By Zohra Alnoor

I went to Cuba last night. With my sister…and a few other DMV residents. And no, I’m not writing this from a prison cell.

On Wednesday, April 25, 2012, Rodrigo y Gabriela, came to the Warner Theater in Washington D.C. to perform hits off their new album, Area 52, with the 13-piece Cuban orchestra, C.U.B.A.

C.U.B.A. is featured heavily on their last album, and although I didn’t enjoy the album as much as their previous ones, when they performed live, my ears were in heaven.

The performers revisited nine of the duos songs off of their past albums, infusing it with a Cuban flavor. I didn’t completely love the Cuban feel when I first bought the album, mostly because I was so use to the original songs and didn’t like them being tampered with; but at the concert last night, I was in love.

The night started out with performances from the full orchestra and duo, and after 30 minutes the mood switched to Rodrigo y Gabriela being left on stage for another 30 minutes to perform pieces on their own. One of my favorite parts of the concert, surprisingly, was when the artists from C.U.B.A. had their own solo’s much later in the concert and each were given the spotlight and two to five minutes to belt out a tune or play like they’d never played before, and it was exquisite. At one point, the night became so mellow and serenading that I was almost lulled to a peaceful sleep before flute, trumpet and trombone solos by the Cubans lifted me up with energy.

It was a night I won’t forget, and one I’ve been waiting for, for quite some time.

Thank you to for introducing me to this wonderful group many moons ago (last June), and allowing me to finally see this amazingly talented band.