This program is the second 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 will also bring 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. In particular this concert will explore the musical genres danzón, cha cha cha, charanga, danzónete, and mambo—music styles developed by some of Cuba’s most influential composers, including Miguel Failde, Aniceto Díaz, Dámaso Pérez Prado, Orestes and Ismael “Cachao” López, and Enrique Jorrín. Joining Hugo as this concert’s featured guest artists are violinist, pianist, and singer Juan Manuel Campos and bassist Otonier Miranda.
Noel Quintana: conga drums
Akin Lowman: güiro
Juan Colon: vocals, trombone
Mike Tomaro: saxophone, flute
Joe Sheehan: piano
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.
Juan Manuel Campos is a multifaceted violinist, talented pianist, singer, arranger, and composer. He began playing the violin at the age of 7, studied at the Vocational School of Art in Villa Clara, Cuba, and graduated from the National School of Art in Havana with a specialization in violin. Juan Manuel has performed as a soloist in recitals and with famous orchestras, covering a wide repertoire from classical to contemporary music in addition to his own compositions. He has an impressive record of concerts in his native Cuba and has shared the stage with renowned artists such as Mike Porcel, Amaury Gutiérrez, and Lazaro Horta among others. He has also performed at festivals and tours in Cuba, Mexico, Colombia, and Ecuador with great success. Recognized as a musician with excellent technique and expressiveness, Juan Manuel has a consolidated career as an instrumentalist, singer, and accompanying pianist. He currently lives in Miami and frequently performs at concerts, private gatherings, and as a guest artist with the Saint Augustine Music Ministry Ensemble.
Otonier Miranda was influenced by his father and oldest brother (both bass players) since he was a young child. With that influence as his foundation, he started studying the bass at 13 years old and quickly became a staple in the music scene of Santa Clara, Cuba. At 20 years old, Niel moved to Havana, where he has shared the national and international stage with Cuba’s most prestigious musicians. Niel is a composer, arranger, and producer.
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