Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Salsa: Issac Delgado, Manolito Simonet

Let's focus on what's happening in Cuban salsa at the moment..

Nobody noticed when Cuban salsero Issac Delgado fled the island and settled in Florida last year. Though he was living the life of a star, and could travel freely all over the world, he decided to defect to the US because of his artistic integrity.

In Cuba, the Ministry of Culture dictates which way things are going to go in music, literature and art. Everything is channeled, and one can't step out of those boundaries. I didn't feel free to do what I wanted because the ruling system tells you exactly where you can work and what you can do.

An honorable decision, in my opinion. More so because of the 'jinx' that seems to hang over emigrated Cuban musicians: most have seen their career torpedoed after the jump (like Manolín, a.k.a. El Médico de la Salsa).

Issac instantly throws overboard the timba he helped to boom in the early 90's (when he was singer of NG La Banda, pioneers of the fast-paced Cuban salsa rhythm). His first US album En Primera Plana leans more towards the slower Puertorican and New York salsa his new audience is used to. Here's the first single, in duet with Puertorican salsero Victor Manuelle: "La Mujer Que Mas Te Duele". I must say I liked his previous work better, although this is still an ace salsa song if you're into the more romantic stuff.

Manolito Simonet, on the other hand, is still safe and sound on the island. And making some great music in the meantime! "Comunicate" is timba the way I like it: catchy, sexy, and lots of improvisation. No wonder he won this year's Cubadisco Award for 'Best Dance Music'. His orchestra (Trabuco) even manages to make violins sound tropical and sensual, and Manolito himself has a versatile and characterful voice. I feel like travelling to Cuba again this year ;)

Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco - Comunicate mp3 buy@Amazon
Issac Delgado ft. Victor Manuelle - La Mujer Que Mas Te Duele mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon


Julian Drago said...

I'm a big fan of your blog, I learn a lot about current happenings from it.

I've just started up a Latin music blog of my own focusing on rare and classic Latin jams. Care to list me as a link and I'll do the same?


Thanks, and keep up the good work!

Chapín said...

Looks like you know quite a deal about latin music! I'll follow your blog, you only have the bad luck I cleaned up my link section just yesterday ;) Anyway, if you link to me, you should end up in the "Sites That Link Here" part soon!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Intersting quotes in this article:

Issac Delgado is ready to test the free market
The singer hopes to find stardom in the U.S., something that has eluded other Cuban defectors.
By Agustin Gurza
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

June 16, 2007

"The singer admits making some concessions — letting George select most of the songs, softening those driving Cuban bass lines and slowing down the tempo for more conservative stateside salsa tastes." "Being here doesn't give me any greater control over things, such as whether I can get the radio to play my songs or not," the singer says. "The only thing I can control is myself and my willingness to work and expose my music a little more to the public, which will have the last word. That's the biggest censor an artist can have — the public that listens to your music."'

Chapín said...

Yeah I read that too. I think Delgado is a bit afraid that the US market won't like his (former) Cuban style of salsa, because they're used to the slower Puerto Rican/New York variety.

So it's kinda strange to defect because he can't do what he wants, while in the US he can't really do what he wants either. He needs the producer of Marc Anthony to pick the songs.

Of course, what he wants most, is to be succesful, and then the small concessions he has to make to break through in the States don't compare.

chipboaz said...

I think it's too bad that Issac decided to blend into the generic Salsa sound. He does have a great voice, but he's just one of many there. His timba work is just off the hook - I think he'd knock people over with a return to that sound! Time will tell . . .

Swing by my blog if you get a chance - The Latin Jazz Corner - http://www.chipboaz.com/blog

Thanks for the great blog!

monza said...

really great video thanks for sharing