Tuesday, August 28, 2007

45th Anniversary of the Conjunto Folklorico Nacional

Back in July, we posted a full scan of the program from the début performance of the Conjunto Folklórico Nacional (which you can find here).

Well thankfully that wasn't enough for our own truly indefatigable and lovably obsessive over-achiever Patrice Banchereau, who was inspired to start a full-blown blog in tribute to the momentous occasion:

It's in French, but even if you don't understand the language we're sure you'll find plenty there to keep you entertained for a long time. He's included every photograph and all text from the program, plus posters, video, and photo galleries dedicated to members past and present of the Conjunto. Really an astounding work and an invaluable resource.

He also has a section with photos of members he is still trying to identify, called "¿Pero Quien Son Esa Gente?" so take a look and if you recognize anyone, drop him a line.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Voice of the Leopard: Ned Sublette and Ivor Miller on Abakuá

This came today from Ned Sublette:

Earlier this month I sent out a transcript of an interview I did in the
process of producing "Voice of the leopard" -- an episode of afropop
worldwide's hip deep with Dr. Ivor Miller about his work with Abakuá in Cuba
and Ekpe in Calabar.

For those who are interested, the program we made is now up and streaming at


It's an incredible story, and the music's great.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Left Hand Clave; Right Hand Quinto

After a brief hiatus, our friend Antoine Miniconi has started posting regular updates, including videos for download, to his site dedicated to those kings of guarapachangueo, Los Chinitos.

Here is a nice bit of Piri practicing a little exersize playing quinto with his right hand and clave with his left...don't try this at home!

More at http://www.apozo82.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 03, 2007

Carlos Embale: El Edén de los Roncos and "Consuélate como yo"

Carlos Embale
3 August 1923 — 12 March 1998

(Photo: Leonel Constantino)

One of the great voices in Cuban music, the rumbero and sonero Carlos Embale was born 84 years ago today.

He got his break at 13, winning a spot on the old "Corte Suprema del Arte" radio program, but he didn't start singing rumba professionally until much later. As he told Maria del Carmen Mestas:
"A fines de 1954, Piñeiro, Urfé y Ortiz me hicieron como una especie de complot para que yo cantara guaguancó, porque hasta estos momentos lo que más hacía eran boleros, canciones y el son. Yo sabía muchas rumbas porque tenía un hermano [Luis Embale] que murió joven, que cantaba como nadie el guaguancó; he conocido destacados intérpretes de esa música, pero como Luis ninguno; es lástima que su voz, como la de Pedro Quevedo, no quedara grabada..." (de "Pasión de Rumbero," María del Carmen Mestas)

(My translation:)
At the end of 1954, [Ignacio] Piñeiro, [Odilio] Urfé and [Rafael] Ortiz sort of conspired to get me to sing guaguancó, because up until then I mostly did boleros, canciones, and sones. I knew many rumbas because I had a brother [Luis Embale] who died young, that sang guaguancó like no-one else. I've known many well-known interpreters of this music, but nobody like Luis. It's a shame that his voice, like that of Pedro Quevedo, was never recorded..."
Reading this, I'm always left pondering our great loss that we'll never hear Luis or Pedro.

Fortunately for us, Carlos' inimitable voice was recorded. (Check out "Rumbero Mayor" and our compilation of unreleased-on-CD Embale tracks, here.)

We are also fortunate to have a couple of videos to share today. The first one features Carlos singing "El Edén de los roncos" and "Consuélate como yo" which he dedicates to its author, Gonzalo Acensio, "Tio Tom."

Compositor: Ignacio Piñeiro
Estilo: Guaguancó

Cuando tú, tu desengaño veas
De tantas ilusiones vanas que te alientan
Buscarás los lugares más oscuros
Para poder llorar a solas tantas penas
Mientras yo al verte adolorida y triste
Le cuento al mundo mis hazañas nuevas
Y a ti, te digo nena linda no te atrevas
A provocar más nunca
La ira de Los Roncos
Ah, de Los Roncos, ¡óye!

Coro: Ven a gozar, pinareña ven

Compositor: Gonzalo Asencio
Estilo: Guaguancó

Pero consuélate como yo
Que yo también tuve un amor
Y lo perdí
Y por eso digo ahora
Ya yo no vuelvo a querer
¿De qué te sirvió el querer?
Si a ti el amor te traicionó
Como a mí

Coro: Por eso ahora, ya yo no vuelvo a querer

The second video is a compilation of short clips from the same session, but found in two different documentaries. One from "La Rumba" (1974, Oscar Valdés) and the other from a documentary which aired on Greek television. A very short segment, but a smoking hot rumba.