Cuba en Jamiaca zijn 2 eilanden in de Caribbean met een grote diversiteit in muziek. Met dit in zijn hoofd, reisde de Engelse muzikant Natty Bo naar Santiago de Cuba om daar enige Cubaanse klassiekers (van o.a. Beny More - Barbaro del Ritmo/Yiri Yiri Bon + nummers als Babalu en Chango) op te nemen met Cubaanse muzikanten. Op een swingende ska beat met de typische salsa piano (ritme) maakt dit een heerlijk party dance album voor 2004 van Ska Cubano
Listening to Ska Cubano`s debut you begin to understand just why. In this wonderful Cuban-Jamaican take on the genre, you will hear reggae, salsa, Brazilian ritualistic music, Klezmer-style sax, big band brass and little bits of cumbia and son rhythms too.What is noteworthy is that far from tapping into these individual styles to concoct some kind of hybrid fusion, this effervescent four-piece choose to invoke each genre and work it out in a riotous jam. Songs may hop around the tropics as they develop, but you get the crisp feel of legendary signatures by the likes of Beny Moré (on "Yiri Yiri Bon") or Celia Cruz (on "Bárbaro del Rítmo") as you go along.
One of the most upbeat albums to appear this year, Ska Cubano is held together by a nifty, infectious beat (think Madness at midnight in Havana), vast resources of humour, well-chosen songs from an ethnic entrepot that mixes Cuban strands as diverse as Yoruba, mambo and more recent Afro sounds.The great production is thanks to the indefatigable Natty Bo, producer and leader of London ska band Top Cats,who went out to Santiago to Cuba on a mission to rescue this great crossover legacy from the dusty archives.
What`s the album`s great strength that it actually sounds like an old record. The horns have just the right degree of blaring distortion, and the fact that Cuba once had pockets of strong Jamaican influence perhaps explains the ease with which the musicians reproduce those remorselessly pumping â€œmodâ€œ rhythms. Juan Manuel Villy`s chocolate-rich baritone floats gorgeously over the blasting Barbaro del Ritmo, while Natty Bo`s lighter voice seems to speak directly from 1962. It feels slightly academic at times, but such criticism seems churlish when you`re hearing what is probably the party record of the year so far.
2. Revolutionary Ska (6:18)
3. Bembe For Chango (3:29)
8. Barbaro Del Ritmo (3:28)
9. Relax and Mambo (3:46)
12. Yiri Yiri Bon [Dancehall Mix] (4:29)
13. Who`s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf (3:22)
14. Con El Chan Chan (3:10)
15. Malango Ska [Instrumental] (3:23)
16. Chango [Dancehall mix] (4:52)