Category : News

Machete Men Take Havana, Part One!

Recapping 2013

Recapping 2013

It took the snow to slow things down enough for me to get caught up to where I can actually write a blog for the PCS site. I know I’ve been absent, basically since the sites inception, and the blog page has been looking like the shelf of a Cuban bodega, EMPTY, but I’ve finally made it and I will be here on a regular basis from now on, I promise!! “Más vale tarde que nunca” as they say! It’s not like there has been lack of blog content around here, which is why I’ve been absent I guess.

The Yumatics-90 Miles to YumaSince the sites inception, we put out The Yumatics debut CD, 90 Miles to Yuma (available here) which I will be blogging about quite a bit in the coming weeks and month.

Machete Men Fans at Sellwood Park We formed Machete Men, whose debut concert at The Sellwood Waterfront Park had over 2,000 in attendance (July 29th 2013); we put on Machete Men’s epic Día de La Raza show at The Goodfoot with our buddies 1000 Fuegos (October 12th 2013)

Caña Son at Washington ParkThe summer of 2013 saw the resurgence of our labels initiators, Caña Son, who performed the final concert of the season at the Washington Park Amphitheater to a record crowd of over 4,500 rabid fans of Cuban beats (August 10th 2013)

Machete MenAs the fall of 2013 settled in we began writing and producing the preproduction demo of Machete Men’s debut CD and in late December 2013 nearly the entire line-up of macheteros (band members of Machete Men) invaded Havana to record said debut album with veteran record producer Nicolas Sirgado (Soneros de Verdad, Orquesta Thermidor, Conexcion Salsera); which brings us pretty much up to date because we’ve literally just returned from Havana 2 weeks ago. Man, I’m exhausted just writing all that shit!! It has taken me these past 2 weeks to recuperate from the trip. It was one of those journeys that require a vacation to recuperate. The undertaking included 95 hours in 12 days of tracking, 20 musicians and about as many genres, all on little sleep or nourishment and augmented with heavy doses of beer, rum, tobacco, carbon monoxide, malt liquor, chicken blood and “other substances”.

JuanitoWhen I got off the plane in Mexico City, I went straight to the pharmacy and got a shot of meds in each butt cheek and a 5-day dose of antibiotics. I continued coughing up Lucky Charms for the rest of January and am only now able to walk a straight line and pass a Breathalyzer. It was pretty amazing!! We saw around 8 shows, went to a few house parties, bathed in the Caribbean and even got to go to church!! Cuba fucking rules!! Sorry, I just blurted it out so I had to write it!! Some of the memories are still so vivid… and some are a little blurry, but we’ll get to all that soon enough.

Again, I would like to welcome you all to this first of what will be a regular and on going Pure Cuban Sugar blog, if you like, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and let other know about what’s going on!! Hasta pronto mi gente!


Día de Los Muertos at Alberta Street Pub with Machete Men

Día de Los Muertos at Alberta Street Pub with Machete Men

Thank you all for coming down to the Alberta Street Pub on Friday, you were a great crowd, amazing energy in the room which translated to great energy on stage!! Thank you to our good friend Derek Sims for sitting in with us and lending his horn, you sounded great D and made us sound awesome!! Felt like old times! A big welcome to our new Machetero, Mario Sandoval who was stellar and with only one rehearsal, boys got mad skills!! Also, gracias to our man Joel Conrad Bechtolt who makes us look like rock stars and provides the photographs for all to see. To Hada Salinas-Pereyra and Eva Maribona for making the scene in full catrina make-up in honor of the Day of the Dead, you both were stunning. To all involved in the after party, thanks for the memories and good times!! Finally, thank you to the Alberta Street Pub for hosting us, my new favorite venue, we look forward to playing there next spring when we return from Havana.


4 years, 2 months ago Comments Off on Día de Los Muertos at Alberta Street Pub with Machete Men
The Portland Salsa Community Comes Together to Celebrate the Life of Ruben Torres

The Portland Salsa Community Comes Together to Celebrate the Life of Ruben Torres

ruben_benefit22Today is the one-year anniversary of the death of Ruben Torres, a member of the Pure Cuban Sugar Musicians Collective, Caña Son and The Yumatics. On November 17th of 2012, Pure Cuban Sugar put on a Memorial Concert in his honor with 100% of the proceeds going to The Torres-Rodriguez Children Trust, for the futures of Ruben’s children, Sofia Milagros, age 12, Ruben Gabriel, age 10, and John Lucas, age 7.  The community responded in astonishing fashion. Friends, former band mates, musicians in the community, many that never even knew Ruben, enthusiastically offered their aid. Over 450 people attended the concert and we raised over $10,500.00 on that very evening. It was an overwhelming exhibition of love for a man and his family.


ruben_benefit2The concert, held at NE Portland’s premier salsa venue, The Conga Club, featured 4 local Latin bands, groups that Ruben had been a member of at one point or another in his 12 years living in Oregon, Los Boricuas, Barrio Latino, Conjunto Alegre and Caña Son. All of the musicians in all of the bands donated their time and services to the event, in memory of their lost brother Ruben and to support his family. Personally, I know of at least one that turned down a paying gig just so he could perform at Ruben’s memorial. This display of selflessness by this special community of musicians made the event even more momentous than is was slated to be. Unfortunately, the list of musicians is too great to list here, just shy of 50 between the 4 bands, but I would like to state for the record that you all helped make the Ruben Torres Memorial Concert one of the greatest shows in Oregon Latin Music history!! Roger Rumba stated that it was on par with his record attendance to date. I have seen all of the bands that performed that night several times before and in my opinion they all played like I had never seen, high energy and showmanship were in abundance for each set. The dancers responded in kind with a throw down that turned the Conga Club into a salsa inferno, burn baby burn!!! Making The Ruben Torres Memorial Concert a historic, record-breaking event was never planned, but we did have a feeling it would be one for the books. Many heartfelt thanks to all the musicians that left it all on the stage that night, I am sure our brother Ruben was watching from above with pride, smiling on all of us!!


Salsa promoter DJ Roger Rumba, owner of The Conga Club, donated 100% of the covers paid that night to the trust and was instrumental in promoting the event. Thank you Roger for your generosity and for your ongoing support of the Latin music community in Portland!!


Osvaldo Bernal, of Univision Portland, donated his time to emcee the event. Thank you Osvaldo for sharing your gracious narrating skills and participating at the planning meetings.


ruben_benefit5Dozens of local businesses donated products, gift cards and gift certificates for the silent auction that took a group of Trust volunteers two months to organize, from donation requests to product collections to running the auction on the evening of the event. Special thanks to Harry and Glenda Gomez, Will Acevedo, Sheila Vega, Pedro Martinez, Janice Faccio and Hada Salinas-Pereyra. Thank you to all of the businesses that donated products and services to the Torres-Rodriguez Children’s Trust, your generosity will not be forgotten and we will remember you when making purchase choices in the future. The list includes: Pambiche, Tribe Hair Salon, Buffalo Wild Wings Lloyd Center, Andina Restaurant, Leah Cabler HairSheila Vega Zumba, Por Que No? Taqueria, Autentica, La Bonita Taqueria, Mextiza, Conjunto Alegre and Caña Son.


There were three photographers on hand that night that donated their time, equipment and skill to documenting the event, Hada Salinas-Pereyra, Al Harris and Shannon Moody. Thank you all for helping us to preserve the memory of Ruben’s memorial.

In the end, no amount of money raised or generosity displayed will be able to replace the loss that we feel to this day.

But to my brother Ruben I will say that on November 17th, 2012….

Booty’s did shake

Glasses were raised

Sweet notes were played

And it was all in your name


Ruben T. Torres-Rodriguez

November 17th, 1967 – September 10th, 2012

Noche Cubana en Portland

Noche Cubana en Portland

    Here at Pambiche we love all things Cuban, well maybe not all, but most things!! We love our island, our people and our culture, and we love to celebrate life!! We also love to share with our friends and family!! So in honor of these passions, Pambiche and several of her friends have […]