You may get a preview of Tiempo Libre’s performance by watching the October 27th Dancing with the Stars, in which the Cuban music group performed the song “Tu Conga Bach”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3E-GYQvJzgs
Tiempo Libre’s show is a dynamic, passionate performance of timba music—an exciting and engaging combination of Latin jazz and traditional Cuban son. Their goal is to serve as ambassadors of Cuba’s musical heritage, while celebrating the American experience. There hasn’t been a concert yet where people haven’t gotten out of their seats to dance.
The members of the Miami-based Cuban music group Tiempo Libre were all classically trained at La ENA, Havana’s premiere Russian-style conservatory during the Special Period in Cuba. Now they are a sensation in the U.S., with concerts all around the country and three Grammy nominations.
Tiempo Libre’s latest Cuban music album, Bach in Havana (its first recording under its new deal on Sony Masterworks), was released last May. The album takes Bach as a starting point from which to explore a wide range of Cuban music forms and rhythms and features guest tracks with Yosvany Terry and Paquito D’Rivera.
The album is a true reflection of the two worlds of Tiempo Libre’s Cuban musical upbringing. Tiempo Libre’s seven members led “double” lives studying classical music at Cuba’s premiere Russian-style conservatory La ENA by day and by night meeting up to play timba, Latin jazz as well as the rumba and in tambores. In Bach, Tiempo Libre found a kindred spirit: a composer who wrote music in both the secular and the spiritual traditions. It was only natural that they would be interested in weaving their classical roots into a new musical tapestry. Among many other keyboard works, both Bach’s C Major and C Minor Preludes & Fugues from the 1st book of the Well-Tempered Clavier make appearances on the album, the C Major opening onto a sonic world of the interplay of Batá (African percussion); the C Minor propelling an intense ride over the rhythms of guaguanco, a Latin youthful courtship dance.
In addition to recording the duet “Para Tí” with virtuoso violin player Joshua Bell (which is featured on Bell’s new album, At Home With Friends, released last September), the group also performed with Bell on the October 2nd Tonight Show and the Live From Lincoln Center January 21st PBS broadcast. In Fall 2008, Tiempo Libre recorded O’Reilly Street with leading flute player Sir James Galway, which included an Afro-Cuban take on music from the jazz suites of Claude Bolling.
In Spring 2009, the group earned another high-octane accolade: The Cuban family behind Café Bustelo decided for the first time in 80 years to change the Café Bustelo can design to feature the group a long with a free download from the album.
Tiempo Libre’s concert will include music from Bach in Havana as well as their two other Grammy nominated timba albums, Lo Que Esperabas and Arroz Con Mango. You many see and hear more at www.tiempolibremusic.com.