Title - 'Controversia' (Cleopatra Records)
Artist - Rey Cabrera y Sus Amigos
Cuban born vocalist and master of the tres, a traditional Cuban style guitar, Rey Cabrera now brings his finest Afro-Cuban music to the North American continent on this wonderful, truly delightful brand new album, Controversia.
Cabrera, from Santiago de Cuba grew up with the traditional and campesina music as well as the SON. His parents gave him the love and passion for the "musica campesina" and ever since 1968 Rey has been a master of the aforementioned tres; a typical Cuban guitar with 3x2 strings.
A genius of instrumentation - whether it be vocal, percussion, brass, singer songwriter, salsa and Latin band, unplugged, guitar - over the years Cabrera has taken part on several big projects with great Cuban people he grew up with; such as Eliades Ochoa and Benito Suarez.
And so here on Controversia, his third full-length album as Rey Cabrera y Sus Amigos, he and his Cuban fellows showcase an incredibly warm, welcoming non-English speaking album for late-Summer.
The first track is a free flowing French samba entitled, 'Merci Beaucoup,' and is backed by the trumpets on 'Mi Nina Mari' and then Cabrera introduces the infectious, 'Los Refrancitos.' With a Latin three count in, we then get the salsa grooves of 'Le Canto Al Palenque,' a song performed with Robert Carrion, and that is followed by both 'Cuando Nace El Sol' (which includes the delicious guitar work of Rene Baes) and the frenetic 'Me Voy A Recoger Cafe.'
With Cabrera celebrating his 50th anniversary as a performing artist this year, listening to these new tracks it's not heard to understand why for half a century his performances have brought something of the blistering heat of his native Santiago de Cuba mountains to both old and new audiences worldwide.
The album continues onwards with the fun of 'Canto A Bruselas, 10 Anos Despues,' then the drum / flick sticks of 'Los Testigos,' and the both 'La Calabaza' (with Mongo Vuelta), and then finally 'El Fuiki Fuiki' with DJ Proceed bring this highly seductive album to a close.
It should also be pointed out that on Controversia, Cabrera is joined by other musician friends. Some are regulars he has played with for many years, others – like Dizzy Mandjeku and Camille Lokombe – are sitting in for the occasion. As is the group ‘AfroCuBelga’, who are adding their many musical talents, including that afro beat which plays such a large part in Cuban rhythms.