Friday, July 10, 2009


(Caja Dura - Abi Holliday, Jose "Apache" Rivera, Papote Jimenez, Max Valdez, Barry Cox, Photo Credit: Caja Dura)

Rumba is spontaneity, it is not planned, it is not over analyzed and formalized, if it happens it happens, and if it doesn't, well you know...If the right people show up, and the mood is right then you can have a great rumba. So this is the constant ebb and flow in which the rumba exists, and if you love the art form you will have attended your share of bad rumbas, and good rumbas, such is life.

Every once in a while a group of rumberos get together and formally organize into a group with the purpose of playing together and learning from each other, a la "Ilu Aye", "Los Afortunados", "Quinto Mayor", "Los Inolvidables", "Los Rumbero All Stars, etc... If the group is composed of the right players than there is no question as to whether the rumba will be good, because you know it will.

It looks like "Caja Dura" is going to be no exception. They have been holding court at Camaradas as part of a cigar/rumba night on Tuesday's. Let's meet the members shall we?

(Abidoaye Holliday, Photo Credit: Caja Dura)

Son of the late great Ted Holliday Sr, and brother to Teddy Holliday Jr, Abi has been playing bata and percussion for quite some time now. He is considered by some as one of the best cajeros in all of the States, and has played with numerous groups such as "Los Afortunados", Totico's Anya crew, I believe he has also played with Coyude among others.

(Apache, Photo Credit: Caja Dura)

Jose "Apache" Rivera is known as one of the best craftsman of cajones and shekeres around. Those in the know, know that you can't beat an Apache cajon, and if you've heard Apache play one of his famous cajones at a bembe, than you know that the man is not only original but downright nasty at what he does. I've asked around as to how his alias came about, but no one has been able to tell me, maybe one day we'll find out.

(Nicholas "Niko" Laboy, Photo Credit: Caja Dura)

What else can I say about Nicky? You gotta ask, "what doesn't he play?". As if it wasn't enough to play various percussion instruments and styles, but how about playing them the way they were meant to be played. Well that's where Nicky comes in. Few play with as much ibiono as our man Nicky.

(Papote Jimenez, Maximo Valdez, Barry Cox, Photo Credit: Caja Dura)

Papote Jimenez is probably one of the most talented singers in NYC. He has sung with "Zon del Barrio", "Cachimba Inolvidable", among others. Papote, a son of the Loisaida has a tendency to magnetize when he is at the helm.

Maximo Valdez and Barry Cox, are two distinct people, but they have sung together for so long that it almost an injustice to speak of them separately. Following in the great tradition of duos such as Saldiguera and Virulilla, El Negro Triana and Lazaro Rizo and countless others. When it comes to harmony and downright knowledge of song, Max and Barry got it covered.

(Pete Conga Jr, Photo Credit: Caja Dura)

I met Pete, when I went to NY last year at one of Ilu Aye's gigs. He didn't sit in, but he was definitely a guy in the know. A couple of months back I put up some videos taken for Pete Sr's birthday that Nicky had on his site. I hope to hear more from him in the future.

If you are in the NYC area and have a chance to see them, don't miss out.

(Looks like the other Jose Rivera on shekere, and Tito Sandoval dancing, Photo Credit: Caja Dura)

(Caja Dura @ Camaradas, Video Credit: RobetoSuave)

(Caja Dura @ Camaradas - Flaco Navaja, Video Credit: RobetoSuave)

(Caja Dura @ Camaradas, Video Credit: RobetoSuave)


berta said...

donde y cuando tocan?

Sentimiento Manana said...


As far as I know they play every Tuesday Night @ Camaradas. Can anyone confirm.

dj I, STORM said...

Call ahead to make sure, but as far as I know it's EVERY Thursday @ CAMARADAS EL BARRIO
2241 1 Avenue
New York, NY 10029-1655
(212) 348-2703

I'm gonna roll thru tonite ;-)