Cuban music group Tiempo Libre has a goal for its Hot in Havana concert series with the Houston Symphony — to get people up and dancing. “When people hear our music, they want to dance, but they’re in a concert hall, so they don’t know if they should or not,” says the group’s music director and pianist, Jorge Gómez. “Of course they can dance!” The group will be bringing a mix of European classical and Cuban dance music to the stage, a reflection of the members’ cultural background. They met while training at a musical conservatory in Cuba. Gómez tells us, “In the mornings, we would study classical music. Then when we would get home in the afternoon, we would listen to Cuban music, cha-cha-cha, danzón, rumba, guaguancó. That’s what we’re going to do in this series of concerts, present Cuban music but with classical melodies by Johann Sebastian Bach.”
Many of the tunes are from the Grammy-nominated group’s 2009 release Bach in Havana. It’s an infectious collection of songs based on Bach’s fugues, sonatas and other works, each with a modern Afro-Cuban twist. Bach’s Fugue in C Minor becomes “Tu Conga Bach,” for example; his Prelude in C Minor becomes “Clave in C Minor.”
“The world of classical music is, well, very serious. And the world of Cuban music has always been about dancing, enjoyment. It’s going to be a Cuban party, with classical, baroque and Afro-Cuban music all together.”
Tiempo Libre performs with the Houston Symphony at 8 p.m. on May 24 at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Drive. For information, call 800‑745‑3000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com. Free to $15.
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The group performs with the Houston Symphony at 8 p.m. May 25 and 26, 7:30 p.m. May 27 at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit www.houstonsymphony.org. $69 to $124.
Thu., May 24, 2012