Cuban Musician Gato Gatell and Grupo Gato at Washington College


World renowned musician Ernesto “Gato” Gatell and his Grupo Gato will join two Washington College students on April 21 for a singular musical performance of dance, rhythm, percussion, and voice that is guaranteed to light up the Eastern Shore evening with the soul-stirring sounds of Cuba.

Co-sponsored by the Washington College Concert Series and the Cater Society for Junior Fellows, the event at 7:30 p.m.will be in Decker Theater,and features a ten-piece band performing selections of Cuban traditional and popular music. With bass, saxophones, piano, percussion, and a full complement of singers, the group is comprised of an all-star cast of Cuban and American musicians, and will include student performers Michael DeMaio ’18 (saxophone) and Jordana Qi ’18 (voice). Demaio and Qi first met Gatell a during a Washington College January 2017 trip to Cuba, led by Associate Professor of Music Kenneth Schweitzer, and have since been attending rehearsals in Washington, D.C. to prepare for this opportunity.

The featured singer and bandleader, Ernesto “Gato” Gatell, is one of the most recognized and beloved Cuban singers alive today. In 2013, the U.S. Government acknowledged him as a Musician of Extraordinary Ability at the very top of his field both nationally and internationally, thus allowing him to immigrate to America in 2014.

His list of accomplishments over the past 30 years are far too vast to enumerate, but he has recorded and toured with the biggest names in Afro-Cuban music—Clave y Guaguanco, Tata Guines, Changuito, Pancho Quinto, Rumberos de Cuba, Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba, Puntilla, Hilario Duran, Jane Bunnett; and he has been a member of several Cuban All-Star groups. His recordings have been nominated for and/or won the top music industry awards in three countries—the U.S. Grammy, the Canadian Juno, and the Cuban CubaDisco.

For this concert, in addition to the WC students, Gatell will be joined by Paul Austerlitz (saxophone), David Marsh (bass), Raciel Suarez (piano), Steve Bloom (percussion), Oscar Rousseaux (percussions), Yudisleidy Valdez Mena (voice & dance), and Indira Martínez Ayala (voice).

Individual tickets are $20 (adults) and $15 (non-WC College students/seniors over age 65/WC faculty and staff). WC students and youth 18 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased online with a credit card via EventBrite, or with cash or check at the door. Inquiries and ticket holds can be sent to Debbie Reed at or 410-778-7839. Online tickets and additional information on the series is available at

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