The orchestra “La Tipica” of the National School of Art (ENA), concentrated the highest quality musicians of its time. It represented the experimentation of the Cuban dance tradition with classic Western rhythms, all of them enrolled in programs studied at that school.

Adalberto Álvarez

In Cuba, almost everyone knows Adalberto Álvarez and Jose Luis Cortés “El Tosco”, two of the best musicians in Cuba and representatives of popular music through their orchestras.

However, long before they met with that format of independent orchestra they agreed in a musical group where the first was its director and the second was flutist and composer.

Although its name refers to native elements of Cuban music made up of the so-called wind and metal instruments, this grouping has nothing to do with it, since its format was extended French charanga.

La Típica was born in 1969 and was composed of students of music from the National School of Art (ENA) in Havana. Adalberto Álvarez was the director and second voice, Andrés Alén on the piano, Joaquín Betancourt on the violin, Jorge Hernández on the viola, Rolando Fernández on the violoncello, José Luis Cortés “El Tosco” and Jorge Campos “Fu Manchú” on the flutes .

They also took care of arrangements and compositions. Other members included Rafael Almazán on guitar and bass, Lázaro E. Cruz was the voice and trumpet, Alejandro Ferreira and José A. Pérez Fuentes on the violin, José Antonio Abreu on the bongó, Calixto Oviedo or Luis Llorca on the drums With timbal, Rodolfo Valdés Terry or Ernesto Couto in the tumbadora, in oboe Jorge Rivero and in the fagot Juan Vega.

The repertoire revolved around 12 or 13 pieces and did not differ from that of the charango orchestras of the time but always in a progressive line. This new musical style was close to what later would be known as the fusion side. And it is that the young members took as premise to nurture of influences of all kinds, both national and international. It was evident the meeting points with baroque music and traditional rhythms such as cha-cha-chá and son.

They were presented in dissimilar stages of the capital, among the most relevant were the Museum of Fine Arts, the Amadeo Roldán Conservatory and Alejandro Caturla, as well as the school itself.

La Típica existed until approximately 1971 as a result of the graduation of some of its members and their insertion in the professional life of its members. However, the legacy was immediate. Many of his musicians would become renowned figures of Cuban music.

Also the introduction of traits of the classics in the popular and the Cuban dance was an important element to emphasize. In the same way, these young people anticipated the tendencies of Cuban music that became a constant marker in the following decades: the jazz mixes, the innovation in the way of presenting the choruses and the introduction of modifications in the instrumental format.

A legacy marked by an orchestra composed by students and by the continuity, after graduating from them, of the Cuban music and the lessons obtained in the mentioned institution, is a merit to emphasize of which was the Typical one.

Phone: +53 7 831 4745
Calle 28 #172 entre 17 y 19. Vedado
Havana, Cuba