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Cuban Music Swings Into Town

By Doug Robinson

With so many talented musicians walking the streets of San Miguel de Allende, it’s tempting to fall into a “love afar, spite at home” mindset. While San Miguel boasts a wonderful crop of up-and-coming players on every level, it would be a mistake to assume that every cat you hear playing background music at your favorite restaurant was put on this earth just to help customers digest their food.

Bobby Kapp and Gabriel Hernández
“Cilla Sin Embargo”
Fri, Oct 9, 8pm
Teatro Ángela Peralta
To Benefit Cilla Zweig
150, 200, 300, and 350 pesos

And what an enormous mistake it would be to think that about the two featured artists of “Cilla Sin Embargo”: Bobby Kaplan (stage name Bobby Kapp), who sat behind his drum set and inspired a host of jazz giants including Gato Barbieri and Dexter Gordon before eventually turning his efforts to vocalizing, placing in the Top 10 of the Thelonious Monk International Vocal Competition, or Cuban-born Gabriel Hernández Cadena, another important musician who today calls San Miguel his home. Having studied with masters like Chucho Valdéz, Gabriel has been touring the world with Buena Vista Social Club, The Afro-Cuban All Stars, and Cubanisimo. Leading a dynamic eight-piece ensemble of amazing players from Cuba and Mexico, Gabriel’s hip arrangements will make the music soar.

Yes, you’ve heard them both by now. But, you haven’t heard them like this.

And that brings us to the music itself. “Cilla Sin Embargo” presents these inspired musicians paying tribute to Bobby’s longtime partner Cilla Zweig, who suffers from early-onset Alzheimer’s. Profits from the concert on October 9 will help Bobby fund her continuing care in an assisted living facility just outside of town.

Though the music in this once-in-a-lifetime concert evolved naturally from Bobby and Gabriel’s longtime musical friendship, there is fresh momentum thanks to the critically acclaimed CD that the pair recorded in Havana earlier this year (one week before President Obama lifted the embargo on that country). The resulting CD, also called Cilla Sin Embargo, will be on sale in the lobby Friday, October 9, helping to keep Cilla’s spirit alive and swinging.


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