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Future Cuba?

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ricardo_cover.jpg cuba_cover.jpg chirino_cover.jpg

Ricardo Eddy Martinez : Te Quedas
taken from the album “Expreso Ritmico” on Egrem (197?)

Grupo Los Reyes 73 : Un Lamento Hecho Cancion
taken from the album “Nuevo Cuba 1” on Barclay (1976)

Pearly Queen : Quit Jivin’
taken from the compilation “Diggin’ The Crates for Afro-Cuban Funk” on Empire (2001)

Willy Chirino : Papote’s Theme (Edit)
taken from the album “Chirino 3” on Grand Artists (1976)

With Castro actually out of commission, the island of Cuba is looking at some major changes in the very near future. Perhaps our Caribbean tour will be making legal stops there next year (no more of this going through Mexico and Canada bull). Question is, what’s going to happen to Cuban culture? Seems like 50 years (almost) of rebellion and embargo has come to define how we think about the culture and country. Something tells me that when the option of buying a new Ford becomes available, a lot of those beautiful oldies will finally be put to rest. Will this little bastion of communism go global like China? Will they grow the next 8ft. man and use him to save dolphins?! Sorry, on to the music…

Despite the attempts to shut-off Cuba from the rest of the world, this bunch of dirty funk tracks bears proof that Cubans were indeed reaching out beyond the Island’s shores (and if you know anything about Cuban hip-hop, you know that they’re still reaching out). We all know and appreciate the beautiful mastery of Cuban Son & Guajira, but few have witnessed the devastating effect of mixing Bata drums into breakbeats. I recently found out about a certain upcoming compilation of Cuban funk, and now I’m fiending like a Bush on the hunt for oil.

Do I know anything about any of these groups? Sadly, no. Except maybe Willy Chirino, who was born in Cuba but couldn’t return after he left for education in his youth. Chirino 3 contains a pretty dope, conga-heavy cover of “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love”. The edit that I performed on Papote’s Theme above is due to a 16-bar region of cheesy strings that no one wants to sit through- you won’t even notice it’s gone. The Expreso album was a recent score, and I highly reccomend hunting for it. There are multiple other bangers to be found amidst its grooves. Pearly Queen = raer. Diggin’ compilation = not so raer. Viva la FUNK!