Bursting into Miami’s music scene in 2008, timba group Timbalive has since become a worldwide hit. They will be performing and closing out this year’s Cuban Festival on Sunday, Aug. 4. Director and timbalero Leonardo Garcia of the Cuban music group chatted with Extra about the group’s milestone anniversary, their performance at the Cuban Festival and their upcoming European tour.
Extra: You are celebrating your fifth anniversary as a group. What does that mean to you as musicians?
Leonardo Garcia: It’s very exciting. We play the music we love. It’s great to be able to have so many original projects and have people receive it with such enthusiasm. We started in out in Miami and that’s where we’ll be celebrating.
In total, how many members are in Timbalive and what nationality are they?
There are 10 musicians total, nine men and one woman. We’re all Cuban, originally from Miami.
How would you describe your style of music?
Cuban. We also mix a lot of sounds. It depends on the tone and rhythm. We mix our sound with whatever comes into our heads at the time we’re playing. There’s bass, trombone, piano and vocals. Sometimes it sounds like reggae, other times like rock, but we always stay true to timba.
How does it feel to be performing at the Cuban Fest in Chicago?
[We are] very proud. There are a lot of people involved in promoting our music in the area. We can only give them our best so they can enjoy the concert. There will be dancing for sure. I can guarantee that.
Have you performed in Chicago before?
Yes, once before; a year or two ago.
What did you like most about the city?
The snow (laughs). We visited the lake while it was snowing; it’s a beautiful place. There were also a lot more fans than we knew of that welcomed us to the city.
What are you looking forward to seeing or doing while you are here?
We’re going to work, first off. We understand it’s a busy weekend. Hopefully we get to do a lot more than last time, time permitting.
Finally, can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming European tour?
The tour starts Oct. 29; we have about nine concerts so far in places like Switzerland, Italy, France and more. We’re promoting the release of our latest CD. We’re very excited.
Cuban Festival of Chicago
Festival Cubano is a ’white glove,’ high-quality, authentic Cuban experience that features the best of this rich, colorful and lively culture. Festival Cubano is the largest Cuban cultural event in the USA.
Headliners: Cachao Mambo All Stars, Jerry Rivera, Timbalive
Dates: Aug. 2 – 4
Time: 3 – 10 p.m. on Aug. 2 and from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. on Aug. 3 and 4.
Location: Riis Park Chicago, Ill.
• International, national and local merchandise vendors
• Kid’s Conga Drum Circle and workshop
• Domino Tournament
• Cuban /Latin/American Food
• Health Fitness Programs
• Big Kids /Family Activities Area
Tickets: $10 advance and $5 advance tickets online at thecubanfestival.com until Thursday, Aug. 1. Admission for children under 12 and seniors 65 and over is free.
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