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SpanishEnglishDavid Calzado y su Charanga Habanera - Album Review for Charanga Light 2

CD Review:  Charanga Light 2 by David Calzado y su Charanga Habanera
(EGREM 2012, Blue Night Entertainment 2013)
Review by Bill Tilford, All rights reserved

Since the 1990s, no band has aroused more passionate debates within the Timba community than David Calzado y su Charanga Habanera. Over the years, its fans have followed roster changes with the same intensity that sports fanatics follow sports teams, and whenever the group has deviated from the hard-core Timba that created its original fan base, vigorous discussions have erupted worldwide among those fans. At times, a few of them have even accused the band of "selling out."  Mr. Calzado's team seems to understand this, and the projects which most radically depart from Timba recordings have been named Charanga Light.   

Charanga Light 2 is not completely devoid of Timba - the closing track, Crazy, loco and two other tracks, La bomba y No hay cumpleaños, will please many long-term fans even though there is an element of Cubatón/Reggaeton fusion in bomba and cumpleaños.  Most of the rest is devoted to different types of listeners. The first song, La entrevista, shows elements of Samba and Cubatón/Reggaeton.More Cubatón/Reggaeton appears in KuniyukiAtado a tiEnamorada and Una mañana sin ti are romantic pop ballads that would fit in perfectly well in the playlists of commercial latino radio stations in the United States. Amiga yo se is a Cumbia/ballad mix, Todo el Año is the type of Merengue Fusion that is becoming increasingly popular in North America, andQue te enamores is a Bachata number. 

It appears that the folks at Cubadisco also understood that this was not the usual CH project. The recording was entered in and later won the award in the Latin Music category in Cubadisco 2013.  It was not nominated in the Popular Dance Music category that usually hosts recordings by this group. This brings us to the question "How good is Charanga Light 2 really?"  To answer this question fairly, this writer must disclose that many of the styles that are featured in this album are not the styles that reside at the top of his list of musical preferences. Having said this, the musical quality of those songs is generally competitive with the recordings being produced by groups that are far more famous for these styles, and Mr. Calzado is certainly entitled to reach out to these listeners, most of whom are much younger than the typical fan of Timba and actually purchase recordings in greater numbers than the older generation is buying nowadays. The challenge that he and his team will face here is that usually, the majority of these same young people are following the personas of the artists even more than they are following the music.   Whether Charanga Light 2 will successfully accomplish that part of the mission - bonding the artist with the masses -  is a question that remains to be answered. 

In the meantime,  this recording demonstrates that musicians in Cuba can perform these other styles quite effectively if and when they want to, and regular fans of CH should not despair - we understand that the next recording will return to the Timba which made them famous.  

La entrevista
Amiga yo se
Todo el año
La bomba
Que te enamores
Atado a ti
No hay cumpleaños
Una mañana sin ti
Crazy, loco

Kevin Moore - Monday, 26 August 2013, 03:14 AM