Cuba le canta a Serrat (Discmedi-Blau, 2005)
An independent label from Spain has put together one of the most fascinating
Cuban albums in recent months. Using the songs of Joan Manuel Serrat, one of the
most respected singer-songwriters in Spain, as a theme, Discmedi-Blau recorded
most of the leading Cuban musicians. Many genres are represented by Cuba’s
finest: son, timba, guajira, nueva trova, etc.Maestro Frank Fernández talks about Serrat saying he’s one of the greatest
composers of the last decades and his songs can be perfectly translated into
Cuban musical language because Joan Manuel’s compositions have always had a
The emotion and excitement of all the artists involved in this album can be felt
in the words of
Valdés who, after finishing the recording of his
rendition of “Paraules d’amor,” said, touching softly his breast to emphasize
his words, “I played it from the heart“.
Portuondo too was deeply impressed with the song “Por dignidad,” which
Serrat himself adapted especially for her, and with her natural elegance she
explained “I sing it… and it makes me cry“.
Silvio Rodriguez spent some days thinking about which song he would pick, before
finally choosing “Menos tu vientre,” which suited the warm and subtle simplicity
of his characteristic style.
Ibrahim Ferrer knew nothing about Serrat, he was was a fan of F.C.
Barcelona (Barcelona Football [soccer] Club) and was wearing a Barcelona t-shirt
when he walked into the studio. In the meantime, Pío Leyva was playing jokes and
doing puns with the “collagen” named in the original song and the traditional
Cuban word “memba”.
Everybody wanted to do their best and so all the artists did their own
renditions surrounded by their regular collaborators, musicians, arrangers and
artistic directors. There are such spectacular performances as the one by
Milanés, for example, who plays accompanied by the National Symphonic Orchestra
Salvador Repilado, son of
Segundo, and current director of the Grupo
Compay Segundo, made immediately room on his busy agenda to record “Como un
Aceituna Sin Hueso have included for a long time “Para la libertad” on their
regular repertoire and nearly couldn’t believe they were going to be part of
this tribute album.