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New Album from NG La Banda - Mis 22 Años
2 CD set features many special guests
The new album by José Luis Cortés & NG. La Banda -- “Mis 22 años” -- a tribute to the 22 of existence for the project, one that was at the very forefront of the genre since the 90's, was recorded between February and June of last year at Egrem Studios in Havana. It's a 2 disco set.
The album counts with more than 30 all-star guests -- Chucho Valdés, Juan Formell, Pedrito Calvo, Tirso Duarte, Tania Pantoja, Vania Borges, Elito Revé Lázarito Valdés, Manolito Simonet, Lázaro Dagoberto González Jr., Rafaelito Lay, Mayito Rivera, David Calzado, Adalberto Álvarez, Giraldo Piloto, Changuito, César Pupy Pedroso, Alain Daniel, Angelito Bonne, Ricardo Amaray, Cristian & Rey, Coco Freeman and Yeny Valdés.
Cuban Music News In Brief
Tuesday November 22 2011
Música cubana en las notícias
Los Van Van in Africa - The band is scheduled to perform in Luanda, Angola, for three shows on November 25, 26 and 27 as part of the celebrations of National Independence Day, November 11. Juan Formell and his team were welcomed by the Cuban ambassador to Angola, Pedro Ross, and other figures. Los Van Van created a musical style called "songo" and they are directly responsible for the emergence of our favorite genre (Timba). source
Kings of Salsa dance & theater show - This collaboration between dancer Roclan Gonzalez Chavez of Cuban ballet fame and London producer Jon Lee is heating up the theater scene for those who enjoy live dance performances. The purely music and dance show (no dialogue) features all original music (anyone know who the composer is?) a company of nine dancers and the eight-member band Cuba Ashire plus two vocalists. source
Cuban born, Emmy & Grammy winning composer charged - Cuban born, Julliard School of Music graduate and Emmy & Grammy winning composer -- Fernando Rivas -- pleaded not guilty and was free on $300,000 bond for production, distribution and possession of child pornography in South Carolina. Mr. Rivas composed music for shows like Sesame Street, in which his songs featured singers Celia Cruz, Gloria Estefan and Cyndi Lauper. source
Tiempo Libre has a new website - Now it's easier to find tour dates and news on TL. source
Japan-based Cuban percussionist debuts first solo album - Escuela Nacional de Arte graduate Juan Carlos López debuts his first-ever solo album -- called Dale Coco -- in a night of salsa grooves at club Crocodile in Harajuku, Japan. The album features a track with leading Japanese salsa outfit and Universal Music recording artists Salsa Swingoza. source
Latin Grammy wrap-up - Exiled Cuban singer-songwriter Amaury Gutiérrez won a Latin Grammy this past November 10 and dedicated his award to The Ladies in White movement. Other Cubans henored with Latin Grammy wins were Paquito D’Rivera and Lena Burke, as well as a posthumous award to Israel "Cachao" López. source
Timba's Funk and Progressive Cousins
Sergio Valdes y Elevense - Interactivo - Palo
A couple of weeks ago, we observed that the Latin GRAMMY awards didn't appear to being paying that much attention to Timba as a genre. This is not so much a complaint about whom is getting recognized - there is some worthy music getting recognition - but rather that Timba doesn't seem to be registering on the radar. For some reason, the regular GRAMMY awards have done a better job with this over the years with Los Van Van winning an award over a decade ago and the nominations of Tiempo Libre more than once. Unfortunately for many excellent bands around the world, the regular GRAMMY rules stipulate that the recording be a US release, and the genre is now a global one, so we still have a vacuum that needs to be addressed.
We observed that there is a case to be made for either creating a separate category for Timba (where does it really belong right now? Salsa? Contemporary Tropical? Traditional Tropical? Urban?) or combining it with some of its cousins for a new category. Here are three bands - two from Cuba and one from the US - that don't quite fit the usual labels people try to apply to the music.
First up is Sergio Valdes y Elevense, from Cuba, who were featured in some of the soundtrack of the recent film Juan de Los Muertos:
Next is Interactivo, one of the best and musically diverse bands in Cuba that many Americans aren't familiar with:
Finally, from Miami, Florida, here's a fairly new video from Palo! :
So what is the point, you ask? What do these have in common with each other or with Timba for that matter? Two things: 1. This is all as "Latin" as it gets, but where does it all fit in the category structure of the Latin GRAMMY awards? 2. Like Timba, this other music is underexposed in North American media markets. I'm not really sure that these bands belong in the same pot with Timba, but they are examples of an entire spectrum of the music that is intelligent, exciting, and relatively ignored compared to more traditional and/or commercial recordings.
The lack of media exposure is the more important issue of the two, and in the near future, we will begin an in-depth series on how Timba and other progressive Cuban music is received in the US, how it is all treated by our media (especially radio), and how these things are all connected. Stay tuned.
Melón with David Murray
David Murray is at Yoshi's this weekend (not with Melón), but here he is on youtube with Melón playing a killer solo on El bodeguero - Melón's solo begins at 7:30. Check it out, meng.