Concert society serves up hot salsa

PORT HARDY-JUNO nominee Adonis Puentes and his band to perform Afro-Cuban roots, salsa and timba tunes Saturday at Civic Centre

PORT HARDY—The North Island Concert Society is nearing the midpoint of its 14th season of bringing high-quality music acts to the area. But Saturday’s show at the Civic Centre will be the first of its kind.

Cuban-born Adonis Puentes will bring a six-piece band for a vigorous evening of Afro-Cuban roots, salsa and timba music evoking the rhythms of his birthplace.

“This would be a first,” longtime NICS executive Malcolm Fleeton said of Puentes’s world beat sound. “There have been quite a few people in town I’ve talked to who said, ‘I’m going to come and see this.'”

The concert, the second in the 2011-12 concert season, starts at 7:30 p.m.

Puentes is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, singer and bandleader known for his showmanship and tight, original musical arrangements.

The sound is heavily percussive, with bongos, congas and timbals all helping drive a beat behind horn, piano, bass and Puentes’s smooth vocals.

“It’ll get your toes tappin’, for sure,” said Brian Hicks, current NICS president. “I caught him when he performed with his father and brother at the Tidemark (Theatre, in Campbell River), probably 12 years ago. Bringing an element like that, his world music, really expands our diversity.”

Puentes was born into a musical family and began learning at an early age from his father Valentin, a guitarist and music teacher. He and his twin brother, who performs as Alex Cuba, first played in Canada in 1995, at the age of 21, in a band that included Valentin.

Three years later, Puentes returned to Canada to stay, and currently lives on the West Coast.

He and his brother earned instant acclaim — and a Juno nomination — with their first recording, 2001’s Morumba Cubana. That effort earned the duo a West Coast Music Award and a Canadian Independent Music Award.

In 2005, Puentes recorded his first solo CD, Vida, which brought radio play across Canada. The video for the hit Commerciante reached Much More Music’s Top 5, and the album earned Puentes Island Music Awards for Artist of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year.

North Island audiences have periodically been treated to new songs by NICS performers in recent years, and that may well be the case again Saturday as Puentes is reportedly in the process of putting together his second solo CD.

Tickets for the concert are $25 and are available in advance in Port Hardy at The Hobby Nook, Port Hardy Museum and Cafe Guido, in Port McNeill at the Flower Shoppe, and in Port Alice by calling Gail Neely at 250-284-3927.

The concert society is also offering its last-chance upgrade to a season ticket, which would be good for the final four shows of the final season.

“With the special price, it’s the equivalent of getting one free show,” Hicks said of the season pass.

 

For more information, visit www.niconcert.ca.