"...a big band full of life...they billed themselves as playing son, danzon, and cha-cha-cha, but to the unscholarly it was all just good dance music."
"...they can't stop Orchestra Zarabanda, who has always played their breezy and beautiful son and chachacha for love...Irresistible repertoire."
"Cuban dance music comes alive..."
"They demonstrated that music doesn't have to be relegated to cultural and geograghic borders; it can--and does--go where the love of the music wanders."
Notable shows: Orchestra Zarabanda. “Summer is the best time for big-band Cuban dance music, and no one in Seattle plays it better than this 10-piece outfit…a retro ballroom sound that will ship you straight to the Havana of your imagination.”
"It took some vibrant Cuban rhythms and scores of Victorians dancing along to break the chilly weather and grey clouds that covered the ICA Folkfest this week. Hundreds of people crowded the stands and filled the parking lot in front of the stage as Seattle's Zarabanda warded off the evening's chill with warm, thriving beats on the fifth night of the Inner Harbour's cultural festival. Capturing traditional Cuban dances such as the cha-cha-cha, the group put together a string of lengthy songs that kept couples salsa dancing and the crowd swaying, even drawing an audience above on Wharf Street..."
Vocalist Elspeth Savani has been fronting and directing Orchestra Zarabanda for the better part of a decade…Her newest release showcases a seasoned vocalist in the company of a rock-solid orchestra comprised of excellent musicians, in addition to special guests Jovino Santos Neto, Marco de Carvalho and Anthony Blea. Produced by percussionist Michael Spiro (who was also featured on Cuban and Brazilian percussion throughout the recording) this production makes romantic Cuban dance music sizzle with joy, as it comes alive via the powerful interpretations of Savani and friends. A collection of 11 songs performed in Spanish (with the exception of the track All of me, which Savani interprets in English and the track Prelude to Silencio, which she sings in Yoruba), are sure to touch you and lift your spirits.
Elspeth Savani’s Gallo Que Canta, produced by percussionist Michael Spiro, is the fruition of years of great love and respect for the music and culture. Listen to "Rompiendo La Rutina" and you'll find a rare purity of spirit. And many of the tracks exude a formal beauty, a richness that only seasoned musicians that are dedicated to the form can induce. The sweetness of Savani's voice can, at times, eclipse all else. And that's not a bad thing. There are a number of Lucumí references here, and Savani can make inviting what some might have difficulty approaching ordinarily. I especially like her rendition of the jazz standard "All of Me." And her take on Alvaro Carrillo's "Un Poco Más" is simply stunning. The band is top notch….”
Highly Recommended. (Bruce Polin)