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La Moderna Tradición

Founded by master Cuban percussionist/dancer Roberto Borrell and violinist/composer Tregar Otton in 1996, the San Francisco based Orquesta la Moderna Tradición has been wowing dancers and Cuban music aficionados alike with their original take on the sweet but driving grooves of Charanga, featuring violins and woodwinds interlocking with driving afro-Cuban rhythms. The Orquesta is truly unique as one of the only ensembles in the world carrying on the tradition of this legendary brand of popular Cuban dance music with passionate devotion. Orq. LMT thrills audiences with a mix of contemporary timba-infused arrangements guaranteed to get you on your feet and traditional danzón and cha-cha-chá transporting you back to the Havana social clubs of the 1950s.

Led by two highly regarded stalwart musicians from the Bay Area, Tregar Otton and Michael Spiro, the ensemble has played in festivals and major venues across the United States and internationally including the Smithsonian, Lincoln Center, the Stern Grove Festival, the Breckenridge Jazz festival to name a few, and loves playing for our loyal fans at local Bay Area venues such as Yoshi’s and Freight and Salvage.

The 12-piece Orquesta LMT has released four critically acclaimed albums, their latest being EnCantado featuring some of the finest performers of Cuban music that the Bay Area has to offer including Carlos Caro, Eduardo Herrera, Felix Samuel, Mike Spiro, Miguelito Martinez, and our newest member Jeff Cressman on trombones. ¡Pa’Lante!

"Orquesta La Moderna Tradición continues to produce some of the finest Danzón-Charanga dance material anywhere....Gorgeous."
Bruce Polin, reviewing their CD, En Canto

"Richly authentic... old wine in a new bottle for a younger generation to savor"
Jesse Varela, Latin Beat Magazine

"It's cadence is so sensual that it's virtually irresistible!"
Enrique Fernandez, Miami Sun Sentinel

"Records like this make the planet larger and more mysterious... Imagine a blend of Tito Puente and a tango, and you'll begin to get an idea of the power and beauty of this music"
Sarah Ludwig, Ink 19

Upcoming Shows

All Videos

All Videos

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All Categories

Cuban Guaracha with Orq. la Moderna Tradición

Cuban Son Montuno, Cha Cha Cha by Orq. la Moderna Tradición

Danzon Cha "Soy Matancero" by Orq. la Moderna Tradición

Find us:

Orq. LMT Members

Tregar Otton – violin, arranger, composer, director

Michael Spiro - congas, timbales, afro-cuban percussion

Maru Pérez-Viana - manager, coros

Eduardo Herrera - lead vocals

Anthony Blea - violin

John Calloway - flute

Pablo Caro - violin, coros

Osvaldo Carvajal - coros, güiro

Ayla Dávila - bass

Marco Díaz - piano, coros

Carlitos Medrano - conga

Sandy Poindexter - violin

Remi Spiro - timbales

Antonio Del Barrio - piano

Past/Other Members :


Roberto Borrell - conga, co-director

Jesús ‘Chus’ Alonso - flute

Sage Baggott - coros, güiro

Edgardo Cambón - coros

Monchi Estévez - coros

Don Gardner - clarinet

Bob Karty - piano

Miguelito Martínez - flute, coros

Félix Samuel - lead vocals

Steve Senft-Herrera - bass

Jeff Cressman - trombone

Julio De La Cruzpiano, bass

Past Venues

Lincoln Center, New York N.Y.

Smithsonian, Washington D.C.

The Ford, Los Angeles CA

Breckenridge Festival, CO

Telluride Festival, CO

Stern Grove Festival, San Francisco CA

Yoshi's, Oakland CA

Freight & Salvage, Berkeley CA

Oakland Museum, Oakland CA

De Young Museum, San Francisco CA

San Jose Jazz Summer Festival, San Jose CA

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, San Francisco CA

Kuumbwa Jazz, Santa Cruz CA

Sonoma Valley Jazz Society, Sonoma CA

Fillmore Jazz Festival, San Francisco CA

The Sound Room, Oakland CA

Pacifica Performances, Pacifica CA

La Peña Cultural Center, Berkeley CA

Brooklyn Basin, Oakland CA

Charley's, Los Gatos CA

Seahorse Restaurant, Sausalito CA

Trader's Vic, Emeryville CA

Cuba is famous for the myriad of musical genres it has contributed to the world (both popular and folkloric), and as we have moved further into the 21st century the once hugely popular charanga sound that was born on the island in the early 20th century has come very close to extinction. This is true not only in Cuba, but in the United States as well. But because we love the textures and sonority of a Cuban rhythm section accompanying woodwinds and strings, we have remained passionate in our “defense” of this musical genre!

As a point of reference

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