Far away from the streets of Havana, Asere, the internationally renowned seven piece Cuban band, performed at the Rich Mix Centre, promoting their latest album ‘Junio Groove’. Despite the vast difference in location (and temperature), Asere still brought warmth to their lyrics, equipped with harmonies, synchronised dance moves and a variety of shimmy worthy songs to the heart of East London.
With self-deprecating (and untrue) jibes about their poor levels of English, it’s clear that Asere is a band bursting more full of talent and passion about their music than any arrogance. Their music almost instantly won over any initial awkward British reserve and left everyone from the salsa pros to the bartenders, dancing non-stop to the music. The crowd was a combination of many, from faithful Asere followers, who treated the rest of the crowd to Cuban salsa and Rueda dancing, to people with a general appreciation for authentic music. Asere’s fusion of traditional Cuban afro beats with flashes of Flamenco and Middle Eastern music left committed fans satisfied while enticing new ones, making the night good value all round.
With 12 years worth of experience together as a group, their passion for creating and reinventing Cuban Son, radiated from the band as they brought out fresh sounds full of enthusiasm for their music. Their infectious beats left me wishing I had someone to dance with and had me later googling Cuban salsa classes in my area. What Asere makes crystal clear is that Cuban music is generally best served fresh and live, but failing this, their latest album is a worthy alternative.