rod.jpg Rodrigo Chavez - Artistic Director/ Percussion

Rodrigo Chavez, Chilean born musician, has specialized in classical Guitar and Afro-Latin percussion for more than fifteen years. He studied Sociology and French at York University and has traveled extensible throughout Peru, Venezuela and Cuba studying traditional rhythms and musical styles of those countries.

He has performed in Chile, Argentina, USA, Canada and Korea. In Canada he has performed at The Banff Centre for the Arts, Ottawa’s Museum of Civilization, Roy Thompson Hall and for the National Ballet of Canada. He has participated in numerous recordings projects including CBC documentaries, Peter Smith “Caliente & Cool” Jazz CD, Kiran Ahlluwalia Indo-Pakistani contemporary music, Prologue to the Performing Arts CD, Jim Parker’s Children Production “On my street” and Flamenco Spanish recordings. “Mi Camino”, one of his compositions, was played in TV series “Nikita”. Same song is played for the Ontario Arts Council new educational DVD for “Artists in Education”.

In 1997 he became the Artistic Director of “CASSAVA Latin Music”, his own project. With this band, he takes a new musical approach to a fusion of Afro-Latin rhythms with Jazz and popular music from Latin America. His focus is primarily on Salsa, Cumbia, Lando, Samba and Afro-Cuban rhythms. He has performed in most international festivals of Canada, Chicago in USA and South Korea. CASSAVA performs in special events as well as in the educational scene of Ontario, mainly schools and universities.

Cassava’s first CD entitled “Latin Rhythms” was produced in year 2000 and distributed throughout Canada and USA, featuring Venezuelan singer Eliana Cuevas. Since then, Cassava produced a second CD entitled “Encuentros” (Encounters), released on April 2004 and recently a new CD entitled “Color de Rumba” (Color of Rumba) released on the spring of 2010.

He has been leading workshops for OISE (Ontario Institute of Studies in Education), COLLAGE, 19th National Conference on Carl Orff, Toronto 2006, he lead workshops for the OABEC Conference (Ontario Association of Business Education and Coordinators), Niagara Falls 2007, most recently he led workshops for the EDGO Conference (Educators for Gifted Children of Ontario) in Toronto, November 2007 and UNICEF INTERNATIONAL in 2010. He yearly leads a workshop for music teachers organized by Worlds of Music and OISE in for the undergraduate program at York University.

Rodrigo Chavez is currently leading CASSAVA LATIN BAND and touring Ontario and Quebec provinces conducting Latin-Drumming workshops for middle and high schools with the support of Ontario Arts Council and the different Boards of Education.

The program is affordable and it is offered in both, English and French.

Ahmed.jpg AMHED MITCHEL - Drums

Amhed Mitchel was born in Cardenas, Cuba. Inspired by his father, who was a great drummer himself, Amhed started his musical studies in the Conservatory of Music of Matanzas. After graduating he moved to Havana and attended the "National School of Art".

In the mid 90’s he returned to Matanzas and started his professional career in Varadero, having the opportunity to work with great musicians of the scene. Mitchel has also lived in Havana performing and recording with many of the top bands of Cuba.

He now lives in Toronto, Canada where he continues his passion for music playing with different bands and recording for Canadian, Brazilian, Cuban and Latin Jazz projects.



Juan Pablo Dominguez was born in Villa Clara, Cuba. In 1991 he graduated from Classical Guitar, at the Vocational School of Arts "Olga Alonso," one of Cuba's most prestigious arts institutions. Since the beginning of his career, he traveled throughout Cuba and the rest of the world, giving Guitar and Bass workshops.

Juan Pablo had the opportunity to make his music known in his native country, working together and sharing the stage with many great artists from Cuba. In 1999, he joined the Havana Ensemble band, directed by saxophonist Cesar Lopez, a project coming out of the prestigious band ‘Irakere’.

While in Havana Ensemble, he got the chance to tour around Argentina, Brazil, Switzerland, South Africa, Japan, Canada, Venezuela, France, Mexico among others. During these tours Juan Pablo shared the stage with well known musicians such as Compay Segundo, Ray Charles, David Sambord, Chucho Valdes, Ed Motta, Marcus Miller, Eddy Parlmieri, Hilario Duran, Maracas, Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, Wayne Shorter, Toto group And many others.

Besides working with Havana Ensemble, he was also part of Pasaje Abierto and Elmer Ferrer Band.

Juan Pablo is also a composer, producer and arranger, whose credits appear on different albums, such as: "Zero", Diego Gutierrez (Unicorn, 2006), "My Generation", Tesis de Menta, (Egrem, 2006), "Dudas", by Rochy (Bis Music, 2005, "Andante" (2006 Best Latin Jazz CD), "Metropolis" (2003 Opera Prima Prize), Juan Pablo has participated in the first DVD recorded in Cuba: “Jazz Cuba Today” (2006 Best DVD Jazz Achievement). In the present, he resides in Toronto, Canada, where he continues to work as a performer/producer/composer for Cassava Latin Band.


Adis was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba. Moved by an early passion for music, she started to study music at age eight, and at ten, she joined the most popular Cuban teenager’s band of all times, Ismaelillo, with whom she toured nationally, and  did countless tv appearances for 4 years.

Adis had her first performance in Canada when she was only 15 years old, in the course of an international tour with Repique Cubano, a band she was part of for three years, and with whom Adis participated in the Cultural Exchange between Cuba and Canada, touring Ontario and Quebec in three occasions between in 1999 and 2001.

Since 2002, Adis has been a member of Cassava Latin Band and Ache Woman Power, the only all-female Cuban band in Canada that has performed at Edmonton’s Heritage Festival, and numerous festivals and live concerts across Canada.



At the age of 11 Orlando studied the saxophone at Escuela Provincial de Arte (Arts School of his Province) in Matanzas, Cuba. Later on, he studied Classical music at the Escuala Nacional de Arte –ENA (National Arts School of Cuba) where he studied the Oboe.

He had started teaching music at an early age while performing with Classical and traditional orchestras of Cuba such as the Symphony of Matanzas, Yaguarimu, Quimica Perfecta, Pacason, Angel Bonne and Rojitas y su Grupo.

The experience acquired with those bands allowed him to study in depth a large variety of Cuban rhythms and styles, traveling to other countries and empowering his teaching techniques with a bigger musical vision.

He has dedicated all these years to the study of piano, developing a higher professional career that got him awards and recognition in Cuba. He has then, participated in both, Classical and popular concerts.

Now in Toronto, Orlando Cardoso has participated in numerous recording projects as a composer, arranger as well as performer. He has also played with most bands and artistic projects of high caliber, such as Hilario Duran jazz band, Amanda Martinez, Luis Mario Ochoa, Cimarron, Puente Brothers, Son Ache, Cassava Latin Band and many others. He is responsible for all musical arrangements of CASSAVA’s CD “Encuentros” and “Color de Rumba”. He continues to work as a performer/producer/composer for Cassava Latin Band.


ALEXANDER_BROWN.JPG Alexander Brown –Trumpet

Alexander Brown was born in Camaguey, Cuba to a family of world-renowned musicians. His relatives include the legendary shekere player Don Pancho Terry. He attended the Instituto Superior de Artes de Cuba (University of Arts), Cuba’s most prestigious institution of its kind. Since his arrival on the vibrant Havana music scene, he became one of the city’s most sought musician.

In 1997, he was asked to join Otra Vision, the band of the influential flutist, composer and arranger Orlando Maraca Valle. With this group, Brown toured extensively throughout Europe and the United States and virtually performed at every major jazz festival. In 1997, Brown joined another group of great importance in the history of Cuban music: Havana Ensemble.

Lead by saxmen and former Irakere bandmember Cesar Lopez, Havana Ensemble was part of a group of Cuban bands that changed the sound of Cuban music in the late 90’s. With this band he also had the chance to tour worlwide and was part of a project created to pay homage to one of Cuba’s most well known sons, the late great conguero Chano Pozo.

In 2001, Brown started to appear as a special guest with Cuban Jazz pianist Ernan Lopez Nussa. This gave him the opportunity to play with the likes of Changuito Quintana and Tata Guines, both legendary percussionists that have developed the sound of Cuban music for half a century.

With this group Brown continued to perform at jazz festivals outside and in Cuba. In 2002 Alexander is invited to play on saxophonist Dave Murray’s CD “Now is Another Time”, which has gathered great reviews and once again exposed Cuban artists to audiences across the globe.

Besides having a very active presence in the Havana jazz scene in the last few years, Brown was also working as a studio musician, recording for the likes of Havana Ensemble, David Murray (he recorded on another Murray album entitled “David Murray and The Gwo-ka-Masters” to great critical acclaim), Manuel Ceruto, Orlando Maraca Valle, etc.

Leading his own quartet he came to Canada in 2005 and performed at Ottawa's Jazz festival, latter he decides to settle down in Toronto where he continues to compose and perform with many of Toronto’s finest musicians, like Hilario Duran,  Luis Mario Ochoa, Archie Ali, Amanda Martinez and CASSAVA.



Accomplished trumpet player, originally from Camagüey, Cuba. Has studied with most prestigious trumpet masters of  “Escuela Vocacional de Arte”.  In Cuba, Reinier has performed with most important bands of Camagüey such as Banda Jiron, Achere, Tiempos Nuevos, Salsometro, Salsa Brava and many others. He has played for renowned Cuban national festivals “Cantandole Al Sol” and for the ceremony of Mambize Rebellion of national relevance.

He has performed in most prestigious resorts and hotels of Varadero such as “Sol y Mar” and “Hotel Internacional”. He has toured internationally with orchestra “Valentin y Los del Caribe”, performing in 20 cities of Canada with this band. Some of the concerts included Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Regina, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and the Maritimes.

In Toronto, he has performed with most Latin and Jazz bands of high caliber, taking part in the international concert of Andy Montanez. He also took part in several recording projects, playing in the CD of “Valentin y Los del Caribe”, Café Cubano, Luisito Obregoso’s Salsa Urbana, Clave King and CASSAVA Latin Band.


Yosvani_C..jpg Yosvani Castañeda, Vocalist/ Violinist

Born in Havana, Cuba. Started his musical studies at 7 years old at the Conservatory of Music Alejandro Garcia Caturla. He graduated from that Conservatory and 7 years later he is accepted at the Conservatory Amadeo Roldan.

At this conservatory he graduated as violin and viola teacher and performer in 2002.

From that year he started his carrier as a performer and teacher alternating both throughout his life.

In Cuba he has shared the stage with various prestigious singers and
bands such as Hayla, Teresa Garcia Caturla, Surcaribe and Bamboleo.

He has recorded nearly 7 CDs and toured the world with the renowned band
Bamboleo. Here in Canada has performed in several festivals and International events.