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Las Perlas del Son

"The repertoire that Las Perlas play is classic Cuban son and bolero, the music that -- from the 20s to the 50s -- conquered dance halls and theatres all over the world from La Havana to New York and on to Europe, Africa and even Asia. The son rhythm is arguably one of the most influential in the Caribbean, the backbone of salsa music and now, once again, enjoying international popularity some 50 years after most of the compositions were first created.

Record producer / musicologist Eduardo Llerenas selected this band of seven young women from amongst the many traditional son bands working in Santiago de Cuba for the high musical standard of the individual musicians and the band’s overall artistic creativity in its arrangements of the  traditional repertoire of son and bolero from Santiago de Cuba.

Photo courtesy Matt Thayer


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perlas.jpg (5627 bytes)

1999 US Tour

Contacting Tour Management

While the majority of the musicians are self-taught, all were born into the atmosphere of the traditional trova of Santiago de Cuba, the port town where this music was first created in the early years of this century.

Although all in their early 20s, they gained experience in various of the prestigious Santiago son bands and in the movimiento de aficionados (amateur movement) before coming together as the band Las Perlas del Son in January 1995.

In the extremely competitive environment of a Cuban port-town that continues to be the main source for Cuban son musicians, Las Perlas are outstanding for the freshness of their arrangements, bringing a new and contemporary flavour to the traditional repertoire, for their three-part vocal harmonies and, in addition to being an extremely tight band, for the outstanding solo parts : the lead vocals of Yaqueline Despaigne (who has considerable international experience with other bands), the improvised descarga passages on the bongos and on the tres guitar. As a band, Las Perlas have an excellent stage presence, communicating the spirit of this music beyond barriers of language or culture. " - from

1999 US Tour with NovaTer Artists

May 5 - 8 Albuquerque, NM International Children's festival in Albuquerque
May 9-16 Seattle, WA International Children's festival in Seattle
May 19-23 Pittsburgh, PA International Children's festival in Pittsburgh
May 21 7th Note, San Francisco 9PM, $18 adv, $20
May 24-29 Deluth, IO International Children's festival in Deluth

Contacting the Tour Management

NovaTer Artists, see their page on this site


'98 Canada Tour

'98 Sunfest page


Si Señor! They come from the east coast of Cuba -- the town where son and bolero were born. Much of their repertoire consists of the classics of the 1920s to the 1950s that swept around the world. Son rhythm is arguably one of the most influential sounds to ever come out of the Caribbean, both on its own and as the forerunner of salsa. Several members of this band come from musical families who have played in the old septets and other bands in the traditional Santiago trova. The rest came from the Movimento de aficionados, a very Cuban phenomenon, which provides a training ground for young musicians aspiring to be professionals. Most members were already playing in other bands around town when bass player Rosa Maria Lopez brought them all together to form Las Perlas in 1995.

They soon caught the ear of Eduardo Llerenas. Eduardo spent many years travelling around his native Mexico recording the traditional music of the different regions before starting his own record  company called Corason to bring the music to the world. He heard Las Perlas playing in a small bar miles from the tourist circuit and was immediately impressed by their fresh approach to the old songs, their three-part harmonies and the solos of the bongos and the tres. They went into the studio and the results can be heard on their CD Si, Senor. It's a rare chance to hear son straight from its birthplace, played with that special energy that young artists bring to their music.

Contacting AfroCubaWeb

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