Format: Compact Disc
Released Date: February 21, 2005
Number of Discs: 0
Label Name: Connector
This is an enhanced audio CD which contains regular audio tracks and multimedia computer files.
Soneros De Verdad: Pio Leyva, Manuel "Puntillita" Licea, Luis Frank, Rudy Calzado (vocals); Manuel De La Cruz (guitar); Manuel Hernandez (tres); Daniel De Jesus Ramos Alayo (trumpet); Guillermo "Rubalcaba" Gonzales (piano); Ricardo Quevedo (bass); Ricardo Martinez (bongos, congas, percussion).
Additional personnel includes: Anja Korthals (vocals); Jose Armedio Castaneda (tres); Policarpo "Polo" Tamayo (flute); Ricardo Munoz (bass); Patricio Matienzo, Yulien Oviedo Sanchez (percussion).
Recorded at Estudio Abdala, Havana, Cuba. Includes liner notes by Juan Carlos Alonso.
This album might have been made to jump on the Buena Vista Social Club bandwagon, but it's one of those rare imitations that takes on a life of its own. Singer Luis Frank, the mastermind behind it, is a young vocalist with a big voice and a love of the older music. And though, for the most part, these aren't old songs, but new ones dressed up in their father's clothing, they're beautifully presented and played, a trip through the culture of son, guajira, bolero, and trova. In addition to Frank, who takes lead on most of the songs, the spotlight falls on veteran singer Pio Leyva and tres virtuoso Juan de Marcos. But others do get their moment in the Cuban son -- pianist Guillermo "Rubalcaba" Gonzalez unleashes a solo of truly stunning inventive genius on "Oguere," for example. And it's music that can work well without the backing of a full band, too; "Longina" is a gorgeous duet between Frank and de Marcos that works as much because of the interplay between voices as the playing. Ultimately, however, it's about the songs, and, whether new or old, they work. The vast majority of listeners won't know the difference between something written yesterday and a classic, and, really, it doesn't matter. The presentation and feel seem real, and the musicians invest everything with an authenticity that shows a love of and familiarity with the older styles and arrangements, like the muted trumpet of Daniel Alayoand the weathered, cracked vocal of Rudy Calzado on his bolero "La Mas Bella Cancion." And ending it all with more bravura playing from Gonzales is a master stroke, allowing his individuality another chance to shine, and shows him to be a true giant of the keyboard. But it's typical of an album that breaks all the rules of exploitation to become a work of art in its own right. ~ Chris Nickson