Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Cuban music

This week I listened to a lot of music from Cuba. I have listened before stuff from Buena Vista Social Club and other artists but now it was more methodical (actual LPs) than before where I had just some tracks. This stuff sounds fantastic and I guess it is the best latino music that I have heard; usually I don't dig it that much. I tried some Peruvian one and it was ok. I just know much nicer from those bands singing in public squares back in Europe. But this one was more traditional and less appealing.

Getting back to the issues,
Buena Vista Social Club (4 out of 5)
This album is named after a members-only club that was opened in Havana in pre-Castro times, a period of unbelievable musical activity in Cuba.While bandleader Desi Arnaz became a huge hit in the States, several equally talented musicians never saw success outside their native country, and have had nothing but their music to sustain them during the Castro reign. Ry Cooder went to Cuba to record a musical documentary of these performers. Many of the musicians on this album have been playing for more than a half century, and they sing and play with an obvious love for the material. Cooder could have recorded these songs without paying the musicians a cent; one can imagine them jumping up and grabbing for their instruments at the slightest opportunity, just to play. Most of the songs are a real treasure, traversing a lot of ground in Cuba's musical history.

Buena Vista Social Club presents Ibrahim Ferrer (5 out of 5)
Picking up where Buena Vista Social Club left off, BVSC Presents Ibrahim Ferrer soothes with the hushed romanticism of Cuba's yesteryear while boasting the talents of one of its greatest singers, Ibrahim Ferrer. Again there's an all-star lineup of musicians led by pianist Rubén González and singer Omara Portuondo creating music at the renowned Egrem studios, whose live room brings the slow lucidity and intense vigor of the Cuban classics to life. --Karen K. Hugg

Ibrahim Ferrer, Buenos Hermanos (4 out of 5)
At 77, Ibrahim Ferrer has lost none of his cheeky charm. Buenos Hermanos lives beautifully up to its title--"Good Brothers"--with those Cuban stalwarts Cachaito Lopez and Chucho Valdes joined by that genius of the electric guitar, Manuel Galban, and with the Blind Boys of Alabama enriching the basic mix.

Ibrahim Ferrer, La Colleccion Cubana (5 out of 5)
I guess that most of the people discovered him through BVSC. This is IH at his best.
A collection of Gems Rarely Heard Outside the Shores of Cuba.These Recordings Come from the Vaults of Cuba's State Owned Egrem Records Label and Are a True Revelation for Anyone who Has Turned on to the Bvsc. (Ferrer's Voice was Even Sampled on the Animated Side Project of Blur's Damon Albarn's Gorillaz' Debut Album)

Cubanisimo, Unblocked (3 out if 5)
This is a good collection of Cuban songs performed by a band of virtuosi fronted by the great trumpet player, Jesus Alemany. It's an excellent introduction to the range of Cuban jazz, as the dance tracks include such rhythms as rumba, cha-cha, son, danzon, and pa'ca. So they say, at least:)), I mean it is fine, just less than the previous ones. I hear that other releases are better than this one.

There was another one, by Bayuba Cante but I didn't find it worth mentioning here. Conclusion: good stuff, very entertaining and sounds excellent on powerful soundsystems. Try on!

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