Alexander Abreu: “Cantor del Pueblo”

We all seem to agree that the new album, “Cantor del Pueblo”, released 2018, by Alexander Abreu y Havana D’ Primera, lives up to expectations. The band has just had a very successful concert in Copenhagen, June 2018, the second concert in a year. They performed several of the new songs. The audience already knew them and applauded like crazy.

I have selected three songs. Be aware that I only have a beginner’s level in the Spanish language. Good lyrics are often an integrated part of a good song. I have made my selection based on dance qualities only.

Pastilla de Menta

Let me start with the one song that really can get me up dancing. There is no way I am going to miss that dance. The title translates to “Peppermint”. I like this song because it is not pretentious, it is just a “let loose”, “let us dance” type of song. Idiotic lyrics, who cares.

The song is a little unusual because it is completely dominated by the chorus. For the first minute, we only hear the chorus. Then the lead singer is allowed to take takes over for 30 seconds, followed by a shared section. Soon the chorus takes over almost completely pushing the lead singer to the background. He could just as well go home.

Tres Días

This song is easily recognizable for its trumpet introduction, giving us time to propose and be ready at the dance floor, and for 20 seconds of bizarre Bachata riffs starting at 1:50. In the Largo section, the voice of Abreu is so mature and on top of it all that it doesn’t get much better.

My favorite part starts at 2:27 when the song starts to change from the Largo to the Montuno part. From that time on, “Tres Días” becomes as good as Timba will ever get, the chorus setting in at 2:38 together with the cowbells.

Cantor del Pueblo

“Cantor is “singer” but I guess the title best translates to “The voice of the people”. It might be the best of the songs, the voice of Abreu is as mature and self evident as in Tres Días. During the largo section, we really feel tension is building up for a great Montuno.

Again my favorite part is the transition from Largo to Montuno starting at 1:45. The chorus and cowbells takes over at 1:56 as expected, and the rest of the Montuno is as good as Tres Días.

All the songs are good

I only have room for three songs in this review, but all the songs are of a very high standard. I really like the Montuno part of “Manantiales”. The Montuno sections are extraordinary on this fantastic album.

Here is a link to a more traditonal album review by Uroš Švagan.

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