The Northampton Arts Council works to support and nurture the arts in the city of Northampton. The Council awards grants twice each year to artists and arts groups from both state and locally-raised funds, and seeks to improve public awareness of the arts. Its' goals include maintaining and preserving the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Northampton, programming such annual events of interest to the community as First Night Northampton and Transperformance.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares presents: Román Díaz Rumba Ensemble

WHAT: Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares presents: Román Díaz Rumba Ensemble
WHEN: Sunday, June 13th, at 6:00pm at Valley View Farm
WHERE: 16 Walpole Rd, Haydenville, MA 01039

Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares concludes its 9th season with a performance by the Román Díaz Rumba Ensemble: Román Díaz – percussion, voice; Sandy Perez – percussion, voice; Vanessa Ayaba Irawo – voice, percussion; Rafael Monteagudo – percussion, voice; Onel Mulet – sax, flute, percussion, voice; Abraham Rodriguez – voice, percussion; Clemente Medina – voice.

The concert takes place on Sunday, June 13th, at 6:00pm at Valley View Farm: 16 Walpole Rd, Haydenville, MA 01039. Tickets are $15 and available at

Doors open at 4:30pm. Limited indoor seating. Bring lawn chairs and blankets. No outside food or drink. Food truck and bar on site. Masks and social distancing observed.

Master percussionist, scholar and composer Román Díaz is regarded as a “living repository” of Afro Cuban music and has performed and recorded with Merceditas Valdes, Raices Profundas, Los Marqueses de Atares, Jane Bunnett, Juan Carlos Formell, Paquito D’Rivera, Oriente Lopez and Giovanni Hidalgo. As a member of the foundational rumba ensemble Yoruba Andabo, he aided in the creation of the sound that has defined rumba since the 1980’s in Cuba and all around the world. As a producer, he has brought together some of the finest interpreters of Rumba from the island as documented on Wemilere. His release, L'o Da Fun Bata (Motema, 2016), “excels at being both a spiritual statement and essential work of art,” says NPR’s Milo Miles.

Román Díaz left Cuba in 1999 to come to New York. Since then he has been featured alongside Orlando “Puntilla” Rios in the critically acclaimed documentary Calle 54, and in Dame La Mano, a film that documents the life and music of the Cuban community of Union City, NJ. His mastery of Batá is present on countless recordings along with his rock-solid groove on congas. Díaz has been featured with the highly acclaimed pianist and composer Michele Rosewoman’s New Yor-Uba Ensemble, Francisco Mora Catlett’s Afro Horn, Danilo Perez’s Panama 500 project and Kurt Elling’s most recent recording, Secrets Are the Best Stories.

Román Díaz is a scholar of Afro Cuban traditions as well. In Cuba, he taught at the Escuela Nacional de Instructores de Arte (the Cuban National Academy for Arts Instructors). He has traveled around the world teaching master classes on Afro Cuban percussion and lately has dedicated himself to lecturing on the topic of the clandestine Abakuá society brought to Cuba from Calabar, West Africa (Nigeria) during the time of the slave trade.

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