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Los Zafiros: Bossa Cubana
Los Zafiros: Bossa Cubana
turnover time:2024-06-22 05:45:33

Musical trend-watching has become more expensive than usual in the past few months: Not only have Brazil's tropicalistas resurfaced en masse, but the resurgence of Cuban music continues unabated. In the case of the latter genre, the hype has been a hair more gradual, but in some ways more fervid and certainly more commercial. Much of the renewed interest in Cuban music stems from 1997's Buena Vista Social Club album, a project that brought together several aged Cuban players who had been either lost or forgotten since the country's Communist revolution. The disc's remarkable success surprised everyone, especially the wonderful Cuban musicians finally given their due. The popularity of that release spawned a cinematic sequel, Wim Wenders' Buena Vista Social Club, which documented the recording of singer Ibrahim Ferrer's first solo album. Described in the film by producer Ry Cooder as the Cuban Nat "King" Cole, the 72-year-old Ferrer lives up to the daunting comparison. Backed by most of the crew that made the first Buena Vista Social Club album—including pianist Ruben Gonzalez, who at last had his own solo record released not long ago—Ferrer sings with the spirit and pride of someone given that rare second chance in life. Others may follow in his wake as well, for Cuba's rich musical history has only begun to be tapped. The success of the Buena Vista Social Club and Ferrer has in turn inspired the release of two other classic Cuban albums. Estrellas de Areito was a state-sponsored all-star session recorded in 1979, and in a sense, the project was the Buena Vista Social Club of its time. In fact, the disc features several of the players who would be so praised an impressive 20 years later, notably pianist Gonzalez (again) and singer Teresa Garcia Caturla, who duets with Ferrer on his album. The hybrid son rhythms captured on these two discs are amazing, though the album by Los Zafiros is even more varied and unusual. Melding rock 'n' roll and doo-wop with traditional Cuban music, the members of Los Zafiros are to Cuban music what bands like The Skatalites are to Jamaican music: stylistic virtuosos with their eyes toward America but their hearts in the Caribbean.

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