I was lucky enough to be able to get a ticket to see Los Muñequitos de Matanzas as they stopped in Seattle to present their show at the University of Washington. This legendary Cuban group, flag-bearer of Afro-Cuban folk music, culture, and dance which was founded in 1937, continues to attract big crowds to their presentations, and I nearly missed it.
Los Muñequitos Sold Out
As I spread word of the coming presentations of Los Muñequitos and of the Afro-Cuban All Stars, merely days within each other, I was hoping to get good crowds to come watch these Cuban groups in Seattle so that the promoters of the events continue to bring more of these to our Seattle area. I wrote a blog and spread the word through the social media sites and social employee groups at 2 of the biggest companies in the Seattle area.
I got a bitter-sweet surprise when the day before the presentation of Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, I could not get a ticket as it was sold out. Not even just a single ticket; you know, one of those seats in between groups. Nada! I decided to make the trip to the U-dob (as we locally call the University of Washington) and try my luck there. I got lucky enough that a lady coming out of the parking stairs pulled an enveloped with her group’s tickets, grabbed one, and looking in my direction said “I have an extra ticket”. YESSSS!!!
One I got into the Meany Hall Theater, I noticed a good mix of Seattle area music “who’s-who” with general public that I would estimate at about 60% latino. The presentation of Los Muñequitos was part of a series of “world” culture shows presented by the U-dob, and many of the series ticket-holders were looking forward to this particular presentation.
Los Muñequitos de Matanzas; Great Afro-Cuban Folk Show
Los Muñequitos de Matanzas did not disappoint, performing their usual “rumba” and “guaguancó” songs accompanied by their excellent dancers dressed in colorful costumes. I was surprised that this act would fill the University of Washington Meany Hall Theater as the Afro-Cuban folks songs continually performed by Los Muñequitos de Matanzas are not for the faint of heart. These songs are not the most commercial type of songs, as Los Muñequitos go into African-based religious chants that form the base of the Afro-Cuban heritage and culture that Cuban musicians like Arsenio Rodriquez used as a foundation for the evelopment of the Cuban “son” we enjoy today in many “Salsa” songs. Yet at the raw state in which Los Muñequitos perform these songs, they are not as palatable for everyone.
Those of us that love this Afro-Cuban music couldn’t get enough of it and wouldn’t have minded if Los Muñequitos kept playing into the very late hours of Sunday evening, even when we had to face Monday work a few hours later. A few in the audience had satisfied their curiosity and Afro-Cuban music and dance thirst by intermission, and left during the break.
Continue the Cuba-U.S.A. Cultural Exchange
Los Muñequitos de Matanzas continue their tour around the U.S. I’m very glad that this administration has opened the doors to the cultural exchange that has brought us the richness of the Cuban culture and allow some of our best artists to go to Cuba. This musical and cultural exchange can only serve to enrich both cultures and bring our people closer.