Los Zafiros

Los Zafiros: Music from the Edge of Time

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Though Los Zafiros were very popular and recorded a lot of material in their native Cuba in the mid-'60s, many people from the United States who know about the group are only familiar with them through the film documentary Music from the Edge of Time. This CD is not so much a Los Zafiros compilation as a soundtrack to that documentary, particularly as just nine of the 25 tracks are '60s Los Zafiros recordings. The rest of the disc is largely devoted to music performed by family and friends decades later for the documentary, along with some songs by a younger tribute group of sorts (Los Nuevos Zafiros). So it's not so much the recommended introduction to the music of Los Zafiros as it is a complement to the Music from the Edge of Time documentary. It's still a decent compilation of Cuban music, though one that puts Los Zafiros themselves in a larger musical and social context rather than focusing exclusively on the group. The vintage Los Zafiros cuts are still the highlights, as you'd expect, fusing doo wop with Latin music to create a sound somewhat close to groups like the Drifters in some respects, yet more melodramatic and less R&B-rock-oriented. The other, far more recent non-Los Zafiros recordings are more informal, and far less R&B-rock-oriented than even the '60s Los Zafiros cuts, sounding much like Cuban pop-folk being sung at parties or family get-togethers. What makes Los Zafiros' story interesting, in part, is precisely because of that American doo wop/vocal harmony group influence, so they can't help but spark more interest than the more placid supplemental material. Of course, if you want unadulterated vintage Los Zafiros on CD, you can opt for several single-artist compilations, Bossa Cubana being the one that's most well known in the United States.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
feat: TV Hostess
2
3
4
5
6
feat: Los Papines
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
blue highlight denotes track pick