Archive for the 'Latin Roots' Category

El Trío Servando Díaz – El Viejito Cañandonga

Sorry for the lack of posts on this site lately. When the IRS takes money out of your bank account, any inspiration you once had for music slowly gets diminished.

But thank god for the Cuban group El Trío Servando Díaz to light a fire under my ass, otherwise you people would be waiting for another two months. Check out my other posts on Arsenio Rodríguez and trio music – those posts somewhat cover what’s happening musically. I heard this song on a cd a while back and since then it’s been difficult finding music from Trío Servando Díaz - most records were made prior to the 50’s on 78 rpm format. But I recently grabbed this old school Cuban son/trio compilation album on the Peerless label via Panart. The whole album is great, but El Viejito Cañandonga was the real stand out.

Cañandonga is a fruit found in Central America and the Antilles. I think it’s called carao in Nicaragua, kind of a pod fruit similar to tamarind. The more I listen to the drunk old man complaining on the track, I think that cañandonga may have been also an alcoholic beverage in Cuba at one time. Thanks everyone asking/emailing me where the hell I was. I’ve been a hermit lately so sorry if I seemed flakey. Totally sorry. Anyway enjoy!

- Sonido Franko

1. El Trío Servando Díaz: El Viejito Cañandonga

 

Day 27: Trio Music and the Bolero Tradition

Although the roots of the bolero are said to have begun in Spain, it wasn’t until the early part of the 20th century that the genre progressed in the country of Cuba. Having emerged as a dance form and a musical cross with Cuban son – it would go on to evolve throughout Latin America in trio form, as probably one of the most recognizable vocal and guitar idioms. Lyrically the bolero is unashamed of being over-sentimental. With songs about eternal passion, death, or the wallowing/lamenting of unrequited love. Musically, as evident in this post, trios began fusing the bolero with other musical genres. Probably the closest to its Cuban roots would be Trio Caribe’s bolero-son “Sola En El Mundo” (alone in the world). However, I did manage to include boleros from Mexico, Colombia and Argentina – from traditional serenade style trio music, to cumbia/rock/jazz bolero fusions. Enjoy!

1. Trio Caribe: Sola En El Mundo

2. Trio Fonseca: Murio Candelaria

3. Los Tres Reyes: Por Que Me Dejas

4. Los Tecolines: Puente Roto

5. Trio Los Panchos: Lupita

 

Day 20: Three From Tito

I threw together some of the earlier RCA recordings of a younger Tito Puente in the 1950’s. This is the era of the big bandleaders and when the mambo craze was in full swing. If you hadn’t known already, singer/composer/pianist/timbales virtuoso Tito Puente is actually Puerto Rican and not Cuban – and this was the period that ushered Puerto Rican musicians into the New York/Latin music scene (Tito Rodriguez, Noro Morales, et al). Prior to that, most bandleaders were Cuban, but everyone seemed to collaborate well together. Cuban singer  Vicentico Valdés actually sings with Puente on Lagrimas Negras (one of my favorite songs) and I am quite sure Tito Puente’s band reflected the pan-Latin melting pot that was New York at the time. I have more Tito Puente 45’s somewhere, but if my life and office weren’t such a mess……perhaps I’ll amend the post later if I find more. Enjoy!

1. Tito Puente: Lagrimas Negras

2. Tito Puente: Swinging The Mambo

3. Tito Puente: Lare Lare

Day 19: Acerina Y Su Danzonera

Sounding like a cross between tango and military/funeral marching band is the music and dance of Danzón. Developed in the mid to late 1800’s from European settlers in Cuba, Danzón would separate itself from the more afro-Cuban traditions of rumba and son – while establishing itself as an export most notably in Mexico. From its early beginnings, Danzón would be seen as something scandalous (like most Latin American music), only later to evolve into a more sedate and dignified form of music and dance. As it’s popularity began to wane in the 1920’s (due to the rising popularity of the chachacha and rumba) Danzón and their musicians would find open arms in such places like Veracruz, Oaxaca and Mexico City.

Mexico has long welcomed musicians and artists from all over Latin America and they really had taken the music of Danzón to heart. Probably one of the most notable Cuban exports would be Arecina Consejo Valiente Robles. It would only make sense to end up in Mexico, since the dance survived longer there than in Cuba. The two songs in the post are in fact  traditional Mexican Danzónes, not Cuban – one song being a homage to Benito Juarez and the other being the popular Nereidas (nymphs) written by Amador Pérez Dimas, who was a popular composer from Oaxaca, Mexico.

Although there is some afro-cuban elements in Danzón, you’d be surprised how ridged the musical form is. There is no singing and the music never features improvisation like rumba and son did. Without delving too deep into the structure, listen to the songs – you’ll hear that there is a change in tempo and tone that defines the style and form structure. Just remember, the melody tends to heat up at the end. Enjoy!

1. Acerina Y Su Danzonera: Nereidas

2. Acerina Y Su Danzonera: Juarez No Debio De Morir 

Day 17: Mariachi On Wax

DEEJAYS: Next time you’re looking for a closer for your deejay nite, throw on a mariachi joint–preferably à la Vicente Fernández or José Alfredo Jiménez–and let ‘er rip. Always kills. Granted, I don’t usually throw mariachi records on the turntable at home, but I like to keep a couple 45s handy when deejaying…just in case everyone needs it. Bodes well with Jalisco-born tequila, too.

Upon hearing about mariachi maestro Vicente “Chente” Fernández’s impending retirement from showbiz (well deserved, I might add, after a near half century-spanning career!), thought I’d share a couple of regional Mexican 45s from my collection. Big up to Franko y su Super Sonido for having me!

1. Vicente Fernández: Volver Volver (Discos Columbia, 1976)

Classic track by a classic dude. No mariachi rocks a mustache or a mic better than Chente. ‘Nuff said.

Found this in a dig while trekking across southern New Mexico two summers ago. It appealed to me primarily because of the fantastic picture sleeve, but bandleader/cantante Ruben Padillo’s signature was an added bonus. While the songs on the disc aren’t particularly mind-blowing (though the featured side is decent enough), it makes up in aesthetic value. Really, how often do you come across a signed, picture-sleeved mariachi 45 on a relatively obscure Mexican label? In my case, not terribly often. Not a bad way to spend 50 cents.

- Alex LaRotta

2. Mariachi Metropolitano de Ruben Padilla: Soy Fronterizo (Discos Aragón – 197?)

Great post and some amazing images on those picture disks. I’ve never met Alex personally, but he has been a fan of Super Sonido for some time now – for which I am greatful for. It appears that when Alex isn’t doing awesome guest blog posts, he can be found in San Antonio Texas playing all sorts of awesome records. Thanks Alex, totally appreciated, and you’re welcome back anytime sir!!! On a side note, Vicente Fernández‘s Volver, Volver (come back, come back) was initially written as a love song. However, the famous ranchera tune took on another meaning in the 70’s and 80’s – becoming a rallying song for Mexican immigrants to return to Mexico. Probably the most famous ranchera song ever written, if not a ballad that made Vicente Fernández legendary - Sonido Franko

Day 5: Primitivo Santos

Primitivo Santos was born in Santiago de Los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, on April 28th, 1935.  His father passed away when he was two years old. From an early age, he was recognized as being a musical prodigy. In the absence of his father, his surrogate guardian, don Federico Camejo, nurtured Primitivo’s musical talents, providing him with classical training in musical theory and performance. Through his rapid mastery of the oboe, his first instrument, Primitivo would join the municipal band at the age of seven. At the age of twelve, he had formed his own band, and by the age of seventeen, having since traded the oboe for the ubiquitous sounds of the accordion and piano, Primitivo enjoyed his first successes on Dominican radio. His prodigious skill at the interpretation of Dominican rhythms brought his talents to the attention of the Trujillo regime, who were using rural musical forms as expressions of nationalist propaganda to rally popular support around the benevolent dictator. It was in this vein that Primitivo was appointed to the position of agregado cultural de la república dominicana, which is the equivalent of a cultural attaché to theUnited States. This would prove a pivotal point in Primitivo’s role in the popularization of Dominican music, as it allowed him to relocate to WashingtonD.C.

He held the position for over five years, performing at diplomatic functions in the U.S. and abroad. It wasn’t until he relocated to New York City that he was able to insert himself into the flourishing and vibrant Latin music scene. Along with Eduardo Brito and Ángel Viloria, Primitivo Santos was one of the driving forces behind the popularization of merengue and Dominican rhythms in the latter half of the 1950’s and into the 1960’s, not only in the United States, but throughout Latin America. As well as playing Radio City Music Hall, he played Madison Square Garden in 1967 with fellow Dominicanos, Joseíto Mateo and Alberto Beltrán, further establishing himself as on of the top Latin performers of the era. Here’s a link to a bio and interview with Primitivo Santos:

http://www.elsolweb.tv/noticia.php?Id=598

These three singles are from Primitivo’s most successful period in the 1960’s. Interestingly, none of them actually feature Dominican rhythms. “Herimpoke” was recorded in 1961 and comes from an album by the same name. It features the vocals Camboy Estevez and is essentially a boogaloo. I have no idea what a herimpoke is. This version of “El Manisero” was recorded in 1967 and comes from the album, “Primitivo y su Combo en Washington”. The single would become his biggest hit, earning Primitivo a gold record. It also features the vocals of Camboy Estevez Babarquiti is a great version of the tune made famous by Celia Cruz and La Sonora Matancera. It features the vocals of Tito Contreras.

- Marcos Juarez

Thanks Marcos. WOW!!! – Sonido (better late than never) Franko

1. Primitivo Santos y su Combo: Herimpoke

2. Primitivo Santos y su Combo: El Manicero 

3. Primitivo Santos y su Combo: Babaraquiti

 

Day 1: Freddie Fender

Best known for his country singing in the 70’s and his American Tejano sound of the 90’s, it would have come as no surprise that Freddie Fender began his career as a rock and roll/rockabilly/ranchera cross-over musician. Born Baldemar Garza Huerta in San Benito, Texas –  Fender, who legally changed his name in 1958, would first find fame in that  era covering a Spanish version of Elvis Presley’s “Don’t Be Cruel”. However, stardom was cut short in the early 60’s due to a marijuana possession arrest, something which he wouldn’t emerge/recover from for several years later.

I’m thinking that the 45’s in this post come right at a time prior to his incarceration. Nevertheless, the same kind of musical fusion, like that of the country/rock/tejano music he was popular for in the late period of his life, is apparent throughout these tracks. A mix of rock, calypso, to an old school Mexican party standard with “La Banda Esta Borracha” (the band is drunk) is a reflection of varying genres he was able to perform. Even his distinctive voice and dark emotional ballad like Que Tal Amor (how are you my love) reminded me instantly of Roy Orbison, another cross-over Texas native. Anyway, some super rare tejano roots music from the legend Freddie Fender. Be sure to check out an older post of a rare boogaloo number he did, still one of my favorite guest post/songs on this site. Enjoy!

1. Freddie Fender y Los Comancheros: Que Tal Amor

2.Freddie Fender y Los Comancheros: Por Que Eres Tan Mala

 3. Freddie Fender: Las Cerezas

4. Freddie Fender: Dime

5. Freddie Fender: Mi Kingston Town

6. Freddie Fender: Cuando Te Conoci

7. Freddie Fender and the Streamliners: Todos Dicen

8. Freddie Fender y Los Comancheros: La Banda Esta Borracha

 



Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 87 other followers