Various Artists: Gilles Peterson Presents Havana Cultura (Brownswood/Soutbound)

 |   |  1 min read

Havana Cultura Band: Arroz Con Pollo
Various Artists: Gilles Peterson Presents Havana Cultura (Brownswood/Soutbound)

The global success of Buena Vista Social Club a decade ago meant some presumed the group represented the sound of Cuba -- and that shut out any notion there might be vibrant young players (or even hip-hop) in that land of cigars, old cars and benign, soft-focus images. 

Here itinerant UK DJ Peterson helps correct that misconception and presents a double disc of contemporary music by Havana’s younger musicians: one of which he made happen in a local studio; the other of his favourite Cuban artists.

The first disc with the Havana Cultura Band (and guests) is a blistering mix of fiery jazz from co-producer/pianist Roberto Fonseca which references post-bop Latin jazz (Pa‘Gozar), urgent Afrobeat (their six minute treatment of Fela Kuti’s Roforofo Fight, Kenny Dorham’s Afrodisia) and ear-bending melodies.

For fans of the more gentle BVSC this will be a leap into hyper-space.

The second disc is a more mixed bag of 16 tracks which slew from impenetrable rap (with the occasional “wa’s up”), mad salsa, slinky jazz (Caravan getting a deconstruction), some dramatic clubland trip-hop (by the impressive Danay) and some slippery ballads.

Peterson may seem a cultural tourist (black funk and Brazil previously, Cuba now) but he brings keen ears and integrity, and the first daring disc here -- where he does “a Ry Cooder” -- impresses mightily.


Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Salif Keita: Tale (Carte!l)

Salif Keita: Tale (Carte!l)

The great Salif Keita  has explored just about every kind of musical association but this one seems an interesting, if not always succesful, swerve. Producer Philippe Cohen Solal of Gotan... > Read more

WOMAD ARTIST 2015: Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino

WOMAD ARTIST 2015: Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino

Mauro Durante of the southern Italian band of the Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino laughs about the problem the group has, but also how they rise above it. “Many of our songs are written... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Central Australian Outback: And miles to go before I sleep

Central Australian Outback: And miles to go before I sleep

Somewhere about 300km southwest of Alice Springs on a largely featureless strip of the Lasseter Highway I slow down for the laughably named Mount Ebenezer. It is little more than another... > Read more

Thailand and Vietnam: Things have changed

Thailand and Vietnam: Things have changed

Good news came by e-mail: Raymond is in touch again. The last time I saw him was a year ago when he was managing a luxury hotel in Thailand's Golden Triangle. He was a young and handsome Swiss guy... > Read more