Orquesta 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, descarga.com 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
The Sound Room, Oakland CA
March 12 & June 26, 2022
Pacifica Performances, Pacifica CA
April 2, 2022
Yoshi's, Oakland CA
April 20 & September 9, 2022
Charley's, Los Gatos CA
June 2, 2022
Brooklyn Basin, Oakland CA
June 10, 2022
Freight & Salvage, Berkeley CA
August 5, 2022
Creative Growth Beyond Trend / Oakland Museum CA
August 27, 2022
As a point of reference
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!
Tregar Otton – violin, arranger, composer, coros, director
Michael Spiro - congas, timbales, afro-cuban percussion
Anthony Blea - violin
John Calloway - flute
Pablo Caro - violin, coros
Osvaldo Carvajal - coros
Jeff Cressman - trombone
Ayla Dávila - bass
Julio De La Cruz - piano, bass
Marco Díaz - piano, coros
Eduardo Herrera - lead vocals
Carlitos Medrano - conga
Maru Pérez-Viana - coros, manager
Sandy Poindexter - violin
Remi Spiro - timbales
Past Members - featured on recordings:
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