Program Type: 
New Frequencies Fest: Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio

$10 Rush tickets at the door

November 17, 2012
YBCA Forum


YBCA’s annual music series, New Frequencies, gets a makeover this season and returns as New Frequencies Fest 2012, a two-day mini-festival of music from around the world, November 16–17. An adventurous underground music festival, New Frequencies Fest 2012 focuses on innovative women composers and non-Western musicians whose work blends a variety of influences, genres, traditions and styles. Expand your musical horizons with this year’s wide range of programming, including Women, Strings & Song, an evening of song from some of the finest contemporary American women songwriters and composers and Dafnis Prieto
Proverb Trio
, a lively celebration of Afro Cuban music and dance.

New Frequencies Fest 2012
Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio
Sat, Nov 17  •  8 pm  •  YBCA Forum
Advance tickets: $20 Regular  •  $15 teachers and seniors
$15 YBCA members and students
At the door: $25 Regular  •  $20 teachers and seniors
Rush tickets: $10 at the door, 60 minutes before showtime

"Dafnis Prieto is easily the most impressive young drummer to come on the jazz scene during the past decade."

—All About Jazz (

Join us for a lively celebration of Afro-Cuban folklore and creative jazz improvisation, featuring the inimitable sounds of the Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio. The evening opens with performances by Oakland-based Cuban drummer Sandy Perez y Su Ladé and the Ramon Ramos Alayo Dance Company, and culminates with a dance party featuring contemporary Cuban dance music by Rumbaché playing timba, son, and fresh originals.

Since making its debut at the Whitney Museum in 2009, the Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio, led by 2011 MacArthur Fellow Dafnis Prieto, has deepened its rapport and honed its sound on concert tours in the US and Europe. The entirely improvised interactions of Prieto’s virtuosic and dynamic drumming, Kokayi's rapid-fire rapping and soulful singing, and Jason Lindner's harmonic sophistication and daring sound explorations yield exhilarating results. Creating advanced compositional structures on the spot, the band makes music that is full of deep grooves and surprises and takes a different, explosive shape every night, but always with the Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio’s distinct personality and engaging spirit.

Under the leadership of percussionist Patricio Angulo, Rumbaché is the voice of youth for San Francisco's salsa scene, and ignites enthusiasm in dancers and musical connoisseurs alike. For this occasion, the renowned and beloved Cuban Bay Area sonero, Fito Reynoso, will be featured as a special guest vocalist.

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  • Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio
    Nov 17, 2012 7:00pm

    Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio (Jason Lindner, Dafnis Prieto, Kokayi)
    Ramon Alayo Dance Co & Sandy Perez y Su Lade
    & Post show dance party with Rumbaché + Fito Reynoso

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Related Programs

November 16, 2012 - 8:00pm
YBCA Forum

Women, Strings & Song is an evening of song from some of the finest contemporary American women songwriters and composers, including cellist Marika Hughes, bassist Lisa Mezzacappa; and vocal and string quartet, the Parkington Sisters.

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Curator Statement

This evening’s programming is centered on the talented multifaceted percussionist and composer Dafnis Prieto, showcasing his sound explorations, on-the-spot music improvisation, versatility, and creativity as a bandleader, composer, and instigator. Since his arrival to New York from Cuba in 1999, Dafnis has become a major force as a jazz musician on the world stage. Most recently, since forming The Proverb Trio he has furthered widened his rhythmic vocabulary by working with the soulful rapper/MC & vocalist Kokayi, and the stupendous, funky keyboardist Jason Lindner. Both Lindner and Kokayi have been deeply drenched in hip hop, funk, Afro-punk, electro-soul, and jazz. Both men have inspired Dafnis into new dimensions, furthering his exploration into Afro-American music, and expanding his own contemporary and distinct voice rooted in the Afro-Cuban rhythmic language... while soaring to new heights in the experimentation and deconstruction of traditional music into his own distinct voice through his main instrument, the trap drums.

The evening will also feature some of the most important Afro-Cuban artists based in the San Francisco Bay Area to both open and close the evening. They include celebrated dancer/choreographer Ramon Ramos Alayo with the esteemed Afro-Cuban master percussionist Sandy Perez y Su Ladé who opens the evening with a folkloric ensemble of percussionists, vocalists, and dancers. Following the show, there’s a dance party, featuring the great vocalist Fito Reynoso who joins the popular SF dance band Rumbaché to sing a variety of styles from the contemporary Cuban timba sound to the classic son and cha-cha-cha. The forum will be transformed into a nightclub atmosphere with a bar and a dance floor. It’s my hope to help set the stage for a spontaneous “descarga” (jam) between all artists and audience… a SF/NY descarga, and a thrilling night of music and dance!

Isabel Yrigoyen
Music curator
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Artist Bio


Dafnis Prieto, drummer, composer, and educator, is the recipient of a 2011 MacArthur Fellowship (the “genius grant”). He has electrified audiences with his dazzling technical abilities and rhythmically adventurous and groundbreaking compositions. A classically trained musician who absorbed from an early age the multifaceted percussive traditions of his native Cuba, Prieto transposes elements from his Afro-Cuban musical heritage onto a jazz drum kit, incorporating congas, timbales, and the layered rhythmic patterns of rumba and son. Whether performing as a solo artist, bandleader, or sideman, his playing is characterized by a finely calibrated command of textures and nuances and an ability to execute highly complex, polyrhythmic structures with extraordinary speed and precision.

As a composer, Prieto melds modern jazz harmonies, Cuban clave rhythms, other Latin and African influences, and funk-inspired arrangements to create works of great stylistic diversity that evoke a broad spectrum of moods. His 2006 recording, Absolute Quintet, showcases both his powerful and propulsive playing as well as his interest in composing for a nonstandard ensemble of organ, cello, violin, saxophone, and drums. The morphing rhythms and time signatures of Taking the Soul for a Walk (2008) further demonstrate Prieto's compositional reach and graceful way of slowing down or speeding up a given tempo. Through these and other recordings, his leadership of numerous ensembles, and additional projects involving dance, film, and opera, he is expanding Latin jazz with a bold new energy and sound.

Prieto obtained a thorough classical education as a young student at the School of Fine Arts in Santa Clara and later at the National School of Music in Havana, all the while broadening his knowledge of jazz, Afro-Cuban, and world music outside of the academy.

He first toured Europe with pianists Carlos Maza and Ramon Valle and the groundbreaking group “Columna B.” After moving to New York in 1999, he quickly became the drummer of choice for many prominent artists such as Henry Threadgill, Steve Coleman, Eddie Palmieri, Chico and Arturo O'Farrill, Dave Samuels & The Caribbean Jazz Project, Jane Bunnett, D.D. Jackson, Edward Simon, Michel Camilo, Chucho Valdés, Claudia Acuña, Roy Hargrove, Don Byron, and Andrew Hill, among others. As a bandleader of his own and as a sideman, Prieto has performed at many venues and festivals throughout the United States and around the world.

He has created compositions for dance, film, chamber ensembles, opera, and most notably for his own bands, ranging from duets to a “small big band,” including the distinctively different groups featured on four albums released to date: About The Monks, Absolute Quintet, Taking The Soul for a Walk, and Si o Si Quartet Live at Jazz Standard, all on Prieto’s own label, Dafnison Music, which he launched in 2007. The spontaneous improvisations of his most recent band, the Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio, with vocalist Kokayi and keyboardist Jason Lindner, will be featured on Dafnison Music’s next release in the spring of 2012.

Besides the MacArthur Fellowship, he has also received new works commissions, grants, and fellowships from Chamber Music America, Jazz at Lincoln Center, East Carolina University, and Meet the Composer. Various awards include “Up & Coming Musician of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association in 2006, a Grammy Award Nomination for ”Absolute Quintet” as Best Latin Jazz Album, and a Latin Grammy Nomination for “Best New Artist” in 2007. Also a gifted educator, Prieto has conducted numerous master classes, clinics, and workshops. Since 2005, he has served as an adjunct instructor in the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions at New York University.
(includes text by the MacArthur Foundation — used with permission)

Based in Washington, DC, Kokayi is a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, emcee and producer whose prolific output keeps him busy on multiple fronts — as one half of the electro-hop duo “Dastardly” (with DJ/Producer Sharkey), with his Afropunk outfit “The Caesarz”, with Dafnis Prieto’s freely improvising Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio, and as a collaborator of his mentor, saxophonist Steve Coleman. His songs have appeared in Kevin Hart’s Laugh At My Painand I Ain't Scared of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac. His latest instrumental album, Pacific Coast Highway, is receiving rave reviews as is his last album, Robots & Dinosaurs, which received a 93/100 from the tastemakers at Okayplayer, while his video for the lead single “RoxTar” won “The Freshmen” contest for MTVU. He has produced music for such promising artists as Stalley, Tabi Bonney, N.W.L (Deacon the Villain & Sheisty Khrist), Ethiopian songstress Wayna (for which he garnered the aforementioned Grammy nomination), and “Moonlight Rendezvous” for the songstress that spent 7 weeks on Billboard’s Top 10 R&B/Hip Hop Singles & 100 Hot Singles Sales charts, peaking at #3 and #12 respectively. He created the theme to BET’s “How I’m Living”, various commercials for MTV/ Nickelodeon.

Hailed as a "musical universe" by Chick Corea, Jason Lindner first gained acclaim for his long-running Big Band, whose raw energy earned the band a release on Corea's label Stretch Records. Lindner has served as musical director for Lauryn Hill and Claudia Acuña and has collaborated with Meshell Ndegeocello, who produced his recent release Jason Lindner Gives You Now vs. Now. The Brooklyn-native came up in the hip-hop era, studied classical piano in his youth and learned to play jazz from musical elders Barry Harris and Chris Anderson. Further musical exploration, including extensive research of so-called "world music" — especially that from the Latin Americas and the Middle East — and electronica, coupled with his arranging experience, led to collaborations with renowned international artists like bassist Avishai Cohen, Croatian superstar Oliver Dragojavich, and now with the New York Gypsy All Stars. The New York Times does its best to sum up his eclectic musical voice: "Rhythm provides more than a heartbeat for the pianist Jason Lindner. It also seems to fuel his respiratory functions and digestive activity, and maybe his neurons. What matters to him is groove, however it comes."


Ramón Ramos Alayo is a dancer, teacher, choreographer and the founder and artistic director of the Alayo Dance Company and CubaCaribe. Ramos was selected by the Cuban government to study dance in Santiago de Cuba at age eleven. In 1990 he earned a masters degree in contemporary and folkloric dance and dance education from the Havana's National School of Art. He was the principal dancer with Danza del Caribe, Narciso Medina Contemporary Dance Company and performed in Cuba, Europe, Canada, Belize and the U.S. Since moving to California in 1997, he has performed with some of the most respected choreographers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Robert Henry Johnson, Kim Epifano, Sara Shelton Mann, Joanna Haigood/Zaccho Dance and Robert Moses' Kin. Ramon currently teaches Cuban popular dance, Afro-Cuban modern dance and children's movement at several local dance studios and schools, and is artistic director of Alayo Dance Company and CubaCaribe.

In 2002, Ramos founded the Alayo Dance Company. As director and choreographer, his work is an innovative fusion of Afro-Cuban modern, folkloric and popular Cuban dance. He eloquently articulates his aesthetic vision through a synthesis of these dance styles, citing from each traditions, movements, narratives and concepts indicative of Cuban culture. 2003 Ramos co-founded and became artistic director of CubaCaribe, a non-profit with the mission to preserve and promote the rich cultural and artistic traditions of the Carribbean and its diaspora. Alayo Dance Company is the resident company of CubaCaribe.

Ramos has choreographed and produced ten full-length dance performances: Añoranza de Una Epoca (1999); Mis Sueños, Mis Ideas (2003, 2004); A Piece of White Cloth (2004, 2005); La Madre (2005); After Rain (2006); Three Threes & Traces (2007); Blood+Sugar (2008); Bound Together (2009), Migrations (2010) and Grief (2011). Alayo Dance Company was featured in "Dance Across America," published in National Geographic Magazine (2006).

Ramos has received support for his work from San Francisco Arts Commission, Theater Bay Area, Alliance for California Traditional Arts, California Arts Council, Zellerbach Family Foundation, LEF Foundation, Walter and Elise Haas Fund and the prestigious Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation's "Emerging Choreographer Award". Ramos was recently awarded the San Francisco Arts Commission's Operational Project Grant for the Fifth Annual CubaCaribe Festival (2009). Ramos was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award nominee for the ensemble performance of Los Guedes, performed at CubaCaribe Festival (2006) and is a winner of a Bay Guardian Goldie (2010).


Ramon "Sandy" Garcia Perez, a masterful Afro-Cuban percussionist and former principal drummer with Grupo Afro-Cuba de Matanzas, is recognized the world over for his expertise as an innovative percussionist and meticulous technical drum instructor. Though his talent is rooted in Afro-Cuban religious, folkloric, and popular rhythmic traditions, Sandy's open-minded approach to music enables him to play within a wide arena of various music genres including: Afro-Cuban Folkloric, Latin Jazz, Salsa, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Timba, Son, Rock, World, and much more. Sandy's level of expertise has afforded him the privilege of performing, recording, and touring with a diverse pool of artists including: Chuchito Valdés, Steve Coleman, John Santos, Yosvany Terry, Jesus Diaz, Rebeca Mauleon, the late Francisco Aguabella, Omar Sosa, the late Anga Diaz, Giovanni Hildalgo, and many more.

Currently, Sandy is the director of his own ensemble, Sandy Perez y Su Ladé. In addition, to being a performer, director, and educator, Sandy Perez is a sought after consultant because of his extensive knowledge of Afro-Cuban folkloric history. Sandy performs and teaches both locally and nationally. He now resides in the Bay Area.


Rumbaché has established themselves as one of the hottest Bay Area Salsa Bands. Fusing salsa, timba, bomba, funk and whatever else they can find to spice up the mood, they provide a hard hitting style of playing. And while you can hear them interpreting the classic and contemporary Cuban and Salsa repertoire, they are not shy with their own expression, as evidenced by their hit debut CD Llegó La Fiesta, released in April of 2011. Rumbaché is the voice of youth for San Francisco's Salsa scene, and ignites enthusiasm in dancers and musical connoisseurs alike.

With a renewed commitment to public performance in 2012, Rumbaché has led a rigorous schedule of performance throughout the Bay Area, including festivals (San Jose Jazz Festival, SF Jazz Summer Series, Benbow Summer Arts & Music Festival, Salsa Rueda Festival, San Francisco) and club dates (Sausalito Seahorse, The Cigar Bar & Grill, Montero's, Shattuck Down-Low, Roccapulco etc.).
Rumbaché features Omar Ledezma (Vocals), Monica Fimbrez (Vocals), Patricio Angulo (Congas, Musical Director), Colin Douglas (Traps with Timbal), Ed Morrison (Trumpet), Darren Smith (Baritone Sax, Coro), Evan Francis (Tenor Sax, Coro), Jason Moen (Piano), and Raul Perales (bass).

Fito Reynoso — featured special guest vocalist with Rumbaché
An accomplished singer-songwriter. At a very young age, Fito began playing tres and bass in the streets of Candelaria, in the province of Pinar Del Rio. He joined Orquesta Gloria de Cuba at the age of 12.

A proud Marielito, he came to the United States in 1980 and soon began impacting the thriving Bay Area Latin Music scene. Fito Reinoso has made the Bay Area his home and is the premier Cuban-born sonero performing in the Bay Area. His sound includes a variety of styles, from timba to the most recent urban Havana grooves, to the classic son and cha-cha-cha, all with a voice reminiscent of the late and beloved legendary Cuban singer Beny More. His dynamic personality and showmanship have led him to collaborate with some of the top musicians residing in Cuba and the United States.

Fito was nominated for the Grammy for his work with Patato Valdez and has played with Cuban legends such as Francisco Aguabella, Armando Peraza, Carlos Israel Lopez Cachao and Chuchito Valdés among many others. Fito's band, Ritmo y Armonia primarily plays the original music composed by Fito and inspired by contemporary Cuban rhythms. The orchestra also plays more traditional Cuban genres such as son-montuno, cha-cha-cha, and bolero, always with a sound that is authentic. Fito Reinoso y su Ritmo y Armonia have performed at a number of Bay Area renowned nightclubs and festivals including Yoshi's, The San Francisco Jazz Festival, and The San Jose Jazz Festival.


 From YBCA Curator Marc Bamuthi Joseph on Twitter:

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YBCA's programs are made possible in part by:
Abundance Foundation
Koret Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
Lam Research

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is grateful to the City of San Francisco for its ongoing support.

YBCA Performance 12-13 is made possible in part by:
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Additional Funding for YBCA Performance 12-13:
Zellerbach Family Foundation
Panta Rhea Foundation
New England Foundation for the Arts
and Members of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts