(Danny Maldonado, Camilo Molina, JBlak, Photo Credit: Harold Martinez)
Without question Ilu Aye is one of the NY Folkloric music Scene's most important groups. Not only are they playing Afro Caribbean music of the highest caliber, but the group has been fertile ground for other young new talents (besides the mainstays). Those that make up the roster of Ilu Aye belong to an extended family of percussionists, dancers, historians, artisans, photographers, videographers, designers (graphic, etc...), singers, that all share and co-exist among each other. Your almost guaranteed to see members of Ilu Aye playing with Alma Moyo, and vice versa, much in the same way you wouldn't be surprised to see Julia Gutierrez (LP21) dancing at a gig in which Ilu Aye is playing.
I posed the question to Jonathan Troncoso, and this is what he had to say about the beginnings of Ilu Aye (03'):
"The first members of "La Yuma" were me, Nicky (Nicky Laboy), Bembe (Osvaldo Lora), Papote (Papote Jimenez, member of Cachimba Inolvidable), David Gomez (timbalero and batalero extraordinaire), Ramin (Ramin Quintana, currently in Tampa and playing with Rene Lopez II) and Oba (Obanilu Allende), but --- tried to change the name to "Tambu Ire" and we had a big argument and because of the argument we asked our muertos, "What was going to be the name?" And we started putting in names like "Ilu Ire", and the muerto said no, then we asked what about "Ilu Ara Aye" and the muerto said no, and then we asked about "Ilu Aye" and the muerto said yes with flying colors..." (JBlak, 09)When you look at the how the group started probably not one of the members were over 30, and many probably weren't even over 25 if that. If you are in NY area, and Ilu Aye is playing, you need to catch them. More info to come...
...Jonathan just sent me some more info to clarify, just in case my post was misleading in any way.