Septeto Nacional de Cuba: Ignacio Piñeiro

  • Brava Theater Center 2781 24th Street San Francisco, CA, 94110 United States

Brava presents Cuba's Grammy-nominated Septeto Nacional de Cuba

Ignacio Piñeiro

Sunday, January 17,  7:30 pm
Reserved Seating: $35/45
Vip Seating: $100 (includes post-show reception)

Septeto Nacional, the Grammy-nominated Cuban Son group founded by master musician Ignacio Piñeiro, will play Brava for one Bay Area performance only on January 17th at 7:30pm.


About Septeto Nacional

The history of the Septeto Nacional is closely associated with one musician, who, were there a Pope for Cuban Son, would long since have been canonized - Ignacio Piñeiro, an excellent sonero, singer and composer lived in Pueblo Nuevo, the black quarter of the city.
Even as a child, Ignacio Piñeiro sang in choirs and played drums with the Afro-Cuban cabildos.  In 1926, he played bass with the Sexteto Occidente, whose leader was Maria Teresa Vera.  Piñeiro traveled to New York with this sextet and on his return to Havana he immediately set about making history with Son; in 1927, together with the troubadours Juan Ignacio de la Cruz Hermida, Bienvenido León Chacón and Alberto Villalon, who until then had performed as a trio, plus the tres player Francisco González and José Manuel Incharta on bongos, he founded the Sexteto Nacional - under contract to Colombia Records in Havana. The group became a septet only a few months later with the cornet player Lázaro Herrera. The Septeto Nacional played around the clock on all Havana`s radio stations and gave concerts on public squares and in theatres; the capital city was raving about the new sound - a Son cubano, certainly, but not the simple form brought from Santiago to Havana by the troubadours, but more refined, with a cornet and artistically arranged harmonious parts, strongly syncopated and eminently danceable, like Piñeiro greatest hit "Échale salsita" - this Son is regarded as the original form of salsa.

International Recognition

In spring 1929, the Septeto Nacional were selected to travel to the Ibero-American Fair in Seville and perform Son at the Cuban pavilion.  In 1933, the Septeto Nacional was invited to the "Century of Progress" World Exposition in Chicago, where they not only gave concerts but also made records and were awarded a gold medal.  In 1932 George Gershwin traveled to Cuba and happened to turn on the CMCJ radio station when the Septeto Nacional was playing Piñeiro’s sones. Gershwin visited Piñeiro and the two men became friends. Gershwin studied Piñeiro’s sones and even cited "Échale salsita" in his own "Cuban Overture" Other Septeto Nacional hits also become part of the classic repertoire of nostalgic Son line-ups and modern salsa bands: for example "No jueges con los Santos", "There`s no playing with the Gods", a half-joking, half-earnest warning about respecting the Afro-Cuban gods, an early musical demonstration of black consciousness.

Current Septeto

In the course of time, the Septeto Nacional line-up became younger; a logical step. The new musicians, however, had no difficulty whatsoever in imbuing the unbeatable charm of the old sones with new spirit. The fourth generation of the Septeto National can certainly stand up to comparison with the legendary band`s original line-up.  All the musicians are excellent instrumentalists and inspired soneros, who play the fresh-sounding arrangements, as if a time machine had catapulted the original Septeto to this century, keeping  close to the original Piñeiro sound.