"Vivencias en Clave Cubana" is the debut solo album of Cuban cuatro master Kiki Valera, a member of the Familia Valera Miranda, a century-old group and one of the most important purveyors of the Son Cubana. While completely dedicated to the performance of traditional Cuban music, Valera was exposed to Pat Metheny, Wes Montgomery and Chick Corea through cassette tapes while in school and those jazz inspirations elevate the quality of his cuatro solos in subtle and beautiful ways. Joined here by childhood friend, reknowned Cuban vocalist Coco Freeman, Valera and his exciting ensemble pair 12 original songs with beautiful instrumental work in ways that will make you dance, laugh, and possibly shed a tear. Cuba's traditional music has a history of constant evolution from its very beginnings. With "Vivencias en Clave Cubana," Kiki Valera continues in that spirit.
Beyond Salsa Piano is a history and anthology of the role of the piano in the Cuban rhythm section – from its first appearance to the present. In a broader sense, it’s a study of the tumbao – the art of creating music from layers of repeating rhythmic and melodic phrases. Whether these syncopated figures are called tumbaos, guajeos, montunos, riffs or vamps, this Afro-Cuban concept lies at the heart of nearly every popular music genre from salsa to rock , funk, R&B, hiphop and jazz.

While presented as a set of method books, the series doubles as a history course and record collecting guide for listeners, dancers, and players of instruments other than the piano.

Perhaps the most important goal of the series is to provide a comprehensive understanding of how tumbaos are constructed, their central role in the texture of Latin music of all eras, and the endless possibilities they provide for creative composing and arranging.

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Large Retail Stores Gain Larger Control of the Music Market

February 14, 2006

By Latin Pulse Music

As of November 2004, Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy stores have gained control of a larger percentage of the music market. Chain stores still control half the music market but these three companies have sold $1.3 billion more CDs than they did in 1996. Now they capture one-third of the market.*

mass market
discounters 26%
chain stores
independent stores
internet and other

[up $1.3B]

[down $330M]

[down $120M]

[up $29.8M]
Wal-Mart, Target,
Best Buy 34.9%
Tower, Sam Goody
Local Retailers
Amazon, download sites
*source: SoundScan, B=billion, M=million

An average Wal-Mart carries about 5,000 titles. This means that if you want to be categorized as a major commercial success your label better have that Wal-Mart account. Don't count on the chain stores or independent outlets to 'even the playing field' and neutralize the force of these large discount stores. There is only one sector of the market that can change this -download music sites.

**We ran across this article (source rollingstone.com - issue 960) which is now 2 years old. Funny how it's still incredibly relevant.

  • User_testimonials 
  • There is a history of musical innovations being forged on the island of Cuba before finally breaking out into the wider world and making their mark on music at large. Books like those by Rebeca Mauleón have enabled more of us to participate in that process. Now, ten years after Rebeca’s last book, Kevin Moore has produced a unique and outstanding set of works which make the last twenty years of Cuban music accessible to anyone who cares to learn to play it. It remains to be seen whether the rest of the world is now ready for an injection of Cuban timba.
    - Keith Johnson, England