Azúcar Negra

Andar Anando

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Cuban timba hitmaker Leonel Limonta and his group Azucar Negra had already been together for a time before the 2001 release of their premier album, Andar Anando. That time together had included a number of world tours and major radio hits on Cuba's Radio Taino. Limonta, a regular contributor to such timba jet-setters as Isaac Delgado and Charanga Habanera, was a member of Bamboleo, and wrote most of their material. When he split from the group, he brought vocalist Haila Monpie with him. Monpie, singing lead on much of the record, has a piercing, aggressive quality to her voice that may have been balanced out by Bamboleo bandmate Yordamis Megret's tranquilidad, or perhaps is poorly represented by a lower budget recording, but comes across just a little tart. The arranging is good if not outstanding, undoubtedly handled primarily though not completely by bass player Adalberto Dominguez, an influential player in the genre. Andar Anando could be classified as one of the finer timba records of the decade, though not near the top of that category. The instrumental and vocal performances are all serviceable though never inspiring. The songwriting is good, though not served well be the production quality, which sounds a bit hollow. Leonel Limonta has an amazing track record, a level of success as a songwriter that it will take him awhile to achieve as bandleader.

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