Que Buena Rumba...

Desde Cuba
¡La Rumba está buena!


01. Saludo de Matanzas - Afrocuba de Matanzas
02. Tambor (Batarrumba) - Afrocuba de Matanzas
03. Caridad (Batarrumba) - Afrocuba de Matanzas
04. Tasajero - Afrocuba de Matanzas
05. Roncona (Columbia) - Columbia de Puerto
06. Recuerdo a Malanga (Columbia) - Columbia de Puerto
07. Oyelos de Nuevo - Los Muñequitos de Matanzas
08. Lo Que Dice el Abakua, Lo - Los Muñequitos de Matanzas
09. Alma Libre (Guaguanco) - Los Muñequitos de Matanzas
10. Una Mamita, A - Cutumba/Carlos Embales
11. Columbia/Batarrumba - Cutumba



This is a fantastic and exciting collection of authentic rumbas presented in clear fidelity. The recording offers plenty of space around each instrument allowing you to hear each player's individual part in detail (if you listen intently, you can even hear the skin on the palm of the player's hand against the skin of the tumba on the bass strokes). This is good, because the music is so complex, that it has revealed new patterns and juxtapositions even after seven years of listening. I have acquired other cuban rumba discs, but this remains the reference.
~ Arise Therefore
Real Rumba is a collection of four different Cuban Rumba groups: Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, Afrocuba de Matanzas, Columbia de Puerto Cardenas and Cutumba with Carlos Embale. The word "real" in the title refers to the fact that Son music has been mistakenly called Rumba (or Rhumba), outside of Cuba since the 1920's. This recording is truly the real Rumba.

There are three main styles of Rumba: Yambu, Guaguancó and Columbia. Yambu is a slow rhythm and partner dance. It has close ties to the Cuban-Congolese fertility dance Yuka. The Yambu surfaced with the end of slavery in the 1880's. At that time, the authorities who were of Spanish descent, looked down upon their citizens of African descent. Because of this, dances/rhythms with strong African roots were often suppressed by the authorities. So it was with Yambu. The pelvic thrust from the Yuka dance was not allowed by the authorities. African type drums were not encouraged and in fact, were often confiscated by the government. Yambu was not originally played on drums, but on packing crates. This style of playing Yambu on boxes (called cajones), has been preserved up to the present by many of today's Rumba ensembles. The group Yoruba Andabo plays cajones exclusively. Guaguancó is a partner dance like Yambu, only faster. Conga drums (called tumbadores in Cuba), are used in Guaguancó instead of the cajones. The contemporary style of Guaguancó we hear today was developed in the 1950s. Rumba Columbia is a solo dance done usually only by men. Columbia has close cultural and musical ties to the Abacua, a male secret society originating from the Cameroons, West Africa.

Real Rumba features all three styles of Rumba. In addition, we are treated to three Batá-Rumbas, two by Afrocuba and one by Cutumba. As far as I know, Grupo Afrocuba was the first group to fuse the Rumba and its three congas with three Batá drums. Batá-Rumba is a dense hybrid rhythm, but it's not really done justice here because of the rather flat fidelity of the recording. To date, the most audibly clear Batá-Rumba can be found on the CD Totico y sus Rumberos.

Cutumba comes from Santiago, on the eastern end of the island. Joining Cutumba is Cuba's most famous Rumba singer, Carlos Embale. This CD also has three typically remarkable performances by Los Muñequitos de Matanzas. Columbia de Puerto Cardenas are dock workers from the port of Cardenas. To the best of my knowledge, they perform only Rumba Columbia. They are a one-beat band. One of their trademarks is having the 4/4 cascara stick pattern played simultaneously with the typical 6/8 bell pattern. This creates a rhythmic tension and an excitement that is palatable.

The performances are excellent on Real Rumba. The sound quality of this recording is its greatest drawback. These seem to be the two main factors one considers when buying a new CD. Of course it would be great if the performance and sound quality were both extraordinary on every CD we buy, but often we must balance the strengths of one factor against the weakness of the other.

source & more to explore ; )


No comments: