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by Peter McCallum
posted 28/09/2012

El Gran Combo Vist Cubanismo at Eastside

Jerry Rivas and Charlie Aponte, two of the singers with El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico visited the Eastside studios at the start of the Sydney leg of their five continent tour celebrating the bands 50th anniversary together.

The two front men of the 14 peice group came into the studio with tour promoter Dwight from DCEntertainment. Dwight is a true fan of the band, having listened to many of the bands 60 albums since he was a boy. These three men made for a very entertaining studio session, we covered ground that included the bands history since they formed in 1963, salsa influences from the blues and from slaves brought to the Caribbean islands by the Spanish. Jerry and Charlie were even singing along live to air when we played some of their tracks. We started out to do a 15 minute interview and stayed on air for 45 minutes truely enjoying the stories from 50 years of playing together.

Charlie and Jerry both joined the combo in the 70’s and there are also two of the founding 1963 members playing in the band. This October long weekend El Gran Combo are playing two gigs at the roundhouse at the UNSW campus in Randwick – why the Roundhouse? – it was one of the few venues available in Sydney with a big enough dance floor!

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Jerry Rivas (left) and Charlie Aponte (right) with Cubanismo fill-in presenter Peter McCallum

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