Friday, May 09, 2008
Leonid played a matinee at Cafe Cantante yesterday. I didn’t go.
I almost didn’t go to see Havana D’Primera at the Capri either (so late), but my fellow farandulera encouraged me and off we went. Audience-wise, it was the most depressing scene I’ve seen in some time - tables filled with sexy young cubanas and their unco extranjeros. (When I saw a piece of underwire from a bra lying on the floor, it seemed to sum up the night). I didn’t realise that had become so much rarer on the timba circuit until I saw it tonight. Thankfully Alexander arrived and in my selfish enjoyment of his music I completely forgot their misery.
The band came on much later than I thought they would - about 1.45 - and the non-stop reggaeton almost did me in. But then Alexander and his group arrived and washed all my blues away.
He is a top frontman - charismatic, good with melodies and guias, a great communicator - he’s a real natural. There are no choreographed calisthenics, and yet he’s mesmerising. All this and he’s backed by a superlative band - when, at the end of the show, he asks for applause for his musicians - “los mejores de Cuba” he’s not kidding. A regular feature of his set is a drum solo by Barretto - I’m not much of a one for solos of any kind but this one is pretty good - when you’ve got all the guys in the band watching, hanging off every hit; and the pianista adding a meaty funk riff, it gets pretty hot.
Seemed to be more or less the same set as last week at Galiano - I don’t have all the songs, so I’m not yet completely familiar with them, but I think that’s right. I liked some of them even more than last week - he has mentioned the group’s album - I’m looking forward to getting that. Will try and get some details on it.
Don’t know if these guys have been booked for Europe this year, but the continent will go nuts for them I’m sure. Perfect festival band - or any other occasion really. Their music is very accessible - Cristóbal's funky bass gives it a timba kick and it has plenty of gears, but the catchy, singalong coros with the slow-burn sello I think would have quite broad appeal.
About halfway through the show some dick at one of the tables at the foot of the stage got up on the stage, picked up Alexander’s trumpet and put that holy instrument to his completely unworthy lips. For a minute I didn’t realise who he was or what he was doing - I thought: is he some invitado? Then I realised he was just a dickhead. It was mid-song and Alexander carried on singing - he gave no hint of displeasure, though he can’t have been thrilled. One of the security guys came down but the guy managed to smooth it over somehow and instead of being booted out he was allowed to continue partying.
That was nice of them.
Posted by Yemaya at 1:26 am