Septeto Nacional | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | International | Chicago Reader

Septeto Nacional All Ages Soundboard

When: Sun., April 10, 7 p.m. 2011

Like any ghost band, Havana institution Septeto Nacional exists largely for nostalgic reasons. It's still around to preserve son—Cuba's classic sound—as it was developed by the group's founder, bassist, and composer, the late Ignacio Piñeiro. The band was called Sexteto Nacional upon its founding in 1927, but then Piñeiro recruited trumpeter Lazaro Herrera—a move that modernized its sound, gave it extra melodic and improvisational muscle, and helped make the septet format (bass, two percussionists, acoustic guitar, tres, vocalist, and trumpet) the default in son for several decades. Septeto Nacional's show in Chicago a couple years ago, one of its first stateside gigs since 1933, was an early symptom of a thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations, and the ensemble is returning to town with a terrific new album, Sin Rumba No Hay Son! (World Village). Sturdy originals complement the classic cuts, and singer Eugenio Rodriguez has the soulful style and power to keep the music lively despite its throwback sound. —Peter Margasak

Price: $22, $20 members, $18 seniors and children

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