Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Con La Sonora Matancera
Genres: World Music, Jazz, Pop, Latin Music
Listen to Samples
La Candela de Sonora Matancera y Celia Cruz
Alan Bobé-Vélez | New York, New York | 03/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is a compilation of classic recordings made by "La Guarachera de Cuba" with the conjunto that brought her fame, the legendary Sonora Matancera. Before reviewing this collection of smoking tunes I feel that a synopsis of the history of this great band is in order. La Sonora Matancera (the name means The Sound of Matanzas) was founded in Matanzas, Cuba on January 12, 1924 by Valentín Cané and Pablo Vásquez. Their first recordings were made in 1927 after their arrival in La Habana; if you can find these records today they would cost a pretty penny! By the early 1940s La Sonora was famous throughout Cuba, the sonero credited with helping them reach stardom being the incomparable Bienvenido Granda. Towards the end of this decade this musical institution was renowned from one corner of the globe to the other,the great vocalist Daniel Santos being instrumental--no pun intended--in this regard. Over the years more than seventy singers either performed or recorded with "Los Decanos de la Música Cubana", as they are affectionately known. To the best of my knowledge only two of these achieved fame by way of their association with La Sonora, Celia Cruz (who replaced the first female singer affiliated with the band, none other than Myrta Silva) and Alberto Beltrán (recommended by Daniel Santos). The most productive period in the history of El Conjunto La Sonora Matancera was the span of time running from the early 1940s until the late 1950s, when soneros of the caliber of the aforementioned Bienvenido Granda and Daniel Santos, not to mention Miguelito Valdés, Bobby Capó, Vicentico Valdés, Celio González, Carlos Argentino, and Leo Marini were joined by such gifted female voices as Toña la Negra and the still-active Celia Cruz. La Sonora Matancera, though never disbanded officially, is long past its glory days. As such, it is a welcome pleasure to discover that their classic recordings are once again available, not only for long-time fans and collectors of true Cuban music but, just as importantly, for those coming to this music for the very first time. The tunes collected herein are among those that made Celia Cruz famous. Allow me to comment on a few of them. "Vamos a Guarachar", a smoking example of la Sonora's specialty, the guaracha, opens this historic CD. "A Todos Mis Amigos" features a tremendous, though unfortunately short (in my opinion), solo by the masterful Afro-Cuban pianist, Lino Frías, anchor of the rhythm section of the band. He stood out at all times, even when not taking a solo, as he does on "Motiagua". "Vallan Vallende", a song about a famous rumbero, allows the percussionists to take center stage. Celia is in fine mettle on "Cha Cha Güere" and "Me Voy a Pinar del Río". "Saoco", another tune concerning a rumbero's rumbero, cooks from the first note. "Agua Pa' Mi"--a number also associated with one of La Sonora's main rivals, El Conjunto Casino--features great lead vocals by Celia and tasty work by Lino Frías. The same can be said about "Cao Cao Mani Picao". As always, the coro of Caíto and Rogelio Martínez, along with the inspired trumpet stylings of Calixto Leicea and Pedro Knight and the cooking conga, bongó, and paila of Yiyo and Manteca add to the beauty of this timeless music. This CD album is a fine introduction to the early '50s output of Celia Cruz accompanied by La Sonora Matancera. Having said that, nothing more need be said. So, grab anybody's daughter (to quote Fats Waller) and start shaking those hips and moving those feet!"