12.14 In Stock
It's easy to dismiss the U.K. retroists Ska Cubano as another one of those chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter fusions so common on the world music circuit. But despite their commitment to antique sonics (the album sounds like it was recorded to acetate), sartorial choices (they favor zoot suits and turbans), and premeditated musical thesis (what if ska really took off in Cuba?), the band have that ineffable something that makes all the self-consciousness irrelevant. Fun, in a word. That and formidable musicianship, with players culled from Jamaica's and the U.K.'s session greats, including 74-year-old trumpet weapon Eddy "Tan Tan" Thornton, and the ebullient Cuban frontman Beny Billy, who does a more than passable impression of the great Beny Moré. For their second album and first international release, Ska Cubano try on Colombian cumbia, and the honking, wheezing wonderfulness of "Soy Campesino" is testimony to their exacting standards. Seemingly incorporating not only the feel and instrumentation of ska, rumba, son, and cumbia, the band strives to replicate the sound of recordings produced in the '50s and '60s, with exciting compression and live-in-the-studio brio. Neglected period pieces such as the naughty mento number "Big Bamboo" and Margarita Lecuona's "Tabú" put the final touches on a set that's long on thrills and impossible to resist.