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Perserving the Culture – Time Out New York

Vocalist and conguero Ulises Beato and his players preserve the Cuban traditions of son montuno, mambo, rumba and more, while also beating a path toward recent trends in timba and descargas. 

 

Wonderfully Compeling – The New Times

"One of the most wonderfully compelling Latin bands in New York City. This Afro-Cuban ensemble has an edge that's often imitated but rarely expressed in its true flavor... A truly remarkable music experience for the heart, soul and feet"

 

Ambassadors of Cuban Folklore – Latin Jazz News

"... Conjunto Guantanamo truly are the Ambassadors of Cuban Folklore displaying a familiarity and fondness of the pantheon of African lore that is the cornerstone of all the popular music of the world today from the Rolling Stones to Buena Vista Social Club and everything in between".

 

Conjunto Guantanamo in DUMBO – Nova Clutch Culture Space

While most people will remember the Summer of 2007 by the insipid, soulless and electronically enhanced song "Umbrella" by Rihanna, mine will be replayed by the sites and sounds of Conjunto Guantanamo. I really don't know where to begin, or end for that matter, because Conjunto Guantanamo lives and moves within a fluid world between the past, present and future, bringing together people, sounds and memories within our neighborhood of DUMBO, Brooklyn. Anchored by conga player Ulises Beato and emancipated by lead singer Osmay Calvo, their effortless and heartfelt forays are supported by an ever changing line up of musicians -- musicians that can play that tune in two notes.

As we are bombarded by images of overproduced, over sponsored and over hyped musical acts and idols, it couldn't have been more refreshing to have experienced Conjunto Guantanamo on an improvised stage with simple, traditional instruments and an innate, classic style of days gone by. My journey to their discovery was a wonderful path that lead to the making of new friends and reconnection with old ones through luck, happenstance or the grace of some unnamed god. But then again, Cuban music is the music of relationships with friends and community. It is the recognition of the beauty in simplicity or even the mundane. It is about embracing your circumstance and celebrating the good and difficult while recognizing that it is all life.

I discovered classic Cuban music through Cristina Garcia's 1992 novel "Dreaming in Cuban" where she made numerous reference to Benny Moré's music as being the soundtrack of the main character's life. It was only natural that I had to hear for myself what she was so moved by. Although I don't speak Spanish (many of the songs have since been translated for me), the song's beauty and meaning reached out and struck that universal chord that all artists strive to play. Therefore when Conjunto Guantanamo plays a Moré favorite, or something more obscure, I am moved and drawn into their world to experience a moment and place that is timeless and nameless.

 

 

 

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