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VISSION LATINA: "KITIKIMBA PA' TI"

by rita@salsacrazy.com

I was fortunate enough to interview member of Vission Latino,  a new electrifying  band which has recently released their debut CD  “Kitikimba Pa' Ti”.  The founding members of the band are Carlos Caro, Saul Sierra and Marcos joined forces to produce an CD full of original music which includes many music styles including Salsa, Cha Cha Rock and rumba.  This is an exciting CD that will definitely keep you dancing. 

THE ARTISTS 

CARLOS  CARO (percussion) was born in Guanajay, in the Havana province of Cuba.  Musical talent  runs in his family from his mother playing maraca to his maternal grandfather playing guita (bagpipes from Spain) to his paternal grandfather "Caruchin" who is a great singer/songwriter and poet in his own right.  Carlos received his training at world renowned Escuela Nacionle des  instructores de arte (ENIA) in Havana.  Carlos has been playing for almost 20 years with such Cuban groups as Clave and Paulito FG y Su Elite.  Carlos’ favorite bands include Ruben Blades, Sonora Poncena,  Septeto Nacional, Orquesta America, Orquesta de Enrique Jorrin and  Los Van Van. Carlos plays bongo and he was recently honored with the title of "Best bongo Timba Player of All Time" by the popular website www.timba.com.  He also plays timbales, guiro, congas and hand percussion instruments. Kitikiba Pa Ti marks his  first effort as a composer. Came to Bay Area 8 years ago

SAUL SIERRA (Bass). Saul, born in Mexico City, started playing rock music while still in in high school.  At an early age he was exposed to Latin music from  his father ‘s extensive collection of Mexican folkloric music and Cuban music.  After high school Saul came to US and studied at the prestigious Berkelee School of Music in Boston. Saul’s favorite American  bands include Sting and the Police, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC.  Carlos says “I like all kinds of music that groove and I think those bands groove really well.  But there is no kind of groove like the Cuban groove. In Cuban music I listen to a lot of Cachao, Cachaito, Los Van Van and folkloric Mexican styles like banda music, mariachi music and son veracruzano."

MARCOS DIAZ (trumpet, piano).  Marco is a San Francisco native who remembers hearing his uncle play classic piano in concert halls in Guatemala.  He took his first lessons in trumpet and piano at age 14.  “I like the character of the trumpet.  It can have an  ‘in your face’ personality or it can be ‘not in your face’  You can make it sound really beautiful.  I thought that this is a good description of me and the trumpet lets me really express myself.” Marcos was trained at the Community Music Center, private school on Capp St. in San Francisco where he studied classical,jazz and pop music.

 Here are excerpts of my interview with Carlos, Marcos and Saul about their new project “KITIKIMBA PA TI”

 HOW DID YOU GUYS MEET?

RITA: You could say that we are the hired guns of the bay area because we play with so many bands. The three of play for probably a total of 30 different bands.  Carlos has been playing with Malo, Saul has been touring with the Snake Trio and I have been touring with Bobbi Cespedes.  

CARLOS:  But the idea from for this album came from the fact that we have been playing together, jamming together for a couple of years.  As friends and as musicians we decided to put together this project.  The whole process has been a lot of fun.  We have also been lucky enough to collaborate with friends of mine in Mexico City who played trumpet on this date without charging a fee. We also invited many Bay Area musicians to contribute to the project including Fito Reynosa, Sandy and Gloria.  We tried to do something different with this CD.  We wanted to let everyone know that we can play many styles of music.  We can play everything.  Our minds and hearts are open to all kinds of music.

 

WHAT KIND OF MUSIC STYLES INFLUENCED THE DEVELOPMENT OF THIS ALBUM?

Marcos: My partners come from varied, different musical backgrounds and I think that diversity is what is reflected on the album.  We all bring are own styles to this project.  Carlos brings hard core Cuban music, Saul is from Mexico City and he has strong Mexican roots in his music.  I am from here.  You know how SF represents a little bit of everything.  The album is a big jambalaya.  Recently we were in New Orleans where the photo on the back of the album was taken.  Just like in jambalaya, you throw everything into the music and whatever comes out is great and you will love it.

ALL THE SONGS ON THIS ALBUM ARE ORIGINAL WORKS. WHO COMPOSED THE MUSIC?

Marcos: This was totally a group collaboration.  Carlos might say “Marcos, listen to this melody that I have.  Can you put some chords to this? I would develop the chords.  Then I would say “Can you put some words to this melody?” And then Carlos would add words and we would develop chords. That is how all these songs developed.

Carlos:  We have been playing together since 2000 and we put this CD together in a little over two years.

I NOTICED SOME INTERESTING THINGS ON THIS ALBUM.  ONE SONG IS CLASSIFIED AS RUMBA ABIERTA.  WHAT IS RUMBA ABIERTA? 

MARCOS: “Rumba Abierta”  is a phrase you  hear in Cuba. It means anything goes.  It is an open rumba.  Musically it means improvisation.  When we recorded the number, Carlos said  to the percussionists “This is going to be a rumba and that’s all you need to know. So just play. So it was all done in just one take (session) and they just played what they felt. It is was like a descarga or jam session. Then Carlos came in and did his solo.  And then we laid the piano and bass grooves over it.

CARLOS: But this rumba includes some new concepts.  Timbale is not usually in a rumba but we use timbale in this rumba as a quinto part.

MARCOS: It was like doing a rumba with Western instruments. 

TELL ME ABOUT KITIKIMBA.  HOW DID YOU DEVELOP THE RHYTHM KITIKIMBA?

CARLOS: I was at home thinking about conga patterns that I play in Timba.  You Timba was just not from the 1990s. When you can hear the conga player El Nino Alfonso of Irakere in the 1970’s, you will hear the beginning of Timba.  So I was listening to the conga rhythms;  we developed  3 different parts to the song-- a part for the 3 congas, a part for the bongo and a part of the timbales.  We added a catchy choral line and lyrics that is the kitikimba. It a fun, grooving  rhythm.  It is something that you makes you want to dance.

WHAT IS THE MESSAGE OF THIS ALBUM?

 We made this music for people to really enjoy.  We were thinking of the dancers and the people that listen to the music.  We want people enjoy the music and dance to the music.  The CD is for the public and it was not geared to impress other musicians. We wanted to put the spirit and experience of each one of us into this project.  I want to bring the excitement and passion I felt when I was playing with Paulito FG in Cuba  to everybody here in the Bay Area.

 

 Carlos, Saul and Marcos and the rest of the band will be appearing at the Arts Center in Merced on June 19.  Their 9 piece band is currently in rehearsal and hopefully will be appearing in San Francisco Bay Area in the near future.  For more information on the CD, go to www.vissionlatina.com.