Orquesta Revé

Cuba

Since the mid-fifties Elio Revé has been the founder member of two of Cuba's greatest bands, who were later known as Ritmo Oriental and Los Van Van. Over the last five years, the most recently-formed Orquesta Revé has created a unique style - more traditional and percussion orientated than other salsa bands. No drum kit is used but instead the bata drums of Santeria ceremonies, along with the usual Cuban percussion of claves, bongos, maracas, bell and congas. Revé is the brilliant timbales drum player, while keyboards, trombones, violin and tres provides the harmonic base.

One of the most distinctive features of Revé's band is their high-pitched, nasal style known as the 'voz de vieja' - the 'old woman's voice'. Revé spent three years looking for just the right singers to re-create this style of the old 'soneros'. Their skill is to improvise on lyrics to suit the occasion, whipping up the audience as they sing to the crowd.

Over the years the rise in Revé's popularity has been, quite literally, explosive - his records hitting the top of the Cuban charts and earning him two gold discs. Massive audiences travel for miles to see him play and dance to his music. The sound of Revé can be heard pouring out onto the streets of Cuba, blasting from the clubs, bars and taxis. His well-earned title is "La Explosion del Momento'.