Mac Writt
Jazz in the Park

Questions for Nabori

The salsa band, performing June 5, was inspired by the classic bands of the 1970s.

By - Jun 3rd, 2014 05:30 pm
Nabori. Photo courtesy of East Town.

Nabori. Photo courtesy of East Town.

Robert Figueroa, 52, lead vocalist and composer of Nabori, was happy to discuss his band’s music and his life as a musician. The salsa band will be the first featured performers on June 5 at Milwaukee’s annual Jazz in the Park concert series at Cathedral Square.

Describe your style of music?

Nabori is a Salsa band, specializing in authentic and classic salsa music. We are inspired by salsa bands from the classic 1970’s salsa explosion, including but not limited to Bobby Valentin, El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico and Willie Rosario.

How did your band’s name originate?

Nabori is a word of Taino origin. The word refers to the working class Taino Indian. The Tainos were one of the native tribes of the Caribbean.

How did your band start playing together?

The band started in Milwaukee. The majority of the musicians at that time had grown up together in Milwaukee or played together in local bands. Now, about half of the band members are from Chicago and have been referred to us by other musicians.

How is performing salsa music different from other genres?

I have played in jazz-fusion bands and loved it. I was an original member of the Milwaukee band The Toys and had great fun. However, salsa music is beyond compare and has great cultural significance to me.

What do you hope the audience gets out of watching you perform?

We hope they have a great time, whether they dance or just sit and listen. We want the audience to remember us because they had a great time.

What is your favorite song that you perform?

Much like asking a parent which child is his/her favorite…it is very difficult if not impossible to answer since I am the composer of all the Nabori music. I love them all!

What is your musical background?

I have been a working musician for a very long time. Some of the band members are teachers of their particular instruments; some of us have been trained by family members and friends who have come before us. Salsa is part of my cultural heritage. And coming from a family of musicians it was a natural progression. For most of the musicians in the band, salsa is something that has been passed on to us by our older family members, so most of us started listening to this music at a very young age.

How do you balance your music with other obligations like spouses, children, and jobs?

It is a great sacrifice. We all love the music and we are doing our part to preserve it. Our families and employers are extremely supportive.

Where are you performing after Milwaukee’s Jazz in the Park?

Sunday, June 8 at Chicago’s Navy Pier…however, fans can see our complete schedule at

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