Maraca Rocks the House

Packed, sold out performance in LA for Cuban great

By Elisangela Medina
Published on LatinoLA: October 13, 2003

Maraca Rocks the House

Orlando ?Maraca? Valle, and his orquestra played to a packed, sold-out house at the Sportsmen?s Lodge on Friday night, October 10. The world renowned flutist and composer?s latest effort is called ?The Best of Maraca: Bailables,? recorded several months ago in La Habana, Cuba.

Even though the U.S. government created unecessary complications in the visa process for Maraca and his orquestra, in contrast, the Los Angeles public received El Habanero and his Cuban orquestra with much love and joy.

As much as they like dancing salsa on the one in Los Angeles, dozens of concert-goers preferred to simply stick close to the stage, close to Maraca and his orquestra, looking, listening and enjoying every chord, note, and beat...as if hypnotized by the music.

At his concert Orlando Valle or Maraca, started out warm and with every song things got hotter and hotter, like wax on a candle. He brought down the house near the end with with Castigala, followed by a total descarga melt-down.

He played most of the songs from all of his solo efforts, which include the latest ?Bailables,? ?Tremenda Rumba,? ?Descarga Total,? and ?Sonando,? all on the Ah? Nama record label, and available on thier web site.

Prior to his solo career, Maraca played with one of the most-accomplished Cuban bands of all time, Irakere, which included the legendary maestro -- pianist Chucho Valdez.

In an interview immediately following the concert Orlando Maraca Valle discussed his new CD. ?It is influenced by all of the music that exists in the world, and also by what does not yet exist?.

He also talked about what types of things motivated his music in Cuba. ?It was mainly traditional and folkloric music, listening to the radio, and my musician friends.?

When asked what United States musician he finds the most fascinating Maraca immediately replied, ?Wynton Marselis.? He said, ?Look at him, he has a whole family of highly qualified, great musicians.? Maraca also mentioned his love of Latin Jazz from the United States, as well as our hip-hop music.

On the topic of American musicians, Maraca explained that ten years ago, he was the professor for the first course that various United States musicians took in Havana, Cuba. And to this day, dozens of American musicians and many of various other countries continue to study music in Cuba.

In addition to Los Angeles, Orlando Maraca Valle and his orquestra will do 23 concerts on this U.S. tour, in cities such as New York, Albany, NY, Bloomington, IN, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, San Fernando & San Francisco, Seattle, WA, Milwaukee, WI and others.

In regards to the American public, Maraca had this to say: ?Even if it was very difficult for months for us to obtain the visa to be here, thank you to the American public that we are here. We are here because the they supported us in our situation. Me and the musicians in my orquestra will always remember their support, and they are in our hearts.?

About Elisangela Medina:
Elisangela Medina is a local free-lance journalist and language and theater teacher, and a correspondent for Radio Progreso in La Habana, Cuba.

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