Saturday, July 19, 2008

Random Rarities

An otherwise unproductive Google search for "tonadas trinitarias" led me to the blog "¡Viva el colectivo!" dedicated to "the art of the collective disc," a term I was unfamiliar with but which apparently means those 1970's compilations and live festival recordings of folk singers, especially folk songs in the sense of grassroots social justice folk songs.

Lots of stuff by Silvio, Pablo, Victor, which personally is not up my alley at all.

However there were some things I found on a couple of discs which are notable.

First, "Música cubana" SR Records SRLP-1305 (1978). This is apparently "recordings from Radio Nacional and TV2 Sweden."

1. "Canto a Elegguá" by Conjunto Folklórico de Guanabacoa
A very nice bembé tratao for Elegguá and others from this group I had never heard of, but you know with a name like that they have to be good, right?
2. "Oyá, diosa de los vientos" by Conjunto Folklóricio Nacional de Cuba
Tratao with batá accompaniment, Lázaro Ros singing at first, followed by (I think) Candito Zayas (I am sure someone out there can correct me if I am wrong).
3. "Tierra de Hatuey" by Los Muñequitos de Matanzas
(Erroneously listed on the album as "Oyelos de nuevo.") Never heard this performance of this great tune which is on at least two other of their discs.
4. "Columbia" by Tonadas Trinitarias
This is the selection that led me to the blog, but as far as I can tell it's a pure columbia, the group performing it must be a group known as "Tonadas Trinitarias." There seems to be a little info about them in the liner notes, but they are in Swedish. (Anyone?) Very raw stuff, del campo, nice.

The other disc was "Encuentro de Música Latinoamericana" Casa de las Américas / EGREM-CNC LD-CA-9 (1972), which contained the gem "Guasa Columbia" by Conjunto de Guaguancó de Mario Alán.

This is most likely the same group featured in our "Old School Rumbas Revisted" post. Great performance by Miguel Ángel Mesa on this one, and a nice old style columbia on cajones. Very good recording quality too.

Anyway, I took the liberty of putting these selected tracks separately here, just in case anyone doesn't want to download the whole discs. (Clicking on the album titles above will take you directly to the original posts.)


Friday, July 18, 2008

Where it all began: "En un cuartico...."

Guaguancó Matancero
Standing (L to R): Florencio Calle "Catalino"; Gregorio Díaz "Goyito";
Esteban Vega Bacallao "Chachá"; Pablo Mesa "Papi"; Ángel Pellado "Pelladito"
Seated (L to R): Hortencio Alfonso "Virulilla"; Esteban Lantri "Saldiguera"; Juan Bosco Mesa

"Entonces en la calle Salamanca entre Matanzas y Jovellanos, allí donde comezamos nuestros ensayos, en un cuartico, que no tenía nada, ocho hombres, que no cabíamos, a veces que habian compañeros que estaban por fuera, y querían ver el ensayo, digo, "Chico, tú, no es posible, no es posible, tu no cabe aquí..."
Ever since I first heard the great Virulilla describe the origins of Los Muñequitos in that inimitable voice of his, I have wanted to see that "cuartico." (Complete interview and translation here.)

Well our friend Chuck Silverman took a trip recently to Matanzas and he sent this photo of that hallowed spot were the eight gentlemen pictured above made some of the finest music ever recorded. Thanks Chuck!

Florencio Calle's house on Calle Salamanca in Matanzas,
where Los Muñequitos de Matanzas first rehearsed
Photo Credit: Chuck Silverman, 2008