Eliades Ochoa

A la Casa de la Trova

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To the average North American listener, the distinctions between trova, sones, guarachas, and guajiras may not be worth drawing. Apparently Eliades Ochoa -- who was previously featured on the wildly popular Buena Vista Social Club album -- is a master of all these Cuban pop music genres, and this collection touches on all of them. To those who have trouble hearing the differences between them, one might suggest the Bugs Bunny approach: don't ask questions, just have fun. The fact is that only connoisseurs of Cuban music will understand what makes "No Quiero Celos Contigo" stylistically different from "Las Mujeres de Mayarí," but you'd have to have ears of cement and steel pins in your hips not to get up and start dancing the minute either of those tracks starts playing. This is rural music, more instrumentally spare and less rhythmically complex than the horn-heavy dance music of Havana, but it's every bit as infectiously funky, and Ochoa's voice is a big, chesty delight. The call-and-response choruses will have you scrambling for the lyric sheet so that you can sing along. If you enjoyed the other volumes in the Cuban Essentials series, then you'll love this one.

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