Cuban Band-Leader/Flutist 'Maraca' Kicks Off 20-city U.S. Tour

Orlando 'Maraca' Valle's album Lo Que Quiero Es Fiesta (Ahi-Nama Music) debuted to critical-acclaim on September 2nd. Lo Que Quiero Es Fiesta is Maraca's sixth album and will be the centerpiece of his U.S Tour, which includes two appearances at the Monterey Jazz Festival for a special jazz performance with an all-star band featuring Giovanni Hidalgo (Congas), David Sanchez (Sax), Miguel Zenon (Sax), Ed Simon (Piano), Murray Low (Keyboards), John Benitez (Bass) Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez (Drums) along with the strings section of the Monterey Orchestra.

The first single from Lo Que Quiero Es Fiesta is the infectious "Descarga Dura" which is already a radio hit and has been electrifying audiences at live shows around the country with Maraca's signature complex flute arrangements woven flawlessly into an irresistible Salsa beat. Lo Que Quiero Es Fiesta is an album of dance music grounded in Cuban tradition and influenced by current trends. The album chronicles Maraca's journey from child-prodigy flutist with famed Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes' band, Irakere to his current reign as Cuba's most popular musical export. "In essence, " says Maraca. "the songs have to do with street life with some innovations in the fusion of rhythms and references to jazz and other international styles".

Lo Que Quiero Es Fiestafeatures an array of talented young musicians who infuse the songs with a vital energy and a rich sound. The album showcases the talents of Jose-Miguel Melendez and Lester Hojas who equally share the microphone with their soulful voices. The album's special guests include vocalists Ammiel Castellanos and Pedro Lugo "El Nene". Maraca says all four vocalists are very different. "They complement each other creating a unity of style that's very rich and reinforced by young musicians who contribute to the sound with a collective approach. It's important to note the work of trumpeter/trombonist Luis Valle, my brother who lives in Japan, and is considered by many one of the best trumpeters in that country".

Lo Que Quiero Es Fiesta is an album rich with Cuban musical styles, including guajira, descarga, timba, son and rumba.

Maraca dedicates the album and the composition titled "Guaguanco" to one of the pillars of Cuban music, the master percussionist Tata Güines, who passed away earlier in the year. "Tata was like a father figure to me. Besides having a deep friendship with him, he always helped me open the doors of Cuban music with his teachings. That's why we offer our modest but sincere tribute to him, who from the congas helped me to change the concept of music, the flute, friendship and life". Maraca also had a great professional relationship with Guines and he is featured on almost all of Maraca's recordings and was a featured guest star during Maraca & The Afro-Cuban Jazz Masters' tours."

This recording is a milestone for both Ahi-Nama Music and Maraca as they celebrate the release of the fifth album for the label and a 10-year relationship, which began in the summer of 1998. The record was produced by Maraca and Celine Chauveau and mixed by the legendary engineer of the Fania All Stars, Jon Fausty.

Based in Los Angeles, California, Ahi Nama Music has been at the forefront of Cuban music for the past decade, releasing albums by a wide range of artists, including Bamboleo, Los Van Van, Issac Delgado, Arte Mixto, Rolo Martinez and many more.

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