Tag Archives: son montuno

Arturo Jorge y El Cuarteto Tradición’s Rural Charm

Arturo Jorge y El Cuarteto Tradición – Finca Santa Elena (Tumi Music, 2017)

Finca Santa Elena is the international release from Cuba’s Arturo Jorge y El Cuarteto Tradición. British label Tumi Music is providing wider exposure to one of the finest performers of rural guajira music from Eastern Cuba.

Arturo Jorge Cabrales, better known as Arturo Jorge, is a talented singer-songwriter, composer and tres and guitar player from San Rafael. He founded El Cuarteto Tradición, an ensemble that brings forward the son and son montuno traditions to new generations. It’s music that brings together poetry, the Spanish guitar traditions and light Afro-Cuban percussion.

The amusing lyrics cover all kinds of topics, ranging from changing rural life and love to jealousy and unhappiness with foreign rhythms like reggaeton that are getting more attention than traditional Cuban genres.

The personnel on Finca Santa Elena includes Arturo Jorge Cabrales on vocals and tres (he uses a double-necked acoustic guitar instrument); Geovanis Oliva Aguilar on guitar and backing vocals; Gerardo Ramirez Valdé on acoustic bass; Ramón Vicente García Montero on percussion and backing vocals; and Erlis Ros Navas on percussion and backing vocals.

Buy Finca Santa Elena in Europe

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Artist Profiles: Afro Cuban All Stars

Afro-Cuban All Stars
Afro-Cuban All Stars

The Afro-Cuban All Stars were brought together by musical director Juan de Marcos González (leader of the son group Sierra Maestra and mastermind behind the Buena Vista Social Club), as a multi-generational big band to explore a broader scope than the Buena Vista projects, ambitiously paying tribute to the diversity of Cuban music, marrying the past with the present. It is a band for dancing – combining a variety of contrasting styles including classic son montuno, contemporary timba, swinging big band guajira, Afro-Cuban jazz, danzón, the pure tribal rhythms of abakua, bolero and more.

The original list of lead vocalists that have performed with the group is a virtual “who’s who” of the greatest Cuban sonerosthe octogenarian Pío Leyva (Estrellas de Areito) and the septuagenarians Raúl Planas (Rumbavana, Celia Cruz), and Manuel “Puntillita” Licea (Sonora Matancera) were joined by rising stars from a younger generation, Antonio “Maceo” Rodríguez (Sierra Maestra), Félix Valoy (Alberto Alvarez), and Teresita García Caturla (Las D’Aida).

To back these individual talents through a diverse selection of songs González brought together a very special group of musicians. On piano is one of the founding fathers of modern Cuban music, the legendary Rubén González (Arsenio Rodríguez, Enrique Jorrín, Estrellas de Areito). On acoustic bass is Cuba’s finest, Orlando “Cachaíto” López, who learned his trade as part of the extraordinary bass playing López dynasty which includes his father Orestes López and uncle Israel “Cachao” López.

The six piece horn section (three trumpets, two trombones, sax, flute) is made up from the best players of Havana’s celebrated Tropicana Orchestra. Soloists include the great Manuel “Guajiro” Mirabal on trumpet (Orchestra Riverside, Estrellas de Areito) and Afrokan (Irakere) on trombone.

In a country renowned for its percussionists, the All Stars’ six-piece section is matchless and includes the young phenomenon Julienne Oviedo on timbales, and the great Miguel “Angá”on congas.

In December of 2000, Pedro Calvo, the lead singer of Cuba’s top dance band, Los Van Van, was recruited as a vocalist for the Afro-Cuban All Stars. The line-up in 2001 also included Caridad Hierrezuelo.

Discography

A Toda Cuba le Gusta (1997)
Distinto, Diferente (1999)
Baila mi Son (2000)
Bajando Gervasio (2002)
Live in Japan (2005)
Step Forward (2005)
Absolutely Live (2009)
Absolutely Live II (2017)

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