Latin Music Event In Japan Includes Cuban Ensembles and Dancers


Aug. 30–Smooth grooves will take the spotlight at a Latin music festival in Tokyo this weekend, which brings three popular Latin American acts to Japan for the Animate! event.

One such act is Havana D’Primera, a 14-member salsa-music band led by Alexander Abreu, one of the top trumpet players in the Latin and jazz music scenes. With a long history of collaborating with famous salsa artists, Abreu formed the ensemble in 2009.

According to Animate! organizer Tiempo, Havana D’Primera’s debut album, “Haciendo Historia” (“Making History”), took the salsa world by storm when it was released in 2011. It contrasts aggressive and soothing sounds, while boldly infusing elements from various types of Cuban music, including rumba and son.

Santiago Herrera, the president of the Fukuoka-based nonprofit organization Tiempo, which promotes Latin American culture in Japan, praised Abreu, who is not just the Cuban band’s trumpet player, but also acts as vocalist and chief songwriter.

“The lyrics he writes are very much related to the social situation of Cuba and everyday life in the country,” Herrera says.

Also appearing at Animate! will be Eddy-K, a Miami-based Cuban artist who mixes reggaeton, rap, hip-hop and Cuban music.

“We want to provide fresh, modern music (at Animate!),” Herrera says. “Eddy-K has that sensibility and is attracting a number of young listeners.”

The festival will also feature Paula Lima, one of Brazil’s top vocalists. Lima’s popularity has risen since her 2001 debut in Brazil, with CD sales of her 2006 album “Sinceramente” (“Sincerely”) selling out within a month, according to Tiempo. Today Lima is a diva of Brazilian R&B and club music, and is gaining popularity in the British club scene.

And of course, what would a Latin music festival be without dancing? There are several dancers, from here and abroad, that will set the pace — let’s hope the crowd will join in.

Latin Music Festival “Animate!” takes place at Zepp DiverCity in Koto-ku, Tokyo, on Aug. 31. The show starts at 5:30 p.m. Tickets cost Y7,500 for standing, Y8,500 for seats, and Y5,500 for students. For more informations and reservations, visit


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