Posts Tagged ‘Cuba’

The Funky Beats of Revolutionary Cuba

July 28, 2009

Si Para Usted Vol.2

Si Para Usted Vol.2

Waxing Deep has just put out Volume 2 of Si Para Usted: The Funky Beats of Revolutionary Cuba. The folks at Waxing Deep really dug in the crates this time around to bring us some even more rare groovy tunes from Cuba’s 60’s and 70’s. Chances are you probably haven’t heard of any of these musicians before, but you’ll surely recognize the funk that’s in every song. It’s crazy how powerful music is—despite the blockade, you can hear how Cuban music was being influenced by some Rock and Soul. As a result, we get some of the most electrifying funky Cuban music I’ve ever heard. In “Vehicle” you’ll hear some of what I’m talking about—we get explosive trumpets, an organ, and a smooth Afro-Cuban feel on the drums.

Vehicle-Orquesta Cubana De Música Moderna (MP3)

Throwback Thursdays: Silvio Rodriguez’s “En Estos Dias”

July 9, 2009

I like to think of Silvio Rodriguez as the Pablo Neruda of Latin American music. Like the poet, he’s written for both love and justice—from songs about the women who have controlled all of his senses, to songs that pay homage to freedom fighters. He might just be considered a poet by many, having written lyrics like, “Ojalá que las hojas no te toquen el cuerpo cuando caigan/ para que no las puedas convertir en cristal.” And in today’s song of the day he sings, “En estos días, todo el viento del mundo sopla en tu dirección…/En estos días no sale el sol, sino tu rostro/ Y en el silencio, sordo del tiempo, gritan tus ojos.”

Silvio Rodriguez

Silvio Rodriguez

Like Neruda and many of the world’s best poets, governments seem to fear Silvio’s words. A couple of months ago, the United States would not allow him into the country to celebrate Pete Seeger‘s birthday—perhaps because of his political ties to Cuba and the revolution (perhaps?), or just the power of his words. They may be able to stop him, but not his music. Not only have Silvio’s songs moved across borders, but they have also reached new generations. For that reason, in addition to an MP3 and video of Silvio, we’re including a video of one of the finest voices in Latin Reggae, Willy Rodriguez (from Cultura Profetica), beautifully covering “En Estos Dias.” Que viva Silvio!

Silvio Rodriguez-En Estos Dias (Live Version MP3)

Silvio Rodriguez-En Estos Dias (Video)

Willy Rodriguez from Cultura Profetica-En Estos Dias (Video)

Song of the Day: Ska Cubano’s “Marianao”

June 17, 2009

I get excited when music genres that I love come together for a good cause. In this case, the good cause is attending the need for good music. I just never imagined that it could happen with Jamaican Ska and Son Cubano. I tend to listen to them separately—when in different moods and for different occasions. But when I heard that they were being married it made sense—both are two of the Caribbean’s most respected music styles, and therefore have a loyal following. But how could something like that happen? 

Ska Cubano

Ska Cubano

London Ska artist, Natty Bo, and Cuban singer, Juan Manuel Villy Carbonell, were introduced to each other in Santiago de Cuba by a London promoter (who came up with the idea) to bring both sounds together. They met with a few musicians and formed a band with a self-explanatory name—Ska Cubano.  With their most recent album, Ay Caramba (2005), Natty and Juan Manuel proved to the world that traditional Son Cubano songs could fit nicely into a bouncy Ska. And then, to kick it up even more, they added a little Cumbia and Rumba to the mix. Sounds like a lot, but it works. “Marianao” is one of my favorite songs from Ay Caramba. The ode to Marianao, Cuba is done nicely with a few instrumental solos and a charming chorus. Don’t be scared if you’re still bouncing after the song is over—it’s totally normal. We’re waiting to see when the next album comes out, but in the meantime it’s worth to go back a few years for some Ska Cubano.

Ska Cubano-Marianao (MP3)