For our new show, “Music in a Changing Cuba,” producer Ned Sublette put together a playlist of new videos from some of the hottest artists coming out of Cuba today. Take out a little time and indulge yourself with these:
Charanga Habanera– “La Pegadara”
The video for “La Pegadara” depicts Charanga Habanera as patients at a mental hospital, treated by some particularly foxy nurses. Shots of shock therapy are intertwined with some bizarre scenes involving German shepherds, military garb and leather chokers, along with rain-soaked dancing on a soccer field. The track’s caliente rhythm and punchy horn playing match the outlandish visuals. That visual flair got the band in trouble back in the ’90s, when they were banned from performance for six months by the Cuban government.
Charanga Habanera– “Olvida Que Te Olvide”
Charanga Habanera make the list again for what can only be described as quite possibly the best music video ever made. The video for the much more tender sounding “Olvida Que Te Olvide” depicts each band member torturously, yet somehow lightheartedly, contemplating suicide after breakups. One holds a crystal ball from the edge of a rooftop; another, fully clothed, lets the shower soak up his searing emotions. There’s also a badass harmonica solo. And, don’t worry, a happy ending for everyone!
El Micha– “Bla Bla Bla”
Reggaeton star El Micha has a simple and tremendously effective formula for “Bla Bla Bla”: sing-rapping, catchy chorus, primary colors, chains. We’re not arguing with it.
Osmani Garcia– “Flotando (Miami Version)”
Osmani Garcia is another reggaeton singer, who, like Charanga Habanera, has run into some trouble with the Cuban authorities for the raunchy subject matter of his track “Chupi Chupi.” “Flotando (Miami Version)” is a straight-up banger and the video is appropriately packed with jet skis.
Gente de Zona– “Salte del Sartén/Cocina (ft. Made in Cuba)”
Another reggaeton track, “Salte del Sartén/Cocina” is a bit more traditional sounding than “Flotando” and “Bla Bla Bla,” with instrumental backing reminiscent of other Cuban genres. The festive video features cakes to the face, balloons, and plenty of clowning around in a cozy little Havana restaurant called La Pachanga.
Check out the full playlist below!