Havana, Cuba – The Cuban record company EGREM is finishing up the production of a new greatest hits CD ‘Fiesta de tambores’ by Federico Arístides Soto, better known as Tata Güines – a legend of Cuban percussion. Regarded as the "King of the Congas", Tata Güines died on February 4th, 2008, at the age of 77.
´Fiesta de tambores’ is well designed and has some excellent liner notes from renowned Cuban musicologist María Elena Mendiola, who wrote in detail about Tata Güines’ six-decade-long musical career and his virtuosity, which was universally acknowledged.
The CD is made up of 25 pieces, among them: ‘Descarga cubana’, ‘Scherezada Chachachá’, ‘Sasauma’, ‘Perico no llores más’, ‘Mami, dame mantecao’, ‘Guaguancó a todos los barrios’, ‘Tata se ha vuelto loco’, ‘Dale tres golpes a la tumba’, ‘Pa gozar’, ‘Especial del Bebo’, ‘La mulata rumbera’, ‘Estudio de trompeta’, ‘Fiesta de tambores’ (da titulo al disco), ‘Gandinga, mondongo y sandunga’, ‘Palermo Club’ and ‘Manteca’.
Tata Güines had a very peculiar and unique way of playing — using his fingernails — which made him almost impossible to imitate. Throughout his long artistic career, he fully demonstrated his great mastery, playing with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, among other groups.
An innovative, talented percussionist on the tumbadora, or conga drum, as well as a composer, he was instrumental in the development of Afro-Cuban jazz and introduced new tones and rhythms, influencing percussionists and jazz musicians from around the world.
With his characteristic white beret and colorful shirts, this humble, working Black man is considered the “King of the Congas" – a well-deserved title for a man who rose from his native town of Güines, located east of Havana, to take his seat on the throne of the Gods of Music.
Translation: Lena B. Valverde (Cubarte)