Old Danzon Gets Cool Makeover With Latin Grammy-Nominated Orquesta Failde

Orquesta Failde has become known in Cuba for performing danzón, the rhythm of 19th century ballroom dance, and for collaborating on recordings and in concert with singer Omara Portuondo, who turned 90 on Oct. 29.

But this is no veteran band. Failde’s 13 members range from 16 years old to late 20s, and their album Failde con Tumbao includes the band’s chachachá version of Camila Cabello’s “Havana,” as well as appearances by salsero Andy Monañez, violinist Federico Britos and Portuondo. The album is up for a Latin Grammy, competing in the best tropical traditional album category with Orquesta Aragón, Ernesto Fernández, Changui de Guatánamo and Mariaca Semprún.

For Ethiel Failde, the 28-year-old flute player and founder of the orchestra, being a bridge between past and present is all part of his personal quest to revive the danzón, which was created by his ancestor Miguel Failde. “The models of success for young musicians are trap and reggaetón,” says Failde. “But we can show music students who play traditional music that they can also be successful and travel the world.”

Failde spoke to Billboard from his home in Matanzas, Cuba.

Your great-great-uncle, Miguel Failde, is credited with having created the danzón rhythm. Was that legacy always present in your life?

I started dancing the danzón when I was six years old, thanks to a teacher I had at school. But I am the only musician in my immediate family, and I really just found out the whole story of the Failde family a few years ago. In the past, artists were often looked down upon, and music was seen as a hobby. My grandfather Candido, for example, was a great violinist, but all I knew about him was that he was a tailor by profession. When I started studying music, I got to the conservatory and realized I was “a Failde,” that my name was the same as that great Cuban musician. It ignited a passion in me for traditional Cuban music from that era, and I appointed myself the defender of the patrimony of Miguel Failde and the danzón.

The orchestra members are young, but you are performing “old music.” Have you been able to reach a young audience?

Yes, and I am thrilled because it’s been difficult. When the orchestra started (eight years ago), we were attracting an audience that was mostly older than 60. But we’ve been working on updating our sound, our image on stage and the production level of our concerts; that has brought us younger fans. This is our third album and it shows the orchestra’s full reach and versatility, including danzón, mambo, salsa, jazz and timba.

You’ve been very active in the past six months, even when Cuba has been locked down. What have you been doing?

We were really worried when the pandemic started. But we’ve been posting a lot of performances on Facebook and YouTube, and we’ve really increased our number of followers. Before the pandemic, most of our fans were in Mexico. But now the majority are in Cuba. We’ve seen that we’ve attracted a lot more younger people. We’ve done a lot of concerts, and we’ve also been recording performances by other groups here in Matanzas, from jazz, to rumba to Cuban country music. It’s a way of keeping musicians active. For our concerts, we never repeat the same song list. We now have a repertoire of 47 songs, and that makes the orchestra better because the musicians have to be studying new music constantly.

You previously recorded an album with Omara Portuondo, and Orquesta Failde has lately served as her back-up band when she performs in Cuba. Why did you choose to join forces with a 90-year-old artist?

Because she’s Omara Portuondo. I’ve always admired, loved and idolized her. In 2016, my manager, Pedro Pablo, had the chance to ask her if she would record with us. That is the song “Me Desordeno,” which is on the current album. Then we recorded Siempre Tu Voz, a tribute to Beny Moré. She opened her heart and her house to us. We also recorded a track that will be on an album celebrating her 90th birthday. It’s amazing the way she can sing at her age.

What does the Latin Grammy nomination mean to you?

This proves to us, a group of kids who are just starting out, going against the current by performing traditional Cuban music, that we are on the right path. I always tell the musicians who play with me that the reason they should play traditional Cuban music is simply because they like it. It’s not easy, because they are influenced by so many new trends and sounds. I have them study the great masters so that they know what they did and where they came from. And they play the danzón with joy. This nomination is not only for the Orquesta Failde. It’s for young Cuban musicians and for the danzón.

Beyonce Shares Throwback Photos of Biden and Harris to Celebrate Historic Election Results

Beyonce is celebrating the historic 2020 presidential election results with some throwback photos of America’s next leaders.

On Saturday (Nov. 7), Bey took to Instagram to share her excitement over Joe Biden defeating Donald Trump in the nail-biting U.S. election by posting youthful photos of the president-elect and VP-elect Kamala Harris.

In the caption-less posts, a strapping twentysomething Biden stands smiling amid a tropical background, while a tweenish looking Harris flashes an adorable smile.

Beyonce shared a third picture of modern-day Biden and Harris excitedly clenching hands in front of a large American flag at what appears to be a campaign rally.

“Congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden & Vice President-elect Kamala Harris,” reads a message below the pic.

Earlier in the week, the 39-year-old superstar singer proudly displayed her “I Voted” sticker and “Biden Harris” face mask to show which 2020 ticket was getting her stamp of approval.

“Come thru, Texas! #VOTE,” Beyonce captioned the black-and-white Instagram boomerang.

See more artist reactions to the historic White House win here.

Demi Lovato Shares Unifying Message After Biden-Harris Victory: ‘Today We Will Celebrate Each Other’

Demi Lovato is sending a message love and unity following news that Joe Biden will become the 46th president of the United States.

On Saturday (Nov. 7), Biden pulled ahead in Pennsylvania, giving him the electoral college votes needed to defeat Donald Trump, after states worked around the clock counting ballots.

“This was OUR election and WE WON TOGETHER,” the 28-year-old singer tweeted. “There’s still a lot of work to be done, but today we will celebrate each other.”

In recent weeks, Lovato strongly encouraged her fanbase to vote in the presidential election by sharing a selfie of herself at a voting poll in Los Angeles.

“I vote because I love my country,” wrote the singer, who unleashed the politically-driven song “Commander in Chief” in October. “From my friends and family members who live here, to my neighbors and millions of people I don’t know, I love the citizens here. This year I’ve been so stressed and anxious from politics alone.”

Following news of Biden’s victory, Lovato again took to social media to “celebrate the millions of Americans who overcame barriers to the ballot box, mobilized their communities & voted in record breaking numbers.”

She added, “Today isn’t about celebrating in the face of those that oppose your views and values, but celebrating from a place of LOVE – combating the hate that has encompassed and oppressed so many of us the past four years. Let the healing begin.”

Check out Lovato’s tweets celebrating the Biden-Harris victory below, and see more artist reactions to the historic White House win here.

‘Nothing But Love’: Halsey, Troye Sivan & More Celebrate Joe Biden Winning Presidency

After a long week of waiting, many in the LGBTQ+ community are celebrating Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ big win on Saturday (Nov. 7).

“There’s more work than ever to be done, but a moment of pause and relief is warranted here for so many Americans who deserve it after so much fear,” Halsey wrote on Twitter. “It’s nice to see a celebration after all these years.”

Lady Gaga also tweeted, “@JoeBiden @KamalaHarris and the American people, you just gave the world one of the greatest acts of kindness and bravery humanity has ever seen. Red heart Raising handsRaising hands nothing but love for our new Commander in Chief and the 1ST female VP elected to the White House. Also, way to go PA.”

Meanwhile, Troye Sivan kept it short and sweet, writing, “I’m crying.”

There was more good news earlier this week, when Sarah McBride won her race to become a senator in Delaware, making her the first transgender state senator and highest ranking transgender official in United States history.

Check out more reactions about Biden and Kamala winning the 2020 election below.

Shakira, Becky G & More Latin Artists React to Joe Biden Winning the Presidency

Joe Biden was officially announced the president-elect of the United States Saturday (Nov. 7) after winning Pennsylvania, putting him just over the 270 electoral votes he needed to win the presidency.

Biden defeats incumbent Donald Trump in this historical election and, with this victory, Sen. Kamala Harris becomes the first women to be elected as vice president.

Latin artists including Shakira, Becky G and Prince Royce took to social media to reflect and celebrate. Shakira, who had urged her fans to get out the vote, posted, “Celebrating with my children this new phase of unity and healing that begins now with Biden as new president elect.”

Meanwhile, Jennifer  Lopez posted a short video of her dancing on stage with a caption that read “SHMOOD! PRESIDENT BIDEN!!!!!!! VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS!!!!!!” See the Instagram video here.

See more Latin artists react below.

‘PARTY IN THE USA’: Miley Cyrus Had the Best Reaction to Joe Biden Defeating Donald Trump

Miley Cyrus took to Twitter on Saturday (Nov. 7) to share her excitement over Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 United States presidential election.

“Now THIS is a PARTY IN THE USA! @JoeBiden @KamalaHarris,” the singer wrote — referencing her iconic 2009 party jam — alongside an epic video cut that included President-elect Joe Biden making a speech, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris dancing, and Donald Trump being escorted away from a podium.

Cyrus also retweeted a fan who shared a video of people on the streets singing “Party in the U.S.A.” seemingly after the big news broke.

Check out Cyrus’ tweets (and blast the anthemic song) below.

Lady Gaga Congratulates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Historic White House Win

Lady Gaga is joining millions of Americans in congratulating Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on winning the White House.

On Saturday (Nov. 7), Biden pulled ahead in Pennsylvania, giving him the electoral college votes needed to defeat Donald Trump and become the 46th president of the United States.

“@JoeBiden @KamalaHarris and the American people, you just gave the world one of the greatest acts of kindness and bravery humanity has ever seen,” Gaga tweeted. “Nothing but love for our new Commander in Chief and the 1ST female VP elected to the White House. Also, way to go PA.”

Earlier in the week, the 34-year-old pop superstar showed her support for Biden by appearing at his drive-in rally in Pittsburgh. Decked in a blue jumpsuit and a blinged-out “Vote” mask, Gaga took the stage to give an impassioned speech, explaining that she doesn’t “need to tell you why” to vote for Biden, because “like me, you’ve experienced the last four years and have all the evidence you need to look at this choice and know in your heart, without any doubt, that Joe Biden is the right choice.”

During the rally, the singer also performed her hits “Yoü and I” and “Shallow.”

Check out Gaga’s congratulatory tweet to Biden and Harris below, and see more artist reactions to the historic White House win here.