We're back from Stockholm, and oh, the fun that was had! The whole band spent five days preparing for and performing two concerts: the Friday night was our La Salida debut (almost the full album was performed minus three songs), and on Saturday night, we were the backup band for Huey Dunbar, from DLG! It was so much fun!
And, the best part is that finally we can have a band picture of the WHOLE BAND including me! (Speaking of which, there was some professional photographer at our concert and I know he got some good shots, so I'm really hoping we can get our hands on a few...???)
Let me recount some of the highlights. First of all, the organizers were super nice. The thing was organized by the Salsa Akademien in Stockholm, but it was four main people taking care of everything, so we want to thank Chris, Vladimir, Ibi, and Marina for everything they did for us, and all the other people that helped us on the way. They were great hosts, and we were really happy to play for them.
Next, we worked with some amazing people. Pictured here on the left is Andrei, our timbalero, with Max Alton, the drummer we worked with for the Huey Dunbar concert. Max has a timba band in Sweden called La Liga and he was really awesome to play with.
We also had a great time with Junito, Huey's musical director. It was an honour to work with someone that has had so much experience in the whole scene as a producer, arranger, composer, keyboardist and director, and he was incredibly professional and pleasant to work with that it was a really great experience. The picture to the right is of the two directors (ours, Ilya, and Junito).
I don't have a picture, but we also worked with Martin Bentancourt as an opening act for both shows, and he was incredibly nice and also a really fun guy to warm up the crowd for us. He was full of energy and I personally loved jumping up and down in the crowd to his music!
And then of course there was Huey Dunbar. Although I have been a fan of his songs for years, I thought that the Saturday concert might be less fun for us because it's not our stuff and because I'm not lead singing, I'm only backup singing. But frankly, I had no idea that it was going to be so much fun and such a great experience. Huey was very nice and he had a great connection with the crowd, so it made the whole concert super fun for the entire band. Also I'd like to thank ET (Eliezer Traval), Huey's production manager, for helping us out a lot during the sound check and concert!
Ok, on to other interesting events while we were there. Apparently, at the beginning of the Huey concert, Dennis (our first trumpet) has some pretty high notes which take a lot of air out of you, and because of the way the stage was constructed and where he was on it, apparently he fell backwards off the stage, lost consciousness for a few seconds, and came back up to play!!! What a trooper...! I don't think that many people noticed because there was no "big bang" when he fell cuz the rest of the band was so loud, and at that very moment, Huey Dunbar walked out, so the attention was shifted onto him at that point. But man... that sounds nuts. (Here's a pic of Dennis learning to salsa in the dance lineup.)
Also, my brother was there and he was having a great time with the band, especially trying to learn to speak Russian, but he was having even more fun just speaking English all the time with a Russian accent. Here's a picture of Nicholas with a "Russian" look on his face (or so he thinks) and Ilya.
Also with us for the Friday concert was Olya, singing coro. She's very easy to sing with and was really helpful and fun for the trip. Actually, it's too bad we didn't get a pic of the three of us, so I'll just post a pic of me and Lesya and then Olya and Valik, our bassist.
Now all that's left to show are some video clips. I've got to get the real ones from Andrei because he had a proper camera that Nicholas actually filmed from, but we got some short clips of concerts just so you can see how it was. First, there's like a 2 second clip of the beginning of the Dislocados concert (from Miedo). Also, we have a bit longer of a video from the Huey concert. The song is A Veces Me Pregunto.
Finally, other funny moments that were had were my brother and Ilya playfighting (rolling around each other) for about 20 minutes at 3am on the floor of the dance studio, Andrei rolling a ball from nowhere onto us to get us to shut up, Arsenio being the guy that reads out metro stops, and finding out new Swedish words that sound ridiculous to me like Baste Taxikund, Hiss (elevator), Upp (means when you want to go up really badly), and Konda Hemft (the Swedish words that we made up that mean Salsa Band).
So, that was our 5-day trip to Stockholm! A lot of great memories, even more great people, and a great time in the band's journey. Let's see what's next...
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