Go ahead and dance: Your essential listening guide to Tiempo Libre

Da Camera of Houston continues its Jazz Series with three-time Grammy-nominated Afro-Caribbean ensemble Tiempo Libre.  Dubbed a “world class act” by the London Evening Standard and as offering “dance music of sophistication and abandon” by The New York Times, the Latin group offers tunes that fuse jazz, contemporary and Latin rhythms.

Not familiar with Tiempo Libre? We’ve put together an essential listening guide ahead of the performance on Friday, Nov. 8 at University of Houston’s Cullen Performance Hall.

Lo Mio Piero (My Turn)


“Lo Mio Piero” is built on classic Cuban sounds filled with jazzy harmonies. This is Tiempo libre’s signature authentic Timba in spades. Listen alongside the video, which encapsulates the energy and vivacity of the spirit of Havana as you travel through iconic neighborhoods — Congos and a game of Dominos included.

Somebody To Love Me featuring Yunel Cruz


Tiempo Libre is known for fusing R&B beats with Afro-Caribbean sound. Released in 2015, Yunel Cruz’ smooth vocals ride along the pulsing rhythm and lend the whole sound a new energy. We think the opening slightly resembles the theme of “Sex and the City.” See if you agree.

Dime Que No featuring Jean Rodriguez


Dime Que No featuring Jean Rodriguez is bold, brassy and bursting with charisma. This high energy, high-decibel song launches into soaring trumpets and keeps its fast beat throughout. It will have you dancing from the first note as you delve into lyrics that describe man’s yearning love.

Tu Conga Bach (Conga)


This tune’ warm sound melds hip-shaking West African drumming, evident in the hypnotic opening, with themes inspired by Bach’s C Minor Fugue from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1. The song lets you settle and loosen into it’s rolling sound. Quick drums are smoothed and connected by the stylings of lead vocalist CorosXavier Milli, encouraging listeners, as the lyrics call you to dance until you can’t anymore.

Manos Pa’rriba (Hands in the Air)


This song is a party from beginning to end. Tiempo Libre’s seven members display their perfected vocal blend and their infectious delight in singing. Their ensemble style comes together wonderfully. The best part of Manos Pa’rriba is the almost call-and-response style, and you can’t help but join in — with your hands up in the air.


Da Camera presents Tiempo Libre on Friday, Nov. 10, 8pm at the University of Houston’s Cullen Performance Hall.