Peggy Gaustad went to Cuba in 2009 to research Cuban folk art and maybe find a band to invite to the following year’s Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.
“We were looking for a group that plays the traditional musical form ‘son,’ typical of the Cuban countryside,” Gaustad said.
She had gone to the island nation with fellow folk art market directors Charlene Cerny and Judy Espinar.
“At one point, Judy asked me how will we go about finding a group. I said that music is everywhere in Cuba and in terms of finding the right group, when I hear it, I’ll know it.”
One day, they were taken to lunch at La Bodeguita del Medio, which is still famous for having been one of Ernest Hemingway’s Havana hangouts.
The band TradiSon was playing there in what Gaustad said were “their infectious energy, lively rhythms and beautiful harmonies.” And it was playing son, a fusion of Afro-Cuban rhythms and Spanish melodies.
The three women agreed that TradiSon, La Bodeguita’s house band for many years, filled the bill for the 2010 market.
The band is returning to Santa Fe and to Albuquerque this weekend, playing at the International Folk Art Market today and Saturday, July 13. It also is in concert Sunday, July 14 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
“The son is the primary form of traditional Cuban music,” Miguel Delgado, who plays the tres in the band. The tres is a type of guitar. “But we also incorporate boleros and cha cha cha and elements of today’s music.”
Some of the songs in TradiSon’s repertoire go back to the early 20th century, such as “Pico y Palo” and “Chan Chan,” the latter of which the Buena Vista Social Club revived.
Delgado said some of the band’s musicians have performed in Europe; but as a band, TradiSon has only toured outside of Cuba in the United States and Mexico.