The Habano Gala : Edesio Alejandro’s Upcoming Surprise


The Cuban musician –anyone eager to come up with something marked by original sounds put his name on a list- is the musical director of the celebration of the world’s finest tobacco, together with maestro Miguel Patterson, someone Edesio sees as “a great musician and friend,” as well as with Santiago Alfonso, who will hold the show’s artistic strings.

“Though we come a long way back, I’ve never had the chance of working with them,” Edesio says, enthused with the “terrific team” under the helm of director general Gorka Esteban.

And he trumpets the night’s opener will feature an occasional duet: 2013 National Music Award winner Adriano Rodriguez –who’s just turned 90- and young singer and songwriter Cristian Alejandro, who’s 24 years old.

“They’ll perform a marvelous version of Bola de Nieve’s song entitled Si me pudieras querer. We decided the show to open that way because the idea is to bring together two generations –the old and the new, the olden and the modern. We all believe this duet entails what we actually want to put across.”

Based on that contrast of ages and styles, the show runs through different musical epochs, from the 1950s to date. 

“We have the tremendous opportunity of producing music from all times in a single night, classic and smash hits from Cuban music and the world together as one.

“My band and the orchestra of Cuban Radio & Television will merge, under Patterson’s conduction, to play background for several artists, including Maylu, who’s going to croon such anthological themes as Quizás Quizás, Killin’ me Softly –in a version I arranged with Julio Montoro for him to sing in a trio with Geidy Chapman and Cristian Alejandro, and then the three of them will join larger-than-life performer Bobby Carcasses in an occasional quartet, just to belt out a potpourri in which Pacho Alonso’s Pilon beats and Pello el Afrokan’s Mozambique rhythm.

“Working with Bobby –who’s going to sing in his peculiar fashion a version of the fantastic Bembé doble written by Miguel Patterson- is like a dream come true, and so it is my chance to make a duet with Maylu in a piece I wrote together with Gladys Knight, the wonderful soul music diva, back in 1998. That song is a mixture of cha-cha and soul that became a blockbuster in 2005, staying on the U.S. radio top-50 hit chart for ten months and made all the way up to No. 3. It’s entitled Vacilón Feeling Good, and I just love the version we’re working on now.

A one-and-only singer, Orly Salomon, will be performing classics from several musicals, like Cabaret and Les Misérables, and conducting a show together with Julio Acanda and Migdalia Hechevarria, who will also sing classic boleros.

Cuban Radio and TV’s choir, directed by Liagne Reyna, will come up with a potpourri of Cuban music from all times, while Paulo FG and Yaima Saenz will perform a version of Pablo Milanes’ legendary song Para vivir.

Edesio underscores his accompaniment in two other songs with vocal quintet A Otro Tiempo because, “they perform like other quintet has ever done in this country, and I think we’re going to hear a lot from them in coming years.”



“A bolero I wrote for a movie by Harvey Keitel and Gael Garcia Bernal, and that eventually became a blockbuster sung by Adriano Rodriguez, will now be crooned by Cristian Alejandro and the Cuban Radio & TV orchestra in a version arranged by maestro Patterson.

“I’m also going to sing, like I’ve done it over the past two decades with Adriano Rodriguez and my band, the songs Maria and Blen Blen that were smash hits in Europe, with each selling over 600,000 copies and entering in heavy rotation on the MTV charts. I’ve also invited Juan Kemel, the director of La Barriada, to join my band that night as the excellent composer, trumpeter and singer he is.”

The night’s closer will be no less Alalae, a song written by Alejandro a few years ago –it’s a blend of Santiago de Cuba conga and house music- which will be performed by all the artists on stage.

“The enormous versatility of this show has given me the possibility of relying on some of my themes in a variety of styles,” says the ever-surprising musician on a pledge to make this gala an awesome show to remember.