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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.

Customer Reviews

Cuba's Bob Dylan

Still unknown in this country because he remains faithful to the ideals of the Cuban revolution, Silvio Rodriguez is Cuba's great songwriter, poet and musician. David Byrne selected these tunes from a number of Silvio's older albums for Byrne's series of Latin American classics. All are good, but a standout tune is Playa Giron (the name of the beach where U.S. forces were defeated in the invasion of Cuba that Americans call the Bay of Pigs). This tune is best compared to Dylan's The Times They Are A Changin'. Listen to this remarkable music with fresh ears. It is powerful stuff.

This album is absolutely awesome

Silvio is definitely not a bore; not if you like good songwriting, the kind that involves complex lyrics paired with well-woven melodies. Silvio is a monster whose influence in the future of popular music we cannot even begin to conceptualize. Silvio, Bertol was right..."esos son los imprescindibles".

Revolutionizing an imperialist industry

Communist forces are not what divide Latin America that would be barbaric free trade and foreign policies. If a people or a nation can not feel another’s agony then one can never truly understand what it feels like to be a part of something bigger than one's self. Work in the sugar cane field, in the coffee fields, or the sweat shop then tell me that capitalism is amazing. It's very easy to be an irresponsible consumer when our line of thinking is selfish and one that encourages modern day indentured servants. Silvio's, struggle filled lyrics; create a bridge between ignorance and humanity.

Biography

Born: November 29, 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,...
Full Bio
Cuba Classics 1: Canciones Urgentes - Los Grandes Exitos, Silvio Rodríguez
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