Various Artists

The Cuban Danzón

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This Arhoolie Records compilation is a fascinating look at the early Cuban danzón, which evolved in the 1870s from the contradanza, becoming a distinctive creole blend of African rhythms with melodic elements drawn from the European country dance, or "contradance." The first track, "Patti Negra" by Orquesta Pablo Valenzuela, is transferred from a rare early wax cylinder, while the others are taken from historic 78-rpm records. The CD also contains a twelve-page booklet with notes about the history of the Cuban danzón, the musicians, and the selections. As is to be expected, there is considerable surface noise on many of the tracks, but this slight imperfection almost adds to the historical interest of the recordings.

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