Mala: Mala in Cuba (Brownswood/Southbound)

Mala: Revolution
Mala: Mala in Cuba (Brownswood/Southbound)

When UK DJ and Cuban music aficionado Gilles Peterson went back to Havana in May last year to record local musicians (who have appeared on his excellent on-going Havana Cultura series), he took with him South London dubstep pioneer and producer Mala (aka Mark Lawrence of Digital Mystikz) who set himself up in another room beside Peterson's studio and recorded various passing-traffic musicians.

Taking the recordings home, Mala reprocessed them and -- while keeping the integrity of music by such wonderful artists as pianist Roberto Fonseca, singers/world music hotties Sexto Sentido and trip-hop vocalist Danay Suarez -- pulled out this album which bridges contemporary Havana, dub-conscious Jamaica and urban London clubland.

It's a heady if sometimes highly restrained tonic of retro-Seventies keyboards, classy but constrained electro-beats and everywhere a very subtle insinuation of Cuban sounds . . . but fractured through a prism if your knowledge begins and ends with Buena Vista and its offshoots.

It isn't world music as some might know or prefer it, but the world expands and contracts with technology, access and cheap airfares.

This is the Cuban shakedown of the 21st century, inna dubbed-up electronica style.

Maybe a bit safe in places for some, but a different view of Havana for sure. And one which just grabs and holds on.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Caroline Herring, Lantana (Signature)

Caroline Herring, Lantana (Signature)

To my embarrassment I admit to never having heard of this alt.country singer-songwriter, now onto (I think) her third album. Apparently she won the best new artist award at Austin's South X... > Read more

Amy Winehouse: Frank Deluxe (Island)

Her life might the equivalent of a pub brawl (indeed sometimes it is, literally), but then again some seminal singers didn't always live a quiet life in the suburbs. What Winehouse's court... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Pete's Danish rum souffle

Pete's Danish rum souffle

Pete notes that while this is neither Danish nor a souffle it does contain rum. It's an old family favourite apparently. "The parentals picked it up when blowing through some roadside diner... > Read more

San Francisco and Seattle: are you talkin' to me?

San Francisco and Seattle: are you talkin' to me?

It was at a mayoral dinner function in Seoul recently and I had got dressed up. For the previous few days my young interpreter had seen me in jeans and an open-neck shirt -- so I guess it was her... > Read more