Theater & Arts

Artists you should know: Kemaya

Kemaya is a good example of just how small a world the Fresno music scene actually is.

The upstart salsa band, which has two shows scheduled this week, might be new but features many familiar faces. It's a salsa supergroup, in fact, pooling its members from some of the area's top local acts.

Led by conguero Richard Juarez (who has played with Malo and War), the band includes violinist Patrick Contreras, Aaron Wall of 40 Watt Hype playing timbales, Robert Ruffner of Let's Go Bowling on trombone, David Hull of Flywright on keys, vocalist Omar Nare of Ibice and bassist Quetzal Andrade of The Jay Rossette Project and Contreras' band.

Kemaya plays at 9:30 p.m. Saturday at The Cellar Door, 101 W. Main St., Visalia ($5) and in Fresno at 9:30 p.m. Thursday at Starline, 831 E. Fern Ave. ($10 before 9:30 p.m., $12 after).

We talked to Juarez to learn more about Kemaya.

How is this band different than what any of you guys are already doing? Everybody does a great job in their own groups, but what makes Kemaya different is we're straight-up salsa. We all have a great time on stage. Salsa music is about having fun and enjoying yourself. And that's exactly what happens when we're on stage.

Give people an idea of what they'll see and hear at a Kemaya show. Energetic vocals, hot timbale and congas rhythms, intense piano and bass tumbaos and harmonious horns. Expect a good time. Expect salsa.

How often will we see Kemaya play? Everyone should expect to see us about every four to six weeks.

Give us your best sales pitch -- why should someone come see you guys? Salsa music is for everyone. There's no borders, no colors. You don't even need to know how to dance, you just need to know how to have a good time. Que viva la salsa!

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Know a local musician that more people should be familiar with? Send the who and why to Mike Osegueda,