Juan De Marcos and the Afro Cuban All Stars
The Afro-Cuban All Stars (ACAS) is a unique orchestra; devoted to promoting the complete story of Cuban music. With each show the orchestra exposes Cuba’s rich musical history interpreting all of its musical genres. Since their inception, many of the Afro Cuban All Stars’ musicians have become international super stars, including the brilliant performers Ruben Gonzalez, Guillermo Rubalcava, and Manuel "The Guajiro" Mirabal.
The Afro-Cuban All Stars genesis was the early 1990s. Back then, Juan de Marcos was the band leader of a traditional son band, Sierra Maestra. He had always dreamed of creating an album celebrating the classic Cuban sound of the ‘50s. So Juan leveraged the success of Sierra Maestra and convinced his record label, World Circuit to make his dream a reality. He went on to develop the Afro Cuban All Stars concept. Juan de Marcos sought out many great musicians, who are now revered world wide including Ibrahim Ferrer, Omara, Portuondo and Ruben Gonzalez.
In March of 1996 Juan de Marcos & ACAS recorded A Toda Cuba Le Gusta, featuring nearly 60 performers. Then, with celebrated artists Compay Segundo, Eliades Ochoa, and noted American guitarist Ry Cooder, the unforgettable Buena Vista Social Club CD was recorded. An added bonus was the miraculous solo album Introducing Ruben Gonzalez recorded on a minuscule budget, in merely two live sessions with simple orchestrations conducted at the studio by Juan de Marcos. It was destiny and Introducing Ruben Gonzalez still is one of the most successful of the “Buena Vista” series of recordings.
In 1997 Juan de Marcos & ACAS toured all over Europe with a multi-generational band; their ages ranging from 19 to 90. With nearly 2 decades of tremendous success – including four Grammy nominations, several award winning documentaries films, and being recipients of many other distinctions – the Afro Cuban All Stars are the best-known Cuban orchestra since Irakere.
With the Afro-Cuban All Stars, Juan de Marcos has developed much more than a musical group, he created an institution. With this formula Juan stretches his creative wings; fusing contemporary, traditional and in essence, the future styles of Cuban music. He fluidly adjusts the orchestra’s line-up of musicians to best reflect the various styles from the past eras featured in their performances. The current line-up of ACAS consists of the finest Cuban expatriate musicians, all alumni of Cuba’s greatest bands. The Afro Cuban All Stars tour is a band constantly telling the story of Cuban music to the rest of the world.
DC Highlife Stars
DC Highlife Stars have been lighting up dance floors across Maryland and DC with their infectious blend of hip-shaking music from West & Central Africa, along with original compositions that bring the party into the here-and-now. Bandleaders Eme Awa (Eme & Heteru) and Michael Shereikis (Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band) have assembled a choice crew from among the DMV’s deep African music scene to explore this stripped down, highlife sound. Cameroonians Henri Tanash (guitar) and Joseph “Kobo” Mouliom (bass), and Ghanaian Emmanuel Adamah (drums) form the core unit, with occasional friends and heavy-hitters sitting in on highlife, afrobeat, soukous and assorted grooves. The vibe is five world-class groove masters having a blast as they sling deep-pocket bass, percolating double-helix guitars and earthy harmonies all so you can forget your troubles and dance!
DC Highlife Stars is featured on five tracks from the debut album by Jolly Papa entitled “The Legend.” This includes a signature rendition of highlife classic “Taxi Driver” by Bobby Benson and two tracks co-written with guitarist and composer Henri Tanash. “The Legend” will be available online November 25, 2016. Stay tuned…