Archive for the 'Afro Latin' 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 and made famous by sending a known actor allegedly to alcoholism, but not sure about it. There are treatment for chronic alcohol abuse in Austin as well as in Cuba I’m sure. 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


Descarga Cubana

The Cuban Jam Sessions were a series of records produced and released by the New York record label Panart in the late 50’s. The series started when bass player Israel Lopez (Cachao) would gather a group of musicians and began recording late night/early morning jam sessions in Havana Cuba in 1957. The culmination of their efforts would result in probably the most influential form of Latin American music and the creation of the descarga, a musical improvisation or literally a “letting loose”.

Most of the songs on these records are standards and not much is new in terms of musical form. The vocabulary of popular Cuban music, the mix of European and afro-cuban influence can be heard throughout these tracks. It was more or less the minimal, raw approach taken to the music – a move away from the more orchestrated/sugar-coated mambo sound of the time. Much like American jazz, which similarly began composing “music in the moment”. Theses records had some success when originally released, however it is said that their influence reached many other musicians and genres of Latin American music – from Latin Jazz, Salsa, to Cumbia, to most present day forms of tropical music. Please enjoy.

1. Cachao y Su Ritmo Caliente: Cogele el Golpe

2. Cachao y Su Ritmo Caliente: Descarga Cubana

3. Cachao y Su Ritmo Caliente: Sorpresa de Flauta

4. Cachao y Su Ritmo Caliente: Estudio En Trompeta

5. Julio Gutierrez: Theme On Mambo

6. Julio Gutierrez: Cimarron

7. Niño Rivera: Montuno Guajiro

8. Fajardo and His All-Stars: La Flauta de Jose

9. Fajardo and His All-Stars: La Charanga

Haitian Twoubadou with Trio Select

Jean Gesner Henry, dubbed Coupé Cloué during his early years of playing professional soccer in Port-au-Prince, was one of the most influential performers and composers of Haitian music in the latter half of the twentieth century. While the vast majority of his recordings were issued under the Coupé Cloué moniker, his earlier recordings as the singer and leader of Trio Select mark a crucial moment in the evolution of Hatian popular music. Trio Select was formed on September 6, 1957, according to the back of the album. The group featured Gesner Henry and Raphael Benito on vocals, Georges Celestin on lead guitar, Andres Serant on second guitar, Colbert Desir on percussion, and Prospect on bass. Gesner Henry was known for his humorous use of double entendres and colloquial slang, endearing him to his public and earning him the nickname, “La Coqueluche D’Haiti” or “The Whooping Cough of Haiti.” At least that’s what it says in the album notes, but I can’t help but think that something is lost in translation.

Of the Trio Select albums, Plein Caille released in 1971 on the burgeoning Brooklyn based Marc Records, is perhaps the most thoroughly satisfying and rewarding. Although the larger ensemble sound of the Konpa Direk of Nemours Jean Baptiste and the Cadence Rampa of Webert Sicot had opened the flood gates in the early 1960’s and on into the 70’s for a slew of Haitian bands performing in that style, Gesner Henry’s Trio Select is firmly rooted in the subdued Cuban Son and Bolero influenced Twoubadou style. The vocal harmonies are sublime giving the slower pieces a beautiful melancholy quality. The guitar work is stellar as well, with substantial soloing. I wish I was able to understand the lyrics.

– Marcos Juarez

Marcos has written a few posts for super-sonido in the past, but for the last year I’ve been bothering him to be a more active participant for this site – which he has gladly agreed to do and which I am totally greatful for. So for future visitiors of this audio blog, please be aware that this is as much as Marcos’ as it is mine. If you have any direct questions for Mr. Juarez you can add him on facebook or you can listen to his radio show every Thursday 3 to 6 p.m. on KALX radio. Amazing music from Haiti, I am completely floored. Please enjoy!!!

– Sonido Franko

1. Trio Select: Juge, Juge’m Bien

2. Trio Select: Plein Caille

3. Trio Select: Marteau

4. Trio Select: Qui Li Bois







Dos Sones de Arsenio Rodríguez

Known as the father of the modern Afro-Cuban sound, the blind musician and bandleader Arsenio Rodríguez would further develop and modernize the sound of Son, the predominate musical force in Cuba. Up until the 50’s, son centered around the tres (a triple set stringed guitar), bass and clave. By adding more melodic elements to his arrangements like a horn section, piano, and congas – Aresenio Rodríguez garnered instant fame in Cuba, earning him the nickname El Ciego Maravilloso (the marvellous blind man).

Born in Güira de Macurijes, as a young child, Rodríguez was blinded when a horse kicked him in the head. It is said that his musical roots come from the Congolese rituals of his family, instilled in him by his grandfather, who was apparently a slave. There probably hasn’t been a bigger influence in Cuban music than Arsenio Rodríguez. His sound can be heard in the rustic streets to the large Salsa brass arrangements to this day. Even listening to the first 5 seconds of Cambia El Paso (change that step), you instantly recognize the sound of son, something which has almost become a national symbol for Cuba.

On a side note, Andy Harlow does a really good version of Cambia El Paso and his brother Larry does a whole tribute album to Rodríguez. Also, I think it would be cool if someone knew what the word bochinche means. I think it’s Cuban slang for “gossip” – anyway peep the Cubans yelling at each other at 1:35 minutes into the song. The Tropical/Secco label was like the Putamayo world music label of it’s day. The actual album is probably from the 60’s, but this is a collection of Arsenio’s 78’s of the 50’s. Enjoy!

1. Arsenio Rodriguez: Cambia El Paso

2. Arsenio Rodriguez: Se Formo El Bochinche

Awesome CD’s from Nicaragua

Sorry folks…I kinda ripped off the above title from another audioblog. But everything in this post is either bootlegged or stolen, so at least I’m consistent.

Anyway, I was in Nicaragua for about a week visiting family and came across some bootleg CD vendors – which is the pretty much how Nicaraguans get down with their music. I didn’t dig for any vinyl because I only had a smaller carry-on suitcase. Plus it was so fucking hot that I really didn’t want to stray to far from my cold beer. But I did get a few contacts for vinyl collections in both Managua and Leon, which I will exploit the next time I go back (October perhaps).

Despite all that, Nicaragua doesn’t really have a large music tradition like Mexico, Brazil or Colombia. I still did find some pretty cool stuff from the 60’s and 70’s. Most the music is 60’s rock, but I did manage to find a pretty dope descaraga track from Leon’s Los Hermanos Cortez, a group which was featured in Adam’s Musica Del Alma audioblog. Also, I found some music from the Atlantic coast, palo de mayo stuff, which I wrote about a while back aswell. I was going to throw up some Carlos Mejía Godoy (famous Nicaraguan folk singer), but COMMUNIST MUSIC IS BORING. ¡a la gran púchica!

1. Los Hermanos Cortez: El Apolo 9

2. Los Barbaros del Ritmo de Bluefields: Canción Desconocida

3. Los Pancho 5 Hippie: Cocktel Margarita

4. Los Rockets: Tema de William

ritmo + sabor = manteca

Just returned from out of town and found this album in my mailbox. I’ve been looking for this LP for ages (I’ve been outbid on ebay numerous times for this one). Also, you may have noticed already that it’s been heavily written about and reissued a few times, yet I still wanted to share it. This album is massive. Really nice b-boy style Afro-Latin funk from Manteca. Reminds me a bit of the Understanding Latin Rhythms song Masacote I wrote about earlier. It should too, since it also has Carlos “Patato” Valdes playing on it. I also read somewhere that Cachao may be playing electric bass on this? What the hell?

Anyway, I’ve been super busy re-working my entire life and it seems to be paying off. Change or whither away. I would really like to get more posts on this site, which is my next goal – and I also wanted to remind anyone out there that they are welcome to do a guest post anytime (unless I really don’t like what you have to offer – but that doesn’t seem to have ever been the case so far). Eamon Ore-Giron & Marcos Juarez please do a guest post, I thought you guys were my friends?

Took this off the Orgy In Rhythm audioblog – I really liked what Bacoso had to say, plus he has a full rapidshare of the entire album. I selected my 3 favortite songs, but the whole entire record is amazing. Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy!

– Sonido Franko

Super heavyweight percussion/descarga session from Pla, plus Patato Valdes and Nelson “Flaco”Padron (Cachao on Bass???). If you liked Puente in Percussion this will blow you away. Just check out the ridiculous breaks on “Afro Funky” and “Cosas De Manteca” to get a flavour of how good this is. Percussionists who were lucky enough to witness Manteca play the bongos with this group, relate tales of an enormous man who could ignite a near riot by simply coming forward from the rhythm section to the front of the stage playing wild rhythms that became more and more complex as the audience cheered him on. Lazaro Pla, known as Manteca, was a master “bongosero” who first rose to fame in 1940s Cuba when he was a featured attraction with the great pianist and composer Ernesto Lecouna and the renowned Cuban Boys, a leading exponent of the Cuban musical wave who gained international recognition and subsequently toured the globe. Although Manteca is found on many recordings originating from Cuba, only a very small amount of material exists of him as a featured soloist or as the leader of a small combo. These famed sessions took place in the United States – Miami to be exact, sometime in the early 1970s. This was a very unique session indeed as two other Cuban expatriates join Manteca in the studio – two of his early admirers who grew up listening to his rhythms: master percussionists Carlos “Patato” Valdes and the amazing Nelson “Flaco” Padron producing these two of the finest examples of incendiary Cuban percussion ever recorded. The remainder of this session’s musicians are unquoted. (I’ve heard it suggested that the legendary Cachao could be on bass but this remains unconfirmed).

– Bacoso

1. Manteca: Afro Funky

2. Manteca: Son Montuno

3. Manteca: Cosas De Manteca

Los Gaiteros De Funk

It’s in the Caribbean coastal region of Colombia where the origins of the cumbia ensemble or the conjunto de gaitas began. However, unlike most popular Latin American music – the gaita was not just the amalgamation of African (drums) and European (lyrics) traditions – but it also fused an Amerindian ( flute) element as well.

Folkloric groups from the Atlantic region of Colombia still perform this early genre of cumbia to this day. Consisting of a very deep sounding drum choir – the bombo, the tambor macho, and the tambor hembra.  Accompanied by some wild sounding flutes: flauto de millogaita macho, and the gaita hembra. It’s this Amerindian sound that the big band style cumbia seems to have removed later on, replacing these folk clarinets (fashioned from cane) with brass ensembles. I partially don’t blame them in trying to modernize the sound, sometimes this form of gaita music can be almost too idiosyncratic to listen to.

With that, I went a step further and included some tracks in this post that blend this traditional form of Colombian music with a more contemporary sound. The results are pretty amazing. From big band cumbia, to funk, to a cover of Rod Stewart’s “Do You Think I’m Sexy”. I can contest, with heavy rotation, that most these songs have been pretty effective on the dance floor. It keeps the people moving and I’m always constantly being asked where this music is from. Anyway, sorry for the lack of posts lately, I’ve been super busy. I’ll try to get some more good music out this month. Like always…Enjoy!         

1. Los Gaiteros De San Jacinto: Magdalena Ruiz

2. Cumbia Siglo XX: Los Esqueletos

3. Pedro Beltrán: Puyalo Ahi

4. Rafael Machuca: La Batalla De Flores

5. La Cumbia Moderna De Soledad: Cres Que Soy Sexy

Understanding Latin Rhythms

If anyone has noticed, I’ve been posting some really obscure records lately. I’ve been straightening out my record collection and I keep pulling albums I hardly ever play or listen to which is most likely the reason why.  Take the two instructional records Understanding Latin Rhythms for example. Not the best album for the clubs and not the best thing to listen to in it’s entirety on a Sunday morning. Unless I am trying to learn how to use a cow bell, but sadly I am not.

The only worth while track on the first volume is the heavy monster Masacote, a name taken from a style of Cuban percussion jam music. Puerto Rican José Mangual (bongo) and Cuban Carlos “Patato” Valdez (conga) really drop that heavy Nuyorican sound with this song. These two musicians have played with just about everyone, from jazz, latin jazz, to salsa. They just don’t happen to play on the second volume though, which is way more instructional than the first.

Both these albums came with instructional booklets, I posted some images up for you people. Instructional basics and an album to play along with. They didn’t have youtube in 1974. Really nice minimal stuff here nonetheless. A few essential records if you’re a beat maker aswell. Enjoy!      

1. Understanding Latin Rhythms Vol. 1: Masacote

2. Understanding Latin Rhythms Vol 2: Mambo & 6/8 Rhythms

Merengue Tipico con Tatico Henriquez

If I keep finding 45’s like this, I’m gonna have to visit the Dominican Republic someday. In fact, I think I’m going to throw my passport away and just move there. Forever.

When I hear music from people like Tatico Henriquez, it would make me consider doing something rash as this. The kinetic style of the music taps into something I suppose. Anyway, Tatico was known as one of the best accordionists of the merengue tipico. His career began in the 1960s and the early 1970s. He was known for his skill on the accordion and the addition of new instruments to a standard merengue tipico band. Unfortunately his life and career ended in a drunk driving accident in Santo Domingo. Still a huge influence in the merengue scene to this day. Enjoy!

1. Tatico Henriquez y Sus Muchachos: Cabo De Vela

2. Tatico Henriquez y Sus Muchachos: Mano Poderosa

Shark Attack Con Los Tiburones


1. Los Tiburones: La Reina Y La Cumbia

2. Los Tiburones: Descarga Tiburona

I’ve been catching some flack by some other dj’s for letting go of some of my funkier Latin numbers. And I can understand where they are coming from. I understand how some dj’s want some sort of exclusive domain over a gem they found. Maybe it’s to protect their set, I don’t know. But I don’t really care and I never have. As I see it, the music doesnt belong to me anyway and as a dj I always appreciate it when someone wants to know what you’re playing. Shit I even let people pilfer through my crate to peep all my records (as long as they dont look like they’d walk off with it). At least I have someone in the audience actually listening.

With that being said, I’m sure there will be someone in this world upset that I’m giving you this funk bomb from Colombia’s Los Tiburones (the sharks). I just got this album from Mexico and I’m really loving the blend of funk, cumbia, descarga, and gaitero music. It appears to be a commemorative record for Colombian Carnival in 1968 (most likely the Carnival of Barranquilla). A real fusion of Native, European and Afro-Colombian sounds and cultures. Which essentially is what Carnival is all about. It’s like the worlds first ever multicultural event, a party where race and class are mixed up for a time being. Pretty much a reflection of the record itself. 

The album is on the Tropical label (one of my favorites) and has the popular Aniceto Molina on accordion and Duque Palomino singing from Discos Fuentes fame.

Ok Dominicans!


Gorgeous bolero style Batchata from the Dominican Republic. The album is a split artist record between Rafael Encarnación and Fabio Sanabia and is mostly over the top romantic love songs. Lyrically I am reminded of Julio Jaramillo, vocally I think of Jamaican Desmond Dekker, and musically it is more or less similar to Cuban guajira and Puerto Rican jibaro music. The mixture of Rafael’s hypnotic voice and the amazing acoustic guitar work is really what this old school Batchata sound was all about. See my earlier post about Edilio Paredes  if you’re into something a bit more uptempo. The Fabio Sanabia side is kind of messed up, but I selected a couple cool ass songs from Señor Encarnación .

1. Rafael Encarnación: Muero Contigo

2. Rafael Encarnación: Ay Que Amor

Palo De Mayo

1. Grupo Gamma: Tu lu lu luL1000897

I had the opportunity to live and work in  Nicaragua from 1993 to 1994. I lived between my uncles house/my mother’s birthplace in Ciudad Dario and Granada . So whether I was in a bus, a bar, at a party, or in a market I probably heard this song on a daily basis.

The genre of music is actually called Palo De Mayo (The May Pole) which is a month long May Day festival on the Carribean Coast of Central America. It originated in Bluefields Nicaragua in the 17th century and the celebration includes a maypole, which is a tall wooden pole, which is decorated with several long colored ribbons suspended from the top.

The festival, the music, and the culture of the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua is in itself a potent cross-fertilization of African, Creole, Garifuna, Jamaican/Caribbean, Indigenous, and Latin cultures. The song really sounds like a mixture of traditional African rhythms, soca, paranda and Calypso style music. From what I understand, Grupo Gamma probably made a living playing parties and going door to door playing their music in the month of May. The song Tu lu lu lu pasa  (to pass) basically is naming off the people coming,  going, passing  (be it in life, death, or dance I suppose). There are various versions of the song, always naming someone different and I’ve heard a faster merengue version as well.