Santa Barbara based SONGON plays free flowing instrumental dance music: a mix of original and traditional music of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic sprinkled with be-bop, funk and modern jazz. In Songon's jams, repeating rock and minimalist riffs co-exist with the traditional montuno patterns of Cuban son and cha-cha-cha and the salsa of Puerto Rico.
The name SONGON loosely means "big-songo". (Songo is a rhythm and style of Cuban music that mixes the traditional son (the basic salsa beat of Cuba ) with R&B-funk beats. With flute the predominant melodic instrument, SONGON's sound is reminiscent of the charanga-jazz sound of Los Angeles-based BONGO-LOGIC.
The band's rhythmic swing is the first thing that greets the ears and feet. Driven by LOS LOBOS drummer Cougar Estrada and SOMOS SON conguero Raul Rico, SONGON hammers insistent dance beats that demand movement. SOMOS SON basist Ian Peters locks in tightly with Cougar and Raul, and it is no wonder why - the three played together for almost two decades in the rhythm section of south coast legendary litin-jazzers, the ESTRADA BROTHERS. (If Rual's name sounds familiar it is because for years he has been the voice of latin jass on Thursday nights at KCLU-FM 88.3 Ventura County, 102.3 Santa Barbara )
Flutist Norma La Tuchie and pianist John Douglas complete the quintet. Norma, who has extensive recording and performing credits in the New York jazz and lcassical and Brazilian music scenes, has performed and recorded with Santa Barbara luminaries RANDY TICO, TEKA and GILBERTO GONZALEZ, ammong others. John is a veteran of the Boston and Los Angeles jazz and salsa scenes and has played and recorded with many artists, including DIZZY GILLESPIE, THE POINTER SISTERS, ARETHA FRANKLIN, BONGO LOGIC and NATE BIRTKEY.
SONGON is currently putting together a more traditional charanga dance repertoire with vocalists/percussionists Oscar rios and Jose Luis Gomez and violinist Modesto Mercano.