Monday, 27 May 2013

Will travel - will take uke!

About to go away on a break to discover exciting tropical parts, I steeled myself to ask LSH (Long-Suffering-Husband) "Er... Love, do you mind if I take my little blue uke away with us?" and to my astonishment, he didn't mind at all... so with great care and precision, Little Blue Uke was packed into my case.

With a dozen hastily chosen song sheets, I was prepared, all ready to find a quiet corner in the hotel gardens or on the beach for a little strum - and to introduce the ukulele to the uninitiated of Cuba.

The streets of old Havana are full of live music, played by small groups of musicians... the bars and restaurants resound to the Latin dance rhythms of rumba, samba, cha cha and salsa... I've always enjoyed those rhythms - now I've been completely seduced by them.

The band above were wonderful, their music full of joy - would we like to buy a CD? of course - and we did. Songs new to us, and some very familiar - La Bamba, Guantanamera, Besame Mucho, Quizas, Quizas, Quizas; The rumbas, oh, the rumbas...

One highlight of our stay in Havana was a visit to the famous Buenavista Social Club, playing at the Cafe Taberna... we, shame on us, had never heard of this. Those musicians play music all their own - traditional Cuban music (son) fused with Latin jazz - we've never heard anything quite like it, and probably never will again... (Read their bio on Rolling Stone here...

There were about ten musicians playing, and singers - clearly very famous singers, highly revered by those in the know... oh how I wish we had taken a video camera on this holiday. Why didn't we? Why oh why?

So I have searched YouTube, and found this, Ibrahim Ferrer and Omara Portuondo of the Buenavista Social Club, recording Quizas, Quizas, Quizas. Composed by Cuban songwriter Osvaldo Farrés, this rendition is breathtakingly beautiful... I don't think I have ever seen or heard such a deeply moving rendition of a song. Please watch, listen and enjoy...

I can't follow that, not in this post. So, more next time... and I'll tell of how I discovered a new fretted instrument, and introduced two wonderful Cuban musicians to the ukulele! And if you like those Latin strains too, the good news is - I've found some music for the uke!

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