Loading Programs

« All Programs

  • This Program has passed.

The History of Cuban Music: African & Spanish Music Influence in Cuba with Hugo Cruz and Caminos

August 17, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

This program is the finale of three concerts in the “History of Cuban Music” series, curated and arranged by Hugo Cruz, and performed by Hugo Cruz and Caminos. All three concerts will combine musical performances, talks, and video and film excerpts. The series also brings well-known Cuban diasporic musicians to Pittsburgh to collaborate with local musicians and participate in robust performances. The series showcases the history and cultural significance of Cuban music from its Spanish and African influences, through its explosion into western pop culture. This third concert will feature Afro-Cuban music traditions from the Yoruba and Abakuá cultures, and the Spanish-influenced Cuban genres of punto guajiro, bulerias, tanguillo, rumba, and seguidilla. Hugo will also discuss how he incorporates these specific traditions into his process of composing music. 

The concert’s featured guest artists are percussionist Pedro Jose Gutierrez del Rio and dancer Elianys Karla Pérez Peña.

Featured Musicians:

Akin Lowman: bata drums

Thomas Chatman: bata drums

Brian Stahurski: bass 

Michael Bernabe: piano

Frank DiDiano: guitar

Mike Tomaro: saxophone

About the Artists:

Hugo Alexander Cruz Machado (he/him) is a Cuban-born, award winning, international drummer and composer who has performed in South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Mexico, Chile, Venezuela, and the United States. Hugo is the leader of the group Caminos, who have made appearances at the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival, Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Music Hall Oakland, City of Asylum, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Con Alma, First Night Pittsburgh 2020, and Fábrica de Artes in Havana, Cuba, among others. While a resident of Cuba, Hugo toured regularly with Síntesis, a leading Afro Cuban rock-fusion group. Hugo has performed in Havana’s largest jazz festival, Jazz Plaza, with acclaimed artists Dave Weckl and Victor Goines.  He is a graduate of the Instituto Superior de Artes, the leading arts university of Cuba, and in 2014, won the award as the “best drummer” at the international Festival del Tambor Guillermo Barreto in Memoriam in Havana, Cuba. In February 2022, Hugo Cruz and Caminos released an original album, Punto de Partida, featuring notable musicians from Cuba and the U.S. Hugo hosts a monthly concert series at Kingfly Spirits called “The Voice of Drums,” featuring Pittsburgh-based musicians and celebrating diverse musical genres. 

Pedro Jose Gutierrez del Rio is a musician and percussionist. Pedro graduated from the Alejandro García Caturla elementary school of music, then continued his musical education first at the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory, and then at the ISA (Higher Institute of Art) where he finally graduated with a specialization in percussion. He began to play professionally in various groups and companies, including the Symphony of the Gran Teatro De La Habana (GTH), the National Ballet of Cuba, and La Opera. He then became part of the Tropicana Orchestra and was part of the Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba Company (2015-2019), performing on national and international stages across the US, Canada, Mexico, Israel, and Turkey. Pedro has collaborated with numerous artists such as Yaima Sáez, Raúl Paz, Mayco de Alma, Athanai, Rachel Pastor, Moneda Dura, and El Micha among many others. He currently works as a percussionist in Miami, FL.

Elianys Karla Pérez Peña was born in Havana, Cuba. She started at the Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba company at the age of six and was selected to join the special group Ballet Infantil. During this period, she participated in various presentations in important theaters in Havana, such as the National Theater of Cuba, the Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso, Teatro Marti among others. In the 2013-2014 academic year, she participated in an international tour to Germany, Hamburg, in the children’s project Niños de Cuba, performing 11 of the performance’s 22 choreographies. Elianys also participated in the XVIII edition of the Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba choreography contest, where she took first place for the Best Use of Implement (fans), Eternal Dance Award, and Caricatos Award. In 2015, she began her teaching studies with the company, continuing to perform in tours and national and international events. In 2016 she was selected to accompany Lizt Alfonso to receive the International Spotlight Award from the First Lady Michelle Obama. In 2017, Elianys was selected to dance at the Latin Grammys gala, in Las Vegas, as part of the only Cuban dance company that has participated in the event. She also participated in the music video for the song Bailando, along with Enrique Iglesias, Descemer Bueno and Gente de Zona.

About Your Visit: 

The in-house restaurant 40 North will be closed, but a cash wine bar will be available.

Share this:


August 17, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT
Program Category:


Alphabet City
40 W. North Avenue
Pittsburgh,PA15212United States
+ Google Map

Want to follow news about theExiled Writer and Artist Residency Program at City of Asylum? Sign up for our email list to receive news updates, information about our upcoming programs, and more!

Click Here to Join Our Newsletter

Subscribe to email updates on upcoming events, new bookstore releases, and more.