22.11.13 : Orquesta America – Los Marcianos

Good day readers!

Today we go a few decades back in time, to the 1950’s.
During the 1st half of the XXth century, several Cuban rhythms became well known and loved worldwide.
Among these were the Son, since the 1930’s, the Mambo since the 1940’s, and a few years later, from the early 1950’s, the Cha Cha, with the associated dance, the Cha  Cha Cha.

This genre of music was created from the Danzon, the 1st national dance of Cuba, by composer, songwriter and violinist, Erique Jorrin, then a member of Orquesta America.
Thanks to being rooted in the highly melodic Danzon, Cha Cha music reached an almost perfect balance of Rhythm & Melody, being both Rhythmically sophisticated and Melodically rich and pleasant at the same time.

Orquesta America is (after many years of inaction, it was “revived” by some of its former members in the 1990s) a typical Charanga band of its time, and was formed in 1942.
It played Danzon, Son, Charanga, Bolero and Mambo.
During the late 1940’s, Jorrin started composing Danzon where the musician, and not only the vocalists, sing short refrains in unison during some parts of the song.
Jorrin also often ended the songs with a Rumba part, and changed the notes of some of the percussion, creating the famous “Cha Cha Cha” sound which can be heard in each bar of the music; This added some rhythmic complexity compared to the Danzon.

The music and the associated dance were big hits, being played on the radio and LP records, with concerts and dance performances being broadcast on TV.

The band split into 2 roughly equal parts after a conflict which happened during a concert tour in Mexico, resulting in Orquesta America, which stayed in Mexico (and later moved to California), and Orquesta America del 55′, which returned to Havana in early 1955.

After many years of inactivity, resulting from the passing of the “cha cha cha fad” in the 1960’s, the Californian band was restored in the 1990’s, recording once again.

The song I present you today, “Los Marcianos”, demonstrates the timid, (some even say, childish), easygoing and lighthearted manner of Cha Cha music;
The main characters of the song are the jolly martians, who came to earth in a flying saucer, doing what they love most – dancing Cha Cha Cha !

So, is there life on mars?
Seems so, and it’s a very fun life, too 🙂


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