Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sandunga Farewell

Saturday night we attended the final performance of Sandunga, a wonderful local Cuban band that we've enjoyed many times in the past. Several band members are moving away and this was the last time they could get together. Unfortunately, we were sitting back a ways because tables had been moved to make room for the dancing and the stage lights were low, so my photos came out too dark.
I did get a flash pic of my dear husband David and our friend Vicki, sitting across from me at the table, however.

The music was absolutely great. All of the performers are amazing musicians: Will Hope on Cuban lute (laud) and guitar and vocals, Julian Norato on guitar and vocals, Tina Hope on percussion sticks and vocals, Eduardo Herrera on bass and vocals, Andy Miller on bongos and percussion, and Adam Walton on congas (later on, Cody Jensen sat in for a while on bongos).

You can check out the archives of Susan's Blog for earlier posts about this group with good photos. As explained in those posts, the "guajira son" music is sung in Spanish and is the music of the mountains and countryside of Cuba. You may know some of this wonderfully infectious sound from the DVD called Buena Vista Social Club.

Champaign-Urbana has an extensive Latino/a community from all over Central and South America and they turn out enthusiastically for Sandunga performances. Many the of the people know each other and they know the songs, often singing along. And there is always DANCING! People of all ages, men, women, and children, are all dancing their feet off the whole time. It is really fun to watch. I do a little in-chair dancing myself, despite the arthritis. It was so crowded because of the dancing that David could hardly get through to the restroom with his walker!

We will certainly miss this group. There's some hope for a reunion next July for a single performance, and fortunately we were at the CD release party recently and have the CD (check their Facebook site if you want to get one too).

Will and Tina will be going to Maine, where Will is going to be teaching anthropology (courses on Cuban culture and music); Andy is going to Columbia on a Fulbright grant; Julian and Eduardo are Columbian and may be going down there in the winter (?). Adam is staying here (he and his wife recently had twins). We wish them all well and thank them for some very enjoyable evenings of great music, singing, and dancing!

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