Creole Choir of Cuba

Tande-La

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Made up of ten Cuban singers descended from Haitian slaves, the Creole Choir of Cuba (who, yes, really do sing in Creole) might be the best group of unaccompanied singers to come down the pike since Ladysmith Black Mambazo. There's a wonderful mix of sheer funky soul ("Neg Anwo") and exhilaration ("Lumane Casimir") in what they offer. Perhaps the nearest analogue is gospel, and there are freedom songs in their repertoire -- listen to the closer, "Chen Nan Ren" -- but the sheer joy is in listening to the way the voices blend and rise together. There's sheer, very brilliant artistry here, and ultimately it's a celebration of the human voice and of life. There's percussion on some tracks, pushing them along, but it becomes just part of the tapestry of sound. Every cut repays the time spent listening to it on several occasions, a blast of joy that's completely unstoppable. It's not obviously Cuban -- but it is very obviously superb.

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