The Guest Artists at the Program!

An outstanding line up of world-renowned Cuban artists.

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Michael "Michelito" Herrera is the former Musical Director of the world-acclaimed Cuban folkloric dance group Yoruba Andabo. Alongside General Director Yosvany del Pino, Miguel led Yoruba Andabo for four years, in which he managed the musical arrangements, vocal and musical instrument performances, as well as the artistic dance repertoire of an exceedingly-talented group of dancers and musicians. A self-taught dancer and musician, Miguel has been deeply immersed in Cuban folkloric dance and performance since he was six years old, performing in child dance ensembles. A native of La Habana, Cuba, he has shared the world stage with some of Cuba's and Latin America's most prominent musicians and artists, including Chucho Valdes, Juan Formell & Los Van Van, Oscar de Leon, Xiomara Laugart from Yerba Buena, Calle 13 and Juanes in stages all over the globe, including the UK, France, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Brazil and Cuba. Most recently, Miguel performed with Yoruba Andabo and Chucho Valdes at Carnegie Hall in New York City in November of 2012.

Miguel's dance and musical expertise in his workshops spans from teaching students methods and techniques in the Bata drums, Rumba, Abakua dances, Columbia, and Tambor Yuca.

 
 
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Hector Luis Rivera

Hector Luis Rivera is the director of Taller Bula, a Southern California based Puerto Rican Bomba workshop which seeks to create space for the development and preservation of this hundreds of year old cultural treasure. Sharing bomba since 2018, Taller Bula has held weekly bomba workshops, lectured at several universities (UCLA, UCSB, UCI) and performed at Skirball Center, Santa Ana's Noche de Altares, UCR Latinx Graduation, and Segerstrom Theatre. He has been recently nominated to represent the Puerto Rican diaspora in a national Puerto Rican bomba event where three of his original bomba songs will be sung. 

 
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Led by Renecito Sardanes, based in Los Angeles, California. A collective of top Cuban percussionists from Matanzas, Cuba.

 
Renecito Sardanes

Originally from Matanzas, Cuba, Renecito has been singing and dancing from a young age. From his beginnings with Los Rumberitos de Milenio to his later work with Afrocuba de Matanzas, his path brought him to Los Angeles, California at the age of 26. He is currently the director of “L aUnion Matancera,” a collective of young and talented Cuban artists now residing in the US.

Alongside his music, Renecito is also an well-respected Obá within the Afro-Cuban tradition. He travels worldwide, taking his religion as an art and tradition through songs and dances of the Yoruba and Arara traditions.

 
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Roberto Borrell learned traditional and popular Afro-Cuban dance, percussion, and song from master musicians and dancers while growing up in La Havana Vieja, Havana, Cuba. He is a respected dancer and percussionist of Afro-Cuban Yoruba, Abakua (Calabar), Rumba, Arará (Dahony), and Palo (Congo). He is also a master dancer and teacher of Cuban popular dance styles such as son montuno, danzón, and cha cha cha.

 

He led the Afro-Cuban folkloric group Kubata in Cuba for 10 years before coming to the United States in 1980, where he founded a new company under the same name. Kubata, then based in New York City, performed Roberto’s productions for 10 years in many major East Coast venues, such as the Smithsonian, Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall. He also was founder and musical director of the famous New York-based Son Grupo, part of Kubata Productions. We are so fortunate to have Maestro in Los Angeles. Read more about him here: http://www.robertoborrell.com/.

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Afimaye Galarraga is a well-respected spiritualist, medium and religious leader with over 25 years experience in Mediumship, Palo Mayombe and the Afro-Cuban Lukúmí tradition. His spiritual blessings and teachings are based upon his life experiences and teachings passed down through generations of a family with rich history. Through his influential upbringing alongside respected leaders of wisdom and the influence of Allan Kardec’s teachings, Afimaye works with clients to help them discover what they already know.

He began developing his spiritual abilities at a very young age and has worked under the tutelage of elders & gurus in the Yoruba tradition of Lukúmí and Palo Mayombe. In addition, he has worked with countless reputable mediums and spiritualists to develop his gifts.  His father Lazaro Galarraga, also a native of Havana Cuba is a world-wide Afro-Cuban practitioner, singer and percussionist that taught Afimaye how to play the drums and sing to the Spirits. 

 

Afimaye has taught and practiced throughout Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, Panama and the U.S. His services include shell divination, tarot readings, séances, meditation, mediumship, creating altars, developing a connection with the ancestors and the teachings of prayer through song, drums and dance.

 
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Lazaro Galarraga

A native of Havana, Cuba, "El Maestro" Lázaro Galarraga was an original member of the distinguished Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba. He is currently the Folkloric Musical Director of the Percussion Artists Workshop (PAWS), an innovative international organization dedicated to the preservation of percussion in Los Angeles.

 

Maestro Galarraga has achieved world-wide fame with his amazing talent. He has recorded and performed with masters such as Cachao, P=EDo Leiva, Chucho Váldes, Paquito D'Rivera, Herbie Hancock, Al McKibbon and Placido Domingo, among others. Other notable performances include the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, for President George Bush at the White House, the University of Southern California's "Evening of Caribbean Music," and the Latin Jazz Festival at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. His life is captured in films like actor Andy Garcia's 'Cachao Documentary', Oscar Valdes' 'Documental La Rumba' and the feature film 'Dance With Me' starring Chayanne and Vanessa Williams.

At present, Maestro Galarraga is the co-musical director for the Maestros del Son and PAWS Afro-Cuban Folklore Ensemble. He also provides stimulating lectures at museums, educational institutes and universities on Afro-Cuban music and culture to the Southern Californian community. PAWS devotes its administrative and creative efforts in preserving and supporting his music.

El Maestro received his Honorary Doctorate Degrees in Music Theory, History of Art and in Cuban Folklore from the Escuela Nacional de Arte for his prophetic vision and solid influence he has given Afro-Cuban music as an artist.

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Fausto Cuevas is a native of Brownsville, Texas, where he began playing drums at the age of 11. He continued throughout grade and high school, making his way to Boston's Berklee College of Music, where he discovered his love for percussion and studied with Giovanni Hidalgo and Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez.

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He is an educator as well as an international studio musician who has recorded instructional videos with Warner Brothers. He has taught classes and workshops throughout the U.S. in venues including the Berklee College of Music, SFJazz, Stanford Jazz Workshop, Drummer's Collective NY, and Jazz Camp West, to name a few.

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San Miguel Peres

In his home country of Cuba, San Miguel Perez is known as “El Tresero Moderno” (The Modern Tresero). An exceptional musician, he is considered one of the best tres and guitar players in Cuba and received a Cubadisco Award in 2011 for Best Tresero and in 2014 for Best Música Tradicional Cubana.

Born in Granma, Cuba, he is also a singer, percussionist and composer, and he is highly respected for his knowledge and command of the true identity of Cuban music. He was an integral band member for Adalberto Alvarez y Su Son, (the “gentleman of son music”), as well as for Jóvenes Clásicos del Son, Soneros de Verdad and The New Generation of the famous Buena Vista Social Club. In addition, he was part of the Grammy nominated production 100 Sones of Edesio Alejandro.

He now resides in Los Angeles, and most recently has been writing, playing and recording with Peruvian born singer-producer Cecilia Noël and with Grammy award winning artist Colin Hay (Men at Work).

Follow him @sanmiguelperez, and listen to his music here

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Yosmel Montejo

A Cuban native, Yosmel Montejo is notable mostly for his mastery, passion, and keen sense of musical style, both as a bass player and composer.

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Calixto Oviedo is a Cuban-born, Latin Grammy-nominated artist who has worked with internationally known masters such as Paquito D’Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Chucho Valdes, Danilo Perez, David Sanchez, Tata Guines, Jose Luis “Changuito” Quintana, and Miguel “Anga” Diaz. Oviedo is a musical prodigy who found his calling as a percussionist when he was just four years of age. He refined his talents through formal music education at Caturla school in Havana, as well as by playing with different bands until he and his friend, Adalberto Alvarez founded their own group, Adalberto y Su Son Orchestra, with whom he stayed until 1990.

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Josiel Perez-trumpet, Alan Acosta-tenor sax, Marcos Crego-piano, Max Beckman-bass, Caleb Michel-percussion, with special guest: Keith Kelly-sax.  Born in Pinar Del Rio, Cuba on October 9, 1986, Josiel Perez comes from an extensive musical family, beginning with his grandfather who is a refined flautist to his uncle, Andres Perez, who is considered one of Cuba’s best baritone saxophonists.

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Alex Rivas has been a professional musician for over 15 years and has a Bachelors degree in Music. He is currently playing keyboard for Latin Grammy winner and pop star Franco de Vita and has previoulsy been working with artists such as Reik, Kalimba, Jean de Marco, Country Artist Stephen Wesley and Chevi Taylor.

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John Santos

Seven-time Grammy-nominated percussionist, US Artists Fontanals Fellow, and 2013-2014 SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Director, John Santos, is one of the foremost exponents of Afro-Latin music in the world today. Born in San Francisco, California, November 1, 1955, he was raised in the Puerto Rican and Cape Verdean traditions of his family, surrounded by music. The fertile musical environment of the San Francisco Bay Area shaped his career in a unique way.