World Circuit Records, the label that put Buena Vista Social Club in everyone’s Discman, continues its mission of highlighting some great vintage Cuban music with Cha Cha Cha, a remastered album from Abelardo Barroso and Orquesta Sensación, stars of the Havana charanga scene in the 1950s. Label head Nick Gold describes Barroso’s recordings as “Charm, passion, artistry and swing in three-minute masterpieces.” To celebrate the release of that album, World Circuit gave us a brief but potent Spotify playlist featuring a track from the album, “En Guantanamó” and a few songs from Barroso’s contemporaries in different old-school Cuban styles. Enjoy!
“Me Bote de Guano” by Arsenio Rodríguez is a “classic from the giant of Cuban music,” says Gold. The blind tresero was one of the most innovative musicians in Cuban history, bringing rootsy son into the urban popular music scene in Cuba, and revolutionizing the genre by adding tumbadora (known as congas elsewhere). Rodriguez lived out his last years in New York and his music laid the groundwork for the New York salsa music of the ’60s and ’70s.
“Santa Bárbara” by Celina González (co-written with her husband and musical collaborator Reutilio Domínguez) is a powerful tribute to the the santo or Catholic saint associated with the Yoruba deity Changó in the Santería religion. González was a powerful singer, mastering traditional guajiro, punto, guaracha and son styles.