Chukale (Cuban Big Band)
Directed by percussionist and lead vocalist Gustavo Cereijo, thirteen-piece Afro-Cuban Salsa ensemble Chukale has been delighting Australian audiences since 2005.
A benchmark for Latin American music in Australia, Chukale has supported 8-time Grammy award-winner Chucho Valdez, Grammy award-winning Los Van Van (Cuba), Afro-Cuban All Stars (Cuba), La 33 (Colombia), Sonora Carruseles (Colombia), Grammy award-winning Los Amigos Invisibles (Venezuela) and more.
Chukale is dedicated to showcasing the cream of international Latin American talent. Legendary Buena Vista Social Club lead singer Felix Baloy and flautist Polo Tamayo recently paid Chukale its greatest compliment to date by recording with the band. Uruguay’s multi-gold record selling vocalist Gonzalo Porta and gifted Cuban pianist Marialy Pacheco have graced Chukale’s recent stage performances.
The band built its reputation working from the ground up with residencies in a variety of Brisbane hot spots including Cloudland, the Alhambra Lounge, Uber and Barsoma, and at Byron Bay’s famous Beach Hotel and Hotel Great Northern. They’ve ignited Australian music festivals and events including the Woodford Folk Festival, Bellingen Global Carnival, Darling Harbour Fiesta, Sydney Salsa Congress, Broadbeach Jazz Festival, Caloundra Festival and closing act for the Brisbane Festival.
On stage, Uruguayan-born percussionist Gustavo Cereijo teams with Alex Nesevski on timbales, Sacha K on drums, Daniel Guerrero on congas, Steele Chabau on bass and Christo “El Pulpo” Iconomidis on piano to form the band’s driving rhythm section. The Conservatorium-trained brass section features Bob Schultz and Shannon Marshall on trumpet, Shane Hannan on trombone and Joseph Roberts on baritone sax and flute, who combine to give the band its unmistakable Salsa signature. The band is completed by Ivania Siguenza and Stefania Serna on vocals, which add a remarkable energy to the stage with their unmistakable talent as “Salseros”.
Chukale’s debut album ‘Expedition’ features tracks recorded in both Brisbane, Australia and Havana, Cuba with an array of veteran musicians and new talent including Felix Baloy, Sixto “El Indio” Llorente, Polo Tamayo, Antonio “Leal” Rodriguez, Rolando Salgado, Oderquis Reve, Carlos Puisseaux and Rainer Garzon.