David Calzado Y La Charanga Habanera- Pa’ Que Se Entere La Habana
The sleeve notes of the first proto-timba Charanga Habanera CD included quaint song genre
descriptions like “Son” “Guaracha” and “Bolero.” The second album includes a couple of old style Charanga arrangements. “Pa’ Que Se Entere La Habana,” however, casts off even lip service to convention. Many lyrics chronicle the effects of domestic poverty and the influx of wealthy tourists. It coincides with the beginning of another Special Period, though. This lasted several years, during which many, and not just the leading Cuban bands, routinely stuffed their CD’s with the highest quality material.
Nube Pasajera is a personal all timer. The song is so strong it survives Michel Maza’s over simplified remake in the next decade. Other stand outs for me are El Temba, Super-Turistica and Amor De Subasta, really all of them except the final track, but then if you read other reviews here you will have figured out ballads aren’t my thing.
In the UK, where formulaic merengue and conveyer belt Colombian and Salsa Floja ruled the Latin scene, the Salsa public reviled this music. Its frequent, unexpected gear changes, often discordant harmonies and everything else about it, opposed it to other popular Latin music of the time. This is not soma to numb the dancer to life’s troubles. As unpredictable as Habana’s electricity supply or the legality of possessing US$ from one day to the next. As improbable and ingenious as the maintenance of a bashed up Cuban taxi its owner can never replace. It is an economic and social crisis transposed into music, refracted through world class musicians and a culture that says “al mal tiempo, buena cara.” Timba as it was born is as exiting or terrifying as your attitude to life makes it for you.
¿Sirvió o no sirvió? ¡Yo creo que sí!
Absolute classic, essential, unmissable.
Original Release: 1996
© Bis Music
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