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Sue Miller – Cuban Flute Improviser, Writer & Academic

Content tagged with: performance

Charanga del Norte Gig 10 June at the Wardrobe Leeds

Leeds/UK salsa/Cuban/Latin music pioneer DJ and promoter Lubi Jovanovic celebrates 40 years working in music this year (1982-2022). He’s throwing a few special parties in Leeds to celebrate this landmark including a big live Cuban/salsa/Latin jazz event at The Wardrobe on Friday 10th June. The venue has been the centre of Lubi’s live Latin music shows for over 2 decades now, ever since he brought his legendary ’90s night Casa Latina here in 1999. This gig will also be in the fringe program for inaugural Leeds Jazz Festival which is happening across the city from 1st-12th June.

There are two bands playing. One he has worked with since 1999 (Charanga Del Norte) and one which is a brand new band of musicians studying at Leeds Conservatoire today (Rumberos De Palo). A hot night of Cuban music and rhythms, New York pachanga sounds and smoking Latin jazz. Definitely the live Latin music show of the summer in Leeds.

A musico-choreographic analysis of a Cuban dance routine: a performance-informed approach

The research is based on the analysis of a live performance on Cuban television of ‘Los Problemas de Atilana’ by Orquesta Aragón in the early 1960s, where musical gestures are shown to be embodied in the flute and dance solo ‘duet’ performed by Cuban flautist Richard Egües and dancer Rafael Bacallao, revealing the shared memories of a community bound by common cultural experience. Interdisciplinary in nature, analysis is undertaken by a musician-scholar, a film scholar-practitioner and a professional Cuban dancer-animator in order to unearth details of this embodied repertoire, thus translating and making overt culturally implicit knowledge for those outside of the artistic community of practice, and, in some cases, within it.

A Musico-Choreographic Analysis of a Cuban Dance Routine – Animation Demonstrations

This practice research by Prof. Sue Miller, Guillermo Davis and Dr Sarah Bowen is based on the analysis of a live performance on Cuban television of ‘Los Problemas de Atilana’ by Orquesta Aragón in the early 1960s, where musical gestures are shown to be embodied in the flute and dance solo ‘duet’ performed by Cuban flautist Richard Egües and dancer Rafael Bacallao. Through re-performance and re-presentation in the form of a recording and short animations, the many meanings embodied in the original performance are examined through analytical text, musical notation, visuals, recordings and animation film. The article will be published soon in the British Forum for Ethnomusicology Journal and below are some of the animations made to go with this article. Animations are by Cuban dancer-animator Guillermo Davis and the music is recorded by Sue Miller (flute) and her band Charanga del Norte.

British Academy Turning Points: Are older music technologies better at capturing ‘liveness’ in recordings? by Dr Sue Miller

Have contemporary technological changes in recording and the search for perfection been to the detriment of musical skills? Do today’s digital approaches create recordings that are too mechanical and lacking in the human touch? While older unedited recordings maintain their ‘liveness’ in the case of many Latin recordings of the mid-20th century, is it possible to go back to those days, now that digital layering and editing are part of the creative process? What is lost by removing the ‘imperfections’ of live performance in the mix?

The Musicians’ Perspectives

In this post musicians from Charanga del Norte reflect on their recording experiences on this British Academy funded project which involved studio recordings with some live takes (for the rhythm section and then the string section) and then the live takes at All Hallows Church, Hyde Park, Leeds at the end of 2019. In these reflections, musicians talk about the pros and cons of live take recording and about capturing that all important element of spontaneity and sabor essential to Cuban/Latin dance music performance.

Charanga del Norte LIVE Recording ‘Bronx Pachanga’

This is the first of several live music documentaries of Sue Miller and her Charanga del Norte made by Tim Blackwell and recorded on ribbon microphones by Paul Thompson and Barkley McKay. This forms part of a research project funded by the British Academy. Here is a live take of Sue’s arrangement of ‘Bronx Pachanga’ with a cheeky little Watusi middle.

British Academy Recording Project

The sounds of New York to be re-created in Leeds Beckett music studios
A new research project – bringing to life the practice and history of mid-20th century New York-based Latin music – has launched at Leeds Beckett.
Dr Sue Miller and Dr Paul Thompson, Readers in Music in the School of Film, Music & Performing Arts, are investigating the original recording studio techniques and performance aesthetics of this traditional style of dance music.

Charanga del Norte Live

Here are some photos of Charanga del Norte performing live this summer. Photography by Simon Bartle.    

Charanga del Norte Gig 28 July Lawrence Batley Theatre

Book Tickets   To celebrate their 20th anniversary Charanga del Norte return to the Lawrence Batley Theatre on Sunday 28 July at 7pm Featuring an exciting line-up which includes the cream of the crop from the UK salsa scene: pianist Kim Burton (Sonido de Londres); bass player Ruth Bitelli (Candela); singer Guillermo Monroy (Merengada), and percussionist Andy […]

Experiments in Cuban Music, Dance and Animation June 6th 2019 Lawrence Batley Theatre 6.30pm

Cuban dancer-turned-animator Guillermo Davis, Dr Sarah Bowen (Head of Animation, northern Film School) and Dr Sue Miller, director of Charanga del Norte and Reader in Music at Leeds Beckett University discuss and present their collaborative projects in music, dance and animation film with screenings of animation shorts featuring music by Charanga del Norte (who will be performing live at Lawrence Batley Theatre on Sunday 28 July).

Films with music by Charanga del Norte include a world premier of Cyrilo’s Dance from the work in progress Atilana alongside the animation Charanga Time made to celebrate the band’s 20th anniversary in 2019. Other films by Guillermo Davis to be shown include The Little Rose Shoes based on a Cuban poem for children by Jose Marti and Grandad Go and Get the Bread!, an animation short about an old man who shuffles out to dance on Carnival day. Another film short When You Can Hear the River is an animation based on a devastating flood in Guillermo’s home town of Guantanamo.