Following on from Nascente's best-selling "NuYorican Funk Experience" & "Brazilian Funk Experience" comes the "Cuban Funk Experience": the funkiest Cuban music from the 1960s & 70s. "Cuban Funk Experience" is the most comprehensive overview of the golden era of Cuban funk yet featuring the hottest Afro-Cuban grooves from Cuba's state record label Egrem as well as killer examples of Cuban-Funk from the Miamibased Sound Triangle label which many Cuban ex-pats recorded for in the 1970s. 2009 marks the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution and "Cuban Funk Experience" features music from the bands who led the charge of the new Cuban musical revolution. As Fidel Castro came to power he wanted to create a new Cuban culture for a new Cuba and band such as Los Van Van and Irakere - who
both feature here twice - were at the forefront with Songo - the genre they helped create which saw Afro-Cuban grooves combine with elements from funk and rock.
"Cuban Funk Experience" also features tracks from Cuban legends such as Pello el Afrokan: a percussionist and composer who created Mozambique a fusion of various Afro-Cuban grooves which featured 12 conga drums, two bass drums, three bells and a frying pan (!) as well as Orquesta Riverside, a stalwart on Cuban radio since well before the revolution who here drop a super-funky big band track with great call-and-response vocals. Coke, Abacua, Ray & His Court are some of the artists who were leading the charge for Cuban funk outside of Cuba. Recording for the Sound Triangle label in Miami these Cuban ex-pats hit a new groove in funk with the tracks featured here
ranging from conga-funk to rock-funk via Miami funk Latino - experiments in funk filtered through Latin percussion and heavy horns. "Cuban Funk Experience" is the first in our new range of "funk from around the
world" compilations and was compiled by DJ John Armstrong (the presenter of BBC Radio 2's `Viva Latina' Latin music show) and one of the UK's original Latin music DJs with an unparalleled knowledge of Cuban funk.
Cuban Funk Experience is an insightful compilation presenting some of the hardest hitting funk to come from the Cuban mainland and the expatriate community in Miami. Spanning 15 years from the early 70s to the mid 80s, a broad range of artists are presented in this impressive selection; taken from the Cuban state Label Egrem and U.S-based Sound Triangle .
The differences, both subtle and obvious, between the Cuba- and Miami-based artists give this album an interesting duality. The Cuban tracks stand out for their sense of raw hardness, though the American numbers are not without merit. Tracks like Ray And His Court's E Eso Nada helped popularise the Cuban sound internationally and acts as an example as to why Latin funk has retained its appeal.
The range here should impress even the most well -versed Latin audience. Pello El Afrokan's Las Jardineras is a rare masterpiece of Afro-Cuban sound, whilst Coke's Nana is only just identifiable as Cuban. As such, Cuban Funk Experience offers the listener a unique snapshot of the Cuban musical dynasty with a fair proportion of tracks and artists coming to light for the first time.
It's also an important album as it highlights the symbiotic relationship between Miami and Cuba in terms of the fusion of styles and influence. It is no surprise that Afro-Cuban Styles can be so effortlessly combined with American Funk; but what is remarkable is the sheer eclecticism of musical styles that this marriage of genres gave birth to. --Johnny Lais
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