Authentic sounds of Cuba as Omar salsas into Sheffield

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Omar Puente, Cubana

Get on your dancing shoes tomorrow (Thursday) because the violin virtuoso is playing a set of authentic Cuban son music, plus salsa, cha cha cha, beleroes and more.

The musician from Santiago de Cuba will be joined by fellow Cubans Jesus Moreau Batallan on keyboards and Kike Gilberto on percussion and lead vocals.

Puente, who started out as first violinist for the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba, has played with some of his country’s greatest salsa musicians.

Since moving to the UK he has been a regular band member for jazz saxophonist Courtney Pine, who produced Puente’s debut solo album, From There to Here.

Puente lives in Bradford these days with his wife, the right-to-die campaigner Debbie Purdy.

They met 15 years ago in Singapore when the music journalist was assigned to interview the visiting musician and they fell in love.

But she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and decided in 1997 she should return to the UK.

In addition to performing, Omar has written a piece for a ballet by Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta and teaches in Leeds and London.

He has also appeared in London with Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra, with the Simon Bolivar Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, with Nigel Kennedy at 606 Jazz Club, and with members of the famed Buena Vista Social Club.

He played with jazz trombonist Dennis Rollins, who grew up in Bentley, on a work for Sheffield-based Ensemble 360 that was played at Doncaster Minster in 2006.

Cubana has now moved to Leopold Square. Bookings: 0114 276 0475.