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Las Flores de la Vída

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Album Review

Compay Segundo entered his 11th decade of life with the release of Las Flores de la Vida, a celebration of life and also a message for youth, not only to enjoy what they have but to be patient for what life may give in years to come. Alongside several traditional compositions, Segundo and his rich, evocative band perform five of his own originals (composed under his birth name, Francisco Repilado Muñoz). For fans of Buena Vista Social Club and its quickly growing discography of solo projects, Las Flores de la Vida has much of the exquisitely recorded, effortlessly swinging Cuban son they're looking for, though Segundo does mix things up a bit. For "Amor de Loca Juventud," the band dips into a finely tuned waltz, but also skewers the overly respectful Buena Vista atmosphere with some added vocals that transform the romantic trills of Spanish into a guttural evocation of lust. Among the traditional numbers, "Juramento" and "El Beso Discreto" from Miguel Matamoros, and "Guantanamera" are both treats to hear, Latin classics to which Segundo brings an added element of authority. His reliance on up to three clarinets also sets him apart from much modern music-making, and they're an interesting addition to his by-now familiar sound.


Born: 1907 in Siboney, Cuba

Genre: Latino

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Legendary Cuban guitarist Compay Segundo was born in 1907; collaborating with the likes of Sindo Garay, Miguel Matamoros and Benny Moré, he emerged as one of the most respected musicians of the pre-revolution era, and in the late '20s invented the armónico, a guitar customized with a double third string to fuse the tonal qualities of the traditional Cuban tres guitar and its Spanish counterpart. Following Fidel Castro's rise to power, Segundo worked as a cigar roller before returning to music during...
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Las Flores de la Vída, Compay Segundo
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