Personnel: Rafael P. Ortiz Rodriguez (vocals, guitar, percussion); Orlando Bolaño (vocals, guitar); Isaac Oviedo (vocals, electric guitar, maracas); Agustin Diaz (vocals, electric guitar); Florencia Hernandez Cuesta (vocals, maracas); Oscar Valdez (vocals, percussion); Ricardo Cané, Diego Rodriguez, Julia Oviedo, Rafael Navarro, Luis M. Calzado Suarez, Ester Piedra, Esteban Carlos Embale, Elio Sanchez, Rolando Cartaya, Alina Echavarria Rodriguez, Sarah Villamill, Sergio Calzado Montoya, Bertina Aranda Villamill, Gil Morales, Israel Berriel Jimenez, Ernesto Oviedo, Ernesto Nayte, Regla Mas, David Martinez , Alberto Romero, Moraima Lauzurica, Laudelina Herrera Villamill, Barbara Jiminez Pardo, Adolfo Mas, Barbara Urrutia, Dagoberto Junco, Orestes "Macho" Lopez (vocals); Carlos Emilio, Pedro Hernandez (guitar); Israel Gonzalez, Papi Oviedo (electric guitar); Vitoriano Espinosa (quinto); Felix Reyna, Lazaro Sanchez Veitia, Carlos Matos Diaz, Delfin Blanco, Vicente Varona, Jose Manuel Vargas Blanco, Savador "Bebo" Munoz, Raul Plana (violin); Jose Luis Cortez (flute, baritone saxophone); Selso Cabrera, Armando Echevarría, Ulderico Varocea (flute); Carlos Averhoff (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); German Velasco (baritone saxophone); Lazaro Herrera Diaz, Jose Miguel Grezo, Juan Mungin (trumpet); Frank Droeshout, Chucho Valdés (piano); Carlos Chatalain, Elpidio Garcia, Enrique Meza, Enrique Plá, Angel García, Francisco Garcia, Barbaro Mas, Luis Mas Ramar, Moises Urrutia, Gaston Garcia, Esteban Domingo "Cha Cha" Vega Bacallao, Reinol Urrutia, Jorge Garcia (drums); Ubaldo Morales, Gregorio Diaz, Jorge Alfonso, Carlos Godinez (congas); Rogelio Castellano, Andres Sotolongo (bongos); Mario Dia, Silvio Hernandez, Jorge Luis Guittieriz (guiro); Osvaldo Ruiz, Evaristo Martiniz (timbales).
Liner Note Authors: Natasha Rosow; Gene Rosow.
Recording information: Cuba.
Director: Felix Reyna.
Editor: Jon Fausty.
Photographer: Tate Pasternak.
Whether it bursts onto the sidewalk from a bustling café or wafts over high-stone walls from a carnival parade blocks away, music in Cuba is omnipresent and multi-faceted. Cubalive!: Recorded Live in Cuba culls its 13 tracks from the three previously released volumes of Rounder's Routes of Rhythm series. So, while it's technically volume four, it's actually a comprehensive introduction to the series as it stands. Developed in conjunction with the PBS production Routes of Rhythm With Harry Belafonte, the series presents live recordings of Cuban music as it happens. The set includes gentle acoustic ballads, street jams, religious celebrations, and the sultry sounds of carnival. Guitar virtuoso Isaac Oveido's "Mi Botijia and "El Buen Camino" capture the intimate quality of watching a master perform up close, while insistent congas and flawless harmonies drive los Munequitos de Matanzas' "El Tocoloro." There is an unwritten law that all Cuban music collections must include at least one version of "Guantanemera"; fortunately, Duo del Bodeguita del Medio's take on the signature tune captures the lively spirit of the Bodeguita del Medio, where it was recorded. Linking the collection's disparate sounds are three versions of the Septeto Nacional de Ignacio Pinero's distinctive son, the traditional Cuban song form incorporating the country's entire musical history. But what truly make this collection entertaining are the incidental moments of these live recordings -- clapping, yelling, people having a good time. And that sounds good in any language. ~ Johnny Loftus