Primo Cubano plays Ashwood benefit dance

Apr 16, 2017
Primo Cubano

Rockport — Belfast Dance Studio is sponsoring the return of one of the local dance crowd’s favorite bands — Primo Cubano. Maine’s own Cuban “son” purveyors will fuel the Rockport Opera House dance floor Saturday night, April 29; all proceeds will benefit Ashwood Waldorf School, in conjunction with its two-day community services Serve-A-Thon.

Opera house doors, 6 Central St., will open at 6:30 p.m., with salsa dance lessons and demos at 7 p.m. and the music starting 7:30 p.m. There will be plenty of corn chips and salsa plus a 40 Paper cash bar.

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

Guitarist Paul D’Alessio came into contact with it on a 2004 trip to Cuba with the Brunswick-Trinidad Sister City Association. He began learning to play it on the guitar-like tres instrument, native to Cuba. He 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. Eric Winter has been singing all his life and began studying Spanish at age 12. He also plays maracas. Duane Edwards on the bass fiddle is a UMA grad who, as a jazz student, took very quickly to the tumbao bass pattern that makes this music so danceable.

Tickets are $20 in advance, available at Ashwood Waldorf School, 180 Park St., Rockport; Zoot Coffee in Camden; Fresh Off the Farm in Rockport; The Grasshopper Shop in Rockland; Belfast Dance Studio in Belfast; and online at They will be $25 at the door.

Ashwood Waldorf School offers a stimulating education grounded in the developmental stages of childhood for grades pre-K through 8. Its professional faculty is devoted to mentoring, challenging and engaging each student through a curriculum that integrates science and mathematics with literature, history and the arts.

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


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