Tickets On Sale
MJF67, Sept. 27-29, 2024


See all Collapse
Christian Pepin & Orquesta Bembé
  • Grounds Artist
  • Friday, September 27 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm Pacific Jazz Café
  • Sunday, September 29 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm Pacific Jazz Café
  • Saturday, September 28 9:30 pm - 10:30 pm Pacific Jazz Café

A musical multi-linguist, 2014 GRAMMY® Award winner and 2016 GRAMMY-nominated percussionist, Christian Pepin is a versatile musician that embodies the soul of a percussionist that inherently stirs the human spirit. From his supersonic slaps to the thunderous open tones and heavy hitting bass notes, the young Christian Pepin shows perceptiveness and adoration for Latin and world music. His keen sense, gifted interpretation of music, and the influence of the New York streets have allowed Christian to translate his bliss. Whether it be on the stage or set to avant-garde jazz, salsa, Latin jazz, he can make his drums speak fluently to any listener.

From his humble roots in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, Christian Pepin has played music all his life. His father, a gifted musician in his own right, and mother, a talented vocalist, gave him a set of drums at the tender age of six. As he became older, he made the transition to timbale, then congas, and onto bongó all while perfecting his musical craft. Music is innately a dominant part of the Pepin family: his great-grandfather Toño Pepin, his Grandfather Papo Pepin, and his cousin Bobby Allende, all musical icons and legends in their own right. Music breathes life into the soul of Christian Pepin that sustains him as a musician.

He moved to Spokane, Wash. from New York City with his family during his teenage years and continued his studies. He learned to improvise many styles of music such as jazz, rock, Americana, pop, among others, which helped shape and develop Christian's melodic, versatility, and danceable sound.

In 2001, Christian moved to Seattle where he continued to develop his unique sound as well as a strong following. During that time, he excelled in marching band and went on to play all instruments in the battery, also known as the “drum line.” Christian fell in love with a third bass drum for its complex and challenging odd time. Later in mid-2005, he was asked to join the Cascade Marching Band touring all over the United States.

In 2008, he started touring with many Latin, world, rock and R&B artists where he began to develop a very versatile style of playing. Being able to adjust to many types of situations playing each with class and sophistication. In 2012, Christian moved to San Francisco where he was asked to fly down to record the GRAMMY-winning album entitled PMO by the Pacific Mambo Orchestra.

Since then, he has and continues to tour all over the world. He has performed and/or recorded with the likes of Papa Roach, Jarobi White, Starita, Mulatu Astatke, Poncho Sanchez, Tommy Igoe, Nestor Torres, Pete Escovedo, Steve Turre, Sheila E., as well as other Latin giants such as Roberto Roena, Jose Alberto "El Canario," Tito Nieves, Michael Stuart, and many other artists.

The new San Francisco salsa group sensation, Bembé or (BEM-BAY) meaning “Fiesta” or “Party,” is the fastest-growing salsa band in the Bay Area today. It is now catching buzz all over North America and internationally.  The group has a unique sound with dancers and music lovers asking for more.

Bembé was formed in 2012 by Christian Pepin and pianist/composer and arranger Erick Peralta. The concept was very simple, a 10-piece band with the sound and elegant sophistication of a big orchestra.  A very unique sound when it pertains to salsa, Latin jazz, tropical, and traditional Cuban and Puerto Rican music. Bembé has been taking the Bay Area by storm. In 2013, fans caught wind of the group and immediately started raving about each show and their high-energy performances.

Since then, Bembé has been secretly putting together a record bringing a global edge to timeless salsa records, infused with their own unique styles and rhythms, sure to please salsa and music lovers alike.  All these amazing fans and musicians make the Bembé what it truly is. Rest assured, Bembé is a band you will never forget. Look out for this 10-piece ensemble, for their intention is simple... to entertain the fans and always raise the bar with fresh new music and spreading SWING all over the world.