The “Rumba in the Alley” that should have overtaken a stretch of Broadway between 93rd and 94th Street in Manhattan got rained out May 1. It was intended as a kickoff for the first installment of Symphony Space’s ambitious new annual undertaking, The Source Project—weeklong celebrations tracing the influence of Africa on New World cultures.
This year’s focus was Afro-Cuban culture, with mixture of well-curated music, discussion and documentary films. It’s a shame that percussionist Román Díaz didn’t get to use his rather magical powers to restore, if only temporarily, a stretch of Broadway that once reflected the power of Afro Latin influence in New York City yet is now mostly gentrified into yet another urban anyplace.
Díaz can do that sort of thing, as I described here.
Still, one of Díaz’s prime disciples, percussionist and singer Pedrito Martinez, closed the Symphony Space series on Sunday night with a concert that channeled a slice of this history and galvanized a still-vital community, one that knows how to clap a correct clave and turn any theater into a dance hall. Continue reading “Pedrito Martinez Turns Symphony Space Into a Dance Hall & Previews His New CD”