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Desde La Bahia--San Francisco.

CONGRATULATIONS TO DJ CHATA! Much love to DJ Chata Gutierrez, who has hosted, over 30 years, the radio program, "Con Clave," (Saturday afternoons, KPOO 89.5 FM, in San Francisco) and is also a popular club DJ. Mainly spinning at Cafe Cocomo, around Potrero Hill in The City, Chata was recently awarded Best Dance Club DJ by the SF Bay Guardian. In a readers poll conducted by said weekly newspaper, she received hundreds of write-in votes. Congrats to this Bay Area Latino cultural treasure!

THE SONANDO PROJECT: Remember Cuarteto Sonando, a Bay Area band that put out a great CD (7 Steps to 850) in 2001? Well, the group has evolved and resurfaced with conguero Patricio Angulo as the lone survivor. Sonando's latest release, Musica de su Mente: The Latin Side of Stevie Wonder, highlights a talented cast comprised of Bob Crawford (piano), Sam Bevan (bass), Darren Smith (saxes/flute), David Flores (trap drums), and Patricio, paying tribute to one of music's most prolific songwriters.

To mix the rhythmic intricacy of Cuban and Brazilian styles with the brilliance of Stevie Wonder's chord progressions and melodic ideas is the objective of the Sonando Project, a band to watch in 2007 due to its fun-filled fusion of jazz, Latin and R&B.

2007 YERBA BUENA GARDENS FESTIVAL: Linda Lucero, Executive Director of Yerba Buena Arts & Events, recently announced highlights of the 2007 Yerba Buena Gardens Festival in San Francisco.

Lucero said, "I am super-excited about the amazing performers in our 2007 season, which include Moroccan percussionists, Hawaiian ukelele players, Yiddish Klezmer violinists, Balinese dancers, Shakespearean actors, Cuban musicians, and Japanese shakuhachi players all celebrating our commonalities through music, dance, theater and spoken word."

The Festival takes place from May 5 through October 28 and hosts over 100 free events at The Yerba Buena Gardens, located at Mission St. and 3rd St., in downtown San Francisco.

The resident artists for this year are Marcus Shelby and the Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble. Shelby received the "Composer Commission 2006 -- 2007" and will be conducting the world debut of "Harriet Tubman: Bound for the Promised Land," a secular oratorio for jazz orchestra and vocalists, which premieres on May 5. The Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble, directed by John Calloway, will perform on August 9 and October 13.

The festival also includes the very popular Music in the Gardens 101 Series of educational and interactive programs, especially conceived for musicians and audiences of all ages. This year's Music in the Gardens 101 Series features blacKMahal's "The Punjabi Funk Experience" (on May 20), the Venezuela Music Project (on June 16), Dr. Loco and Tom Rigney's "From Tabasco to Salsa" (on August 25), and Balinese dance and music with Gamelan Sekar Jaya (on September 22).

The Thursday Lunchtime Concert Series are popular with downtown workers and students and this year feature some of the best Bay Area musical masters, including Maria Marquez (on June 7), Carne Cruda (on July 26), John Handy & Friends (on September 20), and many more.

The Latin Concert Series feature Rebeca Mauleon's Descarga en Yerba Buena (on June 30), Candela (on July 7), a Tribute to Armando Peraza (on September 1), and headlining the Fourth Annual Latin Jazz Festival in the Gardens (on September 30) is the award-winning Cuban flutist Orlando "Maraca" Valle.

The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival hosts other festivals this year, including Israel in the Gardens (on June 3), Native Contemporary Arts Festival (on June 17), and Pistahan Filipino Cultural Festival (from August 11 to August 12).

In addition to such free programs, the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival and the Museum of the African Diaspora will co-present a new low-cost lecture series: John Santos' Roots of Latin Jazz and Salsa. Taught by four-time Grammy nominated Bay Area musician, producer and historian John Santos, Roots is designed to give participants a concise, yet profound perspective of the evolution of Latin jazz and salsa. Beginning on July 3 and running through October 16, the series enrollment fee is only $240 for 15 weeks. For more info:

!Hasta la proxima!
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Author:Varela, Jesse
Publication:Latin Beat Magazine
Date:May 1, 2007
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