Cuban Primos '98 tours Nova Scotia

Submitted byEric Cestnick onThu, 1 Jan 1998 - 9:09 am

Los Primos 1998  “Taking Nova Scotia by storm!”

In February ’98, with 18 instruments in hand for The Amadeo Roldan Conservatory in Havana, Jeff and Amara flew to Varadero, Cuba. At the concervatory they were introduced to a host of people who would become Los Primos ’98. Teresita Menendes, a teacher at the school and mother to the now legendary piano player Tony Rodriguez.  Oliver, Jasek, Guillermo, Carlos, were among the students that Jeff and Amara first heard in Cuba.Amadeo Roldan Audience 

After hearing them play Jeff was determined to bring them to Nova Scotia.

“Music students in Nova Scotia need to hear these kids play. Maybe we really can bring them to Jazz Camp at Acadia.”

Jeff was looking for a name for the project that would describe the relationship between kids in Nova Scotia and kids in Cuba.“What is Spanish for “the cousins”…asked Jeff. "Los Primos”

…back at home… many phone calls…lots of interest, but money is tight…


Silvio playing piano“We were playing a jazz gig at the Two Gulls Restaurant in Tantallon and in walks Silvio Pupo from Holguin, with his wife Cathy.  We were all waiting to meet the Cuban piano player who received my fake book months ago. He was asked to sit in … and what he would like to play?” After much discussion, it was determined that Silvio was trying to tell us in english that he would play anything, if we had the paper.” (the music)

“We played Darn the Dream as a fast samba and he aced it. Imagine… sight reading a tune with very difficult changes… fast tempo…  salsa on samba… and the crowd went wild!”

Los Primos 98The Two Gulls restaurant became the first private sponsor of Los Primos!

It was not until we received a 2nd sponsorship from Dover Flour Mills, that bringing 12 Cuban music students started to seem possible. In June and July 1998 with the equally valuable support of The Band Programs of NS, NB and PEI, Los Primos ’98, from Amadeo Roldan in Havana… took Nova Scotia by storm.

They attended the Acadia Jazz Camp and played festivals and private shows all over the province.


Los Primos at Acadia

The highlight of the trip was their performance at the Atlantic Jazz Festival. The audience could not believe what they were hearing coming from such young players. It raised the bar for everyone.Los Primos at Jazz FestivalThe tour took them to New Glasgow and Truro where the kids who had been with them at Acadia were axious to get another chance to play with these amazing young musicians. 

Los Primos in New GlasgowLos Primos in Truro