Cuba Libre



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Orquestra Cuba Libre is a hot new musical group based in Cape Town, offering an authentic Afrocuban experience by showcasing both the nostalgic Cuban sound of the 1950's and the Salsa sound of the new millennium called "Timba" with a local South African twist. The bands sounds are also comprised of Afrocuban Latin Jazz as well as African rhythms.

At the heart of Cuba Libre is Cuban Percussionist, Vocalist, Composer, Arranger, Songwriter, Producer, Teacher and Musical Director; Minel Oreste “West” Melendez. Minel brings Cuban authenticity and personal experience through performances with the Buena Vista Social Club, Sonido Latino, Banda del Ejercito Oriental (Army Band Cuba), Conjunto Casino (famous vocalist - Roberto Fas) and Son del Nene.
He has ventured outside of the Salsa genre and boasts performances with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Celine Dion, Natalie Cole and Oscar De Leon amongst others. Until recently he performed with the 1997 and 2005 award-winning Cuban group - Los Jovenes Clasicos del Son.

Early in 2007 Minel started Cuba Libre with a group of local gifted musicians, handpicked from different musical and cultural backgrounds they are: Oliver Schenk (percussionist), Bokani Dyer (pianist), Nick Green (trombone), Justin Sasman (trombone), Buddy Wells (saxophonist and flute player), Orlando Venhereque (saxaphonist), Andre Webb (bass guitar), Graham Julie (guitarist), Sakhile Moleshe (vocalist) and Xixel Langa (vocalist). With a passion for Salsa music and great enthusiasm and drive Minel has created a truly Afro-Cuban sound. He has individually coached each artist to perfect the intricate and complex Salsa rhythms.

The group has an electrifying stage presence and the up tempo beats and rhythms will transport you to Cuba and for a moment you will feel as if you have experienced a truly authentic touch of Cuba.
Sakhile is one of the vocalists who adds an exciting dimension to Cuba Libre, he fuses African flavour into the sound by spinning his Xhosa and Zulu magic with the Cuban sound to create an authentic African feel.

Join us in a celebration of local and international sounds giving you a taste of Afro-Cuban salsa.

Cuba Libre is unique and guarantees to expand your mind and move your soul..


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