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Dos Canosos
Dos Canosos.... (In English, “Two Gray Haired Guys”) are Cuban vocalist Raul Freyre and American guitarist Gary Wittner, both current residents of Maine and seasoned performers. Raul, a native Cuban, has played Latin music and Rhythm & Blues for over thirty years in Miami, Boston, and Maine. Gary, a well-known jazz guitarist, has performed throughout the USA and Europe. He has twice been selected as a Kennedy Center/U.S. Department of State Jazz Ambassador, with performances at the Kennedy Center, and tours of Serbia/Montenegro and Papua New Guinea/Fiji.

In the summer of 2004, Raul and Gary started learning Salsa tunes as a duo - not even thinking about performing, they were exploring a musical style they had both always loved. It became clear that both the bass parts and the repeated montunos were essential to the music, so Gary accepted the challenge of putting them together on the guitar. It was also clear that multiple percussion parts were needed, so in addition to his singing and playing congas, Raul added the bongos and a cowbell foot pedal. This inspired Gary to learn to play the clave (round wood sticks) using a foot pedal. Next came the vocals - Raul had always been a superb lead vocalist so it was logical to add Gary’s voice as well.

Some recent quotes:

"Thank you for a great concert yesterday. We really enjoyed the music, and thanks for getting us up and dancing also. As a teacher of primarily freshmen I was especially grateful that so many of my students participated in both the percussion accompaniment and the dancing. Thanks again for coming so far to share your talents, and for helping to provide a glimpse of life beyond the borders of high school."
Lisa Savage, World Studies Department, Carrabec High School, North Anson, Maine

“I was quite astonished at how well Wittner, in partnership with the phenomenally talented Raul Freyre, put out an infectious sound that seemed so naturally connected to Cuba.  Viva those Two Grey-Haired Guys!"
Rich Tozier - Maine Public Broadcast Network

More quotes below

As their sound developed and improved, so did the expanded repertoire. Raul got deeper into the music and started recalling songs his grandmother had taught him as a child. Dos Canosos then added percussion specialist Norm Bergeron. Recently Boston-based with a degree in ethnomusicology from North Texas State University, Norm has studied in Africa and performed Afro-Cuban music as a touring artist throughout the USA and in Portugal, Japan, and Hong Kong. Too young to be a third Canoso, Norm's brilliant, energetic playing has earned him the nickname "El Tigre", which means "the tiger'. So the band, as a trio, is called Dos Canosos, Un Tigre. Currently Dos Canosos, Un Tigre perform tunes from the Afro-Cuban and South American traditions, chants from Cuba, up-tempo Salsa dance tunes, and pop tunes (Beatles, Ray Charles, Nora Jones, etc.) arranged in the Latino style.
Dos Canosos, Un Tigre Kids Outside Dancing
What They Offer....
....is an entertaining and educational program which can be presented bilingually in Spanish and English (intended for an audience of Music and Spanish students). Raul introduces each song with a bit of history/information about Cuban and Latin culture (some of the songs he learned as a child from his grandmother). They also discuss the 4 basic forms of the clave and have the students clap each one with them. Additionally, they can have the students stand up and Raul teaches them some of the basic dance steps that go with salsa and merengue music. These programs can fit into any schedule that works for you in terms of number and duration of presentations.

Dos Canosos, Un Tigre offer several different presentations - all would include the performance of their repertoire which includes popular songs from various Afro-Cuban/South American traditions, modern up tempo salsa tunes, chants from Cuba, and arrangements of popular tunes (Ray Charles, The Beatles, etc.) in the Salsa style. Raul discusses Latin culture and history, often from his own personal experiences, and introduces each tune with some info about the song, the rhythm and/or the culture.

Programs can be presented for several different audiences:

1) music students - these would focus more on the specific Latin Rhythms (salsa, merengue, samba, etc.) and would include interactive examples of the 6 basic clave patterns and discussion of the history of Afro-Cuban music with listening examples showing the development of the styles.

2) add dance students: elements of Latino dance are included - the students stand up in place, Raul shows them basic dance steps and the relationship of the steps to the clave pattern. Dos Canosos plays as the students try the different steps.

3) add Spanish students - the program can be presented bilingually since Raul speaks fluent Spanish. Gary and Norm also speak Spanish but not as well as Raul. Raul's introductions can be in Spanish, and before songs are played the lyrics are translated.

4) add history students - increased emphasis on the information in each introduction, including more of the history of each song and how it relates to the cultural history. Raul's introductions and stories are emphasized more.

Contact Gary at: gary@garywittner.com

Dancing in the Gym
Kids Sitting
Dancing in the Gym


“ Dos Canosos united the audience, summoned them onto the dance floor, and transported them from cold-weather Maine to the hot salsa climate of Cuba. Bring your dance shoes.”

        Jon Ragins
        Programming Chair
        MacMillan House, Bowdoin College

"Dos Canosos kept the audience at the Opera House riveted with their incredible musicianship and wonderful stage presence. The workshop and the performance were among the best I've seen.”

        Randy Labbe
        Deluge Entertainment
        Knock On Wood Guitarfest

"Our school had a great experience with the Latin Music asssembly. The students were very engaged especially when they got a chance to play the instruments and do the ance steps. Can't wait until you come back!"

        John P. Keane
        Leonard Middle School

"The students were inspired by the lovely stories told through the lyrics and how you gently beckoned their participation in the performance through group singing. Our students were mesmerized by your music, but also wiggled and giggled with excitement and pure joy. I was also "moved" by the music and found myself spontaneously dancing without shame or embarrassment!"

        Jeanna Tuell
        Old Town Elementary School

"Dos Canosos provided an exceptional performance for our concert series; their level of musicianship was truly exceptional, and their show was equally entertaining. It was a great multi-cultural event for our school, and we will definitely have them back another time."

        C. Brent LaCasce
        Director of Music
        Fryeburg Academy

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