Ska Cubano - Ay Caramba! (2006)
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Ska Cubano - Ay Caramba! (2006)

Artist: Ska Cubano
Title Of Album: Ay Caramba!
Year Of Release: 2006
Label: Cumbancha
Genre: Latin, Reggae/Ska/Calypso, Cuban Son
Quality: APE+CUE+LOG / MP3
Bitrate: Lossless / CBR 320 kbps
Total Track: 14
Total Size: 373 MB / 155 MB
Ska Cubano takes classic Jamaican ska, blends it with Afro-Cuban son and salsa, throws in some retro swing and Colombian cumbia for spice, and creates a magic musical concoction that will get your feet moving and your hips shaking.The UK world music magazine Songlines voted "Ay Caramba" one of the top 10 world music releases of the year, saying the record is, "A triumph. Remaining seated is not an option." Mojo magazine exclaimed the album, "Will have you on your feet before you've had time to consider the whys and wherefores."Ska Cubano’s "Ay Caramba!" is the first release from the new record label Cumbancha, which was founded by the long-time head of A&R and music research at the popular world music label Putumayo.
Ska Cubano excel at a style of music that never really existed until they invented it. What they've done is to take Jamaica's pre-reggae ska beat, mix it up with the intrinsically danceable Cuban son and mambo styles, sprinkle in some Colombian cumbia, and filter it all through that whimsical (although they are not jokesters by any means), mildly ironic sensibility that only Brits could muster. As bands such as Madness and Bad Manners did during the first British ska revival, so does Ska Cubano do now, only upping the ante with a couple more Caribbean flavors and executing it within an inch of perfection. The band revolves around the British producer Peter Scott and singer Natty Bo (of the U.K. ska band the Top Cats), who traveled to Cuba and recruited a singer calling himself Beny Billy (in honor of his idol, Cuban legend Beny Moré), but whose real name is Juan Manuel Villy. From there they fleshed the band out with both Cuban and British musicians and cut a self-titled debut album, which is now followed up with this equally charming and ceaselessly jaunty sequel. If anything, the debut was a bit tentative, as if Ska Cubano were still trying to test the waters and see how their particular fusion would fly. It was well-received, and on Ay Caramba! they take it to the next step. "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)," the 1953 Jimmy Kennedy-Nat Simon tune later covered by They Might Be Giants, is given an appropriately tongue-in-cheek reading, while tracks such as "Cumbia en Do Menor," "Mariano," and "Oye Compay Juan" match the blaring Cuban horns with ska's traditional rhythm seamlessly. Only the instrumental "Chispa Tren" and the double entendre '50s-style mento tune "Big Bamboo" are too frivolous to really work here. As for any perceived novelty value, while all of the tracks fit squarely within the band's chosen region, they occasionally step out just far enough to suggest that they are no more married to this formula than to anything else. Could get even more interesting next time. ~ Jeff Tamarkin
Tracklist:
01.Soy Campesino - (Spanish)
02.Ay Caramba!
03.Tabu - (African Languages, Spanish)
04.Oye Compay Juan - (Spanish)
05.No Me Desesperes - (Spanish)
06.Big Bamboo
07.Tungarara - (Spanish)
08.Cachita - (Spanish)
09.Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
10.Marianao - (Spanish)
11.Chispa Tren
12.Jezebel
13.Bobine - (African Languages, Spanish)
14.Cumbia en Do Menor - (Spanish)

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