If you are in the camp of those who are staying home for the sake of health and safety, you are probably also appreciating the work that musicians and other artists are offering us virtually.
Azúcar Band is a group of three musicians who figured out how to do virtual concerts even before COVID-19. They have been streaming since 2012 and by now have camera angles, song requests, and video dial-ins under control.
Azúcar Band’s members come from different parts of the world. It’s unlikely that they would have ever met under other circumstances, but their common love for Latin music managed to unite them.
Ashoka Deva, the band’s director, is from India. From a country that one doesn’t usually associate with Latin music, after watching the movie Salsa The Motion Picture, he felt moved to learn to Salsa dance. He was pretty good at it, apparently, as he won first prize in a Sabado Gigante dance contest and reached semi-finals in a competition at Club Mayan. After that, he decided to formally study the ins-and-outs of the music that captured his heart. He was soon accepted into the Afro-Latin Music graduate program at CSU Los Angeles, and once graduated, he formed his own band.
Edith S. Jiménez is the main singer for the group. As a child growing up in Mexico, she remembers the vinyls of Celia Cruz and La Sonora Matancera that her parents would listen to. Without realizing it, they inculcated in her a deep love for tropical music. These days, singing with the Azúcar Band brings her great joy and a never ending learning outlet.
The third member of the band, Gustavo Ramirez, was born in Havana, Cuba, to a musical family. His father founded Orquesta America and had the opportunity to play with great ones of our music genre, including Benny Moré. Gustavo attended a respected music conservatory in Cuba and enjoyed his own professional growth working with the likes of NG La Banda. It was his life journey to end up in Los Angeles so that he can now be part of Azúcar Band.
Ashoka, Edith, and Gustavo, as Azúcar Band, perform virtually every Saturday from 9 pm to 11 pm, through their Facebook page. They are hoping you will join them!
A larger version of Azúcar Band is available for special events, such as weddings, birthdays, and more. Below is more information.