Peggy Sue Dunigan

Ricardo Lemvo, Grooving the Rumba with Latino Arts

By - Mar 8th, 2011 04:00 am
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Ricardo Lemvo.

The audience and your reporter rumba’d in the aisles at the United Community Center. Literally. The Afro-Cuban rhythms of Ricardo Lemvo and Makino Loca featured at last Friday’s Latino Arts school matinee at the United Community Center.

Lemvo and his band, known for their passionate concerts, encouraged the kids and adults in attendance to dance from their chairs or leave them. The audience took the cue and remained in continual motion.

The eight-piece band epitomizes cultural diversity through their music and each member’s nationality. American, African, Cuban and Spanish heritage were all represented, to name only a few represented in this exciting entourage. Lemvo’s music brought them all together when he founded his band in 1990. Since then, they have released multiple top selling CD’s throughout the world. All the recordings feature his original compositions, lyrics and melodies, which the band sings in five languages.

Friday, most songs were in Spanish, although understanding the meaning was inconsequential next to experiencing the joyous harmonies and vocals resounding through the auditorium. While the band beat on the congas or blew on the trombone, the serendipitous combination of brass, guitar, percussion and piano lifted the audience to blissful heights. Only a few remained seated for the hour-long concert.

Besides lead vocalist Ricardo Lemvo, Makina Loca’s members include MofongoGiraldo (Trumpet, Vocals), John Roberts (trombone, vocals), Cuco Martinez (congas, vocals), Serge Kasimoff (piano, keyboard), Dante Pascuzzo (bass), Bimwela Nseko (guitar) and Kiko Cornejo (drums, timbales). The eclectic ensemble played intensely for 45 minutes before an instrumental with soft congas, bongos and maracas slowed the pace. Even Montana-born John Roberts took his turn at the microphone with a rousing Western Cowboy tune before Lemvo called for a YI-AY-AY. The young audience responded wholeheartedly by shouting throughout the auditorium in delight.

Latino Arts, Inc. graciously invites these renowned artists from around the world to enrich Milwaukee’s entertainment and music culture. Dancing in the aisles (or somewhere else, to Lemvo’s recordings) may be the perfect antidote to the gray days of a Wisconsin March.

Latino Arts, Inc., also opened an art show Friday: ”Tasting Cultures: The Arts of Latino Foodways” through July 21. The next Latino Arts show is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 20. It’s  “The Cooking Show con Karimi & Comrades,” a comedy and musical performance.

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