Songs of THE BEATLES...with a Cuban TWIST.
[ Listen to music samples at www.HereComesElSon.com ]
Here Comes...el Son MERGES THE SPIRIT OF The BEATLES WITH THE SOUL OF CUBAN MUSIC.
Here Comes...el Son offers Beatles fans are a rare bifocal musical experience: familiar Fab Four tunes rendered in grassroots Afro-Cuban rhythms.
â¢ The FIRST record performed in English by Cuban musicians living in Cuba, ever to come out of that country.
â¢ The FIRST record of Beatles songs played in traditional Cuban musical rhythms.
â¢ BANNED IN CUBA during the early years of the revolution, Beatles music managed to break through and establish a following that endures to this day in Cuba.
Peruvian-Panamanian actor Alfredo Alvarez Calderón and Panamanian artist/actor Rogelio Pretto have teamed up to produce this CD of 18 Beatles favorites. Played with traditional percussion-rich Cuban rhythms like the guagancó, guajira, pilón, chachacha, columbia, and the beat king, son, the lyrics are performed in English and in keeping with the melodic cadence originally given them by the legendary group. This offers new and longtime lovers of The Beatles the opportunity to sing along to the familiar tunes while setting their feet to the beat of Afro-Cuban rhythmic delicacies.
Here comes...el Son presents the music enthusiast with an exotic compilation of songs of the most famous Rock 'n Roll group in the world in styles never heard before. "We Can Work It Out" has been molded into a peppery traditional son. "Hey Jude" takes on the color of an irresistibly danceable son-guajira, and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" morphs into a sensually rhythmic guajira-pilón. These are but a few of the enchanting transformations given to Beatles music in Here comes...el Son.
Buddies since the acting audition rounds of the Miami Vice era in South Florida, Alfredo and Rogelio long wanted to partner up on a project to compensate for acting's survival realities. They found it in Here comes...el Son and pretty much mortgaged themselves to produce their unique concept CD. For personally significant reasons, they wanted their firstborn released in 2001, but after a series of unsuccessful attempts to interest major labels they decided to release the record themselves on time for Christmas. TOWER RECORDS obtained exclusive introductory launch rights to the record and is already reporting brisk sales (Contact: Monica Ricardez, Latin Coordinator (626-939-9059). HL Distributors in Mmiami has added Here comes...el Son to its order list, and in El Museo del Disco, located just off Calle Ocho on 12th Street and 69th Ave and retail heaven for any Latin Music under the sun, Here comes...el Son placed 2nd in sales above Luis Miguel, Willy Chirino, and Mark Anthony. And while the partners continue knocking on other doors, they've opened their own virtual outlet for the record at: www.HereComesElSon.com.
CONCEIVED IN HAVANA
The idea for Here comes...el Son was sparked in 1999 after Alfredo, who's had a lifelong reverence for The Fab Four, became accidentally aware of an equally devoted, almost institutional following of the group's music in Cuba. Browsing through titles in a Havana bookstore, his attention drew to a paperback titled Los Beatles En Cuba. It chronicled a series of lectures given during an international symposium on The Beatles held in Havana in 1997. The book's contents revealed the extensive influence The Beatles have had on Cuban musicians and told of how their music was banned during the early years of the revoution, yet found its way into the heart and soul of many Cubans. That The Beatles were so significantly regarded in this most musically gifted Latin American country intrigued Alfredo. To find out more about this unexpected relationship between Cuba and his adored Rock 'n Roll group, he contacted the book's Cuban author, Ernesto Juan Castellanos. EJ and Alfredo arranged to meet at a get-together at Roly Rivero's home, a musician Alfredo had met earlier in Havana. In the rum-imbued jam session, "Hello Goodbye" was played in the exotic tempos of the guagancó. Alfredo was amazed by what he heard, and the idea for the CD began to germinate. Surely there were more Cuban beats that would suit other Beatles songs. How would "Hey Jude", for instance, or "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" and other Beatles tunes sound with Cuban rhythms?
The appeal of a record of Beatles' songs played in the rich rhythmic variations that lie at the heart of traditional Cuban music became evident. On his return from Cuba Alfredo shared his idea with his buddy, and without hesitation Pretto bought into it immediately and offered to put up the money for the project. Alfredo's last venture, a documentary, had bankrupted him, and while Pretto counted on some savings, the stock market plunge would practically wipe him out shortly after. But, as labors of love often encourage, they took the dive anyway.
PRODUCED IN HAVANA
Both agreed that the music had to be recorded in Cuba, not so much because it's the birthplace of Latin America's most fascinating African-rooted rhythms, but primarily because the unusual iconic following for The Beatles that exists there demanded it. That the record be made in Cuba would guarantee the rhythmic purity of the music the partners wanted to produce.
To write the musical arrangements and help assemble the team of musicians, Alfredo enlisted the invaluable talents of local master arranger "Pucho" Lopez - himself a devoted admirer of The Beatles. Pucho's arrangements allow traditional instruments like the violin, guitar, trumpet and double bass to blend remarkably with grassroots Cuban percussive elements like clave, maracas, tumbadora, bongo and guiro, as well as the more primitively exotic paila and shekere and the Tito Puente favorite, timbales. Singers and musicians were enlisted from the sophisticated ranks of Cuba's Symphony Orchestra and some of Havana's popular urban stages. Francisco Padrón's trumpet, for example, graces "We Can Work It Out " with qualities of el son which are reminiscent of l930's Cuba, when this unique beat enjoyed its greatest popularity. Omar Pérez Rodriguez's digital nimbleness with the Lute adds a harp-like medieval enchantment to "Hey Jude". "Because" and "Nowhere Man" are rendered exclusively in vocally produced instrumentations by Vocal LT, another popular local group. Their delightful vocal-only renditions provide another charming twist of son and columbia to classic Beatles tunes. Internationally renown percussion group Los Papines's rendition in guaguancó of "Hello Good-bye" showcases that rhythm's direct African lineage. And in what will surely be a favorite of this CD, they coax the ever appealing notes of "Hey Jude" into a stimulating son-guajira that will set you off to the dance floor. This novel approach to the music of The Beatles makes Here comes...el Son a truly unique record.