I'm very privileged to be chosen to compose for the North Shore Primary Schools Band Festival this year! (Information and entry details are here on the home page). I've chosen to go with a Latin style piece for the commissioned work. I've enjoyed playing and teaching a number of Latin pieces over the last few years including Danzon no. 2 by Marquez. Danzon is one of the earlier styles of Latin music/dance, dating back to the 1880's. Cha Cha and Mambo developed from this style. I must admit I didn't even know it was a style before I started researching and writing the piece. It developed in Cuba from the European Contradanza. The 2 bar rhythm is quite simple - 4 crotchets in the first bar followed by the syncopated rhythm crotchet - quaver - crotchet - quaver - crotchet. The bars can also be the other way around. An interesting development for this dance music is the timbales. Originally timpani were used (and they still are), but were not always available so the Cuban's developed the timbales - smaller metal drums with only a top skin. This dance travelled throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and is still popular today in Cuba and Mexico. The groups that performed this music were orquestas típicas (typical orchestra) and were often made up of wind and brass instruments and of course percussion. Unfortunately computer problems are preventing me from finishing it this week. Check out this excerpt which is about 2/3rd's of the piece.