Primo Cubano, back at Billy's

Feb 12, 2014
Primo Cubano

Thomaston — Billy’s Tavern will brighten the winter by bringing back Primo Cubano Saturday, Feb. 22, beginning 8 p.m. There is a $8 cover charge.

Primo Cubano plays traditional Cuban dance music dating back to the turn of the 20th century. Son is the most popular style to come out of Cuba and is the primary contributor to the blend of Latin styles today known as salsa. First a music of the country people, son eventually migrated to Havana, where it was urbanized and began to draw a wider audience.

Guitarist Paul D’Alessio came into contact with this music on a trip to Cuba in 2004 with the Brunswick-Trinidad Sister City Association, a cooperative between Brunswick and the city of Trinidad, Cuba. He began learning to play son music on a guitar-like instrument native to Cuba called the tres and subsequently formed Primo Cubano, which means “Cuban cousin.”

Trumpeter Marc Chillemi also spent time in Cuba and has played in various other Latin groups. He also plays percussion and sings on the choruses, or coros, to which the lead singer, or sonero, responds with an improvised lyric.

Lenny Hatch has been playing the congas, bongó and other percussion instruments for more than 20 years now. Eric Winter has been singing all his life and began studying Spanish at age 12. He has become particularly interested in Cuban music in the last few years and also plays maracas. Keeping it all together is Duane Edwards on the bass fiddle, a UMA grad who, as a jazz student, took very quickly to the tumbao bass pattern that makes this music so danceable.

Billy’s Tavern is located at the corner of Beechwood and Starr streets, behind the downtown business block. For more information, check out the Facebook page.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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