In the Yoruban language, Yubá Iré translates into "A greeting of blessing.
To debut with a recording of solely rumba music has taken a lot of focused dedication to their craft by the group Yubá Iré. Based in Puerto Rico, they are a prime example of how Afro Caribbean percussion music can and should be played as they demonstrate their skills and abilities on Esta Es Mi Rumba!
There is a tendency for percussionists to augment or accompany melodic players or groups, which puts them in the category of sidemen. On this recording, they are in the forefront, and the layers of percussion serve as accompaniment only to the vocal and response of the singers.
From the opening selection of "Es Yubá Iré the band takes off in a guaguancó rhythm that then guides the listener through a short variety of their styles of rumba, bomba, and plena. This sets the scenario for the album concept which is the weaving of the Cuban based rumbas of guaguancó, yambú, columbia, and guarapachanga; with the Puerto Rican bomba varieties of sicá, yubá, cuembé, holandé, and seis corridor. Thrown into the mix are the frenzied beats of plena and the more complex offerings of batá-rumba.
An example of batá-rumba is the selection "Ochún which they sing in the traditional Yoruban language, and play it in guiro-batá style.
The experience of the Yubá Iré's leader(Héctor Calderón) in playing bomba music is displayed in the renditions of "Maria, done in a slower sicá beat, and "Sejadora, in which vocalist Chamir Bonano sings to in a yubá mode. The plena rhythm is put on high heat in "Julieta.
Favorite numbers on the album include "No hay mal, a classic guaguancó, where the singing by Calderon and the responding chorus accompanies his delivery perfectly. The other "Yenye Maré, is representative of the more seductive yambú. The slower tempo gives the vocalizing time to develop and the singers step up to the task.
Yubá Iré on Esta Es Mi Rumba, explores the percussive elements of the Caribbean and offers us a glimpse into the new direction of a time honored musical tradition. Recommended, it may be one of the best percussion sessions of 2007.