February 2013 CD of the Month
Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Jazz Sextet "Cuidad de los Reyes (City of Kings)" Sapo Negro
Afro-Peruvians rhythms such as landó, festejo, vals and marinera are more relaxed and less percussive than the more “in your face” Afro-Cuban and Afro-Caribbean music styles. In fact, Afro-Peruvian music, similar to Brazilian, is not based on clave as are the rhythms of the Caribbean basin. Gabriel was born in Lima, Perú which during its Spanish colonial period was known as la Cuidad de los Reyes or the City of Kings. Since forming his ensemble in 2008, the enterprising son of a successful playwright has toured the US several times, played in festivals in many locations around the globe and has performed in his homeland. Most of the other band members are also Peruvian including fellow composer-saxist Laura Andrea Leguía and the percussionist-dancer, Freddy “Huevito” Lobatón who specializes in the Peruvian cajón or box drum, on stage he will strap a little box drum-cajita around his neck while dancing to the beat of his own drum.
The Incas and Perú gave the world potatoes and one of the planet's most marvelous sacred sites, Machu Picchu. Gabriel Alegría and his Afro-Peruvian Jazz Sextet are following the tradition of the Incan messengers, the Chasquis, and spreading music far and wide.