I really like where you’re headed with this, Pozole. While I cue up the next song, I have to say I can’t agree more with you, man. I have to walk behind the booth every other song to see what y’all are playing! And even in a record that I own, you guys bring to light these amazing songs that I haven’t even noticed. I hadn’t really paid too much attention to Ray Barreto’s ‘Power’, and on an album called ‘Power’! Thank you for rectifying.
That track got me all excited to post an old favorite, but I just realized that I let Smokestack borrow it. Well, it’s in very capable hands, I can’t wait to see what he’ll do with it. So let’s try something else, inspired by your last two
posts (and by the opportunity to blast “Sofrito” on La Peña’s sound system last Saturday. Someone asked me what ‘Sofrito’, and the best (only?) answer was to have her look at the record cover.)
No doubt many of you know Mongo Santamaria’s “Sofrito”, a Pelanga favorite and a classy, classy tune. A just-so-slightly melodramatic piano intro turns into one of the most memorable tumbaos in salsa, adorned by such an elegant horn section and beautiful solos waay up top. Monguito’s subtle work on the congas keeps everyone grounded and lets them shine. Restraint can be so powerful!
This is not the song I meant to post, but I can’t help it.
What you might not know is how Monguito follows this up. In the next track he brings us back down low, with a praise to Shangó that is equal parts heavy funk and pure rumba cubana. What else can I say?
O Mi Shango by Mongo Santamaría
Franz Tunda, I know you’re busy, but I also know some of what’s hiding in your crates. Wanna take it from here?
So today, December 4, is el dia de Santa Barbara. For those in Cuba who believe in her and Chango (the Orishas deity) today is a day of great celebration and gives myself a wonderful reason to present the amazing Celina González Zamora and her husband Reutilio Domínguez, better known as Celina y Reutilio. Their music represents the Cuban countryside (guajiro) and Cuban gauracha. The first thing you will likely notice about their music is her voice. It’s at the forefront of their music and with good reason. The power, pride and conviction that comes across with every syllable she sings grabs a hold of you and commands total respect. Here is one their of their biggest hits, A Santa Barbara taken from their album from the same name.
I have to insist you watch this video of Celina y Reutilio performing A Santa Barbara from a Cuban movie called Rincon Criollo from the 1950s. The sound is extremely low so I recommend playing the audio track at the same time as this video. The reason being is because of the AMAZING dancing that accompanies the music in this scene. Take note this guy is wearing a machete at his waste the entire time AND even does the Michael Jackson toe stand!
For you salsa lovers you likely recognize this song as Celia Cruz had it hit with it, but my favorite salsa version is from the legendary Fruko who did an amazing melody of Celina y Reutilio’s A Santa Barbara, San Lozaro (sometimes refereed to as Babalu) and A La Caridad Del Cobre taken from his album Ayunando. Both these albums are reprinted on CD and I can’t recommend them enough. Enjoy!
P.S. Thanks to Papicultor for lending me Fruko’s version!