Ogguere – El Mocambo, Dec 3

“Ogguere” from Havana will be perforingm at the legendary El Macambo music venue Dec 3 2010.  They are a very exciting band and are considered by many to be one of Cuba’s most important new music groups!   They have developed solid Toronto fans after their appearances at Havana Cultura, Gladstone Hotel and other venues.

Ogguere have performed and/or recorded with everyone from The Roots, Common and Green Day to Los Van Van and other Cuban greats!  They have even recorded in the same studio as the world famous “Buena Vista Social Club”.

Join Ogguere and their 7-piece band for an amazing night of live Cuban hip-hop/soul, dancing, and experience the “new sound of Havana”!

Ogguere will be joined by the musical force of Jason Palma (from the famous Footprints parties), Afroqbano (from Chi-Town) and Gary d Gish.

This is also a charity event, so all proceeds from the bar will go directly to helping displaced children in Haiti via “Serving Charity”. For more info on Serving Charity please check out: http://www.servingcharity.com/

Youtube links

The El Mocambo, in association with the Serving Charity Foundation, has graciously offered to donate all revenue generated at the bar the night of the Ogguere concert, to an orphanage in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, for orphaned or abandoned Haitian refugee children.  It will be an amazing night to hear the new sounds of Havana while supporting a great cause!

Sunday night rueda at Babaluu returns!

Sarita Leyva’s class in Cuban Rueda de Casino… the real thing… is returning to Babaluu night club.  8 PM sharp now… so no excuses about having to work tomorrow!

Every Sunday enjoy the best Casino Rueda instruction in town… for only 5 bucks.

Be part of the circle, get in and out, and swap partners, in all the Rueda glory! Dame, Dile que No, Prima, Prima con hermana, Exhibela, Vacilala, 70, Sombrero doble & much more…..

Featuring the re-knowned Sarita Leyva, and our adored house DJ Carlitos, do not miss this opportunity to learn or refine your Casino Rueda skills!
Class price: 5.00
Babaluu Supper Cluba:  136 Yorkville Avenue, Lower Level
General Information: (416) 515-0587

Big Afro-Cuban workshop at Lula, Sat Nov 27 1 pm

Before the big show at SoundAcademy… Lula Lounge is putting on an afternoon workshop that gets deep into Matanzas style… along with Havana, the docks of Matanzas are the birthplace of the rumba.

Israel “Toto” Berriel and Mario Allende from the group, Bomba lead an afternoon workshop exploring Afro-Cuban drumming and singing as it is maintained in Matanzas, Cuba. And now, Duane Wrenn (from Michigan) has been added to teach one hour of rumba dancing, accompanied by Toto and Mario on percussion.

This is a rare chance for Toronto to experience the beauty and strength of Matanzas style, Afro-Cuban folkoric music. Come and le…arn from the source, and explore how these rhythms and songs can add to your musical vocabulary.

Duane’s dance class will perfectly compliment the drumming and singing class and will allow workshop attendees to experience the three most important elements of rumba in their proper context.

All ages and levels are welcome. Drummers, bring your conga or cajón.

$25 for Drumming, singing AND Dancing (1:00 pm to 3:15pm)
$20 for Drumming and singing only (1:00pm to 2:15pm)
$15 for Dancing only (2:15pm to 3:15)

About Israel “Toto” Berriel:

Toto was born in Matanzas and began his career at age 16. He joined Afrocuba in 1988, and in 1991, began singing with Los Muñequitos de Matanzas with whom he toured internationally. Toto and Los Muñequitos were part of the Grammy winning recording “La Rumba Soy Yo” in 2006. Residing in
Canada since 2001, Toto continues to perform with Bomba and teach traditional, popular, and folkloric music in Canada and abroad.

About Mario Allende:

Born in Chile and raised in Canada, Mario is the driving force in Bomba! He mixes the drum kit, timbales, congas and myriad percussion instruments as effortlessly as he incorporates the traditional and contemporary styles that give the band their unique sound. A studied yet emotional player, Mario is restlessly creative and performs with the spirit this music demands. For the past 15 years, Mario has been traveling to Matanzas, Cuba deepening his knowledge of rhythm in one of the island’s centers of Afro-Cuban culture.

About Duane Wrenn:

Duane Wrenn, the man behind Energetic Soul Studios, is an
exuberant and exciting personality. At the turn of the millenium, one fateful night at the Rialto Theater in Tucson, duane found his true passion: Salsa. Immediately falling in love with the dance, he spent all of his spare time studying and training this sultry, yet graceful art.

Pedro Calvo Special guest at Toronto Sat NOV 27 2010 with Los Van Van

A special gift to the Toronto audience only ! Pedro Calvo will be making a special guest appearance with Los Van Van in Toronto Saturday November 27 2010.. This is something extremely special that Okokan decided to do !

Que no me toquen la puerta… el negro está cocinando

Tribute to Pedro Calvo by virtually all the most popular singers of Cuba:

Cuban music is unique in the way it is inseparable from dancing. Many of the best Cuban dance songs are inseparable from one man, a standout singer … Pedro Calvo.

He is the man with the signature white hat and moustache known everywhere in Latin America and beyond… whose image was almost the trademark of Los Van Van for decades. The man who was the biggest Cuban heart-throb since the days of Beny More, whose name could hardly be said by a Cuban woman without a catch in the throat.

On stage this Saturday… in Toronto… with Los Van Van.

See his article in Wikipedia

TOP of the top international stars of Cuban dance music since 1969, Los Van Van come for their 6th visit to Toronto. They tour the world, and fans of all backgrounds, all ages, come to listen, dance, and sing all their hits new and old – 19+ event.

VAN VAN – Sat Nov 27, 2010, Sound Academy, 11 Polson St, Toronto

Tickets  on sale NOW  at ticketmaster.ca (incl VIP)   media partner torontohispano.com Superlatin Music 1088 St Clair w and Soundscapes 572 College and more locations ..

Countdown: Los Van Van, Nov 27 – get a ticket!

Dear Friends,FROM CUBA,   JUAN FORMELL y LOS VAN VAN  (with special guests) return to Toronto !

Time: Doors open at 8.30pm10 pm show begins with opening performances: Dance performances by Melissa Noventa ; Orlando Alfonso ,
Duane Wrenn and more accompanied by six drummers led by Israel       “Toto” Berriel

intermission Music by DJ Carlitos

The SOUND ACADEMY  11 Polson street Toronto Ontario Canada 19 + event
Price: $40 in advance
$50 at the door
$70 VIP  ( includes line by pass access to Liberty lounge- appetizers by www.babaluu.com – meet and greet with Band after show in the Vip room)
Tickets: Advance tickets are available in
Toronto: Soundscapes 572 College St 537-1620,
Bolis Books 872 Bathurst St 416 533-4000
Super Latin Music 1088 St Clair Ave W 416-654-2217
AfroLatino Dance Co. 585 Yonge St, 416-671-7140
Scarborough: Rincon Latino 1352 Kennedy Rd 416-615-2675
Mississauga: 4URConvenience 3070 Hurontario #905-272-9257
North York Sheimy’s cellular pro 1740 Jane st 416249.7200
Brampton La Favorita 18 Queen st w 905 460 1346Whitby Mexico Lindo  915 taunton rd E  905 728-5037


Caribana mi tienda hispana 905- 522-5671

Mario Morataya debt solutions Yaimi Martinez 905 401-7823

London Casa Cubana  175 Wortley rd 519

Online: www.torontohispano.com www.ticketmaster.ca


416 836 2600 (English) – 647 818 6602 (Spanish) www.cubaintoronto.com
Juan Formell Y Los Van Van return to Toronto Saturday November 27 2010!

Cuba’s internationally renowned salsa orchestra, JUAN FORMEL Y LOS VAN VAN, mark their 41st anniversary with a huge concert on Saturday November 27th 2010 at the SOUND ACADEMY  11 Polson St in Toronto.

Known to Cuban people as “El Tren De La Salsa” – and to the rest of the world as The Rolling Stones of Cuba – Los Van Van are the heart and soul of Cuban dance music. Making their first appearance in Toronto in four years, the Los Van Van concert will be a giant dance party and celebration for Cuban people and Cuban music fans from all across the continent.

Marking this special occasion, one of the all-time favorite singers of Los Van Van PEDRITO CALVO will be re-joining Los Van Van on stage for a rare performance of many of Los Van Van’s greatest hits.

Always at the forefront of musical innovation, the Los Van Van sound has gradually evolved over the years, with bandleader Juan Formell adding touches of R&B, Brazilian music, Latin Jazz and flamenco to the original sound of the 19 piece orchestra that he established in 1969.

As well, Los Van Van were the first of the Cuban salsa groups to add a female lead singer – Yenisel “Yeny” Valdez – to the line-up, who’s performance of the hit song “Despues de Todo” is a highlight of any Los Van Van concert.

In 1999 Los van Van won a Grammy award for their album “Llego . . . Van Van” and since then, they spend about half of every year touring Europe and the Americas.

Special note :Opening Afro-Cuban dance performance feature Melissa Noventa, Orlando Alfonso, Duane Wrenn and more including six Afro Cuban drummers led by Israel “Toto” Berriel.
Workshops will be conducted at Lula lounge Saturday afternoon 1-3.30pm in drumming with Toto and dance with Duane. Opening Friday night party will be at Epic lounge with Duane teaching the class.

The Toronto concert for Los Van Van is presented by OKOKAN productions, Toronto’s premier presenter of Cuban music.
www.cubaintoronto.com for upcoming great events –
Phone: 416 836 2600     E-mail: cubaintoronto@yahoo.com Web: www.cubaintoronto.com

Youtube link

Youtube link

Youtube link

Youtube link

Youtube link

English ad

Spanish ad:

Cafe Cubano, Lula Lounge Dec 4

Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St W presents:

… the best salsa dance party in town. With their potent blend of dancefloor-friendly salsa and high-energy showmanship, Cafe Cubano evokes the spirit of the legendary dance clubs of Havana.

Dancing after 9pm ($15 includes the lesson) … or come early and enjoy our $49 dinner and show package. Our dinner package guarantees seating for the night and includes appetizer, main course and dessert, the 9pm beginner salsa lesson and three sets by the live salsa band.

Dance Your Heart Out Fundraiser, Nov 20

Note from Albena de Assis, of Afrolatino Dance Company.

Saturday, November 20 · 4:00pm – 8:00pm, at 585 Yonge Street, there will be the Dance Your Heart Out fundraiser (facebook link).

Did you know that every year approximately 1.7 million people die worldwide from cardiovascular disease? What is even more alarming is that most forms of heart disease and stroke can be prevented.

For the first time, Afrolatino Dance Company and the Heart and Stroke Foundation are joining forces for an upcoming fundraising event, the Dance Your Heart Out dance-a-thon. This is your opportunity to help raise money and awareness for this worthy cause, while doing what you love, dancing! Studies have shown that dancing increases life expectancy and promotes cardiovascular health.

Dance Your Heart Out will be taking place on November 20, 2010 as an interesting twist to our normal Saturday evening social. To kick off the night, we will be having a mini workshop taught by the Afrolatino Dance Company teachers, where you will get to sample rumba, afro-cuban, reggaeton and dancehall!

Also, Melissa Noventa and Raul Garcia will be performing at 5pm. Don’t miss this great performance!

The dance-a-thon will begin following the “mini workshop”. We ask that each registered participant in the fundraiser please raise a minimum of $50, all proceeds will go directly to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. The dance-a-thon challenge involves 45 minutes of non-stop dancing, so go ahead and show off your salsa, samba, reggaeton and rumba moves for a great cause! Do you have what it takes?

In addition to the prizes that you may be eligible from Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Fit For Heart program, the top three participants with the highest pledges will be rewarded with great prizes courtesy of AfroLatino Dance Company! There will be a $10 entrance fee for those who wish to participate in the dance-a-thon but who did not register and raise pledges, and most of these proceeds will go towards the fundraiser. There will also be a regular salsa practice after the dance-a-thon.


* Start: 4pm
* Mini Workshop: 4:30-5pm
* Performances: 5-5:15pm
* Dance-A-Thon & Prizes: 5:30-6:30pm
* Salsa Dancing: 6:30-8pm

To start a team, join a team, join as an individual, track your progress or simply sponsor a friend click here:

CeltFest Cuba, Apr 15-24, 2011 in Havana

I always thought the two musical islands should have more to say to each other… although it’s tumbao vs reel, rum vs whiskey, session vs. descarga, craic vs morumba ;-).

CeltFest Cuba , the caribbean celebration of music and dance that has migrated from the celtic nations of Europe to the New World takes place in Havana April 15-24 2011. Musicians of the celtic music diaspora are hosted by Galician and Asturian traditional musicians. Galicia and Asturias, the nations now part of Spain, are considered Celtic nations and the music of the gaita (Spanish bagpipe) has been part of the history of Cuba since the island’s colonization.

The Youtube link is at one of the bars on Calle Obispo.  Flickr photos…

Children’s Christmas drive for Colombia, Dec 2

Non-cuban event from Snjezana, but a worthy one:

Step by Step Art Fundraiser for children’s Christmas drive for Colombia

Thursday Dec. 02, 2010 at 6-10pm – With Live music and a raffle!

Community Gallery
Artscape Wychwood Barns
601 Christie St.

Help to offer an unforgettable Christmas to a child in Bonafont Colombia, while enjoying art from some up and coming Colombian artists!!!!

Featured Artists:

  • Carlos Enrique Delgado Chávez
  • Alejandro Neira
  • Rodrigo Pérez
  • and more including:
  • Art auction
  • Traditional Colombian empanadas and drink
    Arts and Crafts perfect in time for Christmas

Ways you can support:
• Take home beautiful art
• Bring a gift
• Monetary donation

contact Snjezana or Carlos for more info

Snjezana Pruginic
Shiatsu Therapist and Community Wellness Facilitator

“You are therefore I am”

Duane Wrenn – Epic Lounge 26th, LVV show 27th of Nov

duane Wrenn from Michigan will not only be in attendance at Havana Nights Friday Nov. 26th, he will be our special guest instructor teaching a casino rueda lesson from 9-10PM!

Those of you who know duane know that he one of the most sought after cuban salsa and dance teachers in North America. His classes at casino congresses are always filled to the max with people traveling specifically to experience his unique and energetic style of teaching. Torontonians may also recognize duane from his performances on stage with Los Van Van and Pupy y Los Que Son Son. Check out some of his videos:

youtube link

This lesson is FREE with regular admission to the club ($5) and will start sharp at 9PM. E-mail us at HavanaNights.TO@gmail.com if you have any questions.

LOLA LOLA fundraiser : Open bar at Mambo-RESCHEDULED for DEC 2 !!!

There will be a lucky winner drawn at the Los Van Van concert to attend this night !!!

From Yanet at Osculum Productions:

This Canadian weather has me convinced that it’s time I brought a little ‘Cuban
Heat’ to Toronto. Come and support Osculum Productions and my new project,
‘Lola! Lola!’ while you have the the night of your life…Cuban style.

With an Open Bar, Delicious Tapas, Sexy Cuban Dancers and a Cuban Band  to  set
the mood, this will be the party that dominates the water cooler conversations
for weeks.

Your $100 ticket ensures that every little detail is taken care of so you can
leave your wallet at home and let loose at the hottest Cuban party this side of
the Caribbean.

See you at the party!


Glenda’s Q-ban Mixology feat. Benny Escalante Nov 21 – Trane

Surprise of this night, Benny Escalante, son singer of the Buena Vista age in Cuba… and Glenda’s grandfather.

Sun. November 21:
08:00pm: Glenda del E’s Q-ban MIXOLOGY
“Pianist/Singer-Songwriter Glenda del Monte Escalante (Glenda del E) has emerged  into one of “Toronto’s finest pianists” – Billy Bryans.  Glenda del E’s Q-ban Mixology is a Cuban ensemble the blends Afro-Cuban, jazz and classical sounds with funky beats  and world influences. They create a blend of sounds that take audiences through a  meditative and entertaining journey.  Come to experience Glenda del E’s original
compositions and lyrics, melding with all her music influences.
***Surprises every night!!!  Special guests, Raffles, a Cuban Drink…

:: Glenda del E – piano/vocals
:: Mireya Escalante – vocals
:: Juan Pablo Dominguez – bass
:: Elmer Ferrer – guitar
:: Mario (Mayito) del Monte Jr. – drums/percussion/trumpet
:: Ahmed Mitchell – drums/percussion

www.myspace.com/glendadelmonteescalante |  www.myspace.com/mireyaescalante
www.myspace.com/mayitodelmonte |  www.elmerferrer.com

Cover: $10

Van Van ads for Nov 27 … & Passenger list for The Train…

English ad

Spanish ad:

Where to stand to get the best view of Samuel … or Yeni… or … whoever:

Click for the stage plan.




3-YENISEL VALDES FUENTES                                     CANTANTE

4-ROBERTO HERNANDEZ ACEA                                  CANTANTE


6-ABDEL RASALPS SOTOLONGO                                 CANTANTE

7-SAMUEL FORMELL ALFONSO                                    BATERIA


9-ALVARO COLLADO MARTINEZ                                   TROMBON

10-HUGO ANTONIO MOREJÓN GOMEZ                         TROMBON

11-JUAN ERNESTO NODARSE NOA                              INGENIERO DE SONIDO

12-JAVIER LEON PENA                                                 INGENIERO DE SONIDO

13-BORIS ERNESTO LUNA MENDEZ                            TECLADO

14-PAVEL MOLINA RUIZ                                               BAJO

15-JORGE LELIEBRE SORZANO                                   FLAUTA-VOZ

16-PEDRO CESAR FAJARDO ALZAGA                          VIOLIN

17-EDMUNDO CARLOS PINA MACHIN                           TROMBON


19-IRVING ROBERTO FRONTELA RICO                         VIOLIN


21- JULIO ELADIO NOROÑA CRUZ                                GUIRO

22-PAMELA FORMELL DELGADO                                 DIRECTORA ARTISTICA

Benny Escalante & familia, Dec 3 at Lula

    Join us for this rare appearance by seasoned Cuban vocalist Benny Escalante. A must-hear for fans of Buena Vista Social Club. Escalante’s style is subtle magic in the style of greats such as Ibrahim Ferrier and Compay Segundo. The night features three generations of the talented Escalante family as Benny will be sharing the stage with daughter Mireya and granddaughter Glenda.With DJ Billy Bryans.

David Buchbinder’s Odessa Havana, Lula Nov 25

Drawing on Cuban musical themes as well as Jewish and Jazz traditions, Odessa/Havana


blows back into their Toronto home at Lula Lounge for an evening of unforgettable music.

The unique project has been called “an utterly brilliant and deeply moving collaboration that gives an entirely new meaning to the termworld fusion” (allmusic.com), and “a thoughtful, high-powered collision of two musical cultures [that] sounds natural, organic[and] brilliant. (All About Jazz.com).

Percussion workshop, at Lula Sep 27 1pm – Toto and Mario

Israel “Toto” Berriel and Mario Allende from the group, Bomba lead an afternoon workshop exploring Afro-Cuban drumming and singing as it is maintained in Matanzas, Cuba.  Toto is appearing also before Los Van Van the evening of the same day.

This is a rare chance for Toronto to experience the beauty and strength of Matanzas style, Afro-Cuban folkoric music. Come and learn from the source, and explore how these rhythms and songs can add to your musical vocabulary. All ages and levels are welcome.

Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñeiro, London Nov 12

For more than 80 years, Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñeiro de Cuba has reigned supreme as the world’s foremost champion and protector of Cuban son, the musical heartbeat of Cuba. The 7-piece band was founded in 1927 by Ignacio Piñeiro Martínez (1888-1969), the wildly prolific Cuban bassist and composer known affectionately as “El Poeta del Son.” Since then, the group has seen an array of Cuban musical superstars of the son era pass through its ranks, including Abelardo Barroso, Miguelito Valdés, Bienvenido Granda and Carlos Embale.

Alfredo Caxaj is the organizer and soul behind the annual Sunfest in the summers of London Ontario, personally I have missed maybe 2 of these in the last 10 years… a truly great festival showcasing the best of music from this planet.

He also promotes a year long concert series, and Nov 12 is the concert of Septeto Nacional.

If you’re loose in Montreal next Tues Nov9, they’re in town.

El Gallo Chantecler, Cuban art at Queen Gallery

El Gallo Chantecler, The Gestural Charms of Kamyl Bullaudy
Rodríguez at Queen Gallery
November 3, 2010
Opening reception:
Saturday November 13, 2010, 3:30-6:30 pm
November 11- November 30, 2010
Tuesday – Wednesday – Friday 11:30 am–6:30 pm
Thursday 1:30-8:30 pm
Saturday 3:30-6:30 pm
Sunday & Monday by appointment only Please call 416 361 6045

Queen Gallery proudly presents Kamyl Bullaudy Rodriguez’s rooster paintings from November 11-30, 2010. Everyone is invited to attend the opening reception on Saturday, November 13, 2010 from 3:30 to 6:30pm. Kamyl’s expressive roosters are fun for everyone.

Queen Gallery is located in downtown Toronto at 382 Queen Street East (Queen and Parliament) and has just recently celebrated its first-year anniversary. The gallery presents an array of local and international artists, from emerging to established, have new exhibitions every two to three weeks and are most definitely worth a visit.Please visit http://www.QueenGallery.ca for more information.Queen Gallery382 Queen Street
East,Toronto, OntarioM5A 1T1(416) 361-6045info@queengallery.ca

A master of contemporary Cuban art, Bullaudy’s range of production is impressive, including charcoal murals, collages, paintings that incorporate coloured pulp made in a blender from discarded paper and egg cartons, and the lively run of roosters soon to be exhibited at Queen Gallery.  One need not even witness the artist at work to sense the marvellous energy with which these pieces are executed.

Elito! what a show…. Roger’s pix

For those who actually like the music … and a band that does it with fuerza máxima … there has never been a better night than Oct 1.  At least, until the Train pulls in Nov 27!

Roger Humbert has hardly missed an exciting concert of Cuban music in town for years, and Elito night was no exception.  With his permission, here’s a selection of his pictures.

CLICK once to leave a comment on a picture.  Then click again to see a larger image!

Take a look … and you will see exactly why you cannot miss the Los Van Van show Nov 27!  Sure to match the energy here…  and will no doubt draw even  more excited fans.