Alejandro Enis Almenares

Casa de Trova: Cuba 50s

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Alejandro Almenares is a septuagenarian guitarist and singer in Cuba's popular Los Taínos, a group who perform throughout the country and in the Caribbean. Before that he founded the long-lived and now legendary Trio Oriente, and later Las Guitarras Internacionales with Norberto Trujillo. Therefore it's remarkable that at the age of 76, he finally got around to recording his debut solo album. Casa de Trova: Cuba 50s is named for the famous club opened by his father (which remains open) and Almenares' runs. This double-disc contains a vocal disc and an instrumental one. All of the sons and boleros were written either by him or his father. This is the sound of the old Cuba, full of trovas, alone or in small acoustic groups, wandering the streets and performing, and the effect is timeless and feels perfectly natural in the 21st century. His skills as a guitarist have not been diminished by time, his arrangements are pristine and tastefully skillful, evidenced by the singers whose help he enlisted to get some of these songs across, including Ismael Borges, Tony Rondon, Jose Borges, and Eva Griñán. Listeners may recognize the melody to "Amorosa Guajira" as belonging to the Beatles' "Do You Want to Know a Secret," but in truth, they also borrowed it from a Cuban standard by Nené Allué (and for the record, Paul McCartney has visited Casa de Trova more than once). Likewise, "Mujercita Linda" recvalls the influence of the great Trio Matamoros; but then, given that they were the progenitors of the genre,they'vee influenced everything, though Almenares has made the song his own with a lovely chart and exceptional harmonies. While the instrumental disc to Casa de Trova: Cuba 50s is a real bonus (it's included free in the package), it is the vocal disc that contains Almenares'artfulnesss in full.

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