As part of the Cuban Focus Series (2018-2019 Diamond Season) Cuban singer Yaíma Sáez y su Grupo made their debut appearance at the intimate Flato Markham Theatre on the evening of February 28, 2019. An extraordinary performer, Ms. Sáez and her band presented a varied program which included traditional Cuban and international compositions. Singing in Spanish, Portuguese and English, they delighted the audience with Cuban traditional son, danzón, bolero, rumba, cha cha, pop songs, Latin salsa fussion, Peruvian walts, Brazilian samba/bossa-nova, swing and blues. Highlights of the evening were the songs La última noche (Bobby Collazo); Sobreviviré (Spanish version of the Gloria Gaynor’s superhit I Will Survive); Desafinado/Usted Abusó (Tom Jobim/Jocafí bossa-nova medley), Cuban medley Babalú aye, Siboney, Cumbanchero (Margarita Lecuona, Ernesto Lecuona, Rafael Hernández); When I Fall in Love (Edward Heyman/Victor Young); Osvaldo Farrés’ timeless hit Quizás, Quizás, Quizás (Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps) and the medley Danza Ñáñiga/Fever (Ernesto Lecuona/Eddy Cooley & John Davenport).
Not being fluent in English wasn’t a barrier for Ms. Sáez, who was able to establish a warm, candid and humorous rapport with the audience. She graciously communicated with a welcoming audience who enjoyed song after song, actively participating, clapping and singing along to some of the melodies. We even had an eager dancer who got on stage to perform a short dance with Ms. Sáez. All in all, we were treated to a great night of music and entertainment.
The band was integrated by Yaíma Sáez, vocalist, group and band leader; Yamile Pedro Morales, cello and musical director; Efraín Chibas Wilson, piano; Pablo Cruz Placer, saxophone and flute; José Raúl Machado Arias, bass; Reynier D. Rey Torralbas, drums, and Marcel Márquez Martínez in charge of the audio visuals.