Caridad Cruz enjoys the moment, at a show at Mercury Lounge in March. ©Brett Delmage, 2011
Caridad Cruz enjoys the moment, at a show at Mercury Lounge in March. ©Brett Delmage, 2011
Caridad Cruz told us that since she moved here from Cuba, she's been adjusting to and beginning to appreciate aspects of our cold Ottawa winters. In return, she's brought some Cuban heat to Ottawa-Gatineau music lovers with her high-energy Cuban music that gets listeners out of their chairs and dancing.
[View photos from her Mercury Lounge show on March 24]

It seems appropriate then, that Cruz is returning to the hottest festival of the summer, the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival, this year. She'll launch the 2011 Ottawa Jazz Festival's OLG Stage Noon Jazz Series on Friday June 24, joined by a hot composer and piano player from Montreal, Yoel Diaz and his trio members Alex Bellegarde - bass, and Kiko Osorio - congas. Le Devoir called Diaz "one of Montreal's best pianists of Cuban music." Check out some music from his Cuban Jazz Session CD, "Encuentros"  at

Well-known to and appreciated by Ottawa audiences, Cruz's regular colleague César Ricardo will perform on guitar and vocals.

Steeped in Afro-Cuban culture from an early age, Caridad Cruz had a formal musical education in her native country, followed by a 10-year career singing in its tourist hotels and night clubs. She immigrated to Canada in 2003, and the following spring her Canadian debut performance, broadcast nationally by CBC, garnered rave reviews.

César Ricardo developed his passion for music in the quiet countryside near Gibara the beautiful eastern coastal town of his birth, where many nights were spent singing and playing guitar and clave with his father, grandfather and uncle.  His early influences were the 'feeling' and 'trovadores' movements of the early 70's-80's, when great musicians like Silvio Rodriguez and Pablo Milanes forever changed the Cuban music scene.  After completing a formal musical education, César went on to have a nine year career as a guitarist playing for thousands of tourists in bars and hotels around Cuba.

Since immigrating to Ottawa in 2006, César has appeared frequently with Caridad Cruz in duets and larger groups, including multiple appearances at the National Arts Centre and on TV.

The noon concert is free. The OLG Stage is in the big white tent in Confederation Park, adjacent to Elgin Street, across from the Lord Elgin Hotel. You can bring your lunch – but be prepared to dance instead.

    - Brett Delmage

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All photos ©Brett Delmage, 2011. Click a thumbnail to view a larger image.

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