I was going to go and see Charanga Habanera for you people. Really I was. Pero suspendio. Classic Habana: it's been all over the radio all day, then at the Trabuco matinee at Miramar the word went around (probably courtesy of the CH piano player - sorry, don't know his name - who played for a while during the set) that the gig was off. Left a lot of people hanging around after wondering what to do: Pachito at Galiano? I don't think so. NG la Banda? Hmmm. Angeles de la Habana were scheduled to play at the Stadium tonight for the big win - they have some Industriales song out - but wild horses etc.
I'm actually at home, 10pm on Friday night in Havana. I've rested for three days to try and get over the damn headaches (ok, I saw Trabuco twice in that period ... that's resting, isn't it?) and now I feel like partying dammit. I left a bunch of Trabuco boys outside Miramar, drinking rum and smoking - Riverón, Mayami, Chino.
So Manolito. Again. You know, I was asking myself if I really wanted to see them again. Really. But oh man, as soon as they started - it was Hablando en Serio - the answer was "Yessssssssssss". I was down the front in two seconds, shaking it. And the sound was so much better - made me realise just how shit it is at Cantante. Made me realise you can't hear the horns there - even though I stand right in front of them. And man, they are so hot. So very hot. Mmmm. (And yes, I'm talking about the sound!) And the strings. It's all so good. It just sounded so sweet. Hablando, Sacude, Dijiste Mentiras, Marilu, Sabrosona, Comunicate, Locos... they closed with that killer version of Marcando la Distancia - it's 15 minutes long and it's sensational; has all these extra coros on the end. The sound is phenomenal - full and overflowing, and everyone - audience; musos - is just going off, singing and smiling. It's lurv, people.
The elusive Michelle White was there, so I imagine there will be photographs and possibly an interview with Amaray in the not too distant future.
How lucky I have been that Trabuco have been here playing so much, and the Cantante residency, even though the sound is shit; has such great ambience. It's like some grungy gig in a hole in the wall bar somewhere, only with a kickarse 16-piece group that has not only horns, but strings fer chrissake. You just rock up each week, pay $10 to get in, and away you go, as if it's nothing out of the ordinary. Spot at the front no problem. Winks and smiles and kisses from the musos. It's been fantastic. And it looks like next week is their last week there - if indeed, they play there next week. Look out Europe. Y'all want to get get your asses along to one of their shows. Seriously. I have spoken. (Jajaja.)
And in an unrelated note, timbageek David has identified the Paulito song that has completely bewitched me - not sure of the title but the coro is: "No soy un cantante de etiqueta, soy un cantante de la calle, y yo canto pa' la gente de peseta y canto pa' mi gente de la calle."
Well you probably have to hear it to get it's beauty; but it gives you an idea.
Paulito: still callejero after all these years.
© Gabriel Wilder 2006