Compay Segundo: Calle Segundo

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Compay Segundo
Calle Segundo

El Viejo Compay is already onto his second release while the rest of his bandmates from the now legendary Buena Vista Social Club work on their first solo album. Segundo has cast a wider net this time around. Lucky for us, itís more of the same beautiful songs sung by that unmistakable voice.

His deep velvety baritone voice continues to soothe on wide range of songs, including but not limited to traditional boleros and son. After he pays tribute to the African god Chango on "Saludo a Chango", you can shake your fanny "Maria en la playa", a rousing merengue. "La enganadora" receives special distinction as the only cha cha cha on the cd. Compayís version of tango singer Carlos Gardelís "El dia que me quieras" is stunning. He joins in on harmonica and on harmonies, while Hugo Garzonís lead vocals work well with Compayís. On "Lagrimas negras" by Compayís former bandleader of the golden age, Miguel Matamoros, a classic son finds a home on his new album.

The next target demographic of this music must surely be the French. "Una Rosa de Francia" is a gentle bolero-son dedicated to the French rose while the ever entertaining Charles Aznavour joins Compay on "Morir de amor-Mourir díaimer" or as we say in English, Dying of Love, a song penned by Aznavour and translated for the benefit of the Spanish speaking ear. Donít worry, it remains laden with tragic love. Vionaika Martinez and Mayelin Perezís strong vocals on "Viejos sones de Santiago (Popurri)" and "Balcon de Santiago" add gentle femininity. Compayís version of "Chan Chan", the theme song of Wim Wenderís "Buena Vista Social Club", is not as moving without the rest of the band. Other than that, I canít complain.

Now that Buena Vista Social Club, the album and the movie, each individual releasing cdís on his own as well as on Afro Cuban All Stars releases, we can only thank US record companies for feeding us forbidden fruit by the bushel now that theyíve finally caught on. Compay Segundo and his fellow musicians deserve to be heard, for sure, but they also deserve to be heard well after the big marketing campaign has passed.

  Anji Milanovic

     Buena Vista Social Club: Buena Vista Social Club
     Buena Vista Social Club: Ibrahim Ferrer & Ruben Gonzalez in Concert
     Buena Vista Social Club—The Film
     Buena Vista Social Club presents: Omara Portuondo
     Eliades Ochoa: Sublime Ilusion
     Ry Cooder & Manuel Galban: Mambo Sinuendo
     Special Cuba

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