Wednesday, 31 October 2018

The Rough Guide To The Music Of Cuba


Cuba is an island full of music. I am lucky enough to have visited the island and enjoyed sitting in tiny bars in Havana listening to music such as appears on this album played live by ordinary, amateur musicians. It is incredibly atmospheric. Cuban music is not all "The Buena Vista Social Club", although that album is certainly reflective of some Cuban music. There are serious salsa influences, and jazz ones too as well as Cuban folk music. All those styles are represented on this truly excellent compilation.

Some of my favourites are the infectious salsa of "En Casa Del Trompo No Bailes" by Orquesta Riverside; the gloriously Cuban "Santa Barbara" by Celina Gonzalez; more intoxicating salsa from "Descarga En Faux" by Ritmo Y Candela; the fetching voice of ageing vocalist Nico Saquito on  "A Orillas Del Cauto"; the effervescence of Los Van Van on "Amiga Mia" and the magnificent, rhythmic  Cuban jazz of Bellita Y Jazztumbata on "Oyelo Sonar".

Cuba also has had a long standing "big band" tradition, and this is reflected in Mario Bauza's "Mambo Rincon". Sierra Maestra's addictive "Dundunbanza" and Chico O'Farrill's "Descarga No. 2" are both impressive examples of upbeat Cuban music. In fact, the whole album is full of such material, to be honest. It is most enjoyable.

This is another highly recommended album from Rough Guides showcasing music from a country that just lives and breathes music in its very DNA.


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