Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
August 15, 1994
Cuban Music Legend "Cachao" To Perform
Created the Mambo in 1938
Epic recording artist Cachao and his orchestra will perform a concert celebrating the first day of National Hispanic Heritage Month on Thursday, September 15, from noon to 1 p.m. on the steps of the Library of Congress, First and Independence Ave. S.E. The concert, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the American Folklife Center, with assistance from Epic Records and the Hispanic Division.
Born into a musical family in Havana in 1918, Israel Lopez (now known as Cachao) has played a pioneering role in the development of Cuban music for almost 60 years. Considered a bass virtuoso, Cachao is a composer, arranger and bandleader. He also plays the trumpet, piano, celeste and bongos.
By the time he was 19, Cachao and his brother Orestes had invented the mambo. According to ethnomusicologist Morton Marks, the mambo seems to have originated as a series of syncopated guajeos, or riffs, on Cachao's bass. It was first played over a Cuban radio station in 1938. The mambo has been called the perfect illustration of the process of creolization, or the intermingling of European and African musical approaches.
In 1957, Cachao again revolutionized Cuban music when brought together the best musicians from Havana clubs and produced a series of after-hours recordings that havebecome textbooks for Latin musicians. These are the descargas, or Cuban jam sessions, that opened up the highly structured format of Cuban music to solos and improvisation. Cachao left Cuba in 1962, moving to New York, where he played in and influenced some of that city's most famous salsa bands.
Later, Cachao slipped into relative obscurity, playing birthday parties and restaurant lounges in Miami. Andy Garcia, the Cuban-born actor of "The Godfather, Part III," has orchestrated a renewal of appreciation of Cachao and his music, including a recently released documentary film, "Cachao: Como Su Ritmo No Hay Do" ("Cachao: Like His Rhythm There Is No Other") and a new album entitled "Master Sessions Volume I" on Crescent Moon/Epic Records.
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