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Celina Gonzalez, “que viva Chango”, death of a modest giant in Cuban music

A milestone, one of the sad ones, death of Celina Gonzalez …

It might sound off to unaccustomed ears… but the mix of the old Spanish decima stanza style with Cuban rhythm really swings hard once you tune into it… like the song “yo soy el punto cubano” included in the article…

.. yo soy el punto cubano, en la manigua vivia, cuando el mambi se batia, con el machete en la mano…

She was genuinely from the world of the Cuban countryside, hard farming work, strong support networks of neighbours.

The form of recreation was a guateque… neighbours invited for miles around, straggle in at dusk to somebody’s humble country home… roast pork, dance, sing til dawn. She is honoured still today by Cuban musicians of all stripes… they pay tribute usually by singing her “que viva chango”. But sadly pretty much an unknown name to new generations.

She was reported to have been flabbergasted that she was to perform in a stadium with thousands of idolizing fans in her first visit to Colombia. And similarly amazed by how famous she was even amongst Latinos in New York. To her, the best party is far from stadium-filling idolatry… it’s the house party… which is still the way in Cuba.

Nice interview …

Jencarlos Canela in Toronto Friday February 6 2015

Jencarlos Canela singer songwriter , actor and all around impressive talent coming for an early Valentine’s show Friday February 6 2015 Pearson convention centre 2638 Steeles Ave east Brampton Ontario .

There are TWO options to choose from


SHOW only $45

also performing Teria Morada ( singer and dancer par excellence) and Henry Flow

For tickets call 416 418 4725 or 647 760 6196

This show is presented by La Guia Hispana ..Phone book and website where you can get info about all Latin businesses in Toronto and surrounding area.

Song written by Jencarlos for his beautiful friend Monica Spear who passed away last January 6 2014

Charanga Habanera in Toronto Saturday April 18 2015 Phoenix concert Theatre

Okokan productions presents :

Direct from Havana

David Calzado y su Charanga Habanera

  • 16 musicians on the stage also featuring Yulien Oveido .
  • Live performances: AfroLatino Dance Co, also Dailyn Martinez.
  • Dj Bernal and Dj Alberth Moreno and MC Abdiel
  • Doors 9pm – Showtime 10.30 pm (opening act TBA)
  • Tickets $40 advance $50 at the door  ONLINE and locations
  • VIP tickets for meet and greet photos with the band and special lounge $ 60

Where to find tickets!

    VIPs SOLD OUT. Tickets still available are $50.00 at the door $40.00 in advance


    • SOUNDSCAPES 572 College street  416 537 1620
    • Spanish Bookstore 872 bathurst street 416 533 4000 (MON – FRI only)
    • Sheimy Cellular pro 1740 Jane street  416 249 7200
    • Toronto Latino 1786 Eglinton Ave W 416 781 0919
    • La Cocina de Doña Luz 807 St Clait W  416 652- 7420
    • Afrolatino Dance Company 901 Yonge street 416 671 7140
    • Cafe Latino 3038 Hurontario  905 949 8447
    • Fanerys Convenience 3085 Hurontario 905 272 9257
    • Cuba’s restaurant 2444 Lakeshore road west  905 973-4709
    There will be some tickets available at the Welcome Party …at Lyrics Music Bar & Grill 50 Cumberland St in Yorkville. Friday, April 17, 10pm!

    Contact us (416) 836-2600

    WHEN & WHERE ? Saturday April 18 2015

    • The Phoenix concert Theatre
    • 410 Sherbourne Street
    • Toronto Ontario

    Please join our FACEBOOK EVENT

    Charanga Habanera in Toronto is part of their Canadian tour 2015 . They will be performing in some legendary venues to guarantee a truly wonderful night out ! Vancouver show is at the COMMODORE BALLROOM Sunday April 19 2015  info and tickets at They will be performing in Montreal Friday April 24 2015 at CLUB SODA tickets HERE

    Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba company, at Flato Feb 26-27 2015

    It’s a 2 day stand this time in Toronto for Lizt Alfonso, one of Cuba’s treasures and unstoppable social forces.

    I personally wouldn’t miss this for anything, one of the finest dance groups in one of the best theatres to watch them!

    Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba: “Amigas” – A New Dance Musical

    Thursday February 26, 2015
    Friday February 27, 2015

    8:00 PM

    Flato Markham Theatre
    171 Town Centre Boulevard, Markham

    2nd Cuba in Toronto Christmas party… at Lula Dec 26, 2014!

    It’s the Cuba in Toronto Christmas Party!  Second time around, bigger and better…  $15

    This year for Christmas 2014, we will feature Roberto Linares Brown leading the band called “Havana Norte”… who are as fine a selection of Cuban musicians as you can ask for in this world…

    We’ll also enjoy Ogguere, Zeynep Ozbilen, Jane Bunnett … And more!

    As well as: A dance lesson by Vladimir Aranda… AND DJ Bernal playing the best, the latest of Cuban salsa, Cubaton, plus your requests!

    The solid gold cuarteto “Guaracha Y Son” will entertain from 7:30 pm with the sweet swing of Cuban son, with a jazziness that works to the rule of the clave.  To be laid down by some of the best players you’ll hear anywhere, inside Cuba or out, to open the Dinner and show $44 package.

    And just in case you think that’s all… NO, there’s more:  Free Gift bags to all; Door prizes; Event photography all night by JJ Gucci; featured drink The Pink Mojito !!!!; Dance performance (to be confirmed)

    Adonis Puentes and Pancho Amat, mellow son de Cuba… NOT TO MISS – TOMORROW!

    Born in Cuba, with musicians frequent visitors to the house… then raised in BC, Adonis Puentes has never felt disconnected from his native land… or its music.

    And the feeling is mutual: Cuban television has welcomed the chance to show his Cuban style music videos … with enthusiastic response from audiences who know their music, and their musicians!

    So he’s been on the screens of his native country as a mature and respected Cuban-Canadian musician for at least 8 years now, since his popular release Commerciante… bringing coals back to Newcastle, and getting thumbs-up receptions.

    The reception continues with this offering … his current CD release.

    The album, and the Hugh’s Room show… are with musical friend Pancho Amat…

    Pancho is himself one of Cuban’s living legends of son music, and foremost players of the tres instrument, a relative of the guitar but tuned in doubles, played in a style of loud and clear melodic… and frequently danceable… improvisations… full of the rhythms Cuba is so famous for.

    You can catch Adonis Puentes, with Pancho Amat at Hugh’s room… one night only, Tuesday November 18, 7:30 pm.  Click for tickets and reservations!

    Here’s the title song from the new CD, “Veinte Años”…

    Adonis Puentes and Pancho Amat

    Free Concert:  November 18 12:15 pm,  First Canadian Place, Waterfall stage

    “Cuban-Canadian vocalist Adonis Puentes teams up with world renowned, master of the Cuban tres, Pancho Amat to present their latest project “Veinte Años.” This project is a tribute to María Teresa Vera, an icon in the creation of Cuban Music, known for her peculiar way of composing and interpreting music. Contemporary and tasteful musical arrangements, together with the musical virtuosity and perfection of the participating musicians make this tribute a beautiful projection into the future of creation and interpretations of the music of Cuba. ”

    Or….If you can’t make the lunchtime show and prefer a more intimate setting, they are playing at Hugh’s Room the same night at 8:30 pm.   Ticket/Reservation Details here.

    Azucar Negra… a truly seminal band in modern Cuban dance music… plays in Toronto… one night only at Lula Lounge!
    Friday October 24, 2014.  Led by creative spirit Leonel Limonta, who wrote many of the most famous dance tunes performed by this band and by others!

    Tickets available NOW $30 advance at:;  BOLIS  books, 872 Bathurst.

    Tickets available SOON at: Afrolatino Dance Company, Sheimy’s Cellular Pro 1742 Jane St., and Soundscapes 572 College St.

    Dance lesson with Julio Montero from Vancouver 9.30pm  Showtime for Azucar Negra ( give or take a  half hour!) 22.30pm  . There will be a second set and intermission between .

    CDS will be available at the show.

    Okokan productions will also be presenting a local artist as an opening act. She will perform one or two songs from her brand new album which she recorded in Cuba with musicians there. Her name is FOLANA .

    FRIDAY OCT 3 Luis Silva ” PANFILO” in Toronto

    Okokan and Afrolatino present Cuba’s best comedian  followed by dance party .He is known as “PANFILO” of the TV show ” Vivir el cuento”  PANFILO will give us 1.5 hours of great comedy followed by a puro Cubano dance party featuring Djs  BERNAL and YUMANICHE. Food will be available for purchase by celebrated chef PEDRO QUINTANTILLA of BLOOM restaurant. Date Friday OCT 3 2014 location Lithuaian banquet hall 1573 Bloor street w  (Dundas w subway station) doors 2030 pm show 2130pm surprise guests .. bar and food available.. Tables and chairs TICKETS Sheimy cellular pro 1740 Jane street Bolis Spanish bookstore 872 Bathurst  and online at click HERE for lin

    BOLETOS.  En  SHEIMY cellular pro 1740 Jane street  Bolis Spanish Books 872 Bathurst. Info 6478186602

    Los Van Van – Toronto Free Show – Nathan Philips Square – Saturday July 12 2014 8:30pm

    July 12, 2014 – 8:30pm at Nathan Philips Square in downtown Toronto… also known as City Hall… come one, come all…  This concert is part of the amazing celebration week-end  ” ONE YEAR TO GO  to the PANAMERICAN GAMES 2015 countdown  . Check out their website for full line up of the amazing week-end and stay connected in preparation for activities leading up to next year ~

    … but don’t come late… 😉    This will be most likely a 1 hour stand, starting right on time.

    If you were one of the 2,000 who danced to Los Van Van into the wee hours, when they were brought to town by Okokan productions in November of 2010 or December of 2006… be warned this is a different story.  Plan to get there EARLY or you will not get your full dose of The Dance Machine of Cuba! This concert is part of the bigger PanAmerican festival . There will be another concert at 9.30pm right after Los Van Van .

    This is the real deal… the biggest band in Cuba for 40-plus years…

    The original salsa, and still the most creative and eclectic dance music in the world comes from Cuba… and this is the best of the best… Los Van Van.

    This is their first tour since the recent, untimely death of founder and leader Juan Formell… and it’s the finest selection of singers and musicians imaginable… the famous songs… the music makes the people get up in dance… in hot climates or cold ones!

    JOIN THE LOS VAN VAN facebook concert event HERE . Get news about a the after party and other activities at the square . Tribute will be paid at all the concerts to the Maestro Juan Formell .

    Los Van Van, “El Tren” , are rolling into Ontario for London’s SUNFEST . Los Van Van will play July 5th and Cojunto Chapotin will also be there ( FREE NO CHARGE)  and then will play Montreal’s METROPOLIS on Friday July 11th 2014 as part of Nuits d’Afrique festival ( $45 ticket)  Ticket info HERE

    Cuba meets Turkey : Zeynep Ozbilen and Roberto Linares Brown Lulaworld Fri May 30 2014

    Zeynep Ozbilen with Roberto Linares Brown

    Co-presented with with DJ Yumaniche and dance with Vladimir

    For more than a decade, Zeynep Ozbilen performed lead vocals for the first, and best-known, Latin group in Turkey — The Latin All Stars. Working with one of the most highly-respected salsa bandleaders and composers in Canada, Roberto Linares Brown. Ozbilen brings to Lula a completely new project which she describes as “Latin with Mediterranean spices.”

    Line Up:

    Zeynep Ozbilen, vocals

    Roberto Linares Brown, piano backing vocals and musical director

    Ricardo Barboza, backing Vocals

    Frank Marcosm, bass

    Aris Montenegro, congas

    Jalidan Ruiz, drums

    Vicente, percussion

    John Pittman, trumpet

    Christopher Butcher, trombone

    Anthony Rinaldi, alto sax

    Ambrioris Junior, minor percussion

    Guaracha y Son – Thurs May 22 – Peppers at Lansdowne and Wallace

    Pepper’s Café, 189 Wallace, Toronto ON (Just west of Lansdowne between Bloor and Dupont)
  • Led by bassist Roberto Riveron with Pablosky Rosales on tres and vocals, Chendy Leon Sr. on percussion, and Jorge Maza on flute, this all-Cuban quartet performs classic son montuno, guaracha, bolero, changüíd and guajira from the 30s to 60s.No cover! Cheap drinks! Cosy atmosphere.Get ready to dance!
  • Juan Formell August 2 1942- May 1 2014 leader of Los Van Van

    Los Van Van para siempre ! El Tren de la salsa !

    We mourn deeply along with Cuba and the world  the death of the tremendously talented Juan Climaco Formell Cortinas known as Juan Formell founder and leader of our beloved Los Van Van for more than 45 years. We will be forever celebrating his life and his work. With every dance to a Los Van Van song we will honor Juan Formell and hold him in our hearts . He will now be our beacon and his light in this world will  live on in each and every note.   Cubaintoronto  will be posting more in the days to come . I wanted to share a couple of photos that the lovely Marilu Lopez Fretts gave to us from the last Los Van Van concert in Toronto at the Sound Academy November 27 2010 (Okokan productions) .  I don’t want to copy and paste all the great articles out there but there was a word that El Universal’s article used that truly resonates : This emblematic orchestra ” accompagno” generations of dancers for over 45 years …  Los Van Van performed for but truly did it to “accompany” dancers from all walks of life and from all generations . We are together on this journey . We will miss you Juan Formell . We will continue to love and dance with Los Van Van  with Samuel Formell his son as band leader .  As they say in Cuba and all over the world ” Los Van Van para siempre”   Los Van Van forever .

    PHOTOS by Marilu Lopez Fretts  Los Van Van at the Sound Academy Nov 27 2010 ( Okokan productions concert)

    Thanks to our friend Erick Perdomo for the video and editing from the last Toronto concert

    FW media presents “Los Desiguales” in Toronto Friday May 16 2014

    On the heels of a very successful party with Osmany Garcia , FW media presents LOS DESIGUALES from Cuba on Friday May 16th 2014 Luna banquet hall. This is the first time that El Principe and Damian are coming to Canada so it will surely be a sell out concert . Tickets are $55 advance regular $75 VIP    tickets available at Sheimy cellular pro 1740 Jane street  ( Jane/Lawrence ) online sales

    La Luna banquet hall is at 30 Gordon Mackay road North York Ont .  More info 416 858 2581

    Dreams come true ! Interactivo comes to Luminato opening night 2014

    Direct from Havana Interactivo will be performing on Luminato 2014 opening night . For many of us Cuban music lovers this is a dream come true ! Twelve young master musicians are being flown in from Cuba for this event and will be playing a FREE public concert  at 8 pm opening night June 6 2014 . This will take place at  the Festival Hub David Pecaud square King and John in downtown Toronto . Telmary and Elmer Ferrer who now live in Toronto will also be joining in.

    Here is the official release :


    Pan American Tropical Triple Bill with Emeline Michel and Jesse Cook

    Founded and led by Roberto Carcasses—whose varied collaborations as a pianist, vocalist and composer have extended from Gonzalito Rubalcaba and Chucho Valdes to Wynton Marsalis and George Benson—Interactivo is a stellar collective of Cuban musicians whose singular groove layers rap, funk, jazz and soul atop traditional Afro-Cuban rhythms. Featured performers, all of whom have shaped vibrant solo careers, include rapper Telmary, vocalists William Vivanco, Francis del Rio and Brenda Navarrete and Toronto-based guitarist Elmer Ferrer.

    Mulata “The Salsa Experience” Friday April 18 2014

    Mulata “The Salsa Experience”. Come and join our 100% Cuban party made for all the Casineros, Timberos and all our Cuban music lovers. Dj Bernal will be in charge to give you the best Cuban fix. Hope we will see you at Epic Lounge, 1355 St. Clair Ave. West, this next Friday 18th. Agua!!!!
    Party presented by Cuban Movement , DJ Bernal and Maria Aranibar productions
    Join Their facebook event HERE

    Salsa Klimax next party Saturday April 26 2014

    Always a wonderful event! Get updates and join their facebook event HERE

    The team will be back from Santiago de Cuba where they are spending a week right now in intensive workshops so…. watch out for some fresh moves and energy !

    *** Salsa Klimax Timba & Kizomba megaparty ***

    2 ROOMS + 2 SOUNDS + 2 GREAT DJ’s !!!

    *CUBAN: Salsa, Timba, Cubaton by DJ Yumaniche
    *AFRO+CARIBBEAN: Kizomba, Zouk, Semba, Afro-House and Kuduro by DJ L’AS

    * Free Semba lesson by AfroLatino at 9:45pm

    * $10 in advance and before 11pm, $13 at the door after 11pm

    What is traditional SEMBA ?   video chosen by admin to enjoy..
    Afrolatino dance company is one of the studios who started teaching Kizomba and Semba in Toronto

    Guaracha y Son – Thurs Apr 17 – Peppers at Lansdowne and Wallace

    Thursday April 17 2014

    The gig will be monthly.  Normally it is the 2nd Thursday of the month… but note the exception this month April !!

    Pepper’s Café, 189 Wallace, Toronto ON (Just west of Lansdowne between Bloor and Dupont)
  • Led by bassist Roberto Riveron with Pablosky Rosales on tres and vocals, Chendy Leon Sr. on percussion, and Jorge Maza on flute, this all-Cuban quartet performs classic son montuno, guaracha, bolero, changüíd and guajira from the 30s to 60s.No cover! Cheap drinks! Cosy atmosphere.Get ready to dance!
  • Osmani Garcia new date Friday April 4 2014

    Osmani Garcia’s show has been postponed due to a visa delay. The concert will take place same time, same place on April 4 2014 ..keep your same tickets . The following is a note from the organizing team at FW Media Santiago Oseguera

    Important news re Osmani Garcia .. Concert is pushed to a new date April 4 2014 same time same place .. here is the official press release from the organizers
    This communication serves to advise everyone that the Osmani Garcia concert scheduled for March 21 will be rescheduled to another date due to delays from the Canadian Embassy in Cuba. The visa of Osmani Garcia and and team will be ready next week and the new concert date for Toronto will be Friday, April 4, 2014 at the same time and location.
    Osmani is preparing a video explaining the situation and reassuring that everything is good to go for his upcoming trip to Canada.
    FW Media thanks you for your patience and we hope you understand this unexpected circumstance. We are doing what we can to ensure this change has no negative impact and that the party is ready for everyone as planned.
    All tickets purchased will be valid so do not misplace them.
    Looking forward to you joining us on this new day for the highly anticipated Osmani Garcia concert!
    Santiago Oseguera
    FW Media


    Friday April 4 2014

    Jamaican Canadian Hall
    995 Arrow Road
    Toronto, ON M9M 2Z5
    ( Hwy. 400 and Finch Ave. West)

    Tickets online $45 REG $75 VIP

    Information: (416) 858-2581

    Also with DJ Danny Castro and DJ Liga from Holguin, Cuba

    Traditional Cuban music with Guaracha and Son


    Thursday March 13 2014

    Pepper’s Café, 189 Wallace, Toronto ON (Just west of Lansdowne between Bloor and Dupont)
  • Led by bassist Roberto Riveron with Pabolsky Rosales on tres and vocals, Chendy Leon Sr. on percussion, and Jorge Maza on flute, this all-Cuban quartet performs classic son montuno, guaracha, bolero, changüíd and guajira from the 30s to 60s.No cover! Cheap drinks! Cosy atmosphere.Get ready to dance!
  • Sierra Maestra : History lands at Lula this Wednesday March 5th 2014

    This piece is by writer Joyce Corbett-Humbert ( The Live music report) We wanted to share it with you !

    Sierra Maestra is coming to Toronto! Wednesday, March 5th at Lula Lounge. Who are they? If you already know them and you live in the GTA you probably already have your tickets. If you don’t or if you have heard of them but don’t really know them, let me fill you in. Sierra Maestra is famous for playing the quintessential Cuban music known as “son”, the predecessor of salsa and probably the first Europeanized Cuban music in which the clave was played. Sierra Maestra’s aim is to maintain the heartbeat of this music on the world stage. Although son may not be the music most young people listen to in Cuba today, it is still very much alive in its birthplace of Oriente (Eastern Cuba) and the “Sierra Maestra” mountains where this style of music was born.

    Sierra Maestra was formed in 1976 in Havana, decades before The Buena Vista Social Club (1996), by Juan de Marcos Gonzalez who later formed the Afro-Cuban All-Stars.Jésus Alemany, who went on to form the group Cubanismo, was also a prominent member. A household name in Cuba, Sierra Maestra has about 14 albums to their credit. They created the soundtrack to a Cuban TV series “Las Impuras” and their song “A LosRumberos de Belen” was used by Robert Redford for the soundtrack of “The MilagroBeanfield War”. They also appear in the French movie “Salsa” released in 2000 and directed by Luis Buñuel’s daughter-in-law, Joyce Buñuel.

    Sierra Maestra’s instrumentation is typical of the classic son orchestras of the 1920s and 30s: tres, guitar, trumpet, voice, bass, bongos, guiro, congas and maracas. Their repertoireis filled with classics from artists such as Arsenio Rodriguez and Ignacio Piñero plus Sierra Maestra originals. If you like “old-school” Cuban music you will love SierraMaestra.

    As is typical for Cuban shows in Toronto, this promises to be an exciting night with some nice extras, like a performance by Gera, a Cuban dancer newly-arrived in Toronto.  Gera and Kika will be performing a casino and Gera will also perform a Columbia . Master dancer and santero Antonio Ramirez will bring an Orisha to the the room and  DJ Johannus will play before , in between and after show .

    Best to get there on time if you don’t want to miss anything!

    Doors open at 7:30, show starts at 8:30.

    Joyce Corbett-Humbert

    Getting to see a group like this in a small space like Lula Lounge is quite amazing, this is the type of audience they can attract in Havana.

    Saturday March 15 2014 SALSA KLIMAX party ! at Epic lounge 1355 St Clair Ave W

    Start off your spring with some beautiful dancing ! With 2 Dj’s , dance performances and  special treats , Salsa Klimax is always an amazing party . Saturday March 15 2014  at 1355 Saint Clair Ave West and entrance only $10 ! before 11pm ..$13 afterwards

    * Salsa Klimax Timba & Kizomba megaparty *

    *LATEST NEWS!!! Due to unforeseeable circumstances the venue was changed to EPIC LOUNGE, just a few doors down the street at 1355 St. Clair Ave. West!

    * DOORS OPEN @ 10pm

    Sounds by:
    *CUBAN: Salsa, Timba, Cubaton by DJ Yumaniche
    *AFRO+CARIBBEAN: Kizomba, Zouk, Semba, Afro-House and Kuduro by DJ L’AS

    *Free Kizomba/Semba Lesson by AfroLatino at 10:20pm

    *Performance by AfroLatino ‘s Semi-Pro Team!!! Brand new salsa choreography! 11pm

    *$10 in advance and before 11pm, $13 at the door after 11pm

    Salsa Klimax event is on facebook please JOIN