"The Nomadic, Spiritual, Wholly Contemporary World of Ariwo"
I think that the general concept of our group is the sound of London.[...] And a project emerges that, of course, has all these Cuban and Iranian elements, electroacoustic and minimalist music. But it’s a new concept, a concept that can only come about in the great cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, where there is diversity of cultures, gender diversity, and musical diversity too.
"Manana: the festival helping contemporary Cuban music go global"
The challenge is making sure the music isn’t submerged by the beats. “Cubans want to be open,” says Valdes, “but it’s important to keep our identity.”[...]He’s keen that what they’ve been doing is heard on the global stage. “We’ve been isolated for 50 years,” says Valdes. “It’s time for the world to know what’s been hidden for so long.”
"20, Le Voy a mi Gallo Pelón"
En la segunda parte del programa reaparece Tocororo, fábula cubana. Este título se estrenó en 2003 y en esta ocasión aparece convertida en una suite, que favorece mucho la dramaturgia de la propuesta original [...] Respeto y aplausos para los músicos, que bajo la dirección de Hammadi Rencurrel Valdés, acompañaron de manera distinguida a los bailarines, en ese lindo viaje de saberse necesarios para el éxito.
Rhythm in Your Blood: Meet the Young Artists Keeping Cuba’s Traditional Music Alive
Ariwo [is a] conceptual group featuring trumpeter Yelfris Valdes and percussionists Oreste Noda and Hammadi Valdes, three celebrated Cuban musicians living in London. Their set simmered to an intensity as they wrapped the theater in somber Iranian electronic melodies that vibrated with elements of rumba. Ehsaei processed the three players’ instruments live into a simmering soundscape that was paralyzing and moving all at once. “After every single rehearsal and performance, I’m completely drained,” Hammadi says. “It’s got to do with the energies and the talking between us. It’s very powerful, very spiritual as well.”
Fusing Cuba's Rich Rhythms with Electronics: An Interview with Ariwo
"What makes all Cuban music special, is that it’s a “mezcla”, a mixture of all the influences present in Cuban culture, with a heavy emphasis on their African heritage. Despite being marginalised for many years, genres like rumba are very popular nowadays (with great support from the government and the institute of culture) which alongside other genres (reggaeton, Cuban hip hop, Cuban fusion like X Alfonso, the King) is redefining the sound of Cuba in the 21st Century."
The World is Excited for Cuba's First Major Electronic Music Festival, but do Cubans even care?
When trumpet-player Yelfris Valdes, electronic producer Pouya Ehsaei, and percussionist Hammadi Valdes took the stage at a tribute concert in Santiago this past Saturday night, no one was sure how the crowd would react. [...]Using digital filters, Ehsaei transformed [Yelfris's] mournful trumpet notes and Valdés's double-sided batá drum—a staple of Afro-Cuban religious music—into jagged metal edges. This fusion of old and new sounds was a novel experience for a city that is steeped in a long history of live music. So when the crowd broke into applause and shouted an enthusiastic "Bravo!" at the end of their performance, the three musicians broke into smiles of relief.