Various Artists – World Circuit Presents …
This week I’m pressing the pause button on the protest songs series to commemorate the life of Manuel Galbán who died last week on 7th July.
Manuel Galbán was a Cuban guitarists, who came to fame playing with Los Zafiros (the Sapphires) and then reached a wider audience recording and gigging with several Buena Vista Social Club projects. In 2004, Galbán won a Grammy for best pop instrumental album, Mambo Sinuendo, which he recorded with Ry Cooder. He created a most individual sound from his guitar – the Guardian obituary described it as a “distinctive, twangy style that made him sound at times like a Latin answer to Duane Eddy”.
To showcase his music I have posted La Luna En Tu Mirada a track from Los Zafiros that was featured on the World Circuit compilation – World Circuit Presents …
Los Zafiros – La Luna En Tu Mirada
Various Artists – fRoots #4
My final earworm and another Cuban track. This is the title track from ¡Dundunbanza!, the first album Sierra Maestra recorded for World Circuit Records. It has been included on many compilation albums including fRoots #4 the free CD given away with fRoots magazine fR 139/140.
Sierra Maestra, for long years renowned as one of Cuba’s finest son bands, was put together by Juan de Marcos Gonazález who was later was instrumental in establishing the Buena Vista Social Club and Afro-Cuban All Stars.
The album ¡Dundunbanza! was dedicated to legendary bandleader Arsenio Rodríguez, who, in the mid-40s, played a key role in the formation of modern Cuban dance music.
The band has seen many changes of personnel over the years but is is still active and this year have released a new CD Sonando Ya and toured the UK to promote it.
Sierra Maestra – Dundunbanza
Buena Vista Social Club – Buena Vista Social Club
Can earworms be slow and laid back? If so then this could easily be an earworm, Buena Vista Social Club’s Chan Chan. It is the opening track to the original Buena Vista Social Club album, the CD that relaunched the careers of innumerable aged Cuban musicians. Chan Chan is the signature song of Compay Segundo one of the vocalists on the album.
The story of the album bears retelling. Nick Gold of World Circuit Records had lined up Ry Cooder to play alongside the best musicians of Africa and Cuba to celebrate the cross-fertilisation between these music traditions. In the event, the African musicians had problems arranging their visas and so Gold, Cooder and the Cuban musicians that had been assembled by Juan de Marcos González used the pre-booked studio time to record the Buena Vista Social Club album as well as the Afro Cuban All Stars and the first solo album by the pianist Rubén González. The rest, as they say, is popular music history. The Buena Vista Social Club album alone has sold over 8 million copies and led a resurgence of interest in Cuban Music.
Buena Vista Social Club – Chan Chan
Buena Vista Social Club
Orlando “Cachaito” Lopez, bassist in Cuba’s legendary Buena Vista Social Club, died yesterday, aged 76, following complications after prostate surgery.
“His early desire was to play the violin, but his Grandfather Pedro insisted he to took up the double bass, as there had been a long tradition of bassists in the López family – legend has it that there are over 30 bassists in its lineage; a trend that they did not want stopped.”
Buena Vista Social Club – De Camino A La Vereda
Ibrahim Ferrer – Buenos Hermanos
This week has seen the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution. I couldn’t help thinking that, if it wasn’t for the problems in Gaza, the global recession and the fact that most news-teams were enjoying a Christmas / end-of-year holiday, a lot more would have been made of this event in the media. The story would have almost written itself with the governments of Cuba and the capitalist world moving towards each other. Cuba is taking its first tentative steps toward a free-market economy and the western world is busy reigning in the free market – nationalising banks, propping up car makers etc.
Anyway, the anniversary of the Cuban revolution gives me an excuse to post a track of Cuban music. I have chosen Ibrahim Ferrer’s “Buenos Hermanos” from the 2003 album of the same name. (There is a mini-theme developing around the name Ibrahim but glancing quickly through the cd rack, I think that this may be the second and last post following this theme!)
Ibrahim Ferrer – Buenos Hermanos