From Their Island to Ours

Cuban jazz does not come to our fair shores often enough. Fortunately, this weekend will bring two contemporary giants of the genre, Elio Villafranca and Emilio Valdés, to Oak Bluffs for four electric performances spread over two nights, enough to satiate even the heartiest musical appetites. Union Chapel is the venue; 7 and 9 p.m. are the times, and Friday and Saturday are the days. Said event producer Genevieve Luce, “The Union Chapel is an intimate space . . . There’s a magic that happens when the musicians and the audience interact in a small space that cannot happen in larger concert halls and other venues.”

Friday’s performer, Elio Villafranca, was classically trained in percussion and composition at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, and is known for his original cultural and musical fusions. He has also composed and arranged original soundtracks for PBS documentaries as well as independent films.

On Saturday, drummer Emilio Valdés plays. Born in Havana in 1966, he is the grandson of Bebo Valdes, who was the house arranger at the Tropicana in Havana during the 1940s.

Tickets for the event are $30 on Friday, and $35 on Saturday, and can be purchased at For details, call 484-560-6319.