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Flor De Amor & Buena Vista Social Club Presents Manuel "Guajiro" Mirabal

Nenad Georgievski By

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Omara Portuondo
Flor De Amor
World Circuit
2004

Flor De Amor is the second album by this Cuban diva and is a beautiful mixture of various types of genres, so one would hear guajiras, danzones and boleros supporting her gorgeous voice. On this record she has her vocals surrounded by Demetrio Muñiz's inventive arrangements which showcase her versatile voice in a variety of settings, accompanied by a superb band featuring Barbarito Torres, Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez, Manuel Galbán, Roberto Fonseca, Carlos Emilio, Papi Oviedo, Anga Diaz and many others. The winning team of producer/recording engeneer is joined by producer Alê Siquiera, who previously has worked with Caetano Veloso and Carlinhos Brown. His presence can be felt throughout the whole record in subtle bossa nova or other brazillian tinges, among other influences. Compared to the first one BVSC presents Omara Portuondo, the sound of Flor De Amor is more solid, but nevertheless as beautiful and diverse as the first one.

The opening track "Tabu" is an appealing and smooth anthem and is followed by the gentle and emotional "Amor de mis amores." The passionate performance on "Mueve la cintura mulato" is set against the intensity of Muñiz's arrangements and the band's playing. A personal favourite is "Junto a un canaveral" where Portuondo's voice is at best as it glides smoothly which gives an impression that she sings effortlessly. "Amorosa Guajira" is a duet between Portuondo and the tres guitarist Papi Oveido. There are plenty of precious gems here like "Habanera Ven," the title track "Flor De Amor," "Si llego a besarte" and many others. Flor De Amor closes with "Casa Calor," a brazillian song (and sang in portuguese) written by Carlinhos Brown and Jr. Costa. In a way, this record evokes different eras and Omara Portuondo's affecting performances offer music that is full of emotions, thus providing great listening pleasures. Flor de Amor is simply beautiful and it serves as a showcase for an impressive singer.

Manuel "Guajiro" Mirabal
Buena Vista Social Club presents Luis Manuel "Guajiro" Mirabal
World Circuit
2004

BVSC presents Manuel Guajiro Mirabal is a debut album for Mirabal who was not only an integral figure of the Buena Vista series of releases, but for decades his trumpet sound has accompanied many cuban maestros and cuban orchestras or ensembles. For this album, Mirabal is paying tribute to Arsenio Rodriguez, an important figure and inovator in the world of Cuban music. Known as "El Ciego Marvelloso" (The Blind Marvel), Rodriguez was one of the pioneers of the conjunto and by introducing congas, piano and extra trumpets he totally transformed the looks of Cuban music forever. So, the music on this album is based upon Rodriguez's music or is music inspired by this revered figure. The configuration of instruments that Mirabal chooses, three trumpets, tres, guitar, percussion, piano and the roller coaster of lead and backing vocals, presents the classic conjunto configuration. Supported by a great ensemble who previously worked (most of them) on Omara Portuondo's Flor De Amor, this record is providing another adventure in Cuban music. The music is rough, dynamic with brilliant performances by each memeber of this "specially assembled group." Although it is driven by many tempos and styles it never losses its grip and focus. It kicks off with "El rincon caliente" which sets the scenery to come-impassioned vocals, plenty of rhythms and brilliant brass work. "Para bailar el montuno" is a showcase for Manuel Galban's guitar brushes as well as Papi Oveido's delicate tres playing. "Deuda" features guest vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer who provides emotional vocals and is supported by the trumpet trio comprised of Luis Alemañy, Alejandro Pichardo Pérez and Guajiro. Polyrhythms just burst throughout the whole record and it never losses the dynamics one has come to expect of these muzos.

The closing track is "Dombe Dombe" with Guajiro's seductive trumpet lines and delicate piano lines provided by Roberto Fonesca, who is featured prominently, contributing to the music's exotic mood. Nevertheless, this recording is a marvelous mixture of various afro-cuban styles and jazz, but the interplay between the musicians is really the treat of the album.

Flor De Amor

Track Listing: 1.Tabu, 2.Amor De Mis Amores,3.Alma De Roco, 4.Mueve La Cintura Mulato, 5.Junto A Un Canaveral, 6.Hermosa Habana, 7.El Madrugador, 8.Amorosa Guajira, 9.Habanera Ven, 10.Si Llego A Besarte, 11.Flor De Amor, 12.Juramento, 13.He Venido A Decirte, 14.Casa Calor

Personnel: Omara Portuondo (vocals); Carlinhos Brown (vocals); Manuel "Guajiro" Mirabal, Jorge Chicoy (guitar); Swami Jr. (7-string guitar); Papi Oviedo (tres); Roberto Fonseca (piano); Cachaito Lopez (bass guitar); Ramses Gonzales (drums); Anga Diaz (congas). Producers: Nick Gold; Jerry Boys; Ale Siqueira; Demetrio Muniz.

Buena Vista Social Club presents Luis Manuel "Guajiro" Mirabal

Track Listing: 1. El Rincon Caliente, 2. Para Bailar El Montuno, 3. Deuda, 4. El Roloj De Pastora, 5. Me Bote De Guano, 6. Mi Corazon No Tiene Quien Lo Llore, 7. Tengo Que Olvidarte, 8. Canta Montero, 9. Chicarronero, 10. Medley, 11. Dombe Dombe

Personnel: Manuel Mirabal (trumpet); Pepe Maza (vocals, claves); Demetrio Muniz, Ibrahim Ferrer, Aldo Del Rio, Carlos Calunga, Diego Ramon Palacio, Tirso Oriol Duarte Lescay (vocals); Manuel Galban (guitar, organ); Papi Oviedo, Jose 'Maracaibo' Castaneda, Johnny Neptune (tres); Polo Tamayo (flute); Javier Zalba (alto saxophone, baritone saxophone); Rolando Sanchez, Pantaleon Sanchez (alto saxophone); Alfred Thompson, Antonio Jimenez, Rafael 'Jimmy' Jenks (tenor saxophone); Ventura Gutierrez (baritone saxophone); Yaure Muniz, Luis Alemany Conde, Alejandro Pichardo (trumpet); Jesus "Aguaje" Ramos (trombone); Ruben Gonzalez, Roberto Fonseca (piano); Cachaito Lopez (double bass); Manuel Anga Diaz (congas); Roberto Garcia, Carlos Gonzalez (bongos); Enrique Lazaga (maracas); Amadito Valdes (timbales); Diego Coppinger


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