03.01.14 : Hanine y Su Son Cubano – Baladi

Good day everybody!

I’m glad to present you the first post for 2014!
And it’s an interesting one indeed; today I would like to present a unique band called Hanine y su Son Cubano.

As we all know, Latin music, especially what is referred to as “salsa”, has been spreading globally for more that 2 decades, and even more so as internet becomes more and more available to people world wide.

So, it appears that the phenomenon has reached the middle east as well.

The story starts in Habana, in 1997.
While sitting at the Cafe Cantante, Michel Elefteriades, the owner of a big Lebanese record company named Elefteriades, was humming a famous Egyptian song, “ya habibi ta’ala”.
He suddenly heard that the singer on stage was singing the Spanish version of the same song!
That made him think – will a fusion of Cuban and Arabic music, 2 such distant worlds, be possible?

It took Michel 2 years organizing the band, and another year for rehearsals;
First, Michel spent some time in Habana, choosing from a wide array of Cuban musicians for the band.
Later, he organized a auditions in Lebanon, unsuccessfully screening over 100 girls.
Until one day, a friend introduced him to Hanine, a lawyer gone conservatory student, who had the voice Michel envisioned in his mind for that specific role.

The first album, Arabo Cubano, was released in 2001, quickly becoming a big success in Lebanon and the whole middle east; it remained the top selling album in Lebanon for the whole year.
The 2nd album, “10908km”, which is the distance between Habana and Beirut, was the beginning of Hanines’ international career, and quite successful as well.

The unique style of the band consists of re writing Lebanese and Egyptian classics in Clave, adding elements of Arabic music to Cuban rhythms.
In both albums one can find songs in many genres of Cuban music; Son, Bolero, Cha Cha, Songo and more!
All flavored with enchanting Arabic singing and percussion, creating a blend which I like calling “Cuban Arabian nights” 🙂

The following song (with a nice clip filmed in Habana) is a very good example of the unique fusion style of the band, and one of my personal favorites.


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