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Classical 101

The Sexy Cuban and the Old Irishman from Boston

artist's webpage
Orlay Alonso, pianist and professor at Capital University, joins Christopher Purdy in the Classical 101 studio Sunday afternoons in June for 'Musica Cubana.'

My late father was an amateur big-band style singer with what used to be called a "Whiskey Tenor" type voice. One of his great hits was a World War II era ditty called that went: They were doin' the mambo....what the heck is the mambo?

They really did sing heck rather than anything saltier on those U.S.O. tours seventy years ago.

I'm reminded of this song as I prepare to collaborate with the Columbus based Cuban pianist with an international career, Orlay Alonso. Especially since after sixty years  I know my new BFF  Orlay, the sexy Cuban of this blog's title, will finally tell us all what the heck is a mambo

 (I'm the Old Irishman in  case you didn't guess.)


A Mambo is a Cuban dance. If you want to know more, you need to join the two of us for Musica Cubana,  a four part salute to Cuban Music, heard as part of Music in Mid-Ohio, Sunday afternoons in September at 1 on Classical 101. The first show airs  September 4.

Many of the performances featured come from Orlay's concerts, often with his brother Orlando Alsonso. The brothers have given concerts most recently in New York, Florida, and at Capital University, where Orlay serves on the music faculty. 

The Capital Concert will be part of our series, along with performances given earlier this year at Otterbein University. The Cuban composer Jose Maria Vivier was at Otterbein for performances of his  Missa Cubana with the Westerville symphony, Capriccio Columbus and the Choirs of Otterbein University.

The United States and Cuba are normalizing relations after half a century. Listen to what is going on with Cuban music, with the dances, the choruses, and the ensembles large and small. And check out Orlay's artwork, seen here.  I'm trying to discourage him putting us both up there in tight pants. Him okay. Me? Not so much. No use scaring people.

Credit orlay alonso
Orlay Alonso poster for Musica Cubana. His enthusiasm matches his talent. Fasten your seatbelts!