Thursday, 9 July 2009

Bach in Havana (Review)

We will never know if Bach would have picked up a conga drum had he been around nowadays, but we can be pretty certain that given his penchant for experimentation, the famous German composer would probably have dabbled in a little bit of Latin fusion. And just to prove this point Tiempo Libre has released an excellent record where they have mixed Bach's timeless tunes with a powerhouse Cuban sound.

What at first might look like an odd pairing soon becomes a seductive offer from a band that has been twice nominated for the Grammy. 'Bach in Havana' is an electrifying 11-track album that travels the musical diapason of that Caribbean island.

'Tu Conga Bach', the first song of the record and based on the Fugue for C Minor, starts with the brass section ushering in an array of instruments such as: percussion, bass, drums and cowbells. Maybe if Scheibe had heard this he would never have famously accused Bach of removing the beauty of harmony.

The Sonata in D Minor is reworked as a tasty cha-cha-cha. Then, on the third track, Air on a G String, the first guest appears and he is none other than Mr Paquito D'Rivera, saxophonist par excellence. He provides an exquisite solo sax that would not have been out of place in 18th century Germany.

The overall production and arrangements are exquisite and the group clearly has a great deal of appreciation for Johann's music. 'Olas de Yemaya' (Yemaya's Waves), based on the Prelude in C Major from the Well-Tempered Clavier book, sounds like a mournful lament blending the bata drums with the piano.

Tiempo Libre's latest offering represents not just the new generation in Cuban music: risk-taking, irreverent and experimental, but also they symbolise the endurance of classical music throughout the centuries and the ways in which it can be reinterpreted for contemporary audiences.


Copyright 2009

Next Post: 'Song for a Summer Sunday Morning' to be published on Sunday 12th July at 10am (GMT)

24 comments:

  1. Ooh, this is fun! I like the long giraffe-neck dance lines and the music is great. Thank you Cuban in London!

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  2. Spicy HOT!! Super cool, Mr. Cuban. Love it.

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  3. I'm proud to say that Cubans are so innovative. Love the sound!

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  4. ¡Que descarga chico!
    Con esta música comienzo este fin de semana así que ¡estupendo!

    Besos

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  5. I will have to listen when I get home from work - but Bach in Havana? I just love Cuba <3

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  6. Many thanks to you all for your kind comments.

    Greetings from London.

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  7. Sweet! The ole codger would have taken off his powdered wig and let his own hair down.

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  8. I love Tiempo Libre! Leave it to Cubans to think about mixing those rhythms with Bach! I'm not sure that anybody else could have pulled it off.

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  9. Well, live and learn, CiL. It sounds like party music to me, pure and simple, Bach or no Bach. I will take your word for it that his presence is to be found amidst this music.

    It was fun to listen to and fun to watch. Thank you.

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  10. haha, I went to a concert they gave here in Tallahassee like 3 months ago. Although I am a rock lover, I can really appreciate GOOD Cuban Music and MOVE!
    I have to say que me menee muchisimo with these boys, and with the conga. I missed having Cubans there, as I couldn't dance properly...meaning hacer una conga de verdad, rica, y arrollarrrrrrr.
    They are really good.
    Thanks London

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  11. hello cuban, hello london, i've seen your comments at some of my favorite blogs, including tessa and renee's and i thought it was high time i stopped by and said hello.

    :)

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  12. Me encantan mi bro. Poco a poco Miami va levantando.
    tu verAAAAAA. ;)

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  13. a bailar y a gozar con el clavicembalo.

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  14. Hi again, I have a question for you again ! One of my readers has asked whether they can buy tickets to the Royal Ballet's shows in Cuba, and if so, how. I don't know whether they are based in the UK or Cuba, but I've been given no indication that there are any tickets left. I wondered whether you might know how things work in Cuba in tersm of booking for performances at the main theatres ? Thank you

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  15. As always, thanks for posting. Enjoyed the video.

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  16. thanks...I also very much enjoy the transformation...

    as for the Bach remixed, I didn't understand the chatter before the song, but the music was more easily comprehended

    good stuff

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  17. I loved both the music and dances. Somehow, both remainded me a bit of my time in Angola :) - good memories - thank you!

    Greetings,
    Kacper

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  18. Many thanks to you all for you kind comments. Kacper, one of the first slave groups to be brought to Cuba were the Bantus, who settled in the Angola and Congo regions. Cuban music has a lot of influence from that particular culture.

    Greetings from London.

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  19. Buenisima! Have you heard Klazz Brothers, Mozart Meets Cuba?

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  20. No, Lena, pero en canto tenga un diez, lo busco y te comento. Gracias por pasar y por aparecer.

    Saludos desde Londres.

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  21. I like the idea of the mixture of different music. Especially if it will get younger audiences to appreciate the classical genre.

    I noticed Lena's comment. Will you be reviewing the Klazz Brothers, Mozart Meets Cuba? That sounds interesting.

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  22. Many thanks, diva. I had never heard of the Klazz Brothers, so I will have to start getting acquainted with their music first :-).

    Greetings from London.

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