Saturday, November 26, 2011
Have finally edited my photos, watermarked* them and uploaded them. Man the trip seems like a long time ago. It's the usual visual chronicle of the gigs I went to - a lot less this time thanks to all the trials and tribulations I went through but you know I still had some fun times. There is a slideshow below, and of course all of my Cuba pics, going back to 2006 are on flickr (some without watermarks!).
The image above is from a building on San Miguel in Cayo Hueso, about a block from Palacio de la Rumba. I love this piece of graffiti (click on it for a bigger version of the pic), not just because it's endlessly referenced in songs but also because of a conversation MFF (who is Chilean) and I had about it when we passed it one day.
She said, with the kind of worldweariness and edginess of someone very familiar with the phrase and the concept: "Everybody always says that but everybody always meta in everything."
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
If you haven't been over to Richard Curzon's site Mucho Swing lately, you might want to take a look. As well as the kind of goodies he usually serves up, at the moment there is a 30 minute doco on Pupy. I believe this is slated to be released with Siempre Pupy, when it finally gets an official release. For the next couple of weeks at least, you can see (and download) it at Mucho Swing, and see tunes by Havana D'Primera, Aragon, Yumuri and heaps more. (He clears them out regularly to make way for new videos). He also uploads radio files from Radio Taino et al, which are great for keeping up with music news, practicing Spanish, and making you feel really bad that you're thousands of miles away and can't go to whichever awesome gig is happening today/tomorrow/this weekend.
* I know this is a drag but even though I'm fine with people using my stuff with a credit, I'm no fine with them using it and pretending it's they're own. I know they're pathetic and I should let them to do it they're that desperate but ... I'm a little but pathetic too I guess. So for now, they're watermarked.
Monday, October 24, 2011
The last of my Havana video is a fairly chaotic recording of Pupy y Los Que Son Son doing La Loca at La Tropical. This song is the follow-up to Loco con una moto, which was a massive hit in Cuba - and which I loathed. It has a similar poppy simplicity to it but it's a bit funkier and despite El Noro's usual screeching, I think it's a lot of fun. Both will be on the new album, Siempre Pupy, which should be lobbing at Descarga and Prodland any day now.
The previous two videos I uploaded were new songs from Combinacion de la Habana. Both are slick funky tunes that unfortunately have that big echoey sound you sometimes get at Galiano, but I love the way the horn riff dominates the song below, right from the beginning, instead of waiting patiently for the marcha to conclude before making its entrance.
The band's regular baterista was off with some kind of leg injury, and you can see bandleader Gerson directing his replacement, which means that Eugenio is covering piano and keyboard parts, and both this song, and the other estreno, which is here, probably sound a little different when everyone is on board. But it's pretty clear they are both strong songs. Wish someone would give them the opportunity to record a proper album.
Posted by Yemaya at 10:13 pm
Monday, October 17, 2011
This is one of two new songs (apart from the demos that were released earlier this year) that Havana D'Primera were playing during my trip. Unlike Nadie saba na', with its sophisticated arrangement, this one (don't have a name for it) isn't much more than an insistent groove with some catchy coros. But Carita de pasaporte and Para mi gente (No me importa) both started out that way too, I wouldn't be surprised if the final recorded version has more elements to it.
(For some reason I recorded this twice. I think this is the better version, but I might upload the other one as well, at some point.) Karina from Odduara has just announced that HdP will be touring Europe from July 11 until August 15, you lucky buggers. She will also be taking Bamboleo to Europe in March. Don't miss a chance to see the delightful Ailyn in person.
Posted by Yemaya at 11:51 am
Friday, October 14, 2011
As I noted before, now that Tanya Pantoja has left Bamboleo to form her own eponymous outfit, Lazaro Valdes has rebooted the group to resemble the Bamboleo of yore, although the truth is that one female - former Azucar Negra singer Ailyn Dallera - is very much at its heart. I have two videos of her singing with them. One is La que manda (above), previously recorded by Tanya, the other is one I'm not familiar with (below). I didn't think much of it when I saw them do it, but afterwards, the coro surreptiously haunted me for days.
Aussies should note the shout-out at 2:12.
Posted by Yemaya at 12:37 pm
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Manolito y su Trabuco are showcasing a bunch of songs at their Havana gigs at the moment that will be on a forthcoming album. There are rumours that it will be live, but there are about a half dozen studio demos floating around and when I asked bass player Chino if they had recorded this one yet, he said, everything but the metales, which implies that it is very much a studio album. This one is a beauty - I don't know what it's called, but it was written by Alexander Abreu, and that's all I need to know. The catchy coros and lovely mambos are just icing on the cake. La Revé's Andy Fornet is on drums.
Posted by Yemaya at 3:49 pm
Sunday, October 09, 2011
First video from the trip I've uploaded is probably my favourite song from this year. There are other versions floating around on youtube as Havana D'Primera were doing it on the summer tour of Europe. I tried to show Rodney and Keisel going at it on drumkit and timbales, as well as a little bit of everything else (like the interaction between Yandi on bass and Tony on piano) - there's a lot going on in this little beauty. Enjoy.
NB Alex wasn't the only one completely soaked - air con at Miramar was broken all summer.
Posted by Yemaya at 7:32 pm
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Yes, Mayami IS wearing a Bart Simpson "cual es tu problema" T-shirt.
Wow. Great Trabuco gig. Two weird things in that sentence, right? That it was great; and that it even happened. If you read the previous instalment, you’ll know that they were completely absent from the Disco Fiesta listings; they didn’t play a song and mention the matinee, didn’t mention it in the gig guide; nada. I rang Galiano a couple of time and got no response and was pretty convinced it wasn’t happening. When Yarima and her friend Daisy came round about 6 I thought I’d call bajista Chino anyway just in case. I said, I guess you’re not playing today. He said, no, we are! I said, OK, nos vemos entonces. And off we went.
As you’d expect with nil promotion, it was not busy at all - less people than for Pupy last night. I know - or have been led to believe at least - that you have to pay to get in the radio listings, but surely it’s worth it to get a few more punters in?
It had been an cool-ish overcast day with some patchy rain and I totally underdressed for the Galiano air-con, shivering in my seat, the reggaeton not making me feel like getting up and warming up. The DJ switched to Blu Cantrell’s Hit em up style, which was a bit odd, then that old reggae number The circle song. Completely bizarre. Next up: merengue, to the absolute delight of the couple at the next table who leapt out of their chairs and dashed to the dancefloor. I was staggered. Who hangs out for merengue?
Trabuco didn’t keep us waiting. They started about 7 with the brisk uptempo number from the last album, the name of which eludes me. Three mics were set up but Pepitin was missing for reasons that weren’t clear to me. (Amaray talks pretty fast.) Quite frankly I think this was one of the reasons the show was a cut above the previous weeks. Both Amaray and Mayami have better command of their voices than he does of his and Manolito cooked up a pretty solid set, albeit one with Control in it. The Alexander song was up early and I love it more and more with every listen. If I were Amaray, I’d be a bit pissed off that Mayami got it. They also have another wicked number that’s kind of New York-ish in the steady groove it perpetuates but it slowly generates a real force. It’s the kind of track that could be a foreign DJ’s best friend, appealing to Cuban music aficionados and those other people at the same time. The coro was something about “dejala que corra”. Now somebody is going to write and tell me it’s some ancient song of theirs I have overlooked. (Please do if that’s the case.)
They did La cuenta no da (candidate for most irritating mambo ever) and the housework song, but also Caballo grande and El aguila. Three cheers!!! Also A medida, the slow swinging track of Mayami’s I dug last year. They also have this weird samba thing and I don’t know if it works or not. I’ll have to get back to you on that. They closed with Locos por mi Habana as always, which they do hilariously fast now - they must have played it, how many hundreds of times? And it seems like they’re all, OK, we’re in the home stretch!
I still maintain that Trabuco lack that sense of joy between the musos that a lot of bands here have - and that Trabuco used to have in spades - and is one of the things that makes seeing bands here so special. I don’t know what changed for them. I know what changed for me.
But I had a great time tonight. Andy is still with them on drums. If Riveron has pneumonia again, I guess he isn’t getting better any time soon. That makes me so sad. I mean I guess he will get better, but you know.
Andy was great as usual. Horn section were swinging. Everyone sounded good. There were some hilariously over the top girls in the audience, including a couple who got up to dance in Control: one got behind Mayami to gyrate and he pushed her away. When she tried to do the same in front, he did it again. Very, very funny. She didn’t look impressed.
A friend told me that last week she went to Miramar on Tuesday expecting to see HdP and got Trabuco. Apparently there was a pila de gente that had done the same and the place was packed, and Manolito acknowledged that. She said a good time was had by all nevertheless.
Tuesday update: Seems the reason Trabuco didn’t promote Monday’s matinee is that they wanted to go crazy promoting Tuesday’s Miramar matinee. It was on Disco Fiesta every two seconds this morning. I’m not going to push my luck. Rather go out on a high; and rather not go out to Miramar. Gonna wrap things up here at the abode in preparation for my early flight tomorrow.
This is Yemayá signing off from Havana.
Hasta la próxima vez.
This is Yemayá signing off from Havana.
Hasta la próxima vez.
Posted by Yemaya at 5:16 am