VARIOUS ARTISTS / “Cuban Classics”

Cuban Classics Mixtape is slightly misleading. We feature diverse versions of two songs, only one of which, “Guantanamera,” is really a Cuban song, the other, “Perfidia,” is actually of Mexican origin. I probably would have called this Mixtape by another name if I had realized that “Perfidia” was not Cuban. But on the other hand, this Mixtape features some of the most iconic of Cuban musicians both historically and also from the contemporary scene.

“Guantanamera” is credited to Jose Fernandez Diaz, aka Joseito Fernandez, with some controversy about whether another musician, Herminio “El Diablo” Garcia Wilson, didn’t also contribute to the development of the song. There is no doubt that the song is the best known and best loved native Cuban song and that it was first popularized by Fernandez.

The Mixtape includes several important interpretations. Two in particular stand out. The opening version is by Beny Moré, who is considered the king of popular, 20th century Cuban vocalists. The concluding version is by Celia Cruz, who has a virtual lock on the most loved and respected female Cuban vocalist. Cruz’s version is a live recording that demonstrates her power as well as her popularity with her audiences.

The other versions range from a quiet, acoustic combination of Cuban guitars and African (Mali) strings (kora) from the recent album AfroCubism to hip hop versions by Hip Hop Hoodios, Pitbull and Wyclef Jean. Most but not all of the interpretations feature Cuban artists who range in style from the traditional approach of the song’s composer Joseito Fernandez to an amazing vocal choral (you might even say Afro-Cuban doo wop) display by Vocal Sampling.

“Perfidia” was composed by Mexican musician Alberto Dominguez. There are literally hundreds of recorded versions of this song, which has also been used in numerous movies including the ever-popular classic, Casablanca.

During the mambo craze of the forties and fifties in the United States, Xavier Cugat had a big hit with an early version. I’m partial to the jazzy arrangement by Perez Prado who was nicknamed the “King of the Mambo.” My two favorite versions are by vocalist Nat King Cole and Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba.

This Cuban Classics Mixtape is guaranteed to put you in a happy mood and/or pull you out on the dance floor. Another way to put it, this is feel good music with a Latin twist.

—Kalamu ya Salaam

Cuban Classics Mixtape Playlist

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01  Benny Moré en vivo - Benny Moré

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02 AfroCubism - AfroCubism

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03 Guantanamera & Other Cuban Favorites - Elmer Ferreira

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04 Cuba: I Am Time - Joselito Fernandez

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05 Richard Egües & Friends - Richard Egües

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06 La Coleccion Cubana - Omara Portuondo

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07 Alive Alive-O! - Jose Feliciano

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08 Album De Cuba - Lucrecia

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09 De lo oculto, lo popular Lissy Alvarez y su Quinteto de la Habana – Aissy Alvarez

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10 Dos Cuba L.A. – Dos Cuba L.A.

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11 Calle Salud - Compay Segundo

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12 GUANTANAMERA Un tributo a Cuba – Miguel

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13 Carne Masada - Hip Hop Hoodios

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14 Armando - Pitbull

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15 Carnival - Wyclef Jean

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16 Cambio de Tiempo - Vocal Sampling

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17 Exitos Eternos - Celia Cruz

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18 The Best of Perez Prado - Perez Prado

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19 Grand Exitos 2 - Nat King Cole

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20 Canta Boleros en Tropicana - Pablo Milanes

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21 Vozes do Brasil - joanna

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22 The Legendary Okeh and Epic Recordings - Ahmad Jamal

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23 Bolero Jazz - Eloisa Martin

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24 Mi Sueño - Ibrahim Ferrer

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25 The Latin Touch - Laura Fygi

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26 L-O-V-E - Issac Delgado

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27 The Spanish Remixes - Nat King Cole

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28 Imagine - Gonzalo Rubalcaba

This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 at 10:58 am and is filed under Cover. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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