Cachao Mambo All Stars
Cachao Mambo All Stars Credit: Courtesy Tempest Entertainment

This year’s Festival Cubano, expanding to three days in Riis Park, kicks off its music programming Friday at 4 PM with a six-hour lineup of more than 40 artists and DJs celebrating the history of house—which seems like an odd choice, even considering the importance of Latinos in the development of the genre, given that the event is ostensibly devoted to the music of Cuba. Fortunately the fest has booked some important figures, including Hot Mix 5 cofounder Kenny “Jammin'” Jason and mid-80s member Frankie “Hollywood” Rodriguez, Keith Nunnally of J.M. Silk, Dajae, White Knight, and Fast Eddie. Music begins at noon on Saturday and Sunday, but you’ll have to sit through DJs and dance troupes until the heavy hitters take the stage each evening. On Saturday Puerto Rican pop-salsa beefcake Jerry Rivera headlines; he tends to slather his music’s clave-based polyrhythms in slick arrangements, in stark contrast to brilliant Cuban violinist Alfredo de la Fe, who’s booked for the 7 PM slot (and who’s played with the likes of Eddie Palmieri, Tipica 73, Tito Puente, and the Fania All-Stars). Singer Xiomara Laugart, who made her name in Yerba Buena and has sung the title role in the off-Broadway musical Celia: The Life and Music of Celia Cruz, performs at 6:20 PM. Sunday’s bill wraps up with Cuban expats Timbalive, who mix reggaeton, reggae, hip-hop, and rock into their overheated take on the funk-­driven timba style. They’re preceded at 7 PM by one the fest’s biggest treats—a performance by Cachao’s Mambo All Stars, the ghost band of late bassist Israel “Cachao” Lopez, a key architect of mambo and of the Afro-Cuban jam session known as the descarga. There’s also a stage featuring children’s entertainment on Friday from 6 till 8 PM and on Saturday and Sunday from noon till 6 PM.