Son Cubano is one of the most popular musical styles of Cuba. We're lucky to have one of its foremost practioners right here in Seattle. His name is Kiki Valera, and he's presenting a Cuban serenade at the Triple Door next week: La Serenata Cubana.
It's not Latin Jazz, but son (pronounced somewhere between "sohn" and "sewn") is a traditional Cuban music that has contributed to many other styles including jazz, salsa, timba and songo. Son is the music that made the Buena Vista Social Club world-wide stars in the late 1990s.
Kiki Valera comes from a family of Cuban musicians whose involvement with son pre-dates the BVSC. Since the 19th century, La Familia Valera Miranda has played a significant role in Cuban culture by collecting and preserving the deep-rooted traditions of the legendary Sierra Maestra mountain region. La Familia Valera Miranda released their debut CD in 1982, which helped initiate the explosion of interest in traditional Cuban music.
Kiki, like most of his family, is a virtuoso. A multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, sound engineer and producer, he's best known as Cuba's greatest living player of the cuatro, the mid-size guitar with 8 strings grouped in sets of 2 (cuatro=4).
For La Serenata Cubana on Friday July 13 at the Triple Door, Kiki Valera has enlisted the talents of Cuban artists and long-time friends, Francisco "Coco" Freeman (of NG La Banda & Adalbert Alvarez y Su Son), Eduardo Bringuez (of Son Catorce) & José Joaquin Alayo (of Los Karachi). On Saturday July 14, a scaled-down version of La Serenata Cubana plays the Sea Monster Lounge in Wallingford.
And to whet your appetite for some traditional son and more, we'll have a live KNKX Jazz Caliente Studio Session with the La Serenata Cubana septeto on Thursday July 12 at 2pm.
Listen for La Familia Valera Miranda this week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, and be sure to tune in on Thursday for the La Serenata Cubana Studio Session!
Jazz Caliente airs Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. The show is hosted by Robin Lloyd and produced by KNKX Public Radio.