When he was just sixteen, flautist Orlando "Maraca" Valle joined Irakere, a supergroup founded by Chucho Valdés that has featured some of Cuba's finest musicians over the past three decades. After six years of playing flute and keyboards and arranging for the group, Valle began his solo career and has released a steady stream of Latin jazz, Afro-Cuban and salsa albums over the past ten years, including 2002's Tremenda Rumba, which was nominated for a Grammy as Best Salsa Album. On his forthcoming album, Lo Que Quiero es Fiesta, which will be released in the States at the end of August, he's in top form, weaving intricate and swift flute phrases over complex rhythms. Valle's group has been hailed as "the most influential Afro-Cuban band of the emerging century," so expect some fireworks when one of the biggest names in Cuban music brings his tropical hurricane to these parts.


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