Juan-Carlos Formell

Songs from a Little Blue House

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This is one of the most beautiful discs to come from any of the numerous Cuban musicians loosely grouped around and associated with the Buena Vista Social Club. The beat and the tropical Latin rhythms of the Caribbean are there but there is also a soft, tender side which predominates here and only occasionally shows up on other discs. It is the music of a man who has reconciled himself to never seeing his homeland again, but who still misses the people, the pace, and the explosion of life there. The music, though quiet, is explosive in its delivery; it is performed with great feeling by the musicians. As a crossbreed, it combines the improvisational feel of jazz with the rhythms of Cuba, along with a yearning for what will never be again and the remembrance of what once was. It is a sound born of the streets, where music saw you through the hard times until better days came again. It is beautiful and uplifting; at the same time it reflects the sorrow of the whole story. There is a rhythm that is common, in that it speaks to all people, no matter their origins. Every bit of this tasteful disc, from the booklets and notes (done both in Spanish and English) to the packaging, enhances the music. A grand hurrah to Wicklow for releasing a stunning piece of work that could earn a place in every household for the sheer beauty and love contained therein.

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