Ibrahim Ferrer

Ay, Candela

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Ay Candela is the most interesting and compelling kind of compilation recording. Not merely a hastily packaged rehash meant to cash in on a vital artist's current reputation: It is, in essence, a history of the singer and his time, his pattern of travel through Cuba's street fairs, small-time recording studios, night clubs, and finally to the world's most prestigious stages a as member of the Buena Vista Social Club. The recordings compiled here were done over various periods in Ibrahim Ferrer's career, and include the canonical pillars of his repertoire like the title track, and the wondrously joyful "De Camino a la Verada," which he wrote new versions for. There is also a lovely duet here with Carlos Querol called "Santa Cecilia" that dates back to the beginnings of the 20th century. One of the bonuses of this collection is "Una Fuerza Inmensa," a beautiful solo bolero. For the price this is a fantastic buy. There isn't a stray or mediocre moment in the bunch, and the music virtually crackles with energy, vitality and happiness. These are the root sounds of one of Cuba's greatest vocal stylists and offer proof of the depth and breadth of his legacy and contribution.

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