A split second after the Septeto Nacional Ignacio Pineiro de Cuba were introduced to the audience in the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, the walls of the concert hall began to shake and the floorboards started to dance as the seven-member band went into Afro-Cuban beat overdrive.
The rumbas, boleros and guarachas exploded from the stage, lighting up the audience, who reacted with huge smiles, head bobs, foot taps and spontaneous dancing in their seats – and occasionally in the aisles, too.
A seemingly endless supply of infectious and up-tempo Latin rhythms were created by the Grammy-nominated ensemble, featuring the fourth-generation of Cuba’s finest instrumentalists and soneros (singers).
Straddling the fine line between sophistication and the people’s music straight from the streets of Havana, the Septeto Nacional Ignacio Pineiro de Cuba has been around since 1927 and playing continuously through dictatorial regimes, Castro’s revolution and everything else in Cuban history right up to last Sunday’s fiery performance in Troy.
Although the Buena Vista Social Club may have opened the world-wide doors of acceptance and interest in the beauty of traditional Cuban music as performed by an older generation of music masters, it’s the Septeto Nacional Ignacio Pineiro de Cuba that’s the “other” real deal, delivering every authentic Afro-Cuban rhythm and beat with a smile and instrumental wonder.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk