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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

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viernes, 18 agosto 2023, 08:50 pm

Amazing Cuban Music Podcasts

Part 2: The Clave Chronicles

Rebecca Bodenheimer's The Clave Chronicles launched in April and is up to 15 episodes. The host is a bilingual PhD ethnomusicologist with a smooth, pleasant voice and a knack for picking the best possible audio examples and building compelling narratives around them. The episodes fall into two categories: interviews with great authors, and mini-music history lectures.

Interview Episodes

A Deep Dive Into Danzón, with Robin Moore Robin D. Moore (no relation) wrote the go-to book on Cuban music history between the Revolution and the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Music & Revolution -- but that turns out be only one aspect of his expertise. In this fascinating episode he covers danzón, from its late 19th Century origins in Matanzas to its integration into Latin jazz at the hands of artists like Gonzalo Rubalcaba. This episode covers some of the same material (in a different way) as this this Sublette episode of Let It Roll. Another really interesting part of this episode is the group of connections Moore makes between danzón and North American ragtime and New Orleans jazz. When I listen to Jelly Roll Morton, I hear a lot of danzón elements and vice versa.

Arsenio Rodriguez and His Musical Legacy, with David F. García García is the author of the go-to book on Arsenio, which was essential to timba.com's Arsenio section and several volumes of the Beyond Salsa series.

The Birth of Salsa & The Evolution of Salsa These two episodes comprise a two-part interview with Eddie Palmieri trombonist, author of Sounding Salsa, and Columbia University professor Chris Washburne. These are packed with information that was new to me and Washburne is a really great interviewee. Among other things, this episode takes on the old "is salsa just a marketing term" argument, showing persuasively how salsa began that way and then grew into something very unique and compelling.

Rap cubanoRap cubano Part 2 The guest in this two-parter is Pablo Herrera -- almost certainly the only person in history to be a Cuban hip-hop producer and a holder of a PhD in anthropology. Fortunately his English is excellent, as he gets into some lofty topics. This interview deals primarily with hip-hop that occurred during the timba era, e.g., Orishas and Herrera's own productions. The next episode in our list deals with ...

Cuban reggaetón and reparto, with Mike Levine This one dropped as I was writing this article, and it's pure gold. Like many timba fans, I was disappointed that reggaetón had abandoned so many of the harmonic and rhythmic innovations of timba, but in the intervening years, I did a deep dive into hip-hop and now that I'm hearing current Cuban music with new ears, and with the extremely entertaining Mike Levine as a guide, it's all starting to fit together. This episode is required listening for timba fans looking get a foot in the door and start to hear the post-timba genius of Cuban music in the work of Gente de Zona, Elvis Manuel and (especially, for me) Chocolate MC.

The Poetry and Politics of Nueva trova An interview with Eva Silot Bravo.

Jazz Meets Afro-Cuban Music, with Raul Fernández Dr. Fernández was a big help with timba.com's Timpapedia section and the Irakere section of Beyond Salsa Bass, Vol. 3, (my attempt at pre-timba history disguised as an instructional bass book). He's also responsible for setting legions of Irakere junkies on a quest for the Holy Grail of batúmbatá, the legendary recording of Bacalao con pan that future members of Irakere recorded in Santiago and that found its way to Havana radio, where the public response emboldened them to strike out on their own and form Irakere. We're still searching! But I digress. Fernández is even more interesting in this podcast, where his encyclopedic knowledge of Latin jazz and his wry sense of humor shine through.

Music History Episodes

In some ways, I like these even better than the interviews. If you take them in the right order it's like a college music appreciation course with a great professor. The audio examples are to die for, and Rebecca Bodenheimer has a real knack for organizing her material and presenting it with a calm, soothing voice and exquisite Spanish pronunciation.

Rumba A great intro to "rhumba" (son, as exported outside of Cuba), yambú, guaguancó and columbia. Particularly interesting, as with all of these, is the analysis of the lyrics.

The Cuban Origins of the Bolero 

The Roots of the Buena Vista Social Club This one begins with great introductions to changüí and son and then tackles the contrasts between the way Buena Vista-manía was received globally and on the island itself.

The 1950s Dance Crazes: Mambo & Cha-cha-chá

Los Van Van: Cuba's Salsa Train and Los Van Van in the Special Period & Beyond This two-parter covers Los Van Van from its pre-history with Formell & Pupy's work with Revé through Formell's death. Lots of excellent unpacking of lyrics and a great mix of hits and well-chosen deep cuts. [Kevin Moore]

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jueves, 17 agosto 2023, 12:33 pm

San José Jazz-Friday, Part

Part II moves to the hip-hop side of the festival. Click here for the full gallery.

Big Daddy Kane

Murs

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miércoles, 16 agosto 2023, 09:22 pm

San José Jazz-Friday, Part 1

Tom Ehrlich photographed all 3 days of this historic festival.. Click here for the first of five galleries. Tomorrow's gallery will feature hip-hop legend Big Daddy Kane's SJ Jazz debut.

W.I.T.C.H.

The Bad Plus

The Soul Rebels

Billy Childs Trio

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miércoles, 16 agosto 2023, 12:15 pm

Amazing Cuban Music Podcasts

Part 1: Let It Roll & Ned Sublette

The Let It Roll podcast is billed as an "insanely ambitious music history podcast". That turns to be an understatement. It began innocently enough as a 10-episode series on Rolling Stone journalist Ed Ward's book The History of Rock and Roll, but has since expanded to hundreds of episodes that systematically build towards an interlocking timeline encompassing every musical genre--from gospel and Delta blues to country, Tin Pan Alley, heavy metal, Jamaican music, hip-hop, EDM, and now, thankfully, Latin music, with multiple episodes featuring the dean of English language Latin music writers, Ned Sublette.

The second volume of Sublette's 2004 masterpiece, Cuba and Its Music, is the most hotly awaited book this side of The Winds of Winter, and it's even less likely to come out any time soon. The Katrina disaster led to two (equally valuable) books on the music of New Orleans, and the author is now consumed with a more hands-on endeavor, Post Mambo, through which he offers Zoom interviews, film nights, a regular newsletter, and guided, immersive-music study trips to Cuba, New Orleans, and elsewhere. Post Mambo has no website -- just send an email to postmambo@gmail.com and join the mailing list.

The good news is that Sublette turns out to be every bit as great a podcaster and extemporaneous speaker as he is a writer, and each of his Let It Roll episodes is packed with insights that either would have been in Volume 2 or could have been in Volume 1 of his Cuban music series. 

Below is a list of the Let It Roll episodes most likely to thrill timba.com readers:

The first three (new ones are being added every couple weeks) deal with Cuba and Its Music, the bible of Cuban music.

I've read this book at least 6 times and each time I return after studying other topics I learn something new. The beauty of these podcasts is that there a surprising amount of new material and new takes on the key concepts.

Latin Roll 1: The Musics of Europe and Africa Collided in Cuba 

Latin Roll 2: Clave and the Contradanza in the Colonial Caribbean 

Latin Roll 3: The Most Popular American Musician of the 19th Century Connected Cuba and New Orleans 

The Cultural Blend That Made New Orleans Music Unique - This episode discusses The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square, the first of two volumes on New Orleans music, which, as you'll see, is essential to understanding Cuban music and North American music in general.

New Orleans Music From Fats Domino thru the Meters to No Limit and Cash Money - This one covers The Year Before the Flood, taking the story into the 20th Century and including  autobiographical details on the author's personal experiences with New Orleans and its music.

The Kingsmen's 'Louie Louie' and The Rolling Stones' 'Satisfaction’ were built on Cuban Mambo & Cha-cha-cha - This episode was just what the doctor ordered for my current project on the connections between Cuban and Afro-North American pop. Along similar lines, here's a tremendous radio show segment that I came across that will reward multiple listenings.

Mambo hit New York hard in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s - This one is an interview with Tony Fletcher, the author of All Hopped Up and Nowhere to Go, a book about the New York City music scene with a lot of interesting info on Mario Bauzá, Machito, et al.

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