Sue Miller – Cuban Flute Improviser, Writer & Academic

Hola Cuba! Free Concert at the University of Leeds on Friday 20 April at 6pmApril 16th, 2012

Free Cuban Music concert by students from the School of Music at The Clothworkers Centenary Hall,the University of Leeds 6pm (refreshments from 5.30pm). A Cuban Music Big Band plus a charanga line-up and son band (directed by Dr Sue Miller) perform the dance styles son, son montuno, descarga (jam session) , pachanga, danzon and chachacha. Come and listen, sing, dance and clap along to the clave beat! Music by Nico Saquito, Puntillita, Belisario Lopez, Cachao, Buena Vista Social Club, Mongo Santamaria (Our Man in Havana), Jose Fajardo and Orquesta Aragon:  Pa’ Gozar y Pa’ Bailar!

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20 April 2012 at 6pm

BARANDANGA (son montuno) c. Armando Peraza, arr. S. Miller

A son montuno big band style from our man in Havana, Mongo Santamaria

EL SON NO HA MUERTO (son) c. Israel López ‘Cachao’

Played here in a smaller son-style format featuring guitar, tres, maracas and bongos this song says that the Cuban son style has not died and is played just as well now as  it was in 1926.

LA FLAUTA DE JOSÉ (descarga) c. J. Fajardo, arr. S. Miller

A descarga or ‘jam’ style piece from one of the kings of charanga flute José Fajardo.

MARIA CRISTINA (son guaracha) c. Nico Saquito (b.1902), arr. S. Miller

This is a guaracha, a Cuban son with humorous lyrics – it tells the story of a hen-pecked husband Manuel who will do anything for love except bathe in the sea, a river or a bath – ‘Maria Cristina me quiere gobernar’ he protests…

LOLA CATULA (pachanga) c. Eduardo Davidson, arr. S. Miller

Played here in charanga format with flute, violins, piano, bass, congas, guiro, timbales and vocals, this song is about an exhibition dancer Lola who drives men wild with her pachanga dancing – que barbaridad!

LAGRIMAS NEGRAS (son) c. Miguel Matamoros (1894 – 1971) , arr. S. Miller

Miguel Matamoros is one of Cuba’s most famous composers of Son. A singer and guitarist he ran his own Trio Matamoros for many years and ‘Lagrimas Negras’ and ‘Son de la Loma’ are among his most well known works.

CANDELA (son) c. Faustino Oramas

A Buena Vista Social Club number played in son-style format featuring the school of music’s guitarists. Fautino Oramas ‘El Guayabero’ is renowned for his double-entendre lyrics: ‘Margarita que me quemo, yo quiero seguir gozando, la candela me está llevando’ (I’m burning up Margarita, I like it and can’t stop, the fire is taking me). If you think this song is about a real fire you’re missing some hidden meanings!

BODAS DE ORO (danzón-chá) c. Electo Rosell ‘Chepín’ (b.1907), arr.S. Miller

Electo Rosell, composer, bandleader and violinist, composed many danzones such as ‘Bodas de Oro’ and ‘La Reina Isabel’. There are still musicians today in Santiago de Cuba like the trumpeter Paisan Inaudis who performed in the band he founded in 1932 ‘Orquesta Chepín Chovén’.’Bodas de Oro’ (Golden Wedding) is here in danzón-chá style, based on an Orquesta Aragón recording from the 1950s which mixes the Danzón cinquillo rhythm with the later chachachá style.

QUIEREME, BESAME (son montuno) c. Antonio Castro, arr.S. Miller

This cheeky number, meaning ‘love me, kiss me,’ was originally performed in the fifties by Manuel ‘Puntillita’ Licea y Orquesta Cosmopolitan, a Cuban-style jazz band. A star in the 1950s Puntillita later sang with Buena Vista Social Club in the 1990s.

Programme Notes: Sue Miller, Leeds 2012

Biographical Note:

Dr Sue Miller is a flute player and musical director of the UK’s only charanga orchestra ‘Charanga del Norte’ which she founded in 1998. She completed her PhD in 2011 on flute improvisation in Cuban charanga performance (with a specific focus on the work of Richard Egües and Orquesta Aragón). In April 2000 and 2001 Sue studied charanga flute improvisation with Richard Egües from Orquesta Aragón in Havana and has since continued her research into Cuban flute improvisation, performing with veteran charanga musicians from the traditional charanga orquestas in Havana (Estrellas Cubanas, Charanga de Oro, Orquesta Sublime and Orquesta Barbarito Díez) and New York (Orquesta Broadway). Her book Cuban Flute Style: Interpretation and Improvisation will be published by Scarecrow Press in late 2012. She is currently visiting lecturer in music at the University of Leeds (UK).


Piano: Sam Wilson

Bass: Leo Charlton

Guitars: Holly Carter, Joe Gummerson, Thom Jones, Stephen Wilkinson

Tres: Matt Hurst

Timbales: Kerrie Smith (3,5, 6, 8) and Alex Ridge (1, 4, 9)

Congas: Brendan Bache (2,3,4,5,8), Kerrie Smith (9), Joe Rowe (7), Max Newton (1)

Bongos: Joe Rowe and Marek Tymkow

Guiro: Max Newton

Maracas: Brendan Bache, Maria Toboso

Vocals: Daisy Lewis, Maria Toboso, Martha Julian

Flute: Sue Miller

Alto Saxes: Ashleigh Forbes, Sarah Tyler

Tenor Sax: Dom Pusey

Trumpet: Will Blackstone

Trombone: Charlotte Woods

Violins: Millie Heaven, Ben Skerritt, Rupert Stone

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