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Luis Frank, Orquesta Termidor Rumba Macry


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Rumba is, together with son, traditional lyrics and country folk music, one of the great musical complexes which make up the basis of that huge pot of chilli stew (ajiaco - a faithful reflection of all our national culture) which Cuban popular [...]

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Luis Frank, Orquesta Termidor Rumba Macry


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Rumba is, together with son, traditional lyrics and country folk music, one of the great musical complexes which make up the basis of that huge
pot of chilli stew (ajiaco - a faithful reflection of all our national culture) which Cuban popular music is.
During the time of colonisation in the sixteenth century, the Spanish conquistadores brought their music, customs and culture, which gradually blended with the musical and cultural manifestations
brought to the island through the forced migration of slaves imported from Africa to work on the new sugar plantations, and the very few cultural and religious expressions of the original population
of the island which had survived, generally in hiding.

Later even more ingredients were added to that great mixture: the music, rituals and customs of the French immigrant planters fleeing from the Haitian revolution, who settled in the mountains
in the east of Cuba, where they set up coffee farming, and the black Haitians, who had also fled, but from colonial repression, bringing their own culture to the same region of Cuba.

All this racial, cultural and social mixture gave birth to the Creole character and gradually to the rise of Cuban national identity.
Rumba as a musical phenomenon developed from a mixture of ancestral rhythms from Africa, from the black people who had been violently uprooted, and the Iberian songs which the Spanish colonists had brought.

“Together with danzón there were the equally fitting original dances from the Havanan districts of Manglar and Pilar and from Carraguao rising to the causeway of Jesus on the Mount and establishing themselves in the palatial plantations on the one hand; on the other hand, they also crossed the road which joined Guanabacoa and Regla. The area around the bay of Havana became too small and the family homes within the city were converted  into outbuildings. That was the birth of Havanan rumba” (*) (quoted from the journalist Emir García Valle).

Reflecting the surroundings and the social conditions which arose, rumba is, to use the words of the great  Cuban composer José María Vitier, “one of the most dramatic expressions of Cuban Music”.

This CD recaptures the very personal rumba style of Luis Frank Arias, “El Macry”, who never fails to surprise with his proverbial versatility.

Adjacent to los Solares de Cayo Hueso, in the centre of Havana, day by day he feeds on rumba; this district is one of the treasures of this kind in Cuba.

This disc is also a tribute to two great figures of rumba and masters of the Cuban tumbadora (Conga drums), famous in Cuba and worldwide: Arístides Soto “Tata güines” and Miguel “Angá”, who, sadly, both died recently. The track “Requiem for Tata and Angá” is especially dedicated to their memory.

On this CD, and from our own view, we have journeyed through the different styles which have gone to make up the complex of rumba: Yambú and Columbia in “De Chama”, Macuta in “Hace Falta”, Guaguancó  in various tracks, Conga in “Deja que te Toque Llorar” and we made a very respectful approach to Abakuá ritual music with a track which demonstrates its rhythms and antiphonal (alternating) melodies.

We also wanted to express the greatness and honesty of this genre for fusing with other expressions and musical sounds such as jazz, rock or international songwriting (“Footlights” by Charlie Chaplin), right up to baroque sonority in “Requiem for Tata and Angá” with its use of the organ, the harpsichord and a polyphonic choir singing a Kyrie Eleison on the introduction to the track.

It only remains to thank Detlef, Patricia and Jose of  Termidor for their trust and support; all the musicians of the Banda Termidor in Cuba who (as always) put so much love into this project; the great Alina Orraca and her Schola Cantorum Coralina for showing what a great choir can do; Luis Frank for fighting for Música Cubana with his voice and his life; and finally to the whole Cuban Termidor production team, who fell in love with the project and the rumberos who put all their “Sentimiento Manana”  into this work.

Nicolás Sirgado.


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