CECILIA NOEL @ THE MINT
(with Special guests: Los Pinguos @ 11pm)
SATURDAY, OCT 15th @ 8pm sharp start
make dinner reservations (...where?)
6010 West Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90035-2625
(323) 954-9400 www.themintla.com
COLIN HAY& HIS BAND
Tour 2011 Colin Hay Vocals / Guitar
Cecilia Noel Harmony Vocals
Alan Okuye Keys
Kaveh Rastegar Bass
Sean Woolstenhulme Guitar
Charlie Paxson Drums TOUR DATES>>>
April 2011, Review of Byron Bay BluesFest
For petite Peruvian powerhouse and Queen of Salsoul, Cecilia Noel, reverence is probably overrated. The pint-sized Latin singer and her 11-piece band are heating up the Jambalaya tent with a provocative mix of salsa, mambo and jazz. I’m not sure how Men At Work frontman Colin Hay feels about his wife prowling under the lights, flirting with the audience and shaking her booty all over the stage – but the crowd are absolutely loving it
Much of what she says in English is filled with innuendo, so one can only imagine what the Spanish component of the show would translate to; she explains that one song is about a man who left her in Havana for another girl – who looked like a monkey, and as for the Sugar Dance, well, the choreography didn’t leave a huge amount to the imagination… + info
Conducting the recording sessions of the famous CACHAO, with Andy Garcia (producing) www.youtube.com
July Worldbeat News! Jul 2010
As always it is a full calender of exceptional worldbeat this month. Read on for news and dates on Cuban timba sensation Los Van Van, stunning flamenco ensemble Bandaluzia, the first ever Jewish music festival Shir Madness, the inimitable Queen of Salsoul Cecilia Noel, and featured artist, the spiritual visionary Shye Ben-Tzur with his sublime release Shoshan. We have tickets and CDs to give away so read on and be the first to email us for your worldbeat treat!
Get ready for three days and nights of
Latin magic at Darling Harbour Fiesta!
Strap on your salsa shoes and head to Darling Harbour this October long weekend for Australia’s hottest Latin American festival – FIESTA!
Presented by Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Fiesta stands out as the most vibrant and exciting FREE cultural event of the year with 70 red-hot live performances of the best Latin bands and dance groups on three outdoor stages throughout Darling Harbour.
High-energy Latin American bands, sexy salsa and tango experts, captivating Brazilian Carnivale girls, sultry flamenco dancers, traditional cultural performances and mesmerizing capoeira masters will perform over three dazzling days and nights.
Headlining the festival are highly acclaimed international artists Cecilia Noel (Peru), DiegoGuerrero (Spain) and JJ Son Con Idabelia (Cuba) who will perform FREE at Fiesta.
The very best of Australia’s Latin, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and Spanish bands and dancers will feature throughout the festival including Mucho Mambo, Son Veneno, Ole Ola, Gonzalo Porta, Sonidos, Escape, Brazilian Fantasy, Merenia Gilles, Richard Valdez, The Keko Factor and Urumbe!
See the hottest celebrity dancers live on stage at the Fiesta Dance Spectacular! World salsa champions Luda Kroitor and Oliver Pinneda, tango champions Fabio Robles and Ana Andre, and other sensational dancers from Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance fame will also strut their stuff.
Transform yourself from spectator to dance sensation with FREE salsa and Zumba classes, then try out your new moves on one of Fiesta’s three outdoor dance floors!
For the first time ever, Fiesta will feature a dazzling Rio-Carnivale style Giant Puppet and Samba Parade everyday through Darling Harbour. Designed by acclaimed Sydney-based Brazilian designer Carlos Gomes, the giant puppets will be built in collaboration with local Brazilian community participants and will be a real highlight of Fiesta!
Fiesta kicks off at 6.30pm on Friday 1 October with Fiesta Nights at the Harbourside Amphitheatre and continues on Saturday and Sunday evenings with some of the finest talent in Latin music and dance performing live. Don’t miss the spectacular fireworks display at 7:30pm on Sunday night! Adding spice to Fiesta will be a delicious range of Latin American and Spanish food stalls at Tumbalong Park offering a variety of culinary treats such as traditional paella, tacos and enchiladas – and don’t miss the Latin American art and craft stalls along the Urban Stream. Get ready to feel the rhythm and discover the passion of Australia’s largest Latin American festival!
The packaging of her album cover shouts 'party!', which is, roughly, how its title, 'A Gozar!', translates. The art and design, like the music, is sensual, intensely colourful, exotic and explosive. Like streamers. To say nothing of Cecilia herself. It's hard not to judge a disc by its cover when the artist plays up so naughtily, exploiting her womanly wiles, teasingly seductive in, or out of, her black satin negligee. It's all done with a wicked sense of humour: she revamps American Beauty, submerged, naked, in a bath full of unidentified red fruit. She makes the showbiz look so easy, too. It's not just her looks, but the fact she was a television star at eight.
Once one gets past these diverting distractions, there is a wealth of substance to match the style. In both departments, it must be said, the professionalism is knockout, especially considering the rather more limited budgets of an independent release: everything looks and sounds like a million bucks. And of all the musos that should turn up in the credits, who else, but our own, enduring, Colin Hay. But wait a second! Isn't clever Col partnered with a Latino lady? I seem to recall that from an Enough Rope interview. Could this be her? Indeed it is and, since, he's a strapping Scot, I think it only prudent I curb references to his wife's allure from here on in. Suffice to say I think it deeply romantic each should contribute backing vocals to each other's albums. What's uncanny is they sing in a strikingly similar register. Perhaps this is the basis of their affinity.
'A Gozar!' opens with Latin standard, El Cumbanchero, which exemplifies her trademark 'salsoul' elixir, embracing soul, jazz, funk, disco, hip-hop and boogaloo (or, if you prefer, bugalu, shing-a-ling, or Latin R 'n' B), as well as Afro-Cuban. Everything but the kitchen sink; though, again, there's plenty of the boudoir in it. Hers is a very new, very now interpretation of a tune, trust me, you'll recognise. It was written by one of last century's finest and most important composers of popular music, a man who's been called the Cole Porter of Puerto Rico; Rafael Hernandez Marin. He's such a local hero Aguadilla airport is named after him. Ironically, it was one of this hitmaker's least favoured 'children', even if JFK once greeted him, at the White House, as Mr Cumbanchero. Cecilia sexes it up, to create something boisterous, brassy and sonically brilliant. It's as full-on and furious as a gulf hurricane, but in a good way. Baptists beware: listening to this track and, indeed, the entire album, likeindulging in sex, may lead to dancing.
Cecilia's been hailed as the Latin Tina Turner. No wonder. She smokes. Ouch! If you're old enough to remember '50s renditions of Cumbanchero, from the likes of Tito Puente, Desi Arnaz, Xavier Cugat, Ismael Rivera and Celia Cruz, nostalgia will be overwhelmed by the fresh, zingy spice and unbridled, rekindled, supercharged energy of Noel's mustardy cut which, by some rare feat of musical magic, manages to eke a funky, retro disco feel out of a pronounced jazz sensibility, peppered with what amounts to a little Latin rap. It sizzles. And yet, at the same time, it's imbued with a cosy warmth: electric piano adds butter to the sass, softening it to a sophisticated, velvety smoothness, counterpointed by a menacing rumble of burbling bass. A chorus of 'ooh!'s and 'hah!'s punctuate and punch through the cacophonous percussion. No mean feat: reinventing a renowned, adored classic. It probably commends Noel for a bravery medal, given the clear-and-present danger of falling flat on your gracias.
Not even the blast-furnace chutzpah can disguise the nuanced musicianship, arrangements, production and engineering clear-and-present on the album, however. Five backup vocalists (including Noel & Hay, who's easily discernible) make for a tower of over-the-top vocal power. Underneath, there's Jeff Babko's stridently chordal, Cubano pianoforte. Behind and below are Bernie Dresel's drums and Carlitos del Puerto's bass. All-in-all, it's a respendent rhythm section that forms the nucleus of Noel's touring and recording band, The Wild Clams (no comment). Augmenting this trio are percussionists, Michito Sanchez, Ricky Rodriguez and Jimmy Branly, shaking & banging it. To focus on but one of this colossal crew, Babko's rep precedes him: well-known and respected for innovative fusions and solo projects, he's also shown himself to be sought after by and invaluable to everyone from James Taylor to Sheryl Crow. Noel, perhaps through possessing it herself, seems to relate to this exceptional versatility: another member of her troupe is Juan Pablo Fallucca, who's elsewhere distinguished himself singing, programming, producing, mixing, engineering, mastering and more and who takes on numerous of those tasks on the disc under discussion. After Noel's own heart, I imagine, is erstwhile actor, Ijeoma Njaka, another featured vocalist, who you might well-know form CSI. And Charissa Nielsen, an in-demand session singer, who's also carved quite a name as a pop composer. Elvis Costello doppelganger Dresel, meanwhile, crosses jazz-rock borders effortlessly: when he isn't playing with Patti Austin, Brian Wilson, or Van Dyke Parks, he's venturing out on his own, playing, composing & recording with his Big Phat Band. Carlitos del Puerto, at just 30-odd, is already regarded as one of the greatest acoustic bassists of his generation, but is just as adept when he plugs in. Guitarist Carmen Grillo has written for the likes of Chicago and played for Boz Scaggs, Michelle Shocked, Rita Coolidge, Donna Summer, Huey Lewis & Smokey Robinson. And Cecilia Noel. Then there's the indispensible brass and reed section, comprising Eric Jorgensen (not to be confused with the seminal Danish furniture designer) on 'bone, Lee Thornburg and Mario Gonzalez, trumpets, Vince Denham on tenor and Cleto Escobedo III, alto. Geoff Gillette is at the desk and contributes as much to the polished finished result as all the above.
Now, bear in mind I'm only describing the lineup for the first track; there are yet other talents who pop up left, right and centre. I could go on, almost ad infinitum. But at least you can begin to get your head around the flavour and calibre we're talking about. Seventeen first-rate musicians, for one cut. Whoa! Take Jorgensen. He's about the bravest 'bonist you'll ever encounter. He ran away to join the circus. He's been known to interpolate that music in solos. Out there. Denham can take any mood and make it swing; he's recorded with Michael McDonald for more years than most anyone probably cares to remember. III has been fronting Cleto and The Cletones, for Jimmy Kimmel Live, on American ABC-TV, since 2003. Thornburg used to be a Supertramp. Gonzalez (not to be confused with the Mexican boxer, as that could really hurt) has been Sheila E's MD.
You don't even have to be Spanish (even if it helps), to enjoy the syllabic bounce, alliterative voluptuousness and onomatopeia of the lyric. Don't try translating this, at home, or anywhere else: it means next to nothing in English.
A cumba, cumba, cumba
a bongo, bongo, bongo,
que va sonando el
bongosero que se va,
bongosero que se va.
Cecilia writes, too. What could possibly follow El Cumbanchero? Everybody's Mambo, penned with Grammy-winning Bunny Hull (not to be confused with the bawdy British comedian). If only everybody was mambo, instead of wacko. Methinks it the hip-swivelling panacea for any affliction. As you might expect, percussion, brass and, well, arse get a full-on workout on this track, that trumpets CN's tremendous talent. And the band sounds scintillating, exuding enough energy to return as if recorded live. There are trills and thrills, not to mention the pitter-patter of percussive thingamebobs. It pares all the way back to vocal exclamations, handclaps, congas, bells and whistles to reveal its roots, then reverts to blasts of sinewy horns; Babko's skeletal chords the scaffolding on which the rest is built.
One infectious, danceworthy tune follows another. La Culebra, entwined with Cocinando Suave, at once enchants and bedevils with its saucy syncopations and carefree Spanglish inflections. It even comes with sage bushwalking advice. 'Jump back now! Watch out for the snake that will bite on your feet.' And listen out for the heroic, swirling, twirling, whirling, snake-charming sax breaks.
With the shortest possible blackouts 'tween tracks, you'll have no time to catch your breath or cool your Cuban heels. The momentum flags not, as the the Clams launch straight into the equally upbeat La Cumbita, their collective clout ensuring they punch consistently and unrelentingly at world heavyweight champion level. The vocal arrangement brings to mind a bountiful basket of tropical fruit, loaded way above its licenced carrying capacity, balanced precariously atop Carmen Miranda's gleaming white smile and dangerous dark eyes.
Asi Se Compone Un Son again showcases the superlative robustness of the ensemble; swinging hard, tightly attuned to each other, so every sting and switchback is negotiated with slick precision; brass soaring to Dizzy Gillespian heights, signing off with a tricky trombonal treat and featuring Babko's most excellent excursions, to the evocative accompaniments of guiro, cowbell and the clatter of congas.
The album seems to move, progressively, into increasingly romantic territory, perhaps because, as the night wears on, you'll desire to hold your sweet carita closer and tighter. Or at least your El Toro tequila. The atmosphere is all scuffed dancefloors, empty supersize cervezas and raven-haired senoritas, at least in my mind's eye, by the time we hit Living On The Run (A La Carrera), that opens with explicit, unapologetic jazz-infused vamp from Babko, who seems to be a prime mover in bringing sophistication and distinctive, epicurean ingredients to the recipe. Grillo's vibrato guitar and the vaudevillian megaphonic background vocal are intriguing.
Candela's intro has an almost classical flavour, but slides into that characteristic close-quarters hip-sway of unmistakably Hispanic origin.
Tu Condena lays back a little, with space for Grillo's comes-natural jazzrock licks, funky-ass fills by Dresel and more of Noel's inventive Lat-hop stylings.
The shape of a long night, or life, at the Spanish Club does seem to be traced out over the course of the recording: if you make it to Bolero de Salon without the mescaline worm turning on you, you'll likely be damping down the crispy corners of your empanada with large, languid, perfectly-formed teardrops. Romantic in a poetic, pained way so accentuated Anglo-Saxons are utterly out of their emotional depth, it couldn't and shouldn't really be attempted in a lingua franca other than in which it was written.
Fortunately, Carlito's Rey will rescue you from your morose descent, with a relaxed rhythm cunningly conceived to coax you out of your self-indulgent stupor. For aficionados, perhaps nothing will be more surprising than the breathily staccato interpolation of accordion.
The African roots of the music come to the fore with Pronto Salsa, the penultimate cut. Saxes cut a swathe, while a lonely trumpet shouts to the heavens; trombone rasps and rants in response; then round again, a classy, brassy conversation. There's plenty of elbow-room for Dresel to exfoliate his skins, too, with funky jazz-rock finesse. It r-r-rocks and, especially, r-r-rolls, the rhythm served easy-over; everything slips and slides so easily into place; it's like playing nude, well-oiled musical Twister. Or something.
Babko references Gershwin to preface Cecilia's pseudo-live intro, 'welcome to my show!', which segues into the extended mix of Everybody's Mambo. Everybody's wacko. But only if they don't get down and purchase a copy of 'A Gozar!'. Come to think of it, it should be on the PBS free list for sufferers of anxiety, depression, hypertension, boredom and a host of other twenty-first century pandemics. Now there's a policy initiative that could rescue the Rudder. Maybe I'm pink batty, or mambo, or bongo, or something, but the shortfall could be sponsored by the ReSPecT.
Seriously though, when it's over, you'll probably feel like you've had the night of your life, even if it's the middle of the morning and another basket of ironing beckons. Happy, happy, joy, joy! Cecilia Noel has been your willing, worldly, warmly companionable guide on this soulful journey. And you can take off again, anytime. Even Monday can be Mardi Gras.
One gets the sense noone can push this lady around, musically or otherwise. She's studied voice, violin and piano, in Argentina & Germany, so she obviously knows what she's talking about and is all the better-equipped to slip, as she has, so effortlessly and effectively, into the producer's chair. This is, in fact, her third album, and the experience shows. She's not only well-and-truly capable of pushing studio buttons, but ours as well. You'll find yourself on your feet, swinging your hips, shaking your booty, going with the flow. Salsoul might be a crass, clumsy, gimmicky name for it, but Cecilia Noel has invented something singular, all her own, by borrowing, mingling, hybridizing and genetically modifying known genres. Genius is her sexiest attribute.
If you want to party, to fiesta, to live it up, to get down, to show off, to shake it and to do what comes naturally, 'A Gozar!' is your kind of record. Like the sultry climate across Latin America, it's hot, hot, hot! Conquistadorable :)
Brad Syke, Diaspora.com.au”
Review "L A WEEK " April 9th 2010
And CeciliaNoel&theWildClams are at Harvelle’s in Santa Monica on Thursday. Maybe you’ve heard her excellent A gozar! We finally caught her at Harvelle’s one night and immediately dug the sounds, a jazzed up and way funky rocking salsa fusion thing with some great arrangements. The nine piece band—seemingly handpicked Baked Potato regulars—was James Brown tight, with EricJorgensen fronting the brass and BernieDresel behind the drums. There was great soloing on the horns, a wailing guitar, even some extended piano. But it was all about Cecilia, and man, she was nuts. Think Tina Turner meets Celia Cruz…and then some. Quite the singer and dancer and entertainer, she’s funny and fearless and gorgeous and can do the most amazing things with a trombone solo. Wild. Catch her while she’s still playing the little joints. But don’t take Mom.
Radio National are doing a profile on Cecila next Monday
abc radio national b/fast AOTW starting 27/7
This woman hails from Peru, where her career started as an eight year old TV star. In her teens she studies voice, violin and piano in Argentina and Germany. She then moved to the States to find fame
and fortune in NYC, but the lure of the Latin scene of the West Coast found her in Los Angeles. This is her debut in Australia, but her third album overall. Cecilia Noel combines elements of salsa, jazz, funk and Afro-Cuban music to form what she calls "Salsoul". It is up, infectious and may well bring on Spring a little early this year. www.abc.net.au