ORESTE `SAMBROSO' NODA
Tel +4479 8057 0088
Musician. Consultant. Producer. Events organiser.
‘This guy is so good he should be arrested!’ Hugh Masekela.
One of the UK's premier percussionists - and the man behind Sambroso Sambroso, the renowned London-based Cuban party tribe - Oreste Noda was born and raised in Matanzas, Cuba. Having started his musical life as a trombone player, playing for the likes of the Buena Vista Social Club's late great crooner Ibrahim Ferrer, he found his calling in the congas. His unique rhythmic abilities soon saw him established as Cuba's go-to conguero. He played here, there and everywhere, most notably in the top-notch bands that continue to grace the swanky hotels of beachside Varadero.
As word of his talents spread, Noda was snapped up for a 2004 UK tour by South African jazz icon Hugh Masekela and Britain's redoubtable Jazz Jamaica All Stars, which featured such luminaries as Gary Crosby, Denys Baptiste and the now Mercury-nominated Soweto Kinch. Co-opted as a salient member of award-winning rude boys Ska Cubano, Noda proceeded to tour the world for the next eight years, soaking up influences, cooking up ideas and winning new friends along the way.
There were frequent trips back to Cuba, where his numerous collaborations include the recent Indo-Latino project by Indian percussionist Pandit Dinesh - which features such stellar musicians as Geraldo Piloto, Changuito and trumpeter Julito Padron of the leftfield Interactivo collective. In London, his home, Noda is a key member of the lauded Afrobeat-Bangla-Cuban collective Lokkhi Terra, through which he regularly visits South Asia to collaborate with some of the subcontinent's biggest musical names, mixing his Cuban traditions with Bangladeshi and Indian rhythms.
In 2012, inspired by a commitment to transcending boundaries, and blessed with the sort of charisma, warmth and knowledge that make for an ideal host, Noda opened up his Old Street warehouse/home to a series of jam sessions for friends and musical family. These intimate yet epic events quickly became the place to create and hang out, with 'Noda's Place' regularly transforming into a sort of Casa de la Cultura or even - what with the calibre of musical experimentation that took place - a London take on the famed New York loft scene of the mid 1970s.
You name it, they were there at Noda's: Irakere. Havana d'Primera. Horacio Hernandez. Ernesto Simpson. Not to mention the crème de la crème of the London music scene... Little wonder, perhaps, that these happenings took on legendary status, with the warehouse room - with its low sofas, wall murals and Cuban flags -heaving with people from all over the world. Making new friendships. Discovering new cultures. Witnessing musical conversations that felt brave, exciting, new.
One day, we said, we'll be saying that we were there.
Little wonder, too, that the gatherings got too big. So in the summer of 2013 Noda simply moved the party to various venues around London. He started with the Rooftop sessions in a (now redeveloped) building in Shoreditch, showing off his fresh brand of international Cuban culture. In 2014 he found a home in Camden for events that were now held under the name of Sambroso Sambroso Productions: The Forge.
It's here, at The Forge every Friday, as well as the third Sunday of every month, that you will find Noda - or as many call him, Sambroso - showing the planet how to party a lo Cubano: "We're a tribe of Cuban musicians in London representing live music," he says in his good-natured way. "From the roots of rumba to salsa, timba and any good Cuban fusion. We're about giving energy and happiness through music, and everyone is welcome to join us on our journey."
Under the aegis of Sambroso Sambroso Productions Noda programmed the successful Cuban Mela event for the 2015 EFG London Jazz Festival, and is presenting several acts (including a night dedicated to the orisha deity, Oshun) for the EFG London Jazz Festival 2016. With acclaimed London-based pianist Kishon Khan and trombonist Justin Thurgur he is a member of the recently founded Funkiwala, a record label run by musicians, reflecting a live scene without borders.
Noda has lent his talents and energies to numerous other projects, all of which have benefitted from his (Cuban) Midas touch. In May 2016 he worked with the London and Cuba-based organisers of Santiago de Cuba's tyro Manana Festival (billed as an inclusive celebration of the electronic and folkloric), promoting the Cuban community, connecting artists from London and Cuba - and during the festival, playing congas with nearly all of the acts.
Then there's Noda's new outfit, Ariwo (that's 'noise' in Yoruba), a Cuban/Iranian quartet intent on exploring the intersection between electronic and AfroCuban folk music. After premiering to acclaim at Manana Cuba's Boiler Room session in November 2015, an album is on the way; they're an act tipped for big things.
Ever restless, always curious, Noda is currently working on making London the centre for Cuban rumba - outside, of course, of Cuba. Hugely successful Sunday events at new rumba venues including Hootannany in Brixton and Juju's Bar & Stage in the Old Truman Brewery off Brick Lane are testament to his vision and energy.
Oreste `Sambroso' Noda, then.
From strong Cuban roots, big things grow.