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    Mi Tierra - (My Home Land)

    The hottest new Salsa dance music from Cuba is called "Timba". It is a sizzling brew of sounds with elements from traditional Cuban music, rock, jazz, hip hop and all sorts of great sounds from around the world!

    The Canberra based band, "Mi Tierra", plays the hottest new sound in Australia! What sets these guys apart from the other local bands is they really know how to play the Timba! Their sound is characterised by tight arrangements played by excellent musicians, very hot horns and of course those smokin' Cuban rhythms. They also perform amazing Salsa, Merengue, Mambo, ChaCha, Lambada and the other Latin Rhythms!

    Valeri Rojas, Mi Tierra's bass guitarist says, "We not only play great music! We also give a great show! When we start playing Timba, the whole band, every single member, dances around like crazies. We are the only band in Australia where that happens! We have a great energy and we keep the same energy all night long. I think that is what makes us really different to other bands. You ask anyone who has seen us perform - they will tell you that it is true!" Check out StreetDance's Special Events page for their next gig and go and see them perform! You won’t be disappointed.

    "Mi Tierra" means "My Home Land". So did the band have something deep and meaningful in mind when they named the band? Valeri says, "Well, I could tell you that because we are Latino, the music is in our blood, it is where our roots are, it is my home land - Mi Tierra! But really, the name came up from nothing! We were all talking about it, discussing what to call the band and one of the family friends was there and she said it... Mi Tierra and so we thought - why not! heheheh"

    Reneir Rojas formed the band in 1994 with his three sons, cousin Ebert Cortreras and a close friend of the family, Selene Pangalos. Since then the band has grown! Most of the original members are still there plus a few more. The band now has 15 musicians who really have been making waves in the Latin music scene in Australia!

    Mi Tierra is based in Canberra and performs regularly in Sydney. In Canberra the band can be found performing at leading venues (The Gypsy Bar, The Labour Club, The Southern Cross Club, Rydges Hotel ) and special events like the National Gallery of Australia’s birthday celebration and every year since 1995, it has performed at the ACT Multicultural Festival.

    The band can also be seen at Sydney's major Latin venues (BJ's, The Metro, The Marconi Club and The Harbourside Brasserie) and performing to big crowds at the Latin festivals held in Darling Harbour and the Fairfield Showground.

    The dynamic sound of Mi Tierra might have something to do with the diverse cultural background of its individual members (six from Peru, two from Chile perform vocals, guitar and percussion, the brass and keyboard sections are Australians from the Canberra Jazz school). The band's high-energy performances also has a lot to do with half of its members being under 25 years old! Whether Peruvian, Chilean or Australian born, these guys share a common bond through the music - which really shows in the tightness of their performances. The infectious music and their high-energy presentation always move their audiences (literally!). The band says, "We guarantee to get everyone swinging!"

    Australia is a land of immigrants and fortuneately, peoples from all over South America and the Caribbean have chosen to make it their home. That is how Mi Tierra came to stir up the Latin music scene. Renier Rojas was a musician in Peru, he played in bands for about 20 years and then decided to bring his family to Australia. When he got here, he saw a lot of potential in forming a band. At that time there were only two or three Latin bands in Canberra and not that many more in Sydney. Although the band says that at first they didn't take performing very seriously, they did start with 8 musicians doing gigs in little bars and playing every kind of music, even ballroom. Then other musicians wanted to perform with Mi Tierra and then they had a desire to only play Latin music - salsa, merengue, cha cha, lambada and all that. At the time they had a female vocalist named Selene Pangalos, but she left the band to have a baby - so then they had to change the look and feel of the band and thats when they decided to do timba cubana - a more aggressive salsa with a lot of things happening in it. It is pure Cuban Salsa.

    Mi Tierra discovered Timba thanks to a Cuban guy named Osvaldo who played with the band for about 4 months before moving to Melbourne. The band thought this style of Salsa music was great. Then Renier's wife and daughter came back from visiting Peru and they brought Timba back with them and a few months later one of the band's singers Angelo Ballon also came to Australia from Peru with Timba. It must have been fate. The band became "love sick" with this music. They couldn't let it go. They couldn't understand why no one in Australia was doing it! So they started doing Timba.

    Timba changed the whole idea of Latin music for Mi Tierra, as the band says, "this music is not an easy thing to do but once you do it you get crazy because it's so contagious and powerful. We started in 1994 and then in 1998, we changed our whole look and sound introducing Timba. Since then, the band has been in huge demand in Sydney, Canberra and elsewhere!"

    Mi Tierra's Music Makers

    Renier Rojas - Guitar and Vocals
    Renier was born in Peru and is Mi Tierra's founder and leader. He has been playing music for over 25 years and is experienced in many styles.

    Zamar Rojas - Congas and Vocals
    Zamar was born in Peru. He is Renier's son and a founding member of Mi Tierra.

    Ebert Contreras - Vocals
    Ebert is Renier's cousin, was born in Peru and is a founding member of Mi Tierra.

    Angelo Ballon - Guiro and Vocals
    Angelo was born in Peru. He joined the band in 1999.

    Giorgio Rojas - Timbales and Drums
    Giorgio was born in Peru. He is another of Renier's sons and a founding member of Mi Tierra.

    Sinue Pacheco - Congas
    Sinue was born in Chile. He lived in Cuba for two years studying music.

    Francisco Mesa - Bongos and Campana
    Frank was born in Chile.

    Valeri Rojas - Bass Guitar
    Valeri was born in Peru. He is Renier's son and a founding member of Mi Tierra.

    Louise Davenport - Keyboard
    Louise was born in Australia.

    Michael Guy - Keyboard
    Michael was born in Australia.

    Richard Manderson - Alto and Tenor Saxophone
    Richard was born in Australia.

    Adam Matthew - Alto and Tenor Saxophone
    Adam was born in Australia.

    Corey Booth - Trumpet
    Corey was born in Australia.

    Claire Hollander - Trumpet
    Claire was born in Australia.

    Lucian McGuiness - Trombone
    Lucian was born in Australia.

    For booking information please contact Renier Rojas:
    Phone: 0262 324521 or 0411 022 957
    Email: valerir@cyberone.com.au

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    This page was last updated November 2000
    copyright Paul F Clifford (2000)