Devotion, But No Doubt

Richard Buckner enlists the help of a talented local for an unforgettable performance

Roosevelt Avenue Social Club: For most people, the mention of Cuban or Brazilian music conjures up images of salsas, sambas, and Desi Arnaz. Thankfully, those narrow stereotypes are being shattered due in large part to growing public appreciation for world music and the recent popularity of the collective of Cuban musicians featured in Wim Wenders' film Buena Vista Social Club.

Stinkweeds owner and local music impresario Kimber Lanning is hoping to expand Valley residents' appreciation and understanding of these geographic and culturally unique styles with a three-day Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian festival and workshop. The minifest runs this Thursday through Saturday and will be held at Lanning's downtown Modified club. The program will feature Ana, a group formed earlier this year by Emilio Caruso and Eric Udell -- a pair of local folkloric percussionists. Filling out the roster with third drummer/percussion man Dan Mock and singers Debbie Lorray, Joann Yanez and Kim Shelton, the outfit is dedicated to bringing these "compelling but relatively unknown" musical forms into the public consciousness.

Caruso and Udell are well equipped to do so, as both are longtime students of the master musicians of Latin America and the Caribbean and their native idioms (including the sacred Cuban Bata drums). The group hopes the program will be an informative seminar on the musical history and heritage of both Cuba and Brazil and its foundations in the heavily percussive rhythms of African music.

Admission is $5 in advance (or $6 at the door) for each individual performance, or $30 for a one night admission, plus the workshop.

The Afro-Cuban & Afro-Brazilian Folkloric Music Festival runs Thursday, August 26, through Saturday, August 28, from 9 to 11 p.m. each night. The Saturday workshop is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 602-252-7664. Contact Bob Mehr at his online address: bmehr@newtimes.com

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