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Concerts

Q&A: Band to bring Cuban music to McAninch Arts Center

Led by heralded trumpeter Jesús Alemañy, the band ¡Cubanismo! will perform at 3 p.m. Feb. 18 at the McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn.
Led by heralded trumpeter Jesús Alemañy, the band ¡Cubanismo! will perform at 3 p.m. Feb. 18 at the McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn.

GLEN ELLYN – Led by heralded trumpeter Jesús Alemañy, the band ¡Cubanismo! is celebrating 20 years of touring together.

Alemañy and his 14-piece orchestra will perform at 3 p.m. Feb. 18 at the McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn.

Tickets range in price from $44 to $52. For tickets or information, visit AtTheMAC.org or call the McAninch Arts Center Box Office at 630-942-4000.

Cubanismo! has recorded seven albums and has been touring more than 50 countries worldwide. In 2008, the band’s album “Greetings From Havana” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin Album.

Suburban Life reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk to Alemañy about the upcoming show. The interview has been edited for length and style.

Schelkopf: ¡Cubanismo! is celebrating its 20th anniversary of touring. What do you try to do at your shows?

Alemañy: People who come to our shows should expect to dance and sing. At the same time, we try to let people know the history of our music. We’re trying to bring a piece of our culture and share the happiness of the Cuban music.

Schelkopf: I know that before you started ¡Cubanismo!, you were a member of the legendary group Sierra Maestra. You started with the band when you were only 15, as I understand.

Alemañy: That was the beginning of my career. It was my starting point, where I learned how to take music to a higher level. ... I had a great opportunity to really learn in one of the greatest groups of original Cuban music.

Schelkopf: Why were you drawn to the trumpet in the first place?

Alemañy: It’s a very popular instrument in Cuba. You hear it everywhere – on the radio, on television and in the streets. ... I really liked the sound of the instrument. It takes a lot of time to learn how to play the instrument properly. ... I listened to some fantastic Cuban trumpet players.

Schelkopf: Your album “Greetings From Havana” was nominated for a Grammy Award. Was that something that you strived for?

Alemañy: It was. The year that we made the recording, we had been touring almost for 10 years, all over the world. ... And also, we had a great group of musicians. That is the first thing. ... If you have good players to play the music, you can manage anything.

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If you go

WHAT: ¡Cubanismo!

WHEN: 3 p.m. Feb. 18

WHERE: McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn

INFO: AtTheMAC.org, 630-942-4000

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