Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Homenaje: Alberto Zayas "El Melodioso" - Ibae

Alberto Zayas "El Melodioso"
14 February 1908 — ??? 1983

Today marks what would have been Alberto Zayas' 99th birthday. Undeservedly obscure, Zayas was leader of one of the first recorded rumba groups, "Lulu Yonkorí," also known simply as "Grupo Folklorico de Alberto Zayas." The group's first record, "El Vive Bien" was the first big rumba "hit," inspiring Puchito's owner to record Los Muñequitos, and making a star out of singer Roberto Maza, who became known as "El Vive Bien." (Unfortunately, Maza's promising career was cut short when he was killed in a pool hall in 1960, according to Jordi Pujol in the liner notes to the CD reissue on Tumbao.)

Original Cover of "El Yambú de los Barrios" CD Reissue.

Billboard review of Alberto Zaya's first recording, 1961

Alberto can also be seen narrarating Sara Gómez' documentary "...y tenemos sabor," a clip of which you can see here.




To celebrate we are posting this rare unavailable-on-CD disc, released in the US on Capitol as "Hi-Fi Cuban Drums." While not of quite the same historical importance as "Guaguanco Afro-cubano," it is still an interesting recording, including what must be among the earliest recordings of Abakuá.


The rather overheated liner notes begin:

THIS IS A MAD ALBUM. It Swings. It is all unrehearsed. And it offers the purest — the most authentic — sampling of Afro-Cuban drumming ever recorded.
A man named Ramón S. Sabat spent two days and three nights rounding up the top drummers in Cuba. He went into the hills far from Havana, persuading the favorite percussionists of the Island to return with him for a record date in Havana.


Ramón Sabat
is the founder of the famous Panart records, which we can assume originally released this album as Afro-Frenetic Tambores de Cuba (Panart LP-3053), and attributed to "GRUPO AFRO-CUBANO dirigido por Alberto Zayas."




Beyond that there is not much in the way of facts on the liner notes. The album seems pitched to a suburban audience looking for exotic ways to show off their new Hi-Fi's and uninterested in things like personnel lists and recording dates.

Track list:

ANGOA (Conga Amaliana)
CHA CHA CHA CUBANA
ACERE (Paso Nañigo)
BWANA TAMBOOLA (Ritmo Macuta)
CONGA (Conga de Carnaval)
YENGUELE MARIA (Montuno)
ORIZA (Bembé Lecumi) [sic]
BONGOSERA

Cristobal Diaz Ayala's discography lists some other Zayas recordings that have yet to be reissued, if anyone has them please let us know:

Two guaguancós on 78s from 1956:

El guaguancó de los países
En el Edén de los Roncos

And an LP called "El guaguansón: Alfredito Zayas y su grupo folklorico" (Panart LP 2088). [The interior labels get it right and use "Alberto Zayas."]

Download "Hi-Fi Cuban Drums" here.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

yo solo quiero agradecer por la musica a la que se puede acceder
desde este blog,
si quieren tengo mas rumbas para intercambiar , no son raras como estas pero estan buenas
slds,
Ciro

Barry said...

Gracias Ciro!

Si tienes grabaciones de rumba que no están disponibles en el mercado, estamos interesados, mejor enviarme un email: guarachon63 (arroba) gmail.com

saludos de
Barry

MIke said...

Never underestimate the power of suburban 1960s hi-fi! My parents were both Arthur Murray dance teachers who weaned me on Afro-Cuban and bossa - what a great time to be alive! :) Thanks for all your music downloads and best wishes.

orientecubano said...

Thank you!
Link to download EL GUAGUANSON:
http://link-protector.com/536819/

from: http://fidelseyeglasses.blogspot.com/

Pharoah said...

Muchisimas gracias por Hi Fi Cuban Drums. Yo tengo este disco.

Anonymous said...

Quiero hacer una observación. No creo que Alberto Zayas, el Melodioso, haya muerto en el año 1983. Aunque en este momento no puedo recordar la fecha exacta, me parece que fue después de ese año. Yo fui amiga de él en la última etapa de su vida. Me contó que como no aceptaba ninguna remuneración monetaria del estado cubano ni cobraba derecho de autor por sus creaciones, se buscaba la vida vendiendo las estatuillas representativas del folclor afrocubano que él mismo tallaba en madera, las que vestía con tela de yute y retazos de otros tejidos. Yo le compré algunas de ellas, pero desgraciadamente no las conservo. Dirigía un grupo de músicos aficionados que cultivaba los ritmos tradicionales cubanos, principalmente en las actividades de la Casa de la Trova "Juan Arrondo", en Guanabacoa, institución que lo patrocinaba. Tuve la suerte de deleitarme con su música en vivo. De esa etapa conservo algunas fotos en las que él y su grupo aparecen. Lo estimé y valoré mucho. Él era muy respetado en el ambiente cultural guanabacoense de entonces.

Barry said...

Gracias por sus valiosos comentarios sobre Alberto Zayas. Me gustaría conversar más contigo, escribeme a guarachon63@gmail.com.

Barry

AMN said...

Given Download Link Is Broken,
I Really Need The Song "ACERE"
Any Ways To Ge It ?
Please Help Anyone ?
Im Waiting For The Reply

Regards
AMN1208