iclick to see full image
Take a Colombian conga player, a groove drummer,
a killin' funk bassist, an award-winning latin-jazz trumpet player,
a deeply rhyhmic jazz pianist and a DMC turntable champion... 
have them play Colombian traditional melodies & rhythms 
slathered in jazz harmonies...  then mix in urban hip-hop
grooves and slammin' soloists...
What have you?

Afro-Colombian latin-jazz meets deep urban groove.

Ruben "Beny" Esguerra - leader / congas / percussion (Colombia)
Brownman Ali - electric trumpet / percussion / musical director (Trinidad)
DJ Dopey - turntables / samples (Canada)
Eric "Fu Manchu" Boucher - piano (Canada)
Ross "El Maca" MacIntyre - electric bass (Canada)
Chris "Monstruo" Lamont - drums / break-beats (Canada)

.Ruben Beny Esguerra


See the in-depth
Ruben Esguerra Interview with


Extensive CHIVA PHOTO GALLERIES by noted
jazz photographer Daniel Marcincak
Gallery 1
Gallery 2
.Chiva Demo - 3 live studio recordings

.Sept 26, 2005 @ Browntasauras Studios
..Equinox - Full Tune
    by Coltrane, arr. Brownman  2:58 (2.8Meg).
..Tony Montana - Full Tune
    by Brownman                      5:36 (5.2Meg) 
..Locomotora - Full Tune
   zby Brownman                     5:06 (4.8Meg)..
.Chiva Tema is one 10:58 live track
.the "Live At Lorraine's" CD bootleg 
.feat. DJ Dopey
.These are short clips :
. Chiva Tema - Melody & Trumpet Solo
    by Chiva                          1:45 (1.6Meg)
. Chiva Tema - Conga Solo
    by Chiva                          1:18 (1.2Meg)
. Chiva Tema - Outro
    by Chiva                          1:18 (1.2Meg)

.Ruben "Beny" Esguerra - band leader

.Brownman Ali - musical director
Trane Studio presents:

Thr May 19 - CHIVA  (full band)
$15 door 
$10 adv: e-mail andrew@brownman.com
@ Trane Studio, Toronto
964 Bathurst
(just north of Bloor, south of Dupont)

"Stacked with all-star musicians, CHIVA - under the leadership of Colombian conguero Ruben 'Beny' Esguerra - uses Colombian traditional melodies, and seductive rhythms from across South America mixed with jazz harmonies, improvised solos and urban textues like hip-hop, drum'n'bass and R'n'B.  All under trumpeter Brownman Ali's unique instrumental arranging touch, CHIVA is a one-of-a-kind, extraordinarily highly energized latin-jazz group." - JazzWorldOnline.com
Formed in early 2002, this group was inspired by latin-jazz-funk outfit CRUZAO.  The idea of fusing rare Atlantic coast Colombian rhythms with hip-hop against a latin-jazz backdrop intrigued leader/conga player Ruben Esguerra and drummer Pedro Ojeda - both Colombians.  Enlisting the aid of the leader of CRUZAO - Brownman Ali as their musical director and calling upon one of Canada's finest turntable champions DJ Dopey, Chiva's sound was complete: Colombian latin rhythms, Funk grooves, Hip-Hop beats, Jazz solos.  Now, years later, the group has new members, but the concepts still resound.
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The CHIVA is the multi-coloured workhorse bus adorning the streets of Colombia, often piled high with personnel and goods.
Though a ravaged country, the CHIVA is a national symbol of free-spirits and carefree attitudes in the face of anguish.
Ben*EDJ Dopey
Eric BoucherEl MacaPedro
Ruben "Beny" Esguerra
was born in Bogotá, Colombia In 1979 and arrived to Toronto Canada at the age of 8 in 1988.  As a musician, he began to play the violin at age 10.  At the age of 12 he traveled to Harrogate, England with the Winona string ensemble to represent Canada at the Harrogate International Youth Music Festival in 1992.  By 13 years of age, he had begun his high school career at the Etobicoke School of the Arts, where he majored in music.  It was here where he entered an environment that stimulated his need to dedicate himself to an early career in the arts.  He has been performing professionally since the age of 17.

Beny is currently an active percussionist with:
Diego Marulanda and Pacandé

New Cuban Generation
Marron Matizado
Cruzao Grupo Monstruoso
Proyecto Charanguero
Pueblo Unido
Dimension Vallenata
Sacha Wiliamson
Pantiki Sound System

As a leader he has been the driving force behind:
Conjunto Abanico (1997-2000)

Palenke Orchestra (2000-2002)
CHIVA (2002-Present).
Formed in early 2002, CHIVA was inspired by Latin-jazz-funk outfit CRUZAO.  The idea of fusing rare Atlantic coast Colombian rhythms with hip-hop against a Latin-jazz backdrop intrigued Beny as both leader and conga player and led to the formation of this of this crew after approaching Brownman to be Musicial Director for this new outfit.

Beny & Brownman:
His affiliation with Trinidadian born multi-award winning latin-jazz trumpet player Brownman Ali is a deep one dating back to his his early years as a student at York University where Beny would profile Brownman's group CRUZAO.  His dedication to the latin artform and his skills as a conga player would catch the eye of the trumpet player, eventually leading to his being hired as a substitute for acclaimed conga player Luisito Orbegoso, the regular conguero in the ground-breaking group.  Years later, Beny would ask Brown to be his own group's musical director and CHIVA was born.  Beny is now also an actively called member of Brownman's salsa outfit MARRON MATIZADO, his latin-jazz unit CRUZAO and the 15-man latin-jazz-urban orchestra CRUZAO GRUPO MONSTRUOSO.  He has performed at the Distillery Jazz Festival numerous times with all of Brown's groups as well as CHIVA, additionally headlining the Toronto Street Festival in 2003 - again with all of Brownman's ensembles .  In 2001 Beny would also guest with CRUZAO on the main General Motor’s stage of the Montreal Jazz Fesival where with Brownman & CRUZAO would receive the prestigious "Grand Prix du Jazz Award" and appears in the nationally distributed photographs of the Awards Ceremony.  Brownman and Beny's musical collaborations are likely to stretch into the distant future.

Beny has also traveled to Halifax with award-winning latin vocalist Eliana Cuevas (2003 Canadian Latin Achievement Award for "Vocal Artist of the Year"), performing at the Atlantic Jazz Festival in Shelbourne, Peggy's Cove, and at the World Music Series Festival in Halifax.

Dec 2003 would see Beny invited to perform with CIELOMAMA at the “Ven al SUR” music festival in Bogotá Colombia and again in Nov 2004 at the Havana Hip Hop festival in Cuba sharing the stage with renowned artists from Latin America and the Caribbean.

He has performed & recorded with with Juno Award nominee Diego Marulanda for his albums “Por el Sol,” “El Otro Lado,” and his most recent production that is currently being mixed and mastered at the time of this writing. 

Beny is also finishing a Masters Degree at York University in Musicology / Ethnomusicology.  Since 2002 until present, he has been working as a course director and private tutor for the Cuban Music course at York University.  On March 12, 2005, he presented a paper entitled: Tuning the tambor alegre: Establishing a stylistic and aesthetic identity at an annual conference for the Society of Ethnomusicology Niagara Chapter at the University of Toronto.

He has worked as an actor for the CBC film "Family Album" written by Tony Sheer, as a dancer for the Center for Indigenous Theatre with director Alejandro Roncerias and written a musical score for a Dance Production at York University entitled “Parrallel Intersections.” (2002)

In 1999, he was one of 13 youth to be hired after several auditions to write, produce and perform a play at the Young People’s Theatre.  This group was the first Youth Theatre Ensemble to be created by the Artistic Directors at Young Peoples Theatre.  For the month of July and August they worked with established artists such as Todd Hammond, Quamie Williams, Fleurette Fernando and Jay Pitter in the community from Monday to Friday producing a play called “Alias Barcode” which achieved much local success.

He accredits fellow Canadian artists and immigrants such as Luisito Orbegoso, Michael Marcuzzi, Diego Marulanda, Brownman, and The P-Crew for inspiring him to excel as a both performer and artist.

Presently, his interests center in music from the African Diaspora focusing on Afro-Cuban and Afro-Colombian music.  Through this artistic medium he addresses his constantly changing reality as a Latino living in Canada. 

Beny is an active and highly called upon percussionist in Toronto's busy Latin music scene. 

He is very proud of his Latin American identity.

Distillery Jazz Fest 2004

Distillery Jazz Fest 2004

Distillery Jazz Fest 2004

Distillery Jazz Fest 2004

Distillery Jazz Fest 2004

Toronto Street Fest 2004

Toronto Street Fest 2004

Toronto Street Fest 2004

Toronto Street Fest 2004



Small World Music presents:
Sat March 24 - CHIVA  (full band)
w/ special guests from NYC
BRYAN VARGAS - guitar   |   MATT BARANELLO - percussion
@ Savannah Room, Toronto  |  9:30pm
$10 door  |  $7 adv: e-mail chiva@brownman.com
294 College (just west of Spadina)  |  See map

Tues May 9,  2006
Lula World Music Festival presents:
click to view
See the poster

Thur June  25,  2006 - CHIVA TRIO
Toronto Jazz Festival performance
@ Havana Feelings
2209 Danforth, just E of Woodbine station, Toronto

Sun June 29,  2006 - CHIVA TRIO
Toronto Jazz Festival performance
@ Havana Feelings
2209 Danforth, just E of Woodbine station, Toronto

have visited this site.

Visit the Brownman.com website
Visit the CRUZAO website
Visit the MARRÓN MATIZADO website
Visit the NICK ALI QUARTET website
Visit the ELECTRYC TRIO website
Visit the GRUVASYLUM website
Visit the CHIVA website
Visit the ODDBAWL website
Visit the ALI BROS website