Sierra Maestra

Sonando Ya

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With a 35-year track record making Afro-Cuban-based music, Sierra Maestra continue building their legacy in keeping the song form viable and fresh via this extraordinary recording. The band includes five original members from their inception in 1976 (Alberto Valdes, Carlos Puisseaux, Eduardo Himley, Luis Barzaga, and Alejandro Suarez), with lead vocalist Jesus Bosco singing most of the tunes. They regenerate the group by bringing in their children or other younger members. They were all born to play this vibrant music that exudes that collective spirit of troubadours, going from town to town spreading their message of joy and love. Whether you understand Spanish or not, you cannot help but be moved by the sheer exuberance of the band, from the group vocals and jamming of the instrumentalists on "No Me Guardes Rencor," or the soaring trumpet on the song of repentance, "Perdona Mi Tradicion." Fans should take notice of "Pal'Monte" -- a classic rendition of this hot son montuno with tres and the horns, the descarga cha-cha "A Una Mujer," and the tumbao changui "Juan Andres" burning with dance fever. The band is also capable of a romantic croon, hip-swinging jazz-dance tunes, or even a bolero, whether speaking of a lover's quarrel or when they are passionately entwined as the night wears on. Recorded in Havana, the blood and sweat coursing through the veins of Sierra Maestra are easily heard and felt by anyone who comes within reach of this legendary band, keeping the son music tradition alive, well, and quite intact. If you purchase only one pure Latin-oriented recording in 2010, this is it.

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