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Five questions with Llilian Herrera of Havana Son Trio
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Havana Son Trio
8 p.m. Friday
Where: Smithgall Arts Center, 331 Spring St. SW, Gainesville
How much: $25
More info: 770-534-2728 or

Havana Son Trio will bring some Latin flair Friday to the Evenings of Intimate Jazz concert series at the Smithgall Arts Center.

The Kennesaw-based group, which performed last year at the center, includes husband and wife Rene and Llilian Herrera and percussionist Preston Fulcher.

The Herreras both sing, and Rene Herrera also plays piano, guitar and "tres," a Cuban stringed instrument similar to the banjo. The group will perform outside for this edition of the concert series, allowing plenty of room for dancing.

We spoke by phone with Llilian Herrera about the band's return to Gainesville, and why their concerts often get audiences on their feet.

Question: What is your musical background?

Answer: We are a musical trio. We used to actually play in a nine-piece band, and my husband, Rene Herrera, he was ... the first trombone player in the Cuban Symphony for many years. He also was director of various cabarets. I was an opera singer in Cincinnati, but I have Cuban background, and so that's how we got together with Latin music. And then our third player was a boy from Richmond, Va., who fell in love with Latin music and started learning it from an early age.

Q: What projects are you guys involved in right now?

A: Right now, we are doing a lot of school programming and taking ... cultural arts and Latin music to children, and then we also play in restaurants all through the metro Atlanta area.

Q: You guys came last year to Evenings of Intimate Jazz, didn't you? So, why did you decide to come back and play the series?

A: Well, it was a wonderful experience for us last year. The people that came were so gracious, they were so welcoming, and more than anything they were willing to learn about a style of music that many of them had never been exposed to. They were so open to the whole style of music, and learning how to dance and learning different styles of music, and where each style comes from, that when they asked us to come back, we were very excited. We couldn't wait.

Q: Do people tend to dance at your performances?

A: Yes, we encourage it. I do (teach dance steps) sometimes, if I see people there that are interested in learning. And I try and get them up, and they usually do.

Q: What can audiences expect from your performance on Friday?

A: A very fun-filled, educational fiesta.