In Russian this phrase means hola a los todos, or hello everybody.
As the phrase suggests, today I’ll be covering a fantastic Russian salsa band, which is called Cuba Jam.
This band was formed in Leningrad, Russian, in 2005, by a group of music academy students, which are the main component of the bands’ members, which changed several times during the years since 2005.
Like many Latin bands usually do, the band started by playing Buena Vista Social Club, and various other Son \ Salsa classics, but since those humble beginnings, has extended its repertoire to original Timba, Salsa and Mambo compositions, Latin jazz, and much more.
In 2012 the band released their debut album, “Con Alegria Pa’lante”, which contains 11 tracks, 10 of which are of various styles of Salsa (spanning from Timba to Salsa Romantica) and 1 is a rhythmic and groovy Cha Cha tune.
Nowadays the band is one of the hottest in Europe, performs at various concert halls, salsa festivals and general events, and shares the stage with such giant as El Gran Combo and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra.
Interestingly, the band is all Russian, with the exception of their lead singer, Boris Hecha, who is a son of a Cuban father and a Russian mother…
It even served as a line during the cuerpo of the song I present you here today, “Ritmo Ruso” (which means Russian Rhythm) :
“el tiempo fue pasando,
y el Cuba Jam estaba buscando la combinacion
del ritmo y el sabor… para que goze mi bailador
*la Cubania de mi padre, la sangre Rusa de mi madre*
me dio… sentir el tumbao… y de la salsa estar enamora(d)o ! ”
So, here it is…
Notice the very interesting guia (gear) \ breakdown which starts at 02:18, is at 6/8 time, and is a fusion of elements from Rumba Columbia and traditional Russian folk music!
Good day folks.
1st, I wish to apologize for not posting last week; I was away at a salsa event, and had neither the time or computer access to make a blog entry.
But now we are back on track!
Today, September 6th, is the birthday of the amazingly talented musician, singer, composer, writer and arranger of Grupo Danzon, and more recently, Havana De Primera, Alexander Abreu.
Born Alexander Abreu Manresa at Cienfuegos, Cuba, on September 6th 1976, he exhibited interest in music since an early age.
As a child, Alexander was a singer in a group named Ismaelillo.
Later, by the age of 18, Alexander graduated the National School of Arts (ENA) at Havana.
After graduation, Alexander continued his studies at the ENA, this time studying trumpet, and later becoming a trumpet teacher.
After that, Alexander got to work with various artists and musicians at Cuba and all over the world; he became a guest professor at the RMC conservatory at Copenhagen, Denmark; worked for more that 6 years with Paulito FG y Su Elite, with which he first participated at the recordings of a music CD; worked for a voluntary project for the benefit of the children of Africa named Pavarotti & friends, alongside with Sting, Andrea Bocceli, Pavarotti and James Brown; Played with Irakere, studying their unique musical style; was a Grammy award nominee with the Symphonic Orchestra of Cuba; took part in the Team Cuba project, along side Juan Formell, Isaac Delgado, and other primera linea Cuban musicians at 1998; also played and sang in various CDs of many of Cuba’s greatest bands & musicians including Klimax, Isaac Delgado, Pachito Alonso, Mayito Rivera, Yumuri, Adalberto Alvarez, Haila, Los Van Van, Manolin, La Charanga Habanera, Buena Vista Social Club, Los Papines, and many, many more…
In 2005, while at Denmark, Alexander joined Grupo Danzon, then very much a traditional Cuban music band, playing mostly Son, Charanga and Bolero.
Alexander changed that – the group was now making a unique, trademark variation of Timba; it was so successful that their 1st CD, “Mi Musica”, is considered one of the best Timba CDs of that year, and it’s title track, “Mi Musica” also won the Djembe award for best world music track of 2005.
To most Timba fans, this was the 1st exposure to the the genius of Alexander .
In 2008, Alexander got together some 14 of the best musicians in Cuba, forming Havana De Primera.
As he himself says, the idea behind the creation of the band was to bring back the spirit, the back wind to the Cuban music scene, to revive the movement of the 90’s, the “Golden Era” of Timba.
And so he did, with a blend of top of the line musicians, and a great variety of musical styles fused into Timba, from Son and Guaguanco, to Merengue and Calipso, creating a masterpiece much properly named “Haciendo Historia” (making history), in 2009.
The band’s 2nd album, “Pasaporte”, which came out at 2012, continues the same line of thought and action, mixing together various styles into the Timba blend, thus becoming one of the most loved and appreciated Timba albums of the recent years.
The musical style of Havana De Primera offers great diversity, from modern Son, like “Ahora, Que Buscas?” or “Despues De Un Beso”, Rumba influenced pieces like “Mi Musica” and “Confiesale”, which are also quite romantic, to hard hitting Timba like “Rosa La Peligrosa” or “Si Te Olvido Quien Soy Yo”, and even some fusion with Reggaeton in “La Figura”, made together with Gente De Zona.
All in all, the band offers such musical richness that any salsa fan will be able to find what they are looking for… so one might ask – Ahora, que buscas?
Alexander rarely rests, and throughout these years, the band keeps touring thw world and releasing new singles once in a while.
One such fine composition is the one I present you today, La Bailarina, a personal favorite of mine, and, as I came to know a few days ago, of both Yanek Revilla and Karelia Despaigne.