Jovenes Clasicos del Son ” The Young Son Rebels” New York Times

  1. Palama the director of Jovenes Clasicos del Son

    The Jovenes Clasicos del Son join Papa Noel for a great Rumba night in Bath Festival, UK

    Jovenes Clasicos del Son

From Cuba

Founded in 1994 the band incorporates a traditional septet instrumental format: acoustic bass, tres, guitar, trumpet, congas, bongos and an outstanding singer with vocal qualities that permit endless possibilities. They have been hailed as the new force in Cuban music, eclectically mixing elements of highly charged son, salsa and other Latin rhythms and influenced by traditional and contemporary music from around the world. Jovenes Clasicos del son have managed to create an unmistakable and unique sound. A sound they can call their own; an original sound. They were brought together by the visionary Ernesto Reyes Proenza, better known as ‘Palma’. He is their charismatic director who carefully sought out not only the most outstanding young musicians in Cuba but also those with the capabilities, passion and conviction to develop a new Cuban sound.The vision and objective adopted by all the band members in many ways have mad them stand out from the current mainstreaming of Cuban music. ‘Hard Hands Lolo’, their conga player explains: “We don’t break the formula of traditional music but we do add a modern touch to it. We are seven young men looking through the wide open door of Cuban music and we want to make history without modern technology, without a big horn section, without tacky or commercial lyrics” Carlos interupts: “It is conscious music. It has pedigree. It comes from lots of roots. We have managed to make new son and Jovenes Clasicos Del Son for me represents the side of every musician’s heart where one does what one wants – we have freedom.”Palma, their director, explains the musical structure: “We are really into satire but we chose the tracks we are going to include in our repertoire very carefully. We play songs about our contemporary situation. Fruta Bomba has a strong issues based concept – issues from Cuban life – fun issues but with a twist. We love double-entendres, Nueva Trova and slang. But clean slang. We also love tp ‘hacer descarga’ or jam. I go to see lots of jazz and theatre productions. I learn a lot from them and this is apparent in the album.” Sergio continues: “We have included some very varied pieces in Fruta Bomba; a homage to the old style son revival, some nueva trova also and above all lots of carribean music. That’s essentially what we play: Carribean music. We have a track dedicated to the Paw Paw fruit – a very exotic fruit from the Americas. The lyrics are full of play-on-words, but don’t get me wrong, we don’t make intellectual music. We make music that can be well but with’sabor’ and meaning.”After hearing them one begins to understand the profound appreciation felt by the band towards this deeply rooted musical heritage: “Well Chico, it’s Cubania – that’s it. It’s Cuba. Without son Cuba would be Santo Domingo or any other tropical island. I don’t call it el son or’ the son’, I call it ‘they son’. A great writer and friend of mine, Danilo Orozco explained this to me. Son is mixed with everything. Fidel’s speeches: they’re son, Cuban literature: that’s son, Nicolas Guillen’s clave: that’s son. The sam form of the son is in everything. Notice how a Cuban tells you a joke, at the end they repeat the puchline three times. The Cuban is very rhetorical, when they speak they return to their point and keeps going back and going back. When Fidel starts a discussion and has his own point of view on the subject, he explains it and goes back and back and back again and in the end he explains it to you all over again. This is son. It’s like son music. It is in the subtleties of form.”Yet the ‘young rebels of son’ defend the musical legacy laid down by the likes of Beny More and Arsenio Rodriguez with a simple statement: “El son es lo mas sublime para el alma divertir, se deberia de morir quien por bueno no lo estime” – “Son is the most sublime thing, a man should die should he not care about it.”Press Quotes:”Young son rebels” – Straight No Chaser”Excellent dans le son traditionel, le septette elargit cependant son repertiore” – Liberation, France”Interpretan la musica cubana con honor a la verdad” – Gramma, CubaShort biography:Jóvenes Clasicos del Son are known as Cuba’s magnificent seven. Awarded the prize of Best Cuban Group of 1997 by the Cuban government they have had a string of hits in Cuba. They have been recognised by the international press as the best group from a new generation of young Cuban musicians and have collaborated in the past with Grammy Award winning Compay Segundo as well as with jazz supremo Winton Marsalis. Individually they have worked with members of another award winning band, Vocal Sampling, as well as working with Peter Gabriel among others.Led by the charismatic director and bass player Palma, formerly with Candido Fabre and incorporating two of the most sought after musicians, the singer Nene and the trumpet player Raudel, this traditional seven piece fully acoustic band defy the conventional format and take son to powerful and exciting new heights. Mixing Cuban son with the deepest elements of Cuban music together with soul, jazz, rap and funk this dynamic group is fast .

Jovenes Clasiocs del son has recorded three Cds with Tumi Music.

David Alvarez ” Clandestino” review by Juan Sebastian Rojas, USA

David alvarez one of the legendary Trovador of Cuba

Singer/song writer David Alavrez

Clandestino is the latest production from famous Cuban troubadour Daniel Álvarez, former leader of the band Juego de Manos. Released by Tumi Music as a 16-track CD, this album is a clear expression of the contemporary development of one of Cuba’s most important and influential musical genres: trova. And trova runs unequivocally through Álvarez’s veins, for his native city of Manzanillo has held a very active trova cubana scene since the mid-20th century. His compositions reflect this tradition, in which peasant songs integrate socially critical and romantic lyrics with ballad-style and Cuban son accompaniments, sometimes sounding closer to the music of Spain than that of the Caribbean Islands.

Clandestino is also notable for the participation of saxophonist Alfred Thompson (Irakere) and tres master Pancho Amat, who collaborate with Álvarez in creating that magical and dramatic atmosphere that is characteristic of contemporary trova. The influence of Mediterranean sonorities is also very clear, featuring Roldán Carballoso (Buena Vista Social Club), whose presence is predominant in “La tarde” (“The afternoon”), where guitar, violin and flamenco-inspired chants intertwine to make this Cuban song a soulful product of the Spanish and African diasporas of the Caribbean. The opening track, “A mi me gusta compay” (“I like it, buddy”), is a more straightforward trova rhythm, with long verses accompanied by tres, guitar, bongos, and timbales, which then break into a montuno, or a sung call and response chorus section, which is so characteristic of Cuban music.

Excerpts of the whole album can be heard at Tumi Music’s website:

Not only is this album finely produced, with a thick recording sound and crew of world class musicians, but also finely crafted music-wise, where the singer songwriter’s skills are demonstrated by the creation of a unified musical and lyrical concept of romanticism. Álvarez’s voice makes one think of legendary Cuban troubadour Pablo Milanés, but in a kind of contemporary version: an updated Cubantrovador, renovating one of Cuba’s most influential popular musics.

Reviewed by Juan Sebastian Rojas

Hijos de Agüeybaná, “Agua del Sol”

Agua del Sol is the first release of their CD

The “Bomba” Puerto Rican group Hijos de Agüeybaná

Bomba was born when a diverse group of Africans found themselves forced to work the sugar plantations of Puerto Rico. From different places, speaking different languages, they found a common means of expression and release in drumming, dancing, and singing together. This new musical lingua franca became bomba. It remained popular after Emancipation, when traveling groups would carry the big barrel drum, smaller secondary drum, and trunks with percussion and costumes from place to place, holding all-night, rum-fueled sessions on beaches or in yards.

Its origins in Africa and in the great movement of Africans throughout the Caribbean tie bomba to other Afro-Latin traditions from Haiti to Cuba, sharing beats, instrumentation, and even terminology. But in Puerto Rico, bomba developed a wonderful local texture and character, and continues to be a moving and meaningful response to life on the island.

Two of Hijos de Agüeybaná’s members discovered its power and relevance and have dug into its past. Drummer, multi-instrumentalist, and researcher Ángel Luis was raised in New York City in a musical family who played in a band together. Yet he first heard bomba at a photo shoot as a young man. He was immediately blown away.

”I thought it was African music. I was stunned to hear it was from my island, from my home,” he recalls. He soon found himself returning to Puerto Rico, winning over sometimes reticent bomba elders, interviewing dozens upon dozens of veteran musicians and dancers to learn more about how, when, and why the music was performed.

His son, Otoqui, grew up dancing bomba from the very start; his mother danced while pregnant with him. Gently introduced to the tradition and mentored by his father, Otoqui turned away from bomba as a teen and got into break dance. “I realized hip hop wasn’t my music, that break dancing wasn’t my culture,” Otoqui recalls. “I thought about it, and decided I wanted to change people’s minds. I wanted to teach my friends that they needed to learn our music.”

Though incorporating other Latin and international contemporary elements into their music and bringing a wide sonic palette to its pulse and feel, the Reyes and the other performers in Hijos de Agüeybaná have an uncanny ability to transmit the rootsy beauty, and the gracious culture of bomba. At the core is the evolving interaction between drum and movement, a dialogue that the group captured on the album.

”To find that feeling, sometimes you bring the dancers to the studio. Sometimes you imagine the dancer in your mind,” Otoqui says. “Sometimes you just bring your feeling into the drum. The drum itself speaks; it talks to people.”

The inspiring gesture and potential of dance pervades the songs. Otoqui wrote “Te Invito” as a lovely, heartfelt explanation of bomba’s creative pleasures to his hesitant sweetheart, a visual artist. He urges her to feel the dance floor is a canvas and her feet are brushes (she was eventually won over and now dances bomba). “Ohami” was sparked by a friend’s evocative dancing, movements that sent Otoqui from behind his drum dashing for his notebook to jot the images down. “Agua del Sol” celebrates the role of homebrewed rum in bomba celebrations, how it warms the heart and moves shy participants from the sidelines to the dance floor.

But bomba is about more than good times; it’s about dignity. “Ask any elder and they will tell you: Bomba is respect. You have to have respect throughout, for the drums, for your partners,” Ángel Luis notes. Yet this respect doesn’t stymie creativity; it helps channel it, finding new ways to make old beats dance and sing.

”Bomba is your heart expressing itself freely,” Ángel Luis smiles. “It’s the letting go. Letting it flow freely and reach out to the world.”

About Hijos de Agueybana

The group Hijos de Agueybana directed by Otoqui Reyes consists of eight artists, all committed to preserving their Afro-Caribbean roots. The group has over ten years experience both of performing and offering workshops and courses on the historical and cultural significance of the genre of bomba. They have presented their dance and music to both national and international audiences across the Americas. In the Caribbean the African drum is central to cultural identity creating harmony, solidarity and leadership in both the music itself and the musicians who perform it, helping maintain social structure in communities and villages all over the Island.

In this, their first musical production, Otoqui Reyes, in collaboration with other great artists Cristi Mangual, Andy Montañez and Tony mapeyé creates a flavour unique to Puerto Rico. The drum or tambor Barril-Primo is played by Ángel Luis Reyes and Otoqui Reyes, reveling in its traditional rhythm whilst also integrating with other popular rhythms such as salsa and jazz, and electronic instrumentation such as indigenous-environmental “Lounge”. This creative collaboration is achieved by quality musicians such as: Luis Rosa, Tony Gonzalez and Ricky Torres, committed to creating art and music out of their rich culture. Complementary to the main drums come the second smaller ones which are played by Ramon Vazquez and Papo Aguilú together Jose Alicea, and Maraca. The harmony produced in several layers of drumming is accompanied by the joyful voices of Naomi Vasquez, Minerva Rosa and Quique Hernández.

Everything builds together in this production, like a big street party full of dance, culture and tradition – a great and tasty celebration of life!

David Alvarez and his New Trova dream

David Alvarez is from the old school of TRova

David Alvarez his guitar and his seductive voice is his charm.

After 20 years of playing with his band “Juego de Manos”, David now realizes the dream of his life and records his solo “Trova” album called “Clan Destino” Tumi 182. His compositions go back some ten years ego when I “Mo Fini” was sitting in Malecon in Havana and during the conversation I begged him to do a solo album of his Trova. Though he accepted there and then , then it took some ten years to realize his dream. Sadly just when we were half way through recording his one year old daughter fell ill with cancer of eye. After a suffering two years and the daughter losing the eye we went back to the studio to finish the album. We are all grateful for his work and prey for the quick recovery of his daughter.

Charming Alvarez

David Alvarez’s charm has gained him millions of friends and admirers all around ten world

David is well known international artist and many of you have seen him during his tours in UK and Europe particularly in Spain.
When we released his last album ,it quickly got to the top of the Songlines Music Magazine when Sue Steward reviewed the album “son Demasiado” Tumi 114.
His new album is delight to the ears and a cocktail of love and poems. Almost half finished I sent the album for review to one of my close friends and together with Sue one of the greatest Latin Critic of all times in the UK World Music Scene and Jan wrote
“David Álvarez offers a cache of the bold, confessional songs of a modern troubadour For this “dream finally realised” he brings together songs composed trova style in homage to his birthplace of Manzanillo, the region of Cuba with the strongest trova tradition, his tierra where his roots go deep. Versed in poetry these uncensored stories of the joys and trammels of love add laúd and Cuban tres guitar, to place their Caribbean core within a serenading Mediterranean sensibility, creating a modern renaissance ambience. Romance and love do not come easy, yet life remains joyful – was it not ever so…!”

David Alvarez visiting in Spain

David Alvarez with Pedro , Paco Y pepe in Capileria , Alpujarras, Spain

I have known and recorded David now almost 20 years and yet to meet a singer/song writer with lyrics as sweet as his.

A man and an acoustic guitar. A Cuban man from the beautiful city of Manzanillo. A man offering a set of bold, confessional songs, versed in poetry, uncensored stories of the joys and trammels of love. It can only mean one thing: songs of a trovador, the modern equivalent of the early medieval troubadour. David Alvarez is known for his swinging dance music yet above all he holds fast to the task of the trovador to serenade love and life in all its vicissitudes. Even his custom of wearing a scarf tied gypsy style around his head evokes this iconoclastic spirit.
Most of the material here was composed trova style by David over quite a long period, between 1989 and the present. To bring all these songs together in one album is for David, “a dream finally realised”. As a musician born in Manzanillo (in 1972), the region of Cuba with the strongest trova tradition and where trova still flourishes, it has always been David’s intention to create a disc in homage to his tierra, his birthplace, where his roots go deep in the earth. Manzanillo is also a stronghold of Cuban son, a genre of music David responds to instinctively, underlined by his studying music in its heartland in Santiago de Cuba where he attended the Conservatoire before graduating and moving to Havana.
By 1989 David was working with iconoclast Pedro Luís Ferrer, involved at the periphery of the Nueva Trova movement while forging his own pathway. His son-canción Jugando de Manos (Conjuring) remains the leit-motif of his work. Its’ message – to keep faith with the exhilaration of the play of life, until death comes, sums up Alvarez’ core philosophy. Written in 1993 its’ shortened title, Juego de Manos, gave its name to the group he founded then, an inspiration in a period when Cuba literally went through dark times as the country re-invented itself following the end of dependence on the Soviet Union. David was part of this re-imagining, his song calling for a defence of core values as life continues to turn, for living life to the full is the way to discover ‘paradise on earth’.
Juego de Manos immediately set a new benchmark: buzzing with vitality they opened up Cuban Trova, Son, Guaracha and Guajira traditions by infusing them with influences from the neighbouring Caribbean islands and Central America. They gave Cuban music new impetus by adding in references to música tropical embracing Bachata, Merengue, Cumbia. In their own distinctive way they offered tribute to Dominican Republic’s Juan Luís Guerra and Colombia’s Carlos Vives with their own thrilling new sound. Following their first disc Rimasones (Rhyming Sones), Alvarez with Juego de Manos signed to Mo Fini’s Tumi Music to release first Mundo Loco (Crazy World) and then Son Demasiado (Too Much Son), which won the special critics prize at Cuba’s prestigious annual Adolfo Guzmán competition.
With this new disc Alvarez locates that Caribbean feel within a broader Mediterranean sensibility, focusing on a string sound adding laúd and Cuban tres guitar to acoustic guitars. This gives the dazzling selection of songs composed over a long period an Italianate, at times almost renaissance string ensemble feel. This gives deep dimension to songs that map emotional life from the perspective of someone grooved into romantic love yet at times finding neither love nor those involved constant.

The sequence of songs works as a narrative of troubled times for lovers. The title track Como la Mariposa (Like a Butterfly), with its glorious serenading melody played over gentle percussion, sees David’s voice soar out from a choral weave to liken the history of love to something exquisite yet fragile, “so happy, beautiful, innocent like a butterfly fluttering from one place to another, yet giving the impression that in one moment you might suddenly disappear from sight.”
Despertar (Awaken) composed in the difficult 1990s, with its fluent flute lead, marries melancholy with hope and yearning, telling about life at, “one of those moments when the world around you seems to lose meaning, when the economic crisis of the Special Period, a crisis that impacted on ethics and aesthetics, meant hard times for dreamers”.
The intimate guitar opening to Desquite (Repayment) sets the scene for a plea to be understood when all about love seems in flux. Its’ arrangement sets sweet chorus and then clarinet as partners to the metal of Alvarez’ voice as he tells a story of the struggle to share pleasure and pain, to find something to hold onto when one has taken the wrong path.
Desventura (Misadventure) has tantalising guitar references evoking Andean Charango sounds reminiscent of the Peruvian highlands fused with the Mediterranean. It sets the scene for a song mapping times when, “who told me about love? Ay, If I was only certain”, when solitude and nostalgia seem preferable to love itself. Then the cool piano of Distancia (Distance), with its flashes of trumpet serenades the “woman of honey” separated by emotional and physical distance.
With its dramatic filmic opening El Alma (The Soul) a song of trespassing love, tells of fears of losing the soul – “tomorrow I don’t know if I will know how to sing you this song if I am missing those feelings”: just hear that flamenco style plea at the suspenseful end, a brooding cry to ‘return me my soul’.
Ella es Así (She’s Like That) captures the image of a ‘dangerous’ woman who, “deserves a song – in homage and complaint”.
The jaunty Espejismo (Mirrors) with its beautiful flute lines, was composed by Alvarez for his wife Yilene. He uses his trademark nightingale tremelo to tell of finally leaving illusions aside. Its’ glorious chorus seals, “magic inside my songs again”,
The plucked guitar and Italianate serenading laúd accompaniment for La Tarde (The Evening) evokes the wistfulness of twilight, a magical time, sacred for when the composing muse appears.
Lluvia (Rain), a setting of a poem by Omar Estrada, patterns a Mediterranean feel for when elusive dreams manifest themselves in disquieting emotions conjured up by the falling rain. Mujer (Woman) with its opening, “I’m going to love you woman although not forever” is written for the mother of Alvarez’ eldest daughter, a “fabulous woman and excellent friend”. Musa del Río (River Muse), a title with Afro-Cuban orisha deity echoes, diverts us into a childlike world of fantasy and fable, searching for music’s wellspring. Trovador (Troubadour) tells a deceptively simple tale, about not being judged by appearances. It marks a moment in 1995 when Alvarez found himself singing in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, with his accompanying musicians where they were almost denied their place to perform. Sanity prevailed as this song bears witness! Finally Y no sé qué pasa (I Don’t Know What Happened) is David’s shout to life itself: for the times one can feel alone when one considers that one has given everything one has to offer yet not received what one hoped.
Recorded in half a dozen studios including that of Manolito Simonet as well as his own home-studio, we have 15 songs that map emotions, hopes and dreams. It’s a bold narrative of having almost lost love through mis-adventure, and then the blessing of having it restored. Ay mi amor!
His new CD “Clan Destino” due to be released internationally in February 2012.

Domingo Candelario début album”Soho”

The cover of Domingo Candelario début album “Soho”

Singer/song writer Domingo Candelario was born in the heart of La Havana, Cuba. As a child he was greatly influenced and inspired by the Brazilian music that his parents listened to. He went on to develop his own unique style within the “Nueva Trova” movement which began in the late ‘60s and has its roots in traditional Cuban folk music, incorporating progressive and often politicized lyrics.

He toured Cuba and much of Europe over a period of 3 years as guitarist and singer with Yusa, another Cuban singer/song writer from a similar background. They performed as a duo, creating waves among the small corner bars and neighbourhood clubs where they performed.

In 1997 Domingo took part in the Cuban experience paleis des sports Paris Porte de Versailles, alongside other notable artists such as Mister Acorde guitarist, Vocal group Catharsis, The Eduardo Ribero dance company, The Narciso medina dance company and singer songwriter Yusimil Lopez.

In 1998 as singer/songwriter and theatre director he participated in a major celebration of Cuban culture in Portugal alongside Amaury Perez Vidal, singer/songwriter; Octavio Cortazar, filmmaker; Migel Barnez, writer and investigator and director of the association, Fernando Ortiz.

In 1999 he composed music for the film Cuban love by the American director Joshua Bee Alafia.

Together with the Thabani band he toured the UK and collaborated with many diverse musicians including Yusa, Mister Acorde, Jose luis Estrada and Naomi Thabani director of Thabani band.
Having finished a media and arts degree from the University of London in 2010 he continues to play in London in venues such as Ronnie Scotts, Jazz Cafe and Momo amongst others.


Candido Fabre in Santiago de Cuba

Concert held by Candido Fabre in Santiago de Cuba for the recent harricane Sandy which destroyed much of the city.


With the completion of a Mega Concert Garzón Avenue in the heart of the city of Santiago de Cuba culminated Saturday recording a video clip to the song “We’re going to raise Santiago” written and orchestrated by master Candido Fabre dedicated to Santiago after Hurricane Sandy for the south eastern Cuban province.

The Clip recording … We’ll began on Thursday in the city locasiones different hero for filmmaking team convened for the occasion and led by experienced filmmakers and Alden Gonzalez Fonseca Aramys with VIDEOS LIA production.

The clip you’re going to … that has become the anthem of spirituality and to the people of Santiago after the unfortunate events in this city for over atmospheric, told this time with the participation of the multi Conga Los Hoyos. That with the master Candido Fabre endlessly overwhelmed by the central Avenida Garzon Coppelia until the Grove, where the Cuban sonero along the accompanying band offered a Mega Concert until after three in the morning, moments in which Fabre thanked the people of Santiago de Cuba and all the agencies and institutions who contributed to the realization of the audiovisual work.

Welcome to latin America and welcome to Latin Music

About Latin Music Downloads

Welcome to the Latin Music Downloads ( where you will find music from all corners of Latin America and of African roots.

The Latin American Download is one on many projects which comes under umbrella of Tumi Music Ltd.

Taking our name from a ceremonial Inca dagger called the ‘Tumi’ (one of the most important symbols of heritage for Latin Americans)

Since 1983 Tumi Music has been at the forefront of the vast and diverse field of Latin music. In that year whilst in Bolivia, Mo Fini, founder of Tumi Music, heard the music of Rumillajta and began to promote them. By organizing the first ever European tour by an Andean folk band and releasing City of Stone, Rumillajta’s groundbreaking debut album, Tumi Music was born. During that year, the band headlined all big festivals including Glastonbury Festival, Strawberry Fair, Royal Festival Hall and a sellout venue in Edinburgh Festival, selling over 100,000 cassettes during that summer.

Today Tumi Music is regarded with the utmost loyalty and respect by all its musicians in Latin America. By realizing the potential of various musical styles such as Andean folk music and Cuban music well before any of its competitors, Tumi Music has built up an enviable catalogue of over300 new recordings by some of the greatest artists in Latin American and Caribbean music.

Tumi Productions has built its reputation on active artist promotion, encouraging a large touring network, providing a long-term commitment to artist development, and producing unique and exciting recordings.

Every album is a carefully considered project, and today Tumi is regarded with the utmost loyalty and respect by all its musicians. By realizing the potential of the various musical styles of that vast continent, from Andean folk to Cuban son regardless of trends and well before any of its competitors, Tumi has built an enviable catalogue of recordings by some of the greatest artist in Latin America and the Caribbean. The label has also experimented with ‘cross-borders’ projects, like the excellent award-nominated ‘Banacongo’ collaboration between Papa Noel from Congo and Papi Oviedo from Cuba.

Tumi Music has built up a solid reputation based on pro-active artist promotion, a large touring network, exciting recordings, quality packaging and a long term commitment to A&R, regardless of trends or the latest musical fads. Every Tumi Music album is a quality recording, produced by artists expert in their fields and mastered in the highest quality sound studios. Furthermore every production is a carefully thought-out project in itself: expertly designed and beautifully packaged.

Latin Music downloads objective is to present you with not only all the Music we have been recording during the last 30 years but the very best of the popular sounds around today such as Son, Salsa. Bossa, Samba, Forro,Merengue,Andean and Cumbia but also to build up an eclectic selection of excellent artists in as diverse fields. and authenticity to the extent that some of our earlier Peruvian music was recorded using instruments used in the grave yard of cultures such as Chancay, Inca, Mochica and Chimu, some which could have been made from human bones and skulls.

Our aim is to build one of the strongest links among different cultures all over Latin America and build a platform where all independent musicians and music lovers come together and share and enjoy the Music.

Mo Fini (Founder and director January 2012)

Santiago de Cuba: Cradle Of Cuban Soneros

Benny More was the most important Sonero of 50's and early 60's

Benny More was the most important Sonero of 50′s and early 60′s

Santiago de Cuba: Cradle  Of  Cuban Son

It would be no exaggeration to say that Son is not only “the most sublime pastime for the soul” as

Fabre is one of the greatest Sonero of today in Cuba

Candido Fabre, the best Sonero in Cuba if not in the world!

claimed by the indispensable Ignacio Piñeiro, but also the musical face of Cuba before the world; the definitive consecration of its national music.

Regarding its origins, it is often said that señora Teodora Ginés came from Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic to Santiago de Cuba, at the end of the 16th century.  Popular legends credit her with playing a mandolin down the streets of this eastern city accompanied by her sister, bringing joy to the lives of its citizens.

But the fact is that there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate even the existence of señora Ginés and the legendary Son de la Ma’ Teodora.

Tiburon Morales , the greatest sonero of Santiago de Cuba

Tiburon Morales , the greatest sonero of Santiago de Cuba

Now, without doubt, the town has gradually become something of a guitar-capital. However, all this atmosphere is due to a rather indispensable history.

Ever since French landowners first brought their wealth and servants to the hills and streets of Santiago no place has been left bereft of music. It didn’t take long before singers, guitars in hand, started to appear, always in the poorest neighbourhoods. These were mainly “Guitarreos ” (strummers) who used instruments made by a black carpenter named Rebollar.

Researchers confirm that in the middle of the 19th century, there was a proliferation of troubadours in the neighbourhoods of the outskirts of Santiago, and it was they who created the conditions for traditional bolero to emerge.

However, it wasn’t until the closing years of the century that, in Santiago, “La Trova Cubana”  (The Cuban Ballad) would evolve into its distinctive style, with Pepe Sanchez as the head of an historic generation of exponents.

But, just as important as the impact Franco-Haitian culture had on the eastern part of Cuba from 1791 onwards (as a result of the Haitian revolution), has been the prevailing influence of black Africans. They brought to the island a strong rhythmic component which spontaneously communed with European melodic richness giving rise to the most syncretic musical result of the Cuban national identity –the Son.

Many state that this richness – the fruit of ethnic interaction – facilitated Cuenca del Rio Cauto (a rural zone in the east) to give voice to the first manifestations of the Son style. We shouldn’t also forget the contributions from the hills of Baracoa, where the rustic tres became king and, later in the skilled hands of Nene Manfugas, came down to Santiago to gain acclaim.

Baloy is the great Sonero of Afro-Cuban all Stars

Felix Baloy, the great Sonero

In Santiago the Son co-habited with the Trova and became its brother, which in time produced marvels as interesting as bolero-son. It was the same Miguel Matamoros who aired them and, with his anthological Trio, presented this combination to the whole world.

But a little earlier, in the first ten years of the 20th century, the soldiers of the Permanent Army took the son to Havana where it was urbanized by the Havana Sextet. Later would come a long list: Maria Teresa Vega, Ignacio Piñeiro, Arsenio Rodríguez, La Sonora Matanacera, Conjunto Casino, Benny More… until more recently Elio Reve, Juan Formell y Adalberto Alvarez.

Since Benny More perhaps Cuba has not seen another sonero like Benny More , but the most important of all soneros commonly believed to be Candido Fabre,Tiburon Morales and Felix Baloy and ironically all come from Santiago de Cuba!

Susana Baca Ambassador of Peruvian Afro-Rumba Culture

Afro- Peruvian singer Susana Baca

Susana Baca on the Jazz stage during his 2008 Glastonbury Festival, UK

In July 2011, she was named Peru’s Minister of Culture in the Ollanta Humala government becoming the second Afro-Peruvian cabinet minister in the history of independent Peru.

In November 2011 she was elected for the OAS (Organization of American States) to be the President of the Commission of Culture for the period 2011 – 2013.

Our congratulation goes to Susan for her appointment as minister of culture, a long over due post for Peruvian cultural heritage. I do hope she pays attention to the indigenous people with their ever vanishing music, culture and their language. Only yesterday I had a call from one of my god children “Carlos LLamoca” in Cusco saying “padrino”, which is me “could you email Susana before she comes to Cusco next week and ask her to address our problems and try to promote our handicrafts particularly our Inca design jewellery and wear. I did email Susana and I hope she will respond to my friend’s request and other artisans which are similar to Carlos.

Susana Baca became popular and better known after Tumi Music secured a Grammy with our release of her album Lamento Negro (tumi CD 104-2001). Following her Grammy achievement Susana returned to Lima airport with the previous president putting red carpet upon her arrival. She went on to sell thousands of CD through National papers in Lima and most probably made her first fortune. Ironically she never thanked Tumi Music for all that but that is another story..
and when I met up with her in her dressing room in South Bank she apologised for her rather odd reaction towards her |Grammy.
Now read more about Susan’s life here and if you have not heard “Lamento Negro” then you can listen to it by going to

Ironically she recorded this CD in Havana Cuba early 1990s when she sympathized with Cuban Regime and communism.

“Born in Chorrillos, a black coastal barrio of Lima, Baca grew up surrounded by Afro-Peruvian music in its various forms, including the percussion-driven festejo; the melancholy, more melodic landó; and the “mother of them all,” as Baca tells me, the golpe tierra. At that time Afro-Peruvian music, with its history in slave culture, went unrecorded and neglected by mainstream culture. “Before, the record companies wouldn’t pay attention [to us], at least in my case they wouldn’t play us on the radio, much less on television.”

As a student, Baca became interested in researching the roots of her musical heritage, using her work as source material for her career as a professional singer. Eventually, she won grants from Peru’s Institute of Modern Art and the National Institute of Peruvian Culture. More recently, she and her husband, Richard Pereira, founded the Center for Black Continuum, dedicated to promoting black music and dance.
“I’ve gone all over Peru,” she explains, “recording in rural areas, gathering material from old singers, composers.” On her debut album, several of the songs, generally the more African-sounding, percussive numbers, have centuries-old roots, including “Énciéndete Canela,” “Zamba Malató,” and the aforementioned “Molino Molero,” which is based on a scrap of music originally discovered by an American ethnomusicologist.

“He didn’t even record it,” she recalls. “It was just a transcription. An elderly man sang it; he remembered hearing it sung by a woman who had been a slave. He just remembered this small piece, and from that we built the entire song.” Baca smiles, and she sings a bit of it. “You note the cultural mix (mestizaje) in the song,” she points out. “It has some Andean chords in it.” Such musical archaelogy can also be painful, though, bringing fresh realization at how much has been lost, at how few of the old musicians are still alive. Sometimes, too, the ones who are still living prefer not to be reminded of the past, and refuse to be interviewed. “We’ve lost so much of these roots, because the old don’t want to remember; they’d prefer to forget. ‘No,’ they say, ‘that was from slave times.’ ”

Despite her emphasis on roots, Baca wants to make clear that she is not producing the equivalent of a folk music museum. She rescues, but she also reinterprets and contemporizes. “There are traditional things that we do, but our interpretation is different. There are more risks in what we do.” Her album includes a number of contemporary compositions, and one can identify elements of jazz and even rap.

She has also worked with a number of contemporary poets on lyrics, of which she is justifiably proud. One example is “Heces,” a spare guitar-and-vocals track on her album whose words are from a poem by celebrated Peruvian poet Cesar Vallejo. “It’s about a man who is from the Andes,” says Baca, “where there is always sun. He comes to Lima to live, where there is a permanent mist over the city.” Vallejo’s first lines are ones that this Seattle resident highly appreciates: “This afternoon it’s raining like never before/And I no longer feel like living, my love.”

Live, Baca gives a performance that is as much visual as aural. Her voice, actually, is a bit disappointing, as rich and expressive as you’d expect from her recordings, but less powerful live. But the sum total is still stunning. She dances, usually barefoot, as well as sings, gliding across the stage with utter self-confidence. She is backed by David Pinto on bass, Rafael Muñoz on guitar, Juan “Cotito” Medrano on the all-important cajón, and a small, fast-moving man named Hugo Bravo who does time on all the other traditional percussion instruments needed to crank out the peculiarly intriguing rhythm of Afro-Peruvian music, kin to the Afro-Cuban son’s three beats against two, but usually played in 6/8 or 12/8 time.”

Visit to “Globo”, The Brazilian television network

United Kingdom Trade mission in Rio, Brazil

Some 50 UKTI delegates in creative sector visited the South Americanb biggest studios “Globo”, in Rio de janeiro, Brasil

Mo Fini of Tumi Music joined some 50 UK trade delegates to San Pablo and Rio de Janeiro,  Brazil organized by  the  “United Kingdom Trade Investment” known as UKTI.

During the week we participated in several seminars and meetings  with some of the key Industry figures both in San Pablo and Rio.

On Thursday 27th. September a visit to the studios of the media empire “Globo” was organized.

Rede Globo  or simply Globo, is a Brazilian television network, launched by media mogul Roberto Marinho on April 26, 1965. It is owned by media conglomerate Organizações Globo, being by far

One of the main street of the strudio of

One of the main street of the strudio of “Globo”

the largest of its holdings. Globo is the second-largest commercial TV network in annual revenue worldwide behind just of American Broadcasting Company and one of the largest producer of telenovelas.

It was fascinating to learn that each Brazilian watches on average five and half hour TV every single day and the amazing studios makes equivalent of three feature films of telenovela or soap opera every single day. One wonders what is left in a day for other daily issues!

The network’s main production studios are located at a complex dubbed Projac , located in

The UK Trade Delegates wondering around one of the main avenues in

The UK Trade Delegates wondering around one of the main avenues in “Globo”

Jacarepaguá, Barra da Tijuca. It is composed of 122 owned and affiliate television stations throughout Brazil plus its own international networks.