Havana Rocks (Compass Records, 2014)
Peruvian vocalist Cecilia Noël traveled to Havana (Cuba), where she recorded an album of 1980s pop and rock hits rearranged as Cuban salsa and timba. English is the primary language although choruses are sung in Spanish. The irresistible dance music has an unmistakable Cuban flavor, while Cecilia Noël injects soul and jazz elements in her vocal style, creating an explosive mix.
Havana Rocks features covers of Devo’s “Whip It,” Gary Numan’s “Cars” and ACDC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long,” together with hits from Men At Work, Thin Lizzy, David Bowie, and Van Halen.
Born in Lima, Perú, Noël’s career began at the age of eight with a starring role in a Peruvian television show called “El Tío Johnny.” As a teenager, Noël’s mother Menina Pereira sent Cecilia to Argentina and Germany to take voice, violin, and piano lessons. Back in Peru, Cecilia sang and studied under the guidance of Italian bandleader Carlo Berscia. She was discovered by celebrated jazz musician Stan Getz in Peru. Noël moved to New York City and started her career in the United States by performing as a lead dancer with Jo Jo’s Dance Factory and later, with Puerto Rican boy band Menudo.
In 1989 Noël moved to Los Angeles where she formed Cecilia Noël and The Wild Clams, a group with a sound described as a mix of James Brown and Pérez Prado. In 2009 she released the salsoul album A Gozár! (Compass Records). Besides her work with The Wild Clams and her own solo work, Noël regularly performs and records with her husband, and former Men At Work vocalist, Colin Hay.
Havana Rocks turns 1980s English-language hits into tantalizing Afro-Cuban songs.
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Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. 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.