In 2001, Keko Viran travelled to Cuba to meet Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer and Cachaito Lopez – his idols from the Buena Vista Social Club – and to embrace the essence of country and the people that inspired the rich, earthy roots of modern salsa music.</p>
<p id="u622-4">The trip inspired the formation of Australia’s premier Latin band, with a nod to the Buena Vista through its strong Cuban Son foundations. ‘The idea was to create a small musical group to research and promote rhythmic Afro Latin styles and have a whole lot of fun with it along the way.’</p>
<p id="u622-6">As if channeling the very essence of Cuban street music, Keko fronts the energetic and talented group of musicians including percussionist Javier Fredes, trumpet player Lazaro Numa, Tres instrumentalist Henry Saavedra and bassist Sergio Fredes. Theirs is the only traditional Cuban band to be recognised by the Cuban Ambassador in Australia.</p>
<p id="u622-8">Kekoson musicians have participated in various festivals such as Bluesfest, Womad, Sydney Festival and Moomba and have toured all over Australia, Canada and Spain. They have performed with some of Latin music’s best, and in 2012 Keko and Lazaro won the Best Australian Latin Artist Award.</p>
<p id="u622-10">‘I like how playing this music makes me feel, but more importantly, I like how it makes other people feel.’ Keko says with a smile. ‘I love to see everyone dancing and enjoying themselves just as people used to a century ago in Cuba.