Tirso Duarte

I thought I'd start a new thread since the other one is about the state of timba in South America, but for those curious about Tirso, here is some stuff to get started and maybe people can add to it. I have to go to the gym soon so I will just get it started.

Tirso was educated in the Cuban music system so he is quite a virtuoso on the piano. When we changed the Timba.com site I'm afraid we lost some of the content so the more in-depth early years info, I don't remember. But here are some great articles about his piano style with audio samples. Just check out the Chopin tumbao :) You can skip the rest of my post which is some examples of Tirso at various stages of his career but really Kevin's article is fantastic and funny, as they always are, so I highly recommend it.

And for more on his piano playing again I recommend the conversations in timba article which breaks down the intro song to the Charanguero Mayor CD.

But if you don't want to get all scholarly, here is a videolog of Tirso's career: first big name band he was in was Pachito Alonso. Mid 90s
This is a fun video because we see Tirso (CH, Pupy, NG La Banda, Afro-Cuban All Stars, solo) on synth, but also the Mengual brothers (went to Charanga Habanera) on congas and bongo and Lele (Revé and now Los Van Van) on lead vocals, also Christian Alonso was already singing with his dad's band at this time. Nice stuff!!!

Next we see him with La Charanga Habanera after the post-Suspension Concert breakup sometime at the end of 1997 or beginning or 1998. David managed to put together a band with very young but amazingly talented musicians and Tirso was his collaborator on composition and arrangements. They all look like babies in this video hahaha.

This brings us back around to Michel Maza. He was the only one who stayed with David after the breakup. Tirso wrote and arranged this song El Charanguero Mayor when Charanga Forever and Charanga Habanera were struggling to establish themselves as the "real charanga", which we very amusingly (to our own minds) refer to as the "charanguerra". Tirso was pianist with CH, he later was one of the voices on the CD version after Michel left CH. You'll see that the Mengual brothers (Los Mengual as we call them) are also there and Yulién Oviedo who was 16 year old on timbales+kick. They are all very young but they are there for their talent so this is still not the "boy band" version of CH, although they really were just boys at the time.

And here is a video from 2001 in Santa Cruz which starts with a piano solo by Tirso and then conga (Orlando Mengual) and bongo (Lázaro Mengual) and timbal (Yulién Oviedo). Sorry groovetpt, for some reason the trumpet solo was clipped.

Now 2002 Tirso with Pupy but as a singer rather than pianist. Here is live a from Casa de la musica Miramar singing La Bomba Soy Yo, Pupy's version of the song originally sung by Mayito with Van Van.

Don't know the year but here with NG La Banda

As a soloist. Pedrito Martinez does a nice version of this song with his 4-person timba band ;)

Here as a soloist in Colombia. You can barely hear him because the audience sings so loud. This song Te molesta que sea feliz was one he sang with Pupy.

It's a great song BTW so here is the album version but I like the audience reaction in the video above

To summarize: If you're in the NY area you should go see him. the SOB date should finally be set today.
Thank you Michelle for this awesome thread. Tomorrow at work I will look up every link and try to put some real effort also to this topic.
Thank you Michelle for this awesome thread. Tomorrow at work I will look up every link and try to put some real effort also to this topic.
Great! It's a lot of links but he's done a lot of stuff. Geeks will definitely like Kevin's articles. He's so funny.

I never came away from a session with Duarte in anything less than a state of shock and wonderment, but perhaps my most fascinating experience was in January of 2000. Tirso was recording tumbaos which I had never heard, from a yet to be recorded album, which just happened to be "Charanguero Mayor". I kept hearing little snippets of music that sounded vaguely "classical", and in some kind of ridiculous pidgin Spanish I tried to ask him about it and he seemed to be saying that, yes, he incorporated ideas from his classical training in the process of inventing tumbaos. So, shooting in the dark, I asked him to play a classical piano piece. He played part of Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu in C#mi. I then asked him to improvise on it in a Timba style. Within 10 minutes he had worked it into a piano tumbao and added a bassline. Upon hearing it back he made up a coro and then improvised some guías (about some crazy American who paid him to play his tumbaos into a computer...I'm not sure who that would have been).
Thanks a lot for this "review" of Tirso's career and the links as well.
Was nice refreshing the memory :)

And the articles at Timba.com are just great!

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