cuban-born Ileana Santamaría grew up in a musical household with a dream to carry on the legacy of her father, Cuban percussionist and Latin Jazz pioneer Ramón "Mongo" Santamaría. Just as this dream was nurtured by her father's sterling example of what remarkable fruits the dedication and commitment to making music professionally can bear, it was also helped to flourish by the efforts of Ileana Mesa, her music-loving mother. Ms. Mesa brought her young daughter to Cuba year after year, allowing Ileana's soul to take root in the musical traditions of her birthplace. Thus Ileana "Junior" forged an enduring connection with Afro-Cuban folkloric and contemporary popular music while already in her teens. From the age of 8, Ileana had the opportunity to experience firsthand one of the golden ages of Cuban popular music, traveling to Cuba, Colombia, Mexico, and Spain in the company of friends of the family who happened to be in bands like Los Van Van, Orquesta Revé, Adalberto Y Su Son, and Issac Delgado Y Su Grupo. Observing and experiencing their performances while on tour, as fan and as apprentice, was a crucial component of her musical education.

Living in the United States, spending time in Haiti and Honduras, traveling throughout Latin America, Europe, Africa, and the Arab world have all enriched Ileana considerably from a musical standpoint. She has spent the past decade studying the music and dance of traditions besides her native Cuban one, as varied as Middle Eastern baladi, Egyptian saidi, American Jazz, Algerian rai music, Haitian konpa, Afro-Brazilian samba, axé, and maracatu, Brazilian Bossa Nova and Afro-Peruvian landó and festejo. Ileana, a brilliant multilinguist, has achieved near-native fluency in French, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, and Haitian Créole, in addition to her native English and Spanish, adding to her versatility as multicultural performer.

Ileana has spent the last six years working on the New York City scene, singing in Cuban timba and rumba bands, performing Middle Eastern dance at NYC clubs, and bringing her diverse vocal, dance, and percussion skills to collaborations with projects such as critically acclaimed Jazz composer Paul Carlon’s Octet; Afro-Brazilian drum corps Maracatu NY; percussionist Pedro Martínez’ rumba ensemble Ibború; Afro-Peruvian ensemble Afrodita; world Jazz pioneer Peter Apfelbaum and the New York Hieroglyphics; and tap innovator and Max Pollak’s Rumbatap.

Since its founding in 2004, the Ileana Santamaría Orchestra has performed for enthusiastic audiences at a variety of venues, from the main stages at Jazz festivals across the country, opening up for artists like WAR! and Joshua Redman and the Elastic Band (Park City, UT 2006; West Oak Lane, Philadelphia, PA 2006; Syracuse, NY, Jazz in the Square 2005) to headlining at prestigious New York City venues such as Makor Café and Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Ileana's project brings together the talent and experience of musicians who share her youthful energy and passion for the rhythms and melodies that are their common language. The music itself encompasses a number of different traditions with driving rhythms in common, reflecting Ileana’s penchant for diversity and the versatility of her ensemble. Co-founders include saxophonist, flutist, arranger, and composer Paul Carlon, who is also the Orchestra’s musical director; percussionist and vocalist Pedro Martínez; pianist John Stenger; and drummer Ernesto Simpson. These and other top-flight musicians collaborated on the Orchestra's first release, "What I Want", which Ileana produced and will officially release nationwide on Deep Tone Records in 2007. The CD features five of Ileana’s original compositions; one of them, the samba-tinged “Hmmm…delirio”, won Global Rhythm Magazine’s songwriting competition and was featured on the magazine’s CD sampler in the September 2006 issue. More recently, Ileana won another prestigious songwriting award, the 14th Annual Billboard World Song Contest, coming in first in the Latin category with "Cancion para Papa", a heartfelt tribute to her legendary father.

Ileana regards the Orchestra as a vehicle to connect with hundreds of friends-to-be, members of audiences nation- and worldwide. Her fiery stage presence and engaging manner of interacting with the public, drawing them into a dynamic show, make clear that her mission is to spread the joy and the diverse wealth of world music in general and the musics of the African Diaspora in particular. On a personal level, it is, for her, also an opportunity to creatively weave together the many strands of her own development, as lyricist, as singer, as dancer, as language buff and to make her expressive mark.

Lyrics

Cancion para Papa

Written By: Ileana I. Santamaria

Cancion para Papa

Como cantarle a la vida de aquel que ayer vivio sin duda ni temor?
Lucho por todo lo que quiso sin sentir envidia ni guardar rencor.
Un gran ejemplo el lo fue, sigue viviendo aunque no este.
Por siempre lo recordare, pues fue mi padre y lo honrare
Al recordar que Mongo le dedico la vida a ese tambor.
Fueron sus raices las que en todo el mundo enaltecio.
De Jesus Maria su labor a todos los pueblos lo llevo.
Llego a ser maestro por amor a Cuba, a la tumba y al bongo.

Hoy, Senor Santamaria, le doy las gracias por poner en mi su fe.
No solo por darme la vida, sino tambien por recordarme que vale la pena vivirla.
Ya no lo voy a defraudar; todo lo que haga lo hare bien.
Aunque lo tenga que anorar, en el corazon lo llevare,
Y quiero que se sepa, que si como artista fue ejemplar,
Mas lo fue de padre, hijo, amigo, hermano a la hora de dar
Daba hasta la vida y mucho mas; tanta fue su generosidad.
Sencillez, sinceridad y bondad con publico y familia por igual.

Coro (refrain):
Mongo, tu no te has ido, tu sigues aqui.

Translation:
How does one sing of the life of he who once lived without fear nor doubt?
He fought for everything he wanted without feeling envy nor harboring resentment.
He was a great example who lives on even in his absence.
I’ll remember him forever, as he was my father and I’ll honor him
Remembering Mongo, who devoted his life to that drum.
He honored his roots and held them high for all the world to see.
His hard work took him from [his Havana neighborhood of] Jesus Maria to all the peoples of the world.
He became a master out of love for Cuba, for the tumba [conga drum] and for the bongo.

Today, Mr. Santamaria, I thank you for having faith in me,
Not only for giving me life, but for reminding me that it is worth living.
I won’t disappoint you again, for everything I do I will do well.
Even if I must miss you, I’ll take you with me in my heart.
And let it be known that if indeed he was exemplary as artist,
So too was he as father, son, friend, and brother when it came time to give
He’d give his life and then some, such was his generosity.
Simplicity, sincerity and kindness, he showed to audience and family alike.

Refrain:
Mongo, you haven’t left us, you’re still here.

Hmmm...delirio

Written By: Ileana I. Santamaria

Hmmm…delirio

Refrain:
Ooooh, oooh ooh ooh, ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh,
Ooooh ooh ooh ooooh oooh
Oooooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh,
Ooooh ooh ooh ooooh oooh
Oooooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh

Hmmm, there’s something about’cha that just makes me go
Hmmm, don’t know what it is you got that makes me go
Hmnm, you make me roll, you make me rock, you make me go
Hmmm, mmm, mmm, mmm

Hmmm, there’s something about’cha that just makes me go
Hmmm, got a feelin’ light a spark that makes me go
Hmmm, you make me roll you make me rock you make me go
Hmmm, mmm, mmm, mmm

Refrain

Aaaah, voce tem algo que me faz delirar
Imaginando tantas coisas, vou me apaixonar
E tanta a vontade que eu nao posso a aguentar, aah aah, aaah aah aah,
Aaaah, voce tem algo que me faz delirar
Imaginando tantas coisas vou me apaixonar
E tanta a vontade que eu nao posso a aguentar, aah aah, aaah aah aah,

Y eres tu,
El que me mata
Hmmmm
Que me arrebata
Hmmmm
El que me pone a gozar
Hmmmm
Que me hace perder los estribos y el control es mi delirio
Hmmmm
Que me sofoca
Hmmmm
Me deixa louca
Hmmmm
Nao posso resistir
Hmmmm
Por isso meu amor, venha pra mim

Scatting

Translation of verse 2 and bridge

Aaaah, you’ve just got somethin’ that makes me delirious
Imagining so many things, I’m getting hot and bothered
And the want is just so much that I can’t resist it, aaah, aaah, aaah aaah aaah
Aaaah, you’ve just got somethin’ that makes me delirious
Imagining so many things, I’m getting hot and bothered
And the want is just so much that I can’t resist it, aaah, aaah, aaah aaah aaah

And it’s you
The one who kills me
Hmmmm
Who gets me frenzied
Hmmmm
The one who gets me goin’
Hmmmm
Who makes me lose my judgment and all control, my crazy passion
Hmmmm
Who gets me steamy
Hmmmm
Who drives me crazy
Hmmmm
I just cannot resist
Hmmmm
So my love, come to me

Scatting

Refrain/ad libbing to end

I Want What I Want

Written By: Ileana I. Santamaria

I Want What I Want

Refrain:
I want, what I want, I want (and I want it now) (4x)

Not tryin’ to hear excuses, save them all for someone else
No time for indecision, got one life to live and you bet I’m doin’ it well

Refrain

Me dicen malcriada, pero la unica verdad
Es que se bien lo que quiero
Y yo lo voy a luchar y me lo vas a tener que dar
[translation: they call me spoiled, but the only truth is that I know well what I want
and I’m gonna fight for it and you’re gonna have to give it to me]

Refrain

Refrain 2:
If you want it, gotta go for it (8x)

[Free section—represents exchange with audiences and varies live]

Refrain to end

Discography

What I Want (2007)

Set List

Set duration: 30 to 120 (over 2 sets) minutes, as requested

Set includes selections from the following:

Mayeya
Virtue
Nadie como tu (original)
Choose my own adventure (original)
Desde que o samba e samba
Hmmm...delirio (original)
Mas que nada/Samba Rumba
Aguacero e'mayo
Song for Paulie (original)
Ladji (original)
Cancion para Papa (original)
I Want What I Want (original)