Havana Masters Present… The Best of the Cuban Music Awards 2006 (Havana Masters FLOCD5, 2006)
In the last few years you could almost be forgiven for thinking that the only music to come out of Cuba is the undeniably legendary Buena Vista Social Club. Without a doubt, their rise to global popularity has made the music of Cuba accessible and available to the ears of the rest of the world. And happily for the rest of the world, there is more out there ~ this ‘best of’ from the Cuban Music Awards 2006 should get you rushing out on an exploratory mission or, at the very least, dancing round the house!
It’s a rich, exuberant, well-balanced and sometimes unexpected taster of nominees and winners, some of whom have just completed a European tour with a showcase gig at London’s Floridita in October.
There’s really nothing to dislike on this album; it’s an upbeat celebration right from the start with Issac Delgado’s jazzy, brassy timba ~ Cántame Como Ayer. Other tracks to note are Un Congo En Nueva York from trumpeter Carlos Sarduy who currently guests on Ojos de Brujo’s latest album, Techari. (Ojos de Brujo have just been nominated in the European section of the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards 2007).
These are equaled by the riveting fish box percussion of the rumba, Como Ruge La Candela from Clave y Guaguancó, the band founded over 50 years ago in the docks of Havana and not surprisingly winners of the Best Folklore Music award.
And of course there’s no getting away from a Cuban take on the ubiquitous hip hop which is liberally peppered throughout, including the sexy, sassy En Mi Zona from Papo Record. His album, Cabiosile, was also nominated for the Best Album Sleeve Notes; and sleeve notes are probably the only thing this ‘best of’ album is lacking.