Between Rumba and Flamenco with los Muñequitos and Camerata

(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Havana, Cubana – A review of the complete list of albums nominated for the 2003 Latin Grammy Awards shows the presence of other excellent Cuban: Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, with Rumba de Corazón,” in the category of Best Folk Album, and the Camerata Romeu, for its incursion along with Spanish guitarist Victor Monge, Serranito, in Sueños de ida y vuelta.” Los Muñequitos’s merit is double, if we take into account that the record is part of the Bis Music catalogue, a recording division of the Cuban company ARTEX, competing at a disadvantage for being based in Cuba and suffering from the limitations of an economic war. In Rumba de Corazon, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas display the experience accumulated in the preservation of rumba’s complex vitality. The folklore category does not exactly fit such a convincing exhibition of singing and percussion. Cary Diez, a Cuban musicologist that has closely followed the group’s career, stated how “dockworkers, ordinary people, have always been the members of the group, leaving a print on each song, on each conga skin, each gesture and also, fortunately, in a rich record testimony.” The album by Serranito and the Camerata Romeu, produced by Iberautor (SGAE), has received favorable reviews by different specialists. The work now competing for Best Flamenco Album was presented in Havana during the last Cubadisco Festival. Flamenco reached its highest point in the 20th century with Paco de Lucia’s piece “Entre dos aguas,” which owes a great deal to jazz. In the album joining Serranito to the Camerata, under the direction of Zenaida Romeu, this spiral is pushed to progress towards the dialogue between classical flamenco guitar, traditional flamenco singing and the strings coming from the Cuban “cult” tradition, in line from Cervantes and White to our days.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.