Various Artists


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It is possible that Apace Music's 2006 release is simply a victim of a serious misunderstanding. Were that not the case, the only conclusion that could be reached by an educated listener is that geographical distance from the actual Cuba on the part of the British producers was to blame for the confusion that resulted in the title, Cubana. The overall intention of the two-disc set seems to be background music for health spas, on the spicy side. There are few CDs in the Latin genre that run the risk of being accidentally left on when the listener leaves the house, simply for their ignore-ability. Cubana is one of them. Though it's a multi-artist compilation, there are ties that bind the material together. Among those is the central role of the acoustic guitar, an instrument almost completely alien to Cuba and its musicians. Among the other consistencies is the mishandling of Cuban percussion instruments and overuse of synth-generated auditory filler. Perhaps the compilers of the material that makes up this 26-track set count on their European audience never crossing the pond to become familiar with their record's namesake.

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