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

LILA DOWNS INTERVIEWED 2007: Singing the politics and heritage of Mexico

LILA DOWNS INTERVIEWED 2007: Singing the politics and heritage of Mexico

Lila Downs admits she is surprised her music has become internationally successful. After all, much of what she sings is in Spanish, it speaks of the pride and plight of the Mexican and Indian... > Read more

ANOUSHKA SHANKAR INTERVIEWED (2008): Never in the shadow

ANOUSHKA SHANKAR INTERVIEWED (2008): Never in the shadow

As two Lennons and any number of Marleys might tell you, it isn’t easy carrying the name of a famous musician father, especially if you want a career in the business yourself. Certainly... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

James' "no worries" Curried Alaskan King Crab

James' "no worries" Curried Alaskan King Crab

My friend James has appeared at Recipes from Elsewhere with two excellent dishes, his authentically Thai chicken and his chilli lime Thai fish with coriander. But this one is especially special.... > Read more

Krist Novoselic: Fast track to nowhere

Krist Novoselic: Fast track to nowhere

Some people just aren't that smart. At least that's what I thought about Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic when he tossed his bass high in the air at an MTV awards show and failed to catch it on its... > Read more