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Cuban music and musicians shine in Latin Grammys

Changui guantanameroCuban music and musicians garnered most of the nominations in the 2020 Latin Grammy’s Best Traditional Tropical Album category, announced September 29.

Of the five phonograms competing, three feature groups from the island and two are from Cuba’s Egrem studios, but all are connected to the cultural resources that have made Cuba one of the most fertile territories in the continent’s musical tradition.

‘Este es nuestro changüí,’ recorded at Egrem’s Siboney Studios in Santiago de Cuba, founded 40 years ago on the initiative of Comandante de la Revolución and composer Juan Almeida Bosque, honors one of the primary genres of the son family, featuring the work of one of its strongest proponents, the Changüí Guantanamero.

The successful updating of our traditions is presented in another album from Egrem, ‘Faílde con tumbao,’ by the Faílde orchestra, from Matanzas, which presents innovative dance arrangements and the setting to music by Pedro Pablo Cruz of the famous sonnet by Carilda Oliver Labra, ‘Me desordeno,’ performed by Omara Portuondo.

Puntilla Records, based in the United States, is distributing the most recent production from the Aragon, on the occasions of the band’s 80th anniversary, Icono, recorded in Manolito Simonet’s Havana studio, including anthological pieces from their repertoire and new contributions from the group’s director Rafaelito Lay and Aquella chica, by Lazaro Dagoberto Gonzalez.

The remaining albums all feature a Cuban presence: ‘Soy puro teatro,’ by Venezuelan Mariaca Semprún, is a tribute to the strong artistic personality of La Lupe; and ‘Pa’lante,’ by Cuban-American flutist Ernesto Fernández, incorporates the collaborations of his well-known colleague Orlando Valle (Maraca) – with a solo in ‘El bodeguero’ – and his brother Yumurí, as well as percussionist Pedrito Martínez, who has enjoyed a remarkable career in New York.

Our irrepressible Omara Portuondo is one of the five finalists in the Best Contemporary Tropical Fusion Album, with ‘Mariposas,’ licensed by Bis Music, in which she performs the creations of the prolific Cuban composer Jessee Suárez. Also competing are Colombians Carlos Vives and El Caribefunk, in addition to Dominicans Riccie Oriach and Prince Royce.

Not to be overlooked is the nomination of Canadian musician of Cuban origin, Alex Cuba, in the category of Best Singer-songwriter Album, for ‘Sublime.’

(Taken from Granma)

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