Super Uba, a skilled vocalist from Santiago in the Dominican Republic, performs music that represents the island’s diverse musical culture. The band combines modern bachata guitar styles with classic son, bolero and merengue rhythms.
Ubaldo Cabrera was born to a farming family in the rural town of Guateque de la Isabela, near Puerto Plata. At age 19 he was drawn by his love for music to the city of Santiago, where he lived with an uncle who taught him to sing and play the guitar. Santiago is the heart of the Cibao, the northern region of the Dominican Republic which is the cradle of merengue. When Uba talks about the city as it was in the 1970s, he describes a culture where music thrived. “At that time, someone could go to an open air bar, or to a night club, and start playing, and if he was good, crowds would gather to listen to him.”
Uba supported himself playing all of the different styles of music which he sings on his CD; as a bass player with various groups playing bachata and merengue, and as a singer in a trio which played traditional bolero and son. Finally he arrived to New York in 1995, touring with bachata legend Leonardo Paniagua. He makes his home now in Brooklyn, New York.
Uba comes from a culture where the folkloric legacy is still cherished and he gives a unique flavor to his country’s music. He has a distinctly Afro-Caribbean vocal and compositional style. His original merengues, Tierra Lejana and Doña Inez, are excellent examples of this living tradition.
Uba’s singing is complemented by the virtuoso guitar playing of his longtime friend, Edilio Paredes. Edilio is a remarkable natural talent.
Tierra Lejana (Iaso Records, 2001)
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.