Pablo Milanés

Definitive Collection: 60 Years On

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A greatest-hits compilation from one of the leading members of the nueva trova movement, this album focuses officially on the work of Pablo Milanes; but also focuses strongly on the songwriting work and influences in conjunction with Silvio Rodriguez. Despite the age of the movement (a few decades-old, at least), all of the songs presented here are more recent, largely from the late '90s, with only a few exceptions. The instrumentation is mildly varied, covering the round of Cuban instruments but focusing on the synthesizer era. That said, the instrumentation is, in many ways, only incidental to the music; as Milanes' vocals are the true star of the sound. These are heartfelt words, propelled primarily by the sheer emotive abilities of the singer. There's an element of cabaret to the music; but the core of it is in the epic aesthetic associated with films (suitable and perhaps expected, given Milanes' time with the Experimental Sound Group of Cuba's Cinematographic Institute). His vocals are powerful and, more importantly, clear and free of any interpretive need, as he evokes emotions in the listener by force. These are songs of love and love lost, performed by one of the masters of modern Cuban song forms. This is what singer/songwriters in Spanish-speaking countries aspire to create, and Milanes is at the head of the class.

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