Announcing the 2021 Season! 📣 YBG Festival’s special 2021 summer season kicks off on Saturday, June 26 at 1pm with a free concert from Bobi Céspedes, the Bay Area’s matriarch of Cuban Music!
SATURDAY AT 1 PM PDT – 2:30 PM PDT
Yerba Buena Gardens Festival.
Address: 760 Howard street, SF.
Free. Outdoors. Fresh. | Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
Pre-show music begins at 12:30pm. A short electrifying set by DJ José Ruiz (KPOO/KPFA) opens the program.
The matriarch of Cuban roots music in the Bay Area, Havana-born Bobi Céspedes brings to the stage a regal presence and deep, resonant, spirit-steeped voice. She first gained renown in the 1980s as lead vocalist with Conjunto Céspedes, a band that introduced the Bay Area to the glorious sound of the foundational Afro-Cuban style known as son. She reached new audiences touring with Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart’s Planet Drum and Bembé Orisha projects, and has established a powerful musical identity in her own right with a series of solo albums. Her fourth release under her own name, Mujer y Cantante, showcases her skills as a songwriter who brings her sharp wit and ebullient personality to traditional forms. Her world-class band includes music director Marco Díaz on piano, trumpet and vocals, and Lichi Fuentes on vocals, chekeré, and güiro.
Part of Yerba Buena Gardens Festival’s Weekend Sessions series. For the full summer schedule, visit www.ybgfestival.org.
YBG Festival’s 2021 Season runs June 26-August 28. See the lineup here: https://ybgfestival.org/2021-season-announcement/
“…a Cuban powerhouse of a woman who demonstrates on record and in concert that she is the worthy successor to the throne of Celia Cruz.” — Los Angeles Times
A sonera of the classic Cuban style and a priestess of the Yorùbán diaspora, treasured Bay Area singer Bobi Céspedes was described by the Los Angeles Times as “a Cuban powerhouse of a woman who demonstrates on record and in concert that she is the worthy successor to the throne of Celia Cruz.” Céspedes founded the influential Bay Area Cuban ensemble Conjunto Céspedes in 1981 with her brother Luis and nephew Guillermo, releasing three spectacular albums on the Green Linnet and Xenophile labels and sharing the stage with salsa titans Tito Puenté, Rubén Blades and Celia Cruz.
The singer worked with Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart’s Planet Drum project beginning in 1998, appearing on his Supralingua and Spirit into Sound releases, and toured the world with his ensemble that also featuring SFJAZZ Education Director Rebeca Mauleón. Work with the family band and Hard meant that Céspedes didn’t release an album under her own name until 2003’s Six Degrees session Rezos, a blend of Cuban son and electronic beats that included the track “Awoyo,” a composition featured in season 4 of the smash Showtime series Dexter. Her follow-up, Patakin, features a cross-section of the Bay Area’s finest Latin jazz musicians including bassist Saul Sierra and pianist Marco Díaz.
Since settling in the Bay Area in 1969, Cuban-born vocalist Bobi Céspedes has been an essential cultural conduit, providing authentic Afro-Cuban roots music to a region with a passionate hunger for clave.
She made an enduring impression in the 1980s with the celebrated band Conjunto Céspedes, and gained a larger following as part of Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart’s Planet Drum and Bembé Orisha projects. With her deep, resonant voice and captivating stage presence, Céspedes is a direct link between the new world and the old, belting out son, rumba, boleros and Yoruba incantations. Her superlative band sets a daunting standard on a scene rife with talent-packed ensembles.