The San Francisco Bay Area, California, has a lot of talented artists, many of which we have had the privilege to interview in this section to learn all kinds of details about the Latin music scene in this area of the United States. This time, we managed to have an interesting conversation with Patricio Angulo, leader and founder of the orchestra Rumbaché, who kindly answered all the questions we had.
Rumbaché is one of the most important salsa and timba bands in the Bay Area and has a varied repertoire of salsa and contemporary Cuban music that enchants any audience that hears the group perform.
The following are some of the most important issues related to this Latin band and its history.
Patricio Angulo’s beginnings in the music world
Patricio has had a long interest in music, which he developed by himself, since he did not have family musicians to encourage these activities in the little boy.
He started playing violin and trumpet, but it was not long before the young boy found he liked drums and orchestral percussion better. He also played some classical music and learned a lot about instruments used in this genre.
When he went to high school, there were several music programs from which Patricio could choose to develop this branch of art depending on his tastes and finally decided on a jazz group with which he started learning to play congas and timbales. This group wanted an extra Latin touch in their music and the boy was chosen for the role.
The musician was very inclined to Latin Jazz at the time, but then, he was listening to other Latin genres until he discovered Cuban and Caribbean Salsa, which would be very important in the musical future of the artist.
Recruiting talent for Rumbaché
For years, he group Rumbaché, previously called Quimbombó, was forming from musicians Patricio considered played well, since for him this is most important.
However, he emphasized that each orchestra has its own needs and highlighted the vocals as an example of that, as they are very necessary for dance music like the one they play. Likewise, professionalism and experience are two aspects taking into account by him when evaluating a candidate.
In another order of ideas, the musician considers that Latin roots are not a key element in playing salsa or other genres of this type very well, since there are many singers and musicians who have never had contact with Latin genres or instruments can learn to play them without any problem. It is a matter of effort and discipline.
Origin of the name Rumbaché and the Yoruba Religion
From what we have read about Rumbaché, the origin of the name and its relation with the Yoruba religion caught our attention. Rumbaché is a combination of the words ”rumba” (This word can mean ”party” and ”celebration”) and ”ache” (in the Cuyuní language, ”ache” is something very good and pleasant).
Something that Patricio wanted to clarify is that the music of his orchestra is not religious and has nothing to do with the Yoruba religion beyond some choruses and words as there are in many Cuban songs. In fact, they try to have a varied repertoire so as not to bore the audience.
Rumbaché’s activity in clubs
Rumbaché has featured heavily in festivals and renowned clubs in the San Francisco Bay Area such as Sausalito Seahorse, The Cigar Bar & Grill, Rassela’s Jazz Club, Moe’s Alley, Blue Note, among others. It is undeniable that the group has ample experience in performing in these types of venues.
That is why we took this opportunity to ask Patricio how the movement is going in these places when it comes to hiring orchestras in recent years, to which he replied that the presence of orchestras in local venues has decreased dramatically in recent years, especially after the pandemic.
Likewise, because of this same situation, there were many clubs that began to close their doors indefinitely, making it very difficult for Rumbaché to play live regularly.
Once the pandemic was relaxed, Patricio says that a few venues survived, but there were too many orchestras for the few available stages. This led them to opt for festivals, concert series and private shows.
Every night there was a pen club, but that has changed radically and Patricio and the other members of Rumbaché have had to adapt to the circumstances.
In addition to Rumbaché, Patricio also has his own entertainment company called Oye Productions, with which he is responsible for providing live music for all kinds of events. Obviously, he gives priority to Rumbaché, but he also offers the services of guitarists, trios and all sorts of musicians.
What the company seeks to focus on is providing musical entertainment for private parties such as a business meeting or something more personal such as a wedding.
He always tries to hire musicians who play all kinds of instruments and genres to perform varied shows for each event. He also seeks to look for artists he knows beforehand and who he is sure will do an excellent job.
Activities outside Rumbaché
Patricio also indicated that one of his most important occupations outside Rumbaché was teaching congas, timbales and drums. He also teaches drums to children once a week.
These activities bring happiness to the musician and he always looks for the opportunity for these youngsters he teaches to have some knowledge of Latin percussion and get to know our music much better.
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