Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Live on Radio 1952-1958
Genres: World Music, Pop, Latin Music
ˇLa Inmortal Sonora Matancera y Sus Cantantes: En Vivo!
Alan Bobé-Vélez | New York, New York | 03/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The celebrated band captured in these valuable live recordings, El Conjunto La Sonora Matancera, is one of the seminal groups in the history of Cuban music. Having recorded between 7,000 and 8,000 songs over seven decades, they are cited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest continuously-active band of all time. The importance of La Sonora Matancera cannot be stressed enough. A number of tunes put on vinyl by this legendary grupo musical have become Latin American standards. Moreover, many New York-based Latin musicians have raided the archives and re-recorded songs from the group's repertoire. Willie Colón, Machito(with his sister Graciela singing lead), Johnny Pacheco, Eddie Palmieri, Tito Puente, and Tito Rodríguez are a few of the heavyweights who have mined the nearly-inexhaustible mother lode created by La Sonora, as the conjunto is affectionately termed by aficionados. Even merengue bands have availed themselves of this historic recorded legacy! This CD compilation covers part of the group's greatest period of productivity. Their heyday stretched from the early 1940s to about the middle of the 1960s. Several of the eminent lead vocalists who recorded and performed with El Conjunto La Sonora Matancera during this time, as well as some of the top Cuban composers, are represented herein. Allow me to comment on some of the tunes presented in this collection. Starting with "El Velorio", a tremendous guaracha with humorous lyrics(and, unlike the studio recording, a short piano statement by the illustrious Lino Frías) and ending with "Agua y Nada Más"(with the great Puerto Rican singer Daniel Santos as sonero), Harlequin has amassed well over an hour of glorious music. The variety of rhythms leaves nothing to be desired. "El Mambito" gives Lino Frías space to shine, something which he too infrequently did in the studio. "Egüemio", originally recorded by Miguelito Valdés with La Sonora, is here interpreted by the distinguished Bienvenido Granda. The lyrics are in lucumí, the Cuban form of the Yoruba language--Bienvenido Granda had laid down two smoking tracks as a duo with the great sonero Cheo Marquetti(brother of the notable composer Luis Marquetti), accompanied by the famed Septeto Nacional de Ignacio Piñeiro, in 1936 which demonstrate that he was a master of lucumí singing. "Egüemio" is very African! The fabulous sonero Estanislao Sureda, "Laíto", can be heard on lead vocals on "Sujétate La Lengua"(re-recorded in the latter 1960s by Eddie Palmieri y Su Conjunto La Perfecta on the album "Mambo con Conga is Mozambique", a tribute album to the greatness of La Sonora Matancera in general and Lino Frías in particular) rather than Bienvenido Granda, the original vocalist on the studio date. Don Lino takes a smoking solo, even better than on the historic studio version of this number. At this time, let me digress for just a moment. With respect to the history of El Conjunto La Sonora Matancera, Estanislao "Laíto" Sureda is a significant contributor to their legacy as he can also be heard to good effect on "Cañonazo", one of the theme songs of the group under discussion--sad to say, it is not among the live canciones included on this album. Myrta Silva, the original female voice of La Sonora, really cooks on "Yo Me Voy Contigo", one of many compositions which she wrote during her career. The excitement felt by the audience is palpable! Once more, Lino Frías acquits himself well. "Descripción de La Rumba"(first recorded by the important Dúo Los Compadres, with Compay Segundo of Buena Vista Social Club fame as segunda voz) and "Yambú Pa' Gozar" are two other tunes with elegant solos by don Lino--the studio recordings of these up-tempo songs did not contain solos by any of the group's musicians. "Cero Codazos, Cero Cabezazos" was first put on wax by the famous Orquesta Aragón. The performance of this number included on this album features another classic but too short solo by Lino Frías. "No Aguanto Más" is another tune with jocular lyrics, a tremendous extended solo by el maestro Lino, and stupendous vocal work by the renowned Celio "el Flaco" González. "Déjame Ya Mujer" is one of this reviewer's favorite guarachas by La Sonora Matancera. Yet again, the great Celio González is featured. "Manteca" shows on this track, as on a few others, why he was such a valued member of the band. "Traigo Un Tono", a conga, another of the theme songs of this conjunto, is one of several works written by Calixto Leicea, first trumpet chair with La Sonora since 1935. The CD album just reviewed has it all--superlative arrangements of fantastic songs, great vocals, brilliant solos and impeccable ensemble work by consummate musicians, a wealth of different rhythms, the vibrancy of live performances, and informative liner notes. After all is said and done, it adds up to the inimitable sound of El Conjunto La Sonora Matancera, a sound that has delighted three generations of dancers. What more could you ask for? Enjoy, people!!!"