Casita de Campo (Iaso Records, 2009)
Dominican musician Puerto Plata is a relatively undiscovered gem. He is finally getting well deserved international recognition after a long career. While many music fans are exposed to Dominican dance music such as merengue and modern bachata, the Caribbean island also has an acoustic folk tradition with strong connections to the country musics of Cuba and Puerto Rico. Puerto Plata, now 86, plays Dominican son as well as boleros, merengues, rancheras, guarachas and traditional bachata.
On Casita de Campo, his latest release, Puerto Plata demonstrates that he is a fascinating storyteller and improviser, delivering new interpretations (sometimes improvising new verses) of classic love songs and dance numbers. His unique sound includes elements of the Dominican Republic’s musical melting pot: the Afro-Dominican beats provided by tambora, guira and bongo; and the the poetic and guitar traditions of Spain. The majority of the songs were composed in the period of 1930-1960. Also featured in the album is the popular Cuban classic ‘Guantanamera,’ where the original lyrics have been replaced with new verses that make fun of perceptions of race and identity.
Casita de Campo was recorded live in New York by producer Benjamin de Menil and features the arrangements of renowned Dominican guitarist Edilio Paredes and younger maestro guitarist Pablo Rosario. The rest of the band includes Joan Soriano on second guitar, Edilio’s son Samuel Paredes on bass, and percussionists Raúl Bier, Gabriel Machado, Roberto Santos and Johan Maria.
Casita de Campo introduces extraordinary new arrangements of classic Dominican son and Cuban songs performed by one of the living legends of traditional Dominican music.
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