Pre-show music begins at 12:30pm. A short electrifying set by DJ José Ruiz (KPOO/KPFA) opens the program.
The matriarch of Cuban roots music in the Bay Area, Havana-born Bobi Céspedes brings to the stage a regal presence and deep, resonant, spirit-steeped voice. She first gained renown in the 1980s as lead vocalist with Conjunto Céspedes, a band that introduced the Bay Area to the glorious sound of the foundational Afro-Cuban style known as son. She reached new audiences touring with Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart’s Planet Drum and Bembé Orisha projects, and has established a powerful musical identity in her own right with a series of solo albums. Her fourth release under her own name, Mujer y Cantante, showcases her skills as a songwriter who brings her sharp wit and ebullient personality to traditional forms. Her world-class band includes music director Marco Díaz on piano, trumpet and vocals, and Lichi Fuentes on vocals, chekeré, and güiro.