Ay! Que Rico (PiPiKi
Records , 2004)
On the forefront of the Cuban roots music scene which has
emerged in New York since early 2000 is José Conde. A prolific and inventive
singer, songwriter and composer, Conde’s debut CD with his band Ola Fresca,
titled Ay! Que Rico, is garnering the group much well deserved attention
and respect. It is self produced and released in June 2004 on his own PiPiKi
Records label. Recorded at LoHo studio in New York City and mixed by multiple Grammy® winner
Jon Fausty , Conde utilized varying configurations of Ola Fresca and special
guests (ranging from a quartet to an 11-piece orchestra). The compositions are
arranged around the vocal phrasing, with lyrics that are as essential to the
music as the ubiquitous clave rhythms. This calibrated use of language and
technique imparts onto the work a wide array of moods and textures in the space
of the recording, while weaving aspects of storytelling on to the traditional
call and response verses.
The album reflects Conde’s broad musical vocabulary and eclectic aesthetics.
Ay! Que Rico is a tour de force and homage to his dual musical legacies Cuba
and the US. While 11 songs include familiar son, mambo and cha cha cha rhythms
as well as the island’s lesser-known Changüí, there are also 2 new rhythms and a
additional bonus track featuring a remix of Conde’s Perez Prado-esque mambo
“Bolitas de Arroz con Pollo” by DJ Spam of the Spam Allstars.
The music is a very “after the work is done…it’s time to ease into a good
tasty-time kind of mood,” explains José Conde about the album. “This
popular saying, Ay! Que Rico is a celebration, an affirmation of
life—conveniently expressed in four rhythmically even syllables which most
closely translate in English to ‘Ooh! It’s so Good!’”
While he articulates new dimensions in Cuban music, the artist balances an
intellectual exercise with the spiritual purpose of music—recognizing that the
ultimate objective of the work is to connect with his audience and to create an
atmosphere for all to enjoy.
While awaiting worldwide distribution, Ay! Que Rico is available at
www.Joseconde.com, and in stores in the
Eastern United States.