La Charanga Soy Yo was the first CD by Charanga Forever, the largest fragment of the old
Charanga Habanera. Danny Lozada and keyboard Juan Carlos Gonzales left soon after the suspension concert to form Timba Cubana. In 1998, the remainder of the band left David Calzado and Michel Maza, to form Charanga Forever.
Its clear from the CD sleeve notes that they intended to continue orientating towards their urban Cuban public. Though their rendition of Aquí Se Goza suggests an attempt to reach the Salsa market, the sounds generally confirm this. Complete with old vocal signatures, much in La Charanga Soy Yo is reminiscent, not just of the old band where it left off, but its entire trajectory through the 1990’s.
The keyboard style on several numbers owes a lot to Tremendo Delirio while at times a lead vocalist seems to be impersonating Maza. Interestingly, both Maza and Gonzales would briefly join Charanga Forever after this recording.
As in Charanga Habanera’s earlier albums this includes an old style Charanga tune, just to stick out like a sore thumb. That’s not to say it’s entirely backward looking, though. It’s a really solid album in my view which at times reaches the heights of which the old Charanga was capable. It does so in a new way though. Most of the material on this CD was written by new band members which may go someway to explaining this. Tumba Tumba is the standout track for me, but there’s a lot more to this album.
The coro sounds fuzzy and distant at times on La Chica De Los Ojos Verdes, a shame as it’s one of the stronger numbers. It seems to be drowned by a synthesizer so this is probably a mixing problem, not the CD/mp3.