Posts tagged Miguelito Valdes
Soul Station Feature: Orquesta Havana Cosmopolitana

Bruca Manigua

Arsenio Rodriguez was one of the most important figures in the rise and development of Afro Cuban music for several decades beginning in the late 1930s. His contributions are immense. The Orquesta Casino de la Playa, with Miguelito Valdes on vocals, was one of the first bands to record a song by Rodriguez, even before he began making his own recordings. This song, Bruca Manigua, with lyrics in Bozal, has been recorded many times since, by Nilo Menendez, Xavier Cugat, Orquesta Afro-Cubana Batamu, and more recently Buena Vista Social Club. This version is by a group that is basically a mystery. It may, or may not, have been recorded in Cuba, though the Coast label was apparently based in the US. The band also had a 78 on the Mexican Peerless label. There is no vocal and the arrangement clearly has some jazz influence, in addition to the way it ends, with a repeating montuno part that almost gets at the mambo. It is, even without the lyrics, quite beautiful and powerful!

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Soul Station Feature: Miguelito Valdes

Mamita Cambia

Although he came to the US in 1940 and stayed, the great singer Miguelito Valdes continued to return to Cuba to perform and occasionally record, at least until the revolution. This particular recording seems to come from one of his last trips, and probably dates from 1957. He is backed by a very late version of Orquesta Hermanos Castro, a large band that was active and recording as early as 1931. This is a really great record, and by its arrangement, someone was quite influenced by the Perez Prado brass sound and how it makes a mambo or mambo like dance music really work!

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