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Tiempo Libre

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Partying with Tiempo Libre

NewsOK

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

by NewsOK

To discover vibrant music driven by infectious rhythms, one need look only as far as the Caribbean. Trinidad led the way with calypso and steel band music, while Jamaica introduced the world to reggae and ska. Today, timba is all the rage, a mix of jazz and salsa whose origins can be traced to Cuba.
Timba’s chief proponent is Tiempo Libre, a seven-member Cuban band whose devotees seem to be growing exponentially. A three-time Grammy nominee, Tiempo Libre recently demonstrated the reasons behind its success at a pair of pops concerts featuring the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. Guest conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos kicked off the evening with George Gershwin’s lively "Cuban Overture.”

Tiempo Libre then joined the orchestra for four works whose influences ranged from Johann Sebastian Bach to the cha-cha. From its "Bach in Havana” compact disc came a bolero arrangement of the "Air on a G String,” music that illustrated how adaptable Bach’s music can be.

Lead vocalist Joaquin "El Kid” Diaz continued this lively party with a cha-cha medley, followed by "Baqueteo,” a danzon based on Bach’s "Cello Suite No. 1.” The first half ended with a "Sones Medley” whose centerpiece was the famous "Guantanamera.”

A programming change for Saturday’s concert allowed Tiempo Libre to perform the second half by itself. The group’s lively selections quickly turned the proceedings into a rousing Latin party. From the aptly titled "Opening,” Tiempo Libre segued into "Lo Que Esperabas,” a number that delivered on what its title ("What You’ve Been Waiting For”) promised.


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