Machete Men make it their mission to bridge two cities, Portland and Havana, says Juanito Maribona.

“We don’t want to play a watered-down version of rock. We don’t want to play a watered-down version of salsa. What we’re trying to do is take the best of both worlds and play them equally well,” he says.

Machete Men combine Cuban son, guaracha and cha-cha-cha with rumba, conga and bembe, plus alternative rock, punk, metal, progressive rock and jamband sounds. The band plays from noon-1 p.m. Thursday, March 6, in the Student Union in Mt. Hood Community College, 26000 S.E. Stark St., as part of the school’s First Thursday CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Machete Men likely will debut an album of their Cuban-American music in June.

The show is free and open to the public.

Maribona, the group’s Cuban-American singer, songwriter and producer, says the band is finishing its debut album, which is being recorded in both Havana and Portland and features such guest musicians as vocalist Mayito Rivera, an internationally know salsa performer.

“We tracked 10 songs in Havana with Cuban record producer Nicolas Sirgado in January,” Maribona says. “The songs are all originals, collaborations that we’ve been working on since last fall.”

Made up of Cubans and Americans, the members have played in the rock, punk and metal scenes.

“We feel that Cuban music and American rock ‘n’ roll are like audio peanut butter and jelly, two great tastes that go great together,” Maribona adds.

The band belongs to Pure Cuban Sugar, a musical collective that includes the bands Cana Son and the Yumatics, as well as various performers on other projects. The band is headquartered in a studio that calls Portland’s Alberta Arts District home.

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