Let’s get ready to Rumba 

By: Dana Michell

WHO: Rumba Calzada

WHERE: ARTrageous

WHEN: Saturday, July 5

There’s something about hearing the beat of a bongo or the clap of a conga, fused with the passion of a piano to get the body moving. It just makes most of us want to cha-cha, salsa, Samba or even lambada – no matter how good or bad we might look.

Rumba Calzada is a Juno-nominated Vancouver sextet featuring some of the best Latin and jazz musicians in the country, people who make it their mission to mould exotic music with the perfect party atmosphere.

While the band may be experts in sensual rhythms and sounds, Rumba Calzada do not expect their crowds to be. In fact, leader of the band, Raphael Geronimo, said he prefers a more amateur audience.

"My favourite party is when people just get excited about the music and the dancing talent is secondary," he said. "People of all abilities just love to dance to our music. The beauty of Latin and jazz is that there are no rules so everybody just shakes their thing and that’s totally okay with us. We encourage it".

Rumba Calzada do a mixture of originals and covers to please all tastes. "We cover the whole range from the hits like ‘Oye Como Va’ by Santana, ‘Bomboleo’ by the Gypsy Kings, right through to the more difficult salsas. We’ll also do some of our own smooth West Coast jazz inspired originals," said Geronimo. Their own tunes are the ones to watch for considering their latest album, Volume 3 , was nominated for a 2002 Juno Award, a 2002 West Coast Music Award and the 2002 Canadian Independent Music Award for world album of the year.

Their name says it all really. "Rumba" is a rhythm and dance from Cuba and "Calzada" means old street, so together the name literally means dancing in the street.

"It’s very syncopated music, very catchy and just makes you want to move. The blend of instruments is very infectious making your body’s natural reaction come straight from the heart," said Geronimo.

While the Fairmont Chateau is not exactly an old street, the glamourous Frontenac Ballroom is one hell of an open space and it will be transformed into a carnivale of visual art, roving performers, food, wine and song from 8 p.m. ‘til 1 a.m. on Saturday, July 5.

The Whistler Arts Council is the organizer of the 9 th annual extravaganza known as ARTrageous and executive director Doti Niedermayer says that although it is billed as a social event, it’s also a celebration for the artists. "You will come for the art, but you’ll stay for the party," she said.

Mingle and meringue or discuss works of art with artists like Rob Miller, Jeannine Bradshaw, Norma Jean Bone, April Hylton, Jon Faulkner, Gabrielle Williams, Mike Tyler, Jean Lee, Kirk Farrell, David Currie and many more who will be displaying their talents on the night.

DJ Chili and Dr. Digglesworth will be spinning sexy house, Juan de Marias will be weaving his magic on flamenco guitar, and the Tragically Hick will be rocking the house with their bluegrass best.

Earlier in the afternoon, tire the kids out with some free birdhouse painting from noon to 2 p.m. at the Blackcomb Adventure Zone, located at the base of Blackcomb Mountain. Then put the little angels to bed, bring in the babysitter and get festive for a fiery night out.

Get a rose between your teeth, your hair slicked, your shirts open and your dips dipping. There will be prizes for best Latin lover, the most sensual senorita and more. Pick up your advance t ickets for $18 from MY Place & Nesters Market. For more Information phone WAC on 604-935-8419.

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