On Friday night, 92YTribeca and trovador Roberto Poveda hosted a celebration in honor of the birth of Cuban writer and patriot José Martí. Dubbed Guateke Cubano - which translates roughly as "Cuban Celebration" - the showcase featured singer/songwriter Alex Fernandez-Fox, the modern funk/rock/son group Delexilio, and Latin jazz greats David Oquendo y Habana Tres.
The musical journey began with Fernandez-Fox’s Cuban-inspired folk music, with harmonized vocals and tres over subtle Latin beats. Noting that “great poetry and great art is universal,” Fernandez-Fox filled the room with a warmth that lasted throughout the night. The lively “El Niño Tiene Clave,” based on the notion that Cuban children "are born with a Rumba heartbeat," left the crowd energized and asking for more.
With Delexilio, more is exactly what we received. The rock-inspired group burst onstage with their eclectic, funk-inspired Latin rhythms over bi-lingual, oft-rapped lyrics, demonstrating their diverse influences. The group also has a keen sense of their Cuban-American heritage as demonstrated in “Fiesta En Las Calles De Miami,” which included a Miami Sound Machine tease as the outro.
Rounding out the night was David Oquendo y Habana Tres, substituting the traditional Cuban horn section with saxophone and flute, bringing a different dimension to the music. Bright tunes backed by Bossa rhythms brought smiles to everyone’s faces and, at times, even had us dancing in the aisles. The journey complete, we had made our way from Havana back to the streets of New York.