Friday, May 08, 2009

Rumba a Pogolotti

Yoruba Andabo

Mad Men is on TV again. Also, I notice, Deadwood is on most nights. I never heard so many "cocksucker"s on free to air TV. But I digress.
I was supposed to get out of the house early today because it was being fumigated (the mosquitos are fierce) and I had a dance class lined up anyway. My teacher didn’t show up so I went and hung with Duni and his wife and their dogs for a while. When I got back home, it turned out the fumigator hadn’t turned up either - he’s coming tomorrow morning now, instead. Bien.
Today’s entertainment was a matinee with Pupy y Los Que Son Son and Yoruba Andabo at Casa de la Musica, Galiano - very nice combination. Duni had mentioned it - the two bands had a rehearsal on Wednesday, but I had completely forgotten, so it came as a nice surprise.
They were supposed to be on at 6pm - so Duni said. At six, half of Los Que Son Son were hanging around on the street out the front. I went in anyway. The bleached blonde moro Alexis was there with a huge crowd of foreign dance students - it’s not great when they’re there; they completely take over the dance floor. There was the usual lamentable reggaeton and, yet again, Andy Montañez’s version of Locos por mi Habana, though happily this time, it got mixed into the Trabuco version and I was never happier to hear Amaray’s voice, as it signalled all those lovely bloques with which the song ends.
At some point, Los Que Son Son arrived on stage to the pulse of Que cosas tiene la vida. Towards the end of the song, Yoruba Andabo’s percussionists and vocalists joined them, and when the song ended, Los Que Son Son left, and the rumba group carried on. They started with just the band, then a group of four people, who I had taken for part of the crowd (though admittedly I wasn’t looking very hard), started dancing on the deserted dance floor and I realised they were part of the group. They did some very nice guaguanco. Later on, there was columbia, which wasn’t very impressive, but I always like watching the women more than the men anyway.
It was a nice change from the usual matinee and thoroughly enjoyable. And the two groups made a good combination. Pupy is obviously a fan: at the end of their set, he was dancing down the front with the crowd.

Rusdel, Michel and Norberto

After a short break, Los Que Son Son came back and started with Calla calla, probably my least favourite Pupy song ever (I think I might have already mentioned that). So I went and chatted with friends. Next was Norberto with Un poquito al reves, which gives me exactly the opposite reaction I loooove it. Norberto did a much better job on it than previously: I have absolutely no complaints; it was awesome. Then Rusdel (pronounced, in Cuban, “Roodel”) with Si me quieres conocer. This song is possibly even more awesome, and live is extended with many fantastic coros and breakdowns. ¡Que alegría! How happy I was. I was a bit emabarrassed to bust out my lame rumba moves with members of Yoruba Andabo in the audience. I’d like to say that it will inspire me to take some classes, but it probably won’t.
Unfortunately next was Se parece aquel, which is another song that doesn’t trip my trigger - nothing against Michel - I didn’t like it much when Pepito sang it either. (As far as songs criticizing Maikel Blanco go, I prefer Azucar Negra’s La identidad.) I was up the back and mid-conversation when the “doo-doo-doo” synth of Timba a Pogolotti started and I was like “uh-oh, gotta go” and skedaddled down the front. I remember there was a very brief period in 2004 when I OD’d on Pogolotti and thought I’d heard it enough. That last about a week. God it’s so great. All 20 live minutes of it. It always sounds fresh; it never fails to get me dancing, no matter how tired I am, or how much my feet hurt, or how cranky I am. (Even when I thought I was over it, I was still dancing to it.)
The band sounded great and I’m starting to - well not forget Mandy, but come to terms with the fact that he no longer sings with them. (Girl, Mandy no longer sings with Pupy - get used to it!) With that in mind, Rusdel isn’t bad. And he’s pretty too. Added bonus.
I just realised today Michel is in the process of becoming a santero. I’m so thick. I was thinking: I wish he’d appear without a baseball cap for once, so I could get a good pic. Then I realised he had something under his white cap, which was also white. Then I realised that everything he was wearing was white and the last time I saw him everything he wore was white and ... D’uh. Sometimes I’m dense. After the gig I saw him in the street with a white umbrella. His GF was all in white as well.
I've yet to see Pupy do a full set - both gigs I've seen them at so far have been a shared bill. Apparently they played for two hours at Santa Cruz - the gig I was invited to but didn't go to. The gig that they left for at 6, for a 45 minute ride, and didn't start playing till after 1, and didn't get back till 6am or something. When Dayramir said I could go with Klimax to a gig at the same place the next night, I said, uh, no, it will be such a long night. Turned out it was even longer than that for them: Leonid played before them and Klimax didn't go on till after 3am; they played till 6 and didn't get back to town till mid-morning or something. He said he laughed when they were waiting to go on and he remembered what I'd said about what a long night it was going to be. Though surely it's not the first time that has happened to them ...
Tomorrow I’m going to see Havana D’Primera again - just in time: I’m starting to break out into a cold sweat.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey. thanks for the posts. I think I'm enjoying your stay in Havana as much as you are. Anyway, you mentioned Andy Montanez' version of 'Loco por mi Habana' I recall he did a version of that song, something like 'Loco por mi San Juan. Is that what your referring to or did Andy redo 'Loco por mi Habana' with original lyrics?

thanks

RIchard said...

"I digress", you didn't even start yet ;-) I think you hit your stride best in Havana ...
-R

Yemaya said...

Richard of course I do: everything is better there. Napoles told me that I seemed to be a person full of happiness - right, when I'm dancing three times a week to Havana D'Primera. He seemed mildly horrified when I told him I wasn't quite the same cheerful person back in my homeland.