Cuban music - Los Fakires

Music is the heartbeat of Cuba. Everywhere you go you hear it: son, mambo, salsa; ‘Latin’ rhythms invented and developed on the island after the slaves mixed Spanish guitar and verse with their African rhythms. Walk down the streets, and it’s blaring from the balconies; stroll into the parks and you hear trumpeters practicing; enter a bar and you’re likely to hear a four, five or six-piece band. Mostly they churn out the classics for the tourists; if you’re in the right place at the right time you’ll be lucky enough to hear a more sophisticated set, which you are likely never to forget. It’s incredible; music is in the Cubans’ blood, like football is in the Brazilians’.

Los Fakires are one of the most legendary bands in Cuba. ‘If you graduated in Cuban music with Buena Vista Social Club,’ wrote the Spanish music critic Jose Gomez in El Mundo, ‘do your doctorate with Los Fakires.’ The quintet, from Santa Clara in Central Cuba, play old fashioned son, a suave form of dance music, which takes you back to the 40’s era. The band leader is Jose Bringues, who plays a rich, mellifluous tenor sax, but the real star is the lead singer, Cascarita, whose ‘ron y tabaco’ (rum and tobacco) voice and mischievous personality dominate attention as he plays his guiro, a serrated gourd, scraped with a stick. Felo, on backing vocals, is famed for his laid-back honeyed tones. Guitars and bongos fill out the sound. Last time they toured Europe they played the Royal Festival Hall and Ronnie Scott’s. Try very hard not to miss this concert. AL

‘If you graduated in Cuban music with Buena Vista Social Club,
do your doctorate in Los Fakires’
All Saints Centre, Friar’s Walk, Lewes
When? 7pm for 8.30pm
How Much? £12/£10
Los Fakires
(t) 01273 709709
(w) Website