Expreso Ritmico

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

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GUEST MIX: Digging Habana by Matthew Hampshire

GUEST MIX: Digging Habana by Matthew Hampshire

It’s 2014 and time to start things off with a new Expreso Ritmico mix. Matt Hampshire contacted me back in November ’13 regarding an upcoming trip to Cuba. He came back with an excellent stack of records and had a mix to share. You’ll notice the track list contains many killer cuts including Emiliano Salvador’s fast-paced jazz-funk “Son 7/4,” a personal favorite of mine. Sonar Kollektiv reissued an alternate version back in 2009 that’s just as heavy. Matt’s all about Argelia Fragoso’s “Un Juego de Amorat,” reissued on Black Pearl Records wonderfully mastered Ritmo Caliente compilation, a super nice track. And let’s not forget Chucho Valdez’s “Invitacion” closing out the mix. That one belongs directly next to any of Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters-era tracks. Enjoy Matt’s commentary and excellent selection. Thanks, Matt!

Before my trip to Havana my knowledge of Cuban music didn’t stretch much further than Irakere and Buena Vista Social Club. I started to do some research and this is how I chanced upon Chris’s excellent blog ‘Expreso Ritmico’.

The breadth and quality of the music documented on Cuba’s one and only record label, the state run Areito, is amazing. The fact that all these releases were recorded in the same Havana studio is pretty unique too (although the Irakere song ‘Chekere Son’ in this mix is a more recent version of the original released on Japan’s JVC label)_

My favorite find of the trip has probably got to be the the 7“ep of Argelia Fragoso (see photos). I couldn’t find much info about this release other than that it was produced by Rembert Egues (check his song ‘La diosa de ebanomin’ at 2.10 minutes into the mix) and is featured on the Black Pearl compilation of rare and unreleased Cuban music entitled Ritmo Caliente. Argelia Fragoso’s song ‘Un Juego de Amorat’ at 21.20 minutes in the mix hits all the right spots, and I’m sure had Cuban music been more accessible in years gone by this 45 would be a firm favorite on the deep funk scene with dj’s and collectors.

Rembert Egues and Argelia Fragoso pictured on the back cover.

I tried with this mix to give a good representation of the fantastic quality and variety of Cuban music in the 60’s 70’s and 80’s. Whether it’s the funky afro horns of Grupo Monumental or the epic 18 minute long future jazz of Chucho Valdez, the sublime orchestral beats of Rembert Egues or the world class musicianship and synth salsa(!) of Emiliano Salvador, i hope there is something here for everyone. Enjoy!

Digging Habana by Matthew Hampshire

1. Merceditas Valdes – Elegua
2. Rembert Egues – La diosa de ebano
3. Juan Pablo Torres – Quema
4. Orquesta los Van Van – Dale Dos
5. Grupo Monumental – Noche Azul
6. FA 5 – Casa de Ladrillo
7. Argelia Fragoso – Un Juego de Amor
8. Raul Gomez – Decapo
9. Emiliano Salvador – Son en 7/4
10. Paquito Da Rivera – Cancion de Palia
11. Irakere – Chekere Son
12. Chuco Valdes – Invitacion

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