(Le Chant du Monde, LDX 4250).
Carnavals tour stops for sure in Cuba, through the release of this LP by french label Le Chant du Monde. Liner notes from the cuban writer Alejo Carpentier remind the historical background of original african and Spanish influences blending in Santiago, the second city founded in Cuba. Later influences came from so-called "French Negroes", slaves from Haiti, very close to Santiago (La Habana being on the opposite side of the island). French musical influence transformed by African slaves in Haiti appeared, and a more surprising element achieves to make this a dense mixture: the chinese trumpet, initally imported but which became an integral element of Santiago carnaval music. Alejo Carpentier follows the chronological steps of carnaval history with Batista disctatorship (1952-59), during which such events were reduced to a "on request" demonstration of happiness. Finally he indroduces the benefits of cuban revolution, allowing the renewal of this traditional cuban heritage, for both black and white people. Date of the Carnaval was changed to 26th of July (anniversary of Castro 1st failed coup in 1953), as promoting a celebration defined by religious calendar does not sounds very communist...
The album presents 60s recordings, street ambiance and improvisations. I'm not sure that the jazzy guitar on Rolando Aguilo's descarga is representative of the typical cuban guitar, but Moises Simons, being the original composer of El Manicero, plays a authentical "pregon" (how are called the shouting of street vendors).
Piruso y su Boina (descarga) :
Manicero (pregon) :
Carabali Burundanga (chinese trumpet) :
Carnaval music in Colombia, Trinidad.
More about Cuba on Muzzicaltrips HERE.