Orquesta Aragon
La Charanga Eterna
LusAfrica (www.lusafrica.com)

This is classic charanga by that most venerable (sixty years!) of Cuban groups, the Aragon Orchestra. Charanga groups play much the same music (son, bolero, danzon, and cha-cha) as the brass-centered "conjuntos", but with insistent, chirping flute leading a hot percussion section, leavened by a lightly swinging section of one to three violins.

No surprises here, with old favorites composed by some of the greats of the genre like Arsenio Rodriguez, Ernesto Lecuona, Pedro Aranzola, and Juanito Marquez. This band has gone through many changes over the decades, but here they harken back to the sound of the heyday of charanga bands.

This a wonderful introduction to this Cuban sub-style and helps the listener appreciate modern charanga offshoots like Ritmo Oriental and Los Van Van. Every cut is delivered with all the heat and suavity that the best charangas deliver with aplomb. Que viva Orquesta Aragon. - Stacy Phillips

Buy it at cdroots.com

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