Offered Jointly w/FLiArtists
Playing Cuban roots music out of Los Angeles CA, Changüí Majadero is a blazing five- piece band that has honed a deeply informed and highly personal take on changüí, a surging Afro-Cuban musical tradition that took shape in the late 19th century on the eastern side of the island around Guantanamo. It’s one of the foundational styles that gave birth to son, salsa and timba, and in the hands of Changüí Majadero the music feels as fresh and intoxicating as a stiff shot of rum. Founded by guitarist/vocalist Gabriel García, an expert on Cuban tres guitar, the band brings Cuba's rural country music to new ears.
Changüí Majadero brings an urban—and urbane—21st Century perspective to its traditional namesake genre. Over 100 years old, changüí is a rural and vocal Cuban folk music performed with stringed instruments and percussion. It’s danceable with relatable lyrics and a Changüí Majadero-infused youthful energy. Changüí Majadero has distinguished itself with a modern take on this Afro-Cuban musical tradition, the 19th century foundation of contemporary salsa informed by African influences.
Guitarist/tresero/vocalist Gabriel Garcia became fascinated with the eastern Cuban musical form and founded Changüí Majadero in 2014 to explore and champion it. Garcia, the first generation Mexican-American son of a corridos (popular Mexican ballad) writer and grandson of an opera singer, took up guitar at a young age and later had a revelation when he first heard an album by the seminal Grupo Changüí Guantanamo.
“The beautiful thing about changüí is the way the rhythm and melodic elements work together,” Garcia says. “There are these wonderful African elements in the music—the
syncopation of the rhythms, the call and response. But a lot of décimas and quartetos are sung and improvised like in other Latin folk traditions. You can talk about almost any subject, from love to politics, just like the blues.”
Changüí Majadero was the result of García’s pivotal pilgrimage to the Guantanamo region of Cuba, where he learned the changüí from the living masters of the style and was inspired to spread the spirit of Cuban folkloric music mixed with a dash of East Los Angeles grit.
Changüí Majadero has played in such disparate settings such as Lincoln Center, SF Jazz, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and even Dodger Stadium. The band released their self-titled debut recording in 2016 that encompasses compositions bristling with propulsive rhythms and evocative vocals — a celebrated release that All About Jazz called “joyous music, deserving greater recognition.”