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Cuba Classics, Vol. 1: Canciones Urgentes ()

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A release of Cuban music following closely on the heels of the break in the blockade for cultural exchange, this album features one of the founders of the nueva trova movement of Cuban music, somewhere between poetry and song in general. The music itself might flow from pop to nothingness, to light backing arrangements only. The vocals are somewhat thin and at times seemingly weak, but the lyrics are the power here. While the music sticks in the sounds of light mid-'70s jazz-pop, the lyrics deal largely with topics of love, and occasionally with more political motives, but always they embody a high level of poetic genius. For Spanish speakers, this album may be worthwhile simply for the poetry itself. For English speakers, it might hold somewhat less allure, although the lyrics are translated in the liner notes. Pick it up for a nice glance at a Cuban musical tradition largely detached from the stereotypical salsas, rhumbas, and cha chas, and see what had been developing in the island during the blockade. ~ Adam Greenberg, Rovi Hide synopsis

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