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New Video: David Oquendo


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David Oquendo
Today you're in for a treat. Cuba's filin movement began in the late 1940s and lasted into the 1960s. It was a particular way of singing a ballad so that it sounded extra romantic and passionate, what we'd call crooning. Filin (pronounced FEEL-in) came out of the steamy bolero and canción and the 19th century trova, short for trovadors or troubadours—traveling artists who sang ballads and accompanied themselves on guitar. Today, David Oquendo is one of the finest singers of Cuban bolero filin. Once you hear him, you'll fall in love with this music genre as I did in the late 1990s, when my friend Ivan Acosta took me to New Jersey to hear him perform.

A native of Havana, Cuba, David is an astonishing interpreter of many diverse styles of Cuban music. In Cuba, he emerged as a guitarist and singer with Elena Bourke and Compay Segundo. He moved from the island to New Jersey in 1991 and began appearing at La Esquina Habanera in Union City. Since then, David has won a Grammy Tropicana’s Nights with Paquito D’Rivera and Grammy nominations for Bebop Timba with Raphael Cruz and three Latin Grammy Nominations for Raices Habaneras, 50 Years of Mambo and Paquito D’Rivera Presenta Las Hermanas Marquez.

Now that you have David's background and a brief history of the singular Cuban ballad style, here's a newly posted, hour-long video of David singing bolero filin... 

Want more David Oquendo? Here's David with trombonist Roswell Rudd...

Here's David in 2014...

Here's David and Paquito D'Rivera...

And here's David playing a tribute to Benny Moré...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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