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Cuba Classics 1: Canciones Urgentes - Los Grandes Exitos

Silvio Rodríguez

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Album Review

A release of Cuban music following closely on the heels of the break in the blockade for cultural exchange, this album features one of the founders of the nueva trova movement of Cuban music, somewhere between poetry and song in general. The music itself might flow from pop to nothingness, to light backing arrangements only. The vocals are somewhat thin and at times seemingly weak, but the lyrics are the power here. While the music sticks in the sounds of light mid-'70s jazz-pop, the lyrics deal largely with topics of love, and occasionally with more political motives, but always they embody a high level of poetic genius. For Spanish speakers, this album may be worthwhile simply for the poetry itself. For English speakers, it might hold somewhat less allure, although the lyrics are translated in the liner notes. Pick it up for a nice glance at a Cuban musical tradition largely detached from the stereotypical salsas, rhumbas, and cha chas, and see what had been developing in the island during the blockade.

Biography

Born: 29 November 1946 in San Antonio De Baños, Cuba

Genre: Raíces

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The tender balladry offsets the hard-edged, politically slanted lyrics of Silvio Rodriguez. A spearhead of the nueva trova (new ballad) style of nueva cancion (new song), Rodriguez masterfully blends romantic tunes with protest material condemning colonization and the tyranny that swept through Latin America in the late '60s and early '70s. Inspired by French chanson, Rodriguez recorded his debut album in 1976. Although his early albums showcased his solo acoustic guitar playing and silken vocals,...
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Cuba Classics 1: Canciones Urgentes - Los Grandes Exitos, Silvio Rodríguez
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