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David Calzado Y Su Charanga Habanera
Bandleader, music director, arranger, and lead vocalist of 14-piece band Charanga Habanera, David Calzado has played an essential role in the evolution of modern Cuban music. Although he was forced to reorganize the group in 1997, Calzado has continued to be one of Cuba's most influential musicians. Under his leadership, Charanga Habanera was chosen as the Most Popular Band in Cuba in 1998 and 1999. Calzado was born into a musical family. His maternal grandmother was a musician who encouraged him to play violin as a youngster. He first attracted attention as violinist for the orchestra Pancho Bravo. Formed in Monte Carlo in 1988, Charanga Habanera was initially comprised of graduates of the Escuela Nacional de Arte and other music conservatories under the direction of Jose Picayo. Assuming leadership of the band in 1992, Calzado reorganized the band to include piano, keyboards, conga, two violins, two trumpets, alto saxophone, flute, and two vocalists. With this lineup, the band helped lay the foundation for the timba style that developed in the early '90s. Calzado y Charanga Habanera quickly zoomed to the forefront of Cuba's music scene. In 1996, they introduced their music to audiences in Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Holland, Germany, and Sweden. The following year, however, serious problems arose when one singer was accused of baring his a** during a concert and another member was criticized for asking an audience if they liked marijuana. As punishment, the Cuban government imposed a six-month suspension of the band's right to travel. Attempting to salvage his career, Calzado and bandmembers went their separate ways, splintering into three distinct bands: Charanga Forever, Dany Lozada y su Timba Cubana, and a new lineup of Charanga Habanera that Calzado formed with young musicians. ~ Craig Harris, Rovi