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Indice - Table of contents

New Stuff[hide]

Resenas: Vacilón Santiaguero (Circle 9 ...
Grupos: Pupy y los que S... : Discography - 1995- F...
Reportes: From The St... : Cubadisco 2...
Staff: Bill Tilford
Reportes: From The St... : Jazz Plaza ...
Fotos: Tom Ehrlich : Irakere 50th Annivers...
Fotos: Tom Ehrlich : Irakere
Resenas: Joey Altruda Presents: El Gran ...
Timbapedia: 09. Interviews -... : Carlos del Pino ...
Fotos: Tom Ehrlich : 2023 Monterey Jazz Fe...
Fotos: Tom Ehrlich : 2023 Monterey Jazz Fe...
Fotos: Tom Ehrlich : 2023 Monterey Jazz Fe...
Fotos: Tom Ehrlich : 2023 Monterey Jazz Fe...
Grupos: Tirso Duarte
Grupos: Tirso Duarte : Discography

Photos of the Day [hide]

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Cuba based rap duo, Zona Franka, blends traditional rhythms with the grit and swagger of hip-hop and rap vocal phrasings. Their clever shout choruses create instant tropical dance classics using their unique self-titled "changui con flow" style.
Authentic Latin Music Catalog for SYNC - TV & Film Music

SpanishEnglishDiscography - 2001 - Qué cosas tiene la vida - Tirso Duarte

cuban music, musica cubanaAnother musician who has adapted his style to Pupy's is Tirso Duarte (photo by Cristián Muñoz), whose previous recording, Charanga Habanera's Charanguero Mayor, was laced with sophisticated classical music influences. All of these great musicians have redirected their talents to support Pupy's concept and the fruits of their labor, in rehearsal and club work, are reflected in the new versions of the songs. On this CD we can feel the energy of a band which has played many gigs together. Everybody is breathing the same way and driving in the same direction -- totally convinced of what they´re doing. It has that feeling of a BAND that's so difficult to find outside of Cuba. You might find this kind of camaraderie among teenage garage bands, but that feeling quickly fades once they become professional musicians. But like most working Timba bands, each member of Pupy's band plays only with him. When they joined up with Pupy, Tirso left NG, Osiris left Manolito, Paceiro and Chocolate left Bamboleo and so on. This is one of the many reasons why this new CD is so great -- you get the full essence of each great musician -- and once you get used to listening to music played this way, you'll probably have a hard time going back to the formulaic music that invariably results from quickly throwing together a band to produce a "product".

The fact that this is a working live band is also reflected in the style of the new coros, which are tailor-made for audience interaction. For example, from "El gato no arana":

no hay duda, no hay duda, no hay duda
[there's no doubt]
no hay miedo, nosotros somos de Cuba
[have no fear, we're from Cuba]
[audio example]

Another great example of an audience interaction coro is on "Mamita, pórtate bien". [audio example]

These are the kinds of coros that come about from playing live, and of course, on the previous CD, the band never played live. This isn't to say that "Timba: The New Generation" isn't a great CD -- it is -- but since "Qué cosas tiene la vida" has six songs in common with that CD, it's hard not to make a comparison and in this case the new versions redefine the songs.In fact, if you let the fact that the two CD's contain six common songs make you think it´s not worth to spend time or money listening to the new versions, you´re probably making a big musical mistake! The new versions are very different, and not only in the energetic way they're played. They also have new coros -- and believe me -- all of them are great. Check out the "shut up" coro in "La Bomba Soy Yo" (possibly a musical answer to the "Yes" Van Van coro?) [audio example].

Another interesting change to "La bomba soy yo" is the reharmonization of the cuerpo. In the original Van Van version, the bass walks down the minor scale in that most typical of Spanish flamenco progressions: "i bVII bVI V". [audio example] But check out the new version. [audio example] The bassline stays on the first note while the piano chords continue down, creating a Dsus7 chord. Then the bass goes down, but it's still one step behind the piano, for a second consecutive suspended chord. Finally on the fourth chord the bass jumps down to rejoin the piano. This changing of two notes in the bassline greatly increases the tension and adds to the emotion of the lyrics. It's a small detail, but it's the combined forces of dozens of such small details that makes this such a special album.

Mayito Rivera´s killer version of this song on Los Van Van's "Llegó Van Van" was so great that it's hard to imagine anyone else attempting it, but I was blown away by Tirso Duarte performance, which reaches the same heights. It's a double challenge for Tirso because so many people compare his singing to Mayito's in general, and he himself is probably alluding to this recurring comparison is this guía:

yo canto con mi garganta
[I sing with my throat]
tengo limpia mi conciencia
[I have a clean conscience]
y si hay cualquier semejanza
[and if there's some resemblance]
eso es pura coincidencia
[it's pure coincidence]
[audio example]

Although there are certainly similarities in timbre, I think the perception that Tirso is merely a Mayito-clone is based on a lack of knowledge. All of us have heard someone who is not very familiar with a particular kind of music say that this or that band sounds like the most popular act associated with a given style of music. The casual listener tends to compare everything to the most famous proponent. It's like a small child who sees a dog in the street and names it with his dog´s name -- in his undeveloped mind, dogs don´t yet exist individually so he refers to all dogs with his own pet´s name. If you listen carefully to Tirso´s melodic approach you'll realize that the guy has his own very particular way of singing. I´ll go a step further and say that it's a really personal style which I've never heard before. Just check out the way he articulates his words -- the way he stretches and contracts syllables to create unusual rhythms. His next "guía" is always a surprise. Tirso Duarte is one of the most unpredictable singers on the Timba scene today, and of course, we also know him as a monstrous pianist and composer from his years with Charanga Habanera.

Another of my favorite cuts is "Te molesta que sea feliz". Tirso also sung this on the previous CD, but here there are some aggressive new guías and the addition of some tasteful Cuban rap. [audio example] While not of Cuban origin, rap is ideally suited to Cuban music and the timberos have come up with their own unique and theatrical version of it which blends in perfectly without sounding like a gimmick. The new structure of "Te molesta que sea feliz" is also very exciting -- if you're used to the older version, it just blows your mind when you're expecting the breakdown to the piano solo and Pupy plays the beginning of the previously recorded solo only to dovetail back into the B section. [audio example]

Another interesting aspect of this tune is drastic contradiction in mood between the lyrics and the music. The effect is like someone singing the lyrics to "Whistle While You Work" to the tune of a funeral march.

ya llegó
la felicidad

[happiness has arrived] [audio example]

Pupy uses the music to change the meaning of the lyrics on this song. The guías are sung as if the guy is thrilled to have broken off with his ex-girlfriend and found a replacement ("tengo una mamita linda que me ama...repito!"), but the melancholy tone of the music gives the lyrics a bittersweet irony, as if he's trying to convince himself that this happiness he's singing about is really true. Tirso sings with conviction, but Pupy's harmonies betray him.

Tuesday, 03 October 2023, 01:48 PM