The Cimarron Project is an ensemble dedicated to showcasing the diversity of Afro-Cuban music and dance in its most traditional form. Under the direction of Cuban master drummer Roman Díaz, the project’s repertoire includes rumba, son, pilón, changüí, and other deeper forms representing the three pillars of Afro-Cuban music: Yoruba, Kongo and Carabali by way of the Cuban Tres Guitar, the Bongó de Changüí, Violin, Saxophone, Flute and varied pop and folkloric percussion instruments like the Batá drums. The knowledge of this music and its traditions in the capable hands of these musicians make for a captivating experience on the dance floor as well as insightful workshops and lecture demonstrations.
Roman Diaz (Musical Director, Percussion and Vocals)
Master percussionist, scholar and composer Román Díaz is regarding as a “living repository” of Afro Cuban music. Having performed and recorded with the likes of Merceditas Valdes, Raices Profundas, Los Marqueses de Atares, Jane Bunett, Juan Carlos Formell, Orlando “Puntilla” Rios, Paquito D’Rivera, Oriente Lopez, and Giovanni Hidalgo. As a member of the seminal rumba ensemble Yoruba Andabo, he aided in the creation of the sound that has defined rumba since the 1980’s in Cuba and all around the world. The evolution of Guarapachangeo incorporating Bata and the once archaic cajón into modern rumba is the legacy of the late Pancho Quinto (founder of Yoruba Andabo). It is piously carried on by Román Díaz. As a producer, he has brought together some of the finest interpreters of Rumba from the island as documented on the CD, Wemilere.
Román Díaz left Cuba in 1999 to come to New York City. Since then he has been featured alongside Orlando “Puntilla” Rios in the critically acclaimed documentary Calle 54, and in ‘Dame La Mano’ the film that documents the life and times of Union City’s Esquina Habanera, the Grammy-nominated rumba ensemble Raíces Habanera and their followers. His mastery of Batá is present on countless recordings along with his rock solid groove on congas. He has always been sought after for his artistic sensibility, charisma and signature sound.
Román Díaz is a scholar of Afro Cuban traditions as well. In Cuba, he taught at the Escuela Nacional de Instructores de Arte (the Cuban National Academy for Arts Instructors). He has traveled around the world teaching master classes on Afro Cuban percussion and lately has dedicated himself to lecturing on the topic of the clandestine Abakuá society brought to Cuba from Calabar, West Africa (Southeast Nigeria) duringthe time of the slave trade.
Román is one of those unique musical visionaries capable of steering the evolution of this art form far into the future because of his command of the genre and the sensibility with which he tells a story.
Onel Mulet (Sax and Flute)
Producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Onel Mulet has performed with a roster of legendary artists including the late Santos Colon, the late Pete "El Conde" Rodriguez and Celia Cruz as well as internationally renowned artists The Fania All Stars, Albita Rodriguez, Chaka Khan, Pedro Martinez, Arturo Sandoval, Javon Jackson, Malena Burke, Juan Carlos Formell as well as the notable Cuban troubadour Pedro Luis Ferrer and multiple Grammy nominee David Oquendo . More recently he has performed and recorded with Juan Pablo Torres, Andy Gonzalez, Bobby Sanabria, Harry Allen, Romero Lubambo, Oriente Lopez, Portinho, Chocolate Armenteros, Cedinho Texeira and Afro-Cuban percussion legends Candido Camero, Carlos "Patato" Valdez, Francisco Aguabella and Roman Diaz.
Since his arrival in New York in 2002 the Miami native was awarded a residency at the Clemente Soto Velez cultural center in New York’s Lower East Side, showcasing his original works. He has served as musical director for tributes honoring Miriam Makeba, Odetta, Abbey Lincoln and Nina Simone at Lincoln Center Outdoors, BAM Café and the Schomburg Center, all the while adding his voice to the ever-evolving New York music scene and amassing a body of work as a genre bending film and TV composer. Onel has scored a string of award-winning films including "The Old Man and Hemingway" directed by Hugo Perez, “Julieta y Ramon”(SHO) and “Betty La Flaca”(HBO). Onel’s music can also be heard on the film “Summer Sun Winter Moon” on PBS. His clients include Seton Hall University, The Ad Club of New York, Macmillan Publishers, Regent Release Films, and The Working Families Party. Since 2006 he has served as producer and creative director for Habana|Harlem® and continues to lead The Afro Cuban Jazz Saxtet and the vanguard Afro-Cuban group Cimarron.
Yunior Terry (Violin and Bass)
Regarded as one of New York City's most sought after bass players, Yunior Terry is recognized for his big sound, versatility and contagious rhythm. As the youngest son of one of Cuba’s most gifted musical families “Los Terry’s”, Yunior followed the tradition and began his musical training at age seven, graduating in 1994 from the prestigious National School of Art (ENA) in Havana with a double major in violin and bass. Soon after graduation he joined the National Philharmonic Orchestra, performing works of European and Cuban composers at Havana’s National Theater. In 1998 Mr. Terry moved to California to attend The California Institute of Arts where he received his B.A. with honors in 2002. It was at CalArts where he continued to expand his musical horizon under the tutelage of Charlie Haden, Derek Oles (Poland), Rajeev Taranath (India) and Alfred Ladzekpo (Ghana) by exposing him to a wide variety of music and traditions from around the world. In 2009, Yunior Terry won the Van Lier Fellowships, awarded each year by Meet The Composer to active professionals, supporting the creation of new musical work and engagement in the community.
Yunior Terry has performed with Steve Coleman, Jerry Gonzales and Fort Apache, Lila Downs, Jeff Tain Watts, Eddie Palmieri, The late Hilton Ruiz, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Steve Turre, Dave Valentin, Jane Bunnett and his brother Yosvany Terry among many others. In addition to his occupied schedule as a sidemen, Terry leads his own band “Son de Altura” created to innovate as well as to preserve the legacy of Cuban music.
Yuniel Jimenez (Cuban Tres and Vocals)
Sings and writes with the ease of someone born in San Diego Del Valle, a small town just thirty kilometers from Santa Clara, province of Villa Clara, Cuba. El Rincon Campesino was the stage where he debuted at the age of four singing his first decima and where he inherited the rural legacy that even todayare found in his compositions. In 2003 he graduated from the Escuela Nacional de Arte (ENA) with a specialization in Cuban Tres and became part of the group backing renowned Cuban singer songwriter, Liuba Maria Hevias, where he discovered troubadour music with classical elements and country timbres.
In 2004 he decided to move to Barcelona (Spain), where he came into contact with a universe of new sounds and styles that influenced his way of composing, becoming something more than a chronicler, a little more open, without neglecting the Creole influence.
In Barcelona he collaborated with songwriters like Spanish troubadours Javier Ruibal Kiko Pi dela Serra, Javier Muguruza, in addition to Cuban troubadours in Spain like Carlos Lage, Karel Garcia and Mane Ferret. After four years of venturing through Iberia, he moved to New York City where she currently lives, and where he has played with musicians like Luisito Quintero, Yunior Terry, Marvin Diz and Chocolate Armenteros.
Mauricio Herrera (Percussion) was born in Cuba and performed there with top groups such as Manolito Simonet, Paulo FG and Su Elite, Manolín el Médico de la Salsa, Pachito Alonso, Sus Kini Kini, La Barriada and Héctor Valentín. In 2001 he traveled to Mexico City where he recorded and performed with Amaury Gutiérrez, David Torrens and Domingo Quiñonez, among others. Herrera moved to New York City in 2005 to fulfill a longtime passion for developing a career in Jazz, and quickly integrated into the NYC Jazz and Latin music communities. Since then he has performed, recorded and toured with many top musicians including Yerba Buena, Son de Madre, Yosvany Terry Afro-Cuban Roots, Osmany Paredes Quartet, Oriente Lopez Group, Mark Weinstein, Grupo Ibboru, Bryan Lynch, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Minino Band, Ileana Santamaría, La Bola, Obbini Tumbao, Michelle Rosewoman and Candido Camero.
Stevie Insua ( Vocalist/Dancer)
Stevie Insua was born in Havana, Cuba where he learned the fundamentals in Afro–Cuban music and dance from his father, the legendary Felix “Pupy” Insua.With this strong foundation he went to the National School of Ballet in Cuba where he began his studies in 1985 and graduated in 1989 while still attending the prestigious National School of the Arts(ENA) until 1995, this time graduating to the world stage as a member of The National Folkloric Dance Company of Cuba touring internationally as a member until 1997. That same year he moved to Florence, Italy to found the Scuola de Baile Rumbeando in 1999 where Stevie taught classes in Afro-Cuban folkloric dance. Specifically Yoruba, Kongo, and Rumba, as well as Mambo, Cha Cha Cha and Salsa. As an international performer Stevie has been travelling to NY to dance since 2005. Now a resident of NY as of January he teaches at the Alvin Ailey School of dance as well as the Piel Canel dance studio and the Rod Rodgers school of dance. He continues to enthrall audiences with his talents and as a member of Cimarron Stevie gets to indulge dual talents and passions through music and dance.
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