Cuban son continues to be heard very well around the world. Once again, the Septeto Santiaguero has been nominated for a Latin Grammy, this time for their CD No quiero llanto. Tributo a Los Compadres, in the category of Best Traditional Tropical album, according to the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in the United States.
No quiero llanto. Tributo a Los Compadres, is a Septeto Santiaguero co-production with Dominican salsero José Alberto El Canario, from the Los Canarios Music studio, although it has been distributed in Cuba since March under a license granted to Cuba’s EGREM.
The disc contains a selection of exquisitely finished tracks, and is a tribute to one of the most important duos in Cuban music: Los Compadres, born during a 1949 performance when Lorenzo Hierrezuelo was obliged to find someone to take the place of María Teresa Vera, and recruited Francisco Repilado, with whom he had worked during the 1930s in the Hatuey Quartet.
The duo was originally composed of just Francisco Repilado, Compay Segundo, the low voice, and Lorenzo Hierrezuelo, Compay Primo, although during performances they often added musicians on bongo, bass and güiro.
In 1953, Compay Segundo was replaced by Reynaldo Hierrezuelo, known as Rey Caney, who along with his brother made history, leaving their mark on popular Cuban music with a unique vocal style and their own original interpretation of son.
Throughout the 1960s they took son sabroso as far as Tokyo and Moscow, across Latin America and Europe.
The nominated album is dedicated to the city of Santiago de Cuba and includes the participation of eminent musicians from the country’s eastern region: Eliades Ochoa, Tiburón Morales, the Hoyos Conga, the Orfeón Santiago Choir, and the Oriente Symphony Orchestra.
Also featured are several other Latin American stars, including Andy Montañez, Oscar D’ León, Aymee Nuviola, Ismael Miranda and Edwin Bonilla.
The Septeto Santiaguero was founded in 1995 and is celebrating its 20th anniversary, under the direction of tres player Fernando Dewar. The group has continued to evolve and mature, synthesizing in its repertory the legacy of traditional son with a contemporary vision.
Since their first CD, entitled simply Septeto Santiaguero, until the most recent, their maxim has always been respect for their predecessors. This is easily verified in their early recordings of “La pulidora,” “La chismosa,” “Para los bailadores” and “Los mangos bajitos,” but also their latest, such as “Oye mi Son santiaguero,” and “Vamos pa’ la fiesta.”
In 2011, the Septeto Santiaguero won a Cubadisco Prize in the category of Traditional Popular Music, with the CD Oye mi Son santiaguero, produced by the Catalonian label PICAP, which for over 15 years has supported the most authentic promoters of traditional Cuban music.
The Septet is very versatile and most of the members are composers as well.
While they will never forego classic sones, both veteran and younger musicians contribute their original work to the group’s repertory. The work of José Luis Lozada, Sergio Cardona, José de Jesús Llanes and Clemente Hechevarría has already made a mark on the group’s discography.
In previous Grammy competitions, the Septeto Santiaguero garnered nominations for Oye mi Son santiaguero, in 2011, and Vamos pa’ la fiesta, in 2013.
The Latin Grammy has become one of the most prestigious awards on the region’s musical scene and Cuban musicians and groups are increasingly attracting attention, continuing the island’s longstanding musical tradition.
Also nominated in this 16th edition is Iván “Melón” Lewis, exceptional Cuban pianist, composer and jazzman, who is competing in the categories of Best New Artist and Best Latin Jazz Album (Ayer y hoy) released by Cezanne Producciones.
Melón is known from the 1990s salsa boom era for the novel rhythms he introduced as part of Isaac Delgado’s band.
Also nominated was El Alma Del Son – Tributo A Miguel Matamoros, from Trinidad’s Alain Pérez, which is competing in the same Best Traditional Tropical Album, along with No quiero llanto.
Exciting as well is the nomination in the short video category of Ojos color sol, by the Puerto Rican duo Calle 13, accompanied by Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez.