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SpanishEnglishDiscography - 1997 - Tremendo delirio - The Album

The Album: Tremendo delirio

"Tremendo delirio", while drastically different from its three predecessors, is anything but a transitional or experimental album. From the dramatic pacing of its tracks -- to its meticulously crafted beginnings and endings -- right down to its bizarre, neo-psychedelic 14-panel booklet, this is clearly the mature and lovingly-created work of a truly great band whose ascent to mega-stardom in their own country had given them time, resources and creative control, had inspired them to believe in their own greatness, and had not yet destroyed them.

Although all hell was about to break loose, the original Charanga Habanera's personnel remained remarkably stable throughout their four album run. All told, two people left and two joined in over five years. On "Pa' que se entere La Habana" they replaced singer Leo Vera with Michel Maza without missing a beat and they didn't even bother to replace their one-man violin section, an anachronistic vestige of their early Charanga roots, when Pedro Fajardo left for the much more string-oriented Los Van Van. It's interesting to note that Calzado, González and Pedro Pablo began their careers on violin, viola and cello, respectively, only to make history in a group with no strings at all.

On "Tremendo delirio" the only change was the addition of a third singer. Dany Lozada's impeccable intonation and phrasing and his distinctive voice and charismatic personality made him the perfect foil for Sombrilla and Michel. More importantly, Lozada was a prolific composer and wrote or co-wrote four of Tremendo delirio's eleven songs, including the epic final track.

The addition of Lozada, however, does not account for the extreme stylistic changes in the sound of the group. The rapped and partially-rapped coros the group had experimented with on "Pa' que se entere" were now present on every single track. A more fundamental change was the dramatic shift of focus from major to minor. The early records were overflowing with bright major tonal centers and bell-like major tenths in the piano tumbaos. On "Tremendo delirio" the cuerpos run the gamut of harmonic possibilities but once you get past them to the meat of the arrangements, every track works its way into some sort of dark minor tonality, and the horns, vocals and even the piano tumbaos are laced with blues notes. The darkest of the blues notes, the flatted fifth, referred to by early classical composers as el diablo en música, manages to find its way into almost every tumbao. Even the clave had changed! The first albums favored 3:2 rumba clave for the majority of the coros and mambos and featured a maze of complex and fascinating clave changes to get in and out of this groove. Tremendo delirio is almost exclusively in 2:3, with only two tracks involving 3:2 and clave changes.

Finally, "Tremendo delirio" is an album, not a collection of tracks. It has a unity of style and concept, and the songs follow one another purposefully and with dramatic pacing.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018, 02:48 AM