Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Talkin' 'bout a Revolution

"For all us UK and U.S. city-types that came to make the album, it's safe to say that Cuba left more of a mark on all of us, than we left on Cuba. Though we sometimes wrestled with her, Cuba’s spirit penetrated every element of this album and influenced every stroke of creativity you will hear on this record, though we sincerely hope that we left an indelible entry in the cultural visitors book of Cuba that people remember fondly."

-from the liner notes for The Revolution

So for the remainder of this week I've got some spicy syncopated Latin goodness to lay on you in celebration of summer, because nothing screams sweaty and sexy like some laid back (or juiced up) Latin grooves. Even if you don't speak Spanish or Portuguese, there's just something about Latin music that is irresistible. Even with the language barrier, those rhythms just activate your muscles like a musical remote control, making it next to impossible for your body not to think it knows how to rumba, samba, salsa, and just plain move downright sexy.

To open up my Latin week is a really intriguing project put together by Zack Winfield and Ado Yoshizaki named simply, The Revolution. The two traveled to Cuba and held an open audition in Havana, inviting local musicians, both young and old, to come in and show their chops. They then brought six heavy hitting all-star producers, including Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim), Rich File (UNKLE), Poet Name Life (Black Eyed Peas), Guy Sigsworth (Bjork), Marius De Vries (Sugarcubes), and Cameron McVey & Jan Kybert (Massive Attack), to work with the Cuban musicians in producing a blend of Cuban artisanship (itself a blend of traditional elemants and young blood) with some western production skills and styles.

The resulting twelve tracks (two from each of the producers above) come together for an incredibly diverse, yet amazingly coherent album that will appeal to western listeners while still retaining its Cubanness. The producers do a great job of integrating their own ideas with the musicians skills without pounding flat the style that everyone brings to the table. If you haven't already, check out the video above for a great overview of the project.

And to give you an aural fix of what I'm talking about, try the two tracks below. The first, Siente Mi Ritmo, features our man Norman Cook and in rhythm, instrumentation, and flavor leans towards the more traditional end of the spectrum, but Cook sneaks his presence in with some electronic effects that would let you pull this song into a contemporary mix. The second, 14Me, goes the other way, with a more modern dancehall banger build that features Cuban hip hop act Orishas laying down some rhymes. And for those leery of the language barrier, this album is a nice way to dip your toes in, as it has some songs in English as well.

Visit the Rapster Records website and the project's official website.

1 comment:

Javejavor said...

Just LOVE the dubby approach (by Norman Cook, I suppose?) of the track on Siente mi Ritmo. I´ve almost never come across that misture of dub and cuban music. Very nice piano playing as well.