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Differently to what usually happens during those events where market and fashion trends prevail, the Awards Committee of the International Disk Fair was characterized, once more, by its cultural excellence, after granting the Grand Prix to two works that denote the great interest of the Cuban recording companies to keep on being at the top level.

The awarded musical pieces were: "Akapelleando", performed by the musical group Vocal Sampling (EGREM), and "Cinco conciertos para piano y orquesta", composed by Heitor Villa-Lobos (Colibri) and produced by Ulises Hernández. The concerts made by the remarkable Brazilian composer, admired by our Alejo Carpentier, were recorded during December 10th and December 14th, 2003, at the "Amadeo Roldán" Auditorium. They were performed by the Cuban pianists Elvira Santiago (Concert no. 1), Roberto Urbay (Concert no. 5), Patricio Malcolm (Concert no. 3), Ulises Hernández (Concert no. 2), and Harold López-Nussa (Concert no. 4), all of them accompanied by the National Symphonic Orchestra and directed by the virtuoso Enrique Pérez Mesa.

If it was arduous the work of localization and digitalization of the scores, the selection of the soloists, and the assembly of the repertoire, it wasnt less hard the work with the audio and video, and the conception of a DVD, which show a balance of a start-up company that doesnt even exist in Brazil.

The challenge is much bigger if we are reminded what the Cuban composer and director, Jorge López Marín, said on one occasion: "Villa-Lobos talent was impetuous, and his musical scores extremely difficult to be contained in previously written musical scores; he didnt seem to care about proven formulas or re-elaborated recipes."

Once again, Ulises Hernández gave proof of his tenacity as promoter of difficult but beautiful projects, and the managers of the Colibri Seal of an unyielding cultural sensibility.

As for the production of the music of Vocal Sampling, their great merit resides in that they surpass the topics of the instrumental mimicry, which have characterized the way of making music of this valuable and popular group. Certainly, its six members (Abel Sanabria, Reinaldo Sanler, Jorge Núñez, Oscar Porro and Julio Cesar Pérez, under the head of René Banos) imitate, almost to the utmost perfection, different musical instruments; but, if the main thing was to create the illusion of strings, percussion elements and the sounds of trumpets and flutes, then, the articulation between mimesis and intrinsic vocal quality stand out, showing the nature of the intellectual and sensitive work of musical (re)creation.

This has to do with the thematic selection of the disk. For example, the sones, are very good to be listened and danced, at the same time. Banos, as a composer, depicts with "El almendrón" the customs of an epoch, which may be as effective and sharp as the best songs composed by Juan Formell and Pupy Pedroso.

But therere also good opportunities for what Miguel Matamoros and Marcelino Guerra left, new tries for the rural folklor with the tunes "Decimas asi mismas", and a very nice guaracha mixed with some cumbia elements, composed by Banos himself, which have been so popular among the young people. Were talking of: "Apretaíto pero relajao".

For some, however, the definitive proof of the aesthetic maturity reflected in the work of Vocal Sampling lies in their approach to the phonogram, when they offer their version of the classic pop/rock "Hotel California", an imaginative version of a very well-known song that reveals audacity and harmony through its tune. We can say the same about the popular calypso "Banana Boat", which made Harry Belafonte so famous, now transformed into a son.

We cant overlook other two musical pieces that surpass the work of Sampling:: "A la derecha de Alfa Centauro", a fable written by Alejandro García Villalón (Virulo), that reflects, with an ironic and critical sense, the ethics crisis linked to the Berlin Wall, a truly song of protest. The other is: "En la aldea", composed by Jose María Vitier, the musical theme of the New Latin-American Movie Festival.

Source: By Pedro de la Hoz, Cubarte

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