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Valdes and Salazar DVD to be Released

The unlikely combination of an 85-year-old pianist and a 35-year-old flamenco singer produced a multi-platinum album last year and this year may prove to be just as successful with a DVD release from the pair.

Pianist Ramon “Bebo” Valdes (pictured) and singer Diego “El Cigala” Salazar created the album Lagrimas Negras last June and some critics even said the album created a new genre by combining elements of flamenco, jazz and Cuban music. The album features interpretations of classic songs from Cuba, Central America, South America and Spain. While the album was only released last year in the United States, it was released in Spain in 2003.

In response to the success of Lagrimas Negras, RCA will release a double-disc DVD package, Blanco y Negro: Bebo & Cigala En Vivo, on April 5.

The first disc of the DVD set shows the duo in action, performing a 19-song set, including all the songs from Lagrimas Negras, in Mallorca, Spain. The 80-minute concert also features flamenco guitarist Nino Josele, bassist Javier Colina and cajon player Israel “Pirana” Porrina.

The second DVD Bebo and Cigala’s Kitchen is nearly an hour long and documents the collaboration of the duo that resulted in the recording of Lagrimas Negras.

The DVD set was produced by Spanish filmmaker Fernando Trueba, who introduced Valdes to Cigala in 2000. Trueba had recorded the pair’s initial meeting in November 2000, which is also documented on the DVD. The DVD also includes interviews on how the pair worked together.

Ramon “Bebo” Valdes is a Cuban-born pianist who helped pioneer Afro-Cuban music. Early in his career, Valdes served as the house pianist, bandleader and music consultant at Havana’s Tropicana nightclub. He also led the way for mambo experiments in the 1940s and recorded the first descargas (Cuban jam sessions).

Diego “El Cigala” Salazar, nicknamed the “Sinatra of Flamenco” in the United States, is a Roma Gypsy based in Spain who has managed to bring the traditional flamenco sound to a new, contemporary audience.

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