Expreso Ritmico

Cuban album design of the ‘60s, ‘70s, ’80s and ‘90s.

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  • Grupo Afro-Cuba - ¡Dile Que Vuelvo!

    Grupo Afro-Cuba – ¡Dile Que Vuelvo! [Areito, LD-3953]
    Sleeve design by José M. Villa.

    In the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to acquire a diverse amount of Cuban music. Psychedelic mod rock, fusion jazz, traditional field recordings and syrupy soul 45’s have graced my turntables and tend shine quite brightly in my record collection all in all. I wish I had more information to share regarding musician and designer background when it comes to Cuban releases. However, that information is hard to come by due to internet restrictions and lack of documentation readily available to listeners outside of Cuba. Well, here’s a special album I’d like to share from Grupo Afro-Cuba. A self-titled release that is most likely from the late 70’s to mid-80’s and doesn’t appear to be a tough one to pull (you can listen to it on YouTube for example). Cuban fusion jazz is something I’ve come to really admire over the years. Jazz has sub-genres upon sub-genres, well, here’s another to add to the bucket. “¡Dile Que Vuelvo!” is a solid release that encompasses the entire spectrum of popular Cuban music while taking major cues from fusion jazz and I highly recommend it. The album art is great and totally fits the warm tropical vibes thanks to designer José M. Villa.

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  • Los Barba y Omara Portuondo

    Los Barba – Viven Muy Felices / Por Que No Estás [Areito, EPA-6221]
    Sleeve design by Noelvis

    Omara Portuondo – Siempre Es 26 / Amanecer De Victoria [Areito, EPA-6874]
    Sleeve design uncredited

    Here are two excellent sides from two different 45’s. Los Barba’s “Por Que No Estás” follows the path of Leonor Zamora’s heavy, psych-beat sound. It’s full of fuzzy, warm guitar and what sounds like an homage to The Beatle’s “Hey Jude” towards the end. This is a great track with excellent bass lines and fuzz guitar solos. Next is a syrupy soul track titled “Siempre Es 26” by Omara Portuondo full of much expected synth and horns being that it’s produced by Juan Pablo Torres. It’s a head-nodder.

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