Sonando Ya (Word Village, 2010)
The new album by seminal Cuban band Sierra Maestra, Sonando Ya, leaves the old Cuban songbook and focuses exclusively on new material. Sonando Ya presents a dazzling collection of new songs and vocalists, showing us that the future of Cuban roots music is guaranteed.
Sierra Maestra still includes five original members. One the band’s abilities is to find new blood that continually revitalizes the band. And Sierra Maestra also seeks young brilliant writers who compose new songs in the traditional Cuban son style, incorporating new musical elements and lyrics about love, Yoruba culture, jealousy and humor. The new writers include Erden Hernández, who has a Nueva Trova background; Angel Bonne, son of famous composer Enrique Bonne, who is an arranger and composer, formerly with the group Los Van Van; Omar Boza, the current director of the Septeto Cubanacan, a regional group in the centre of Cuba; and younger writers with a very promising future, all of whom capture the essence odf daily Cuban life.
The repertory on Sonando Ya includes renovated interpretations of traditional Cuban son, son montuno, guaracha, guaracha son, conga, changui and what the band calls fusion, with excellent vocals and masterful instrumental work on the tres, trumpet and percussion.
The current line-up of Sierra Maestra includes five of the original musicians: Carlos Puisseaux (güiro), Alberto ‘Virgilio’ Valdés (vocals, maracas), Luis Barzaga (vocals, claves), Eduardo Himely (bass) and Alex (Alejandro) Suárez (claves, cowbell); as well as new musicians: Jesús Bello (vocals, guitar), Yelfris Valdés (trumpet), Emilio Ramos (tres), and Eduardo Rico (congas, bongos, cowbell).
Sonando Ya is a remarkable return for one of Cuba’s finest bands.
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