Yeni Valdes

By gregebersole

January 8, 2016

Category: Travel

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During my trip to Havana, when I went to see and hear the group, Pupy y Los que Son Son, I met Yeni Valdes. I was sitting alone at a table waiting for the band to start. Eventually, a group of three joined me at the table. Sometime, during the concert, they told me that Yeni was at an adjoining table. She was one of the lead vocalists in the band Los Van Van of Cuba. I had seen the group several times in Cali, Colombia. I later learned that she was there to see Pupy’s band. Pupy had been one of the original members of Los Van Van, before leaving in 2001 to start his own band. Later in the evening, several people noticed her and talked to her, asking for a photo with her. She was kind and gracious to all, posing for photos with them. The people at my table asked if I wanted a photo with her too. I said, “sure.” We asked and Yeni said, “of course.” One woman at my table tried to get a photo of us, using my camera, but didn’t get anything. Soon, a man at Yeni’s table grabbed my camera, looked at it and took two photos. This was one of them which turned out great. I thanked Yeni and talked to her a little, telling her that I had seen her at least 3 times in concert in Cali. I’ve always loved Yeni’s voice and her stage presence. In Cali, at the salsa club, Tin Tin Deo, they feature videos on a large screen throughout the night of music and one that I saw often was of Los Van Van and Yeni singing the lead for the song, “Despues de todo.” Once in Cali, I was with a small group of friends that went to a free concert of Los Van Van. We arrived to the location and when the gates opened, ran to the front. We ended up waiting there in our little spot for about 7 hours until the band began their concert. There was a huge crowd all around us and it was almost impossible to walk through them to the bathroom and back. I never left the spot. Several times, I was so tired of standing and waiting that I almost left, but didn’t. I’m glad I stayed. The concert was so good and I was surrounded by a huge crowd of people singing and dancing along to every song. What an experience!

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