Septeto Santiaguero
La Pulidora
NubeNegra/Intuition (

Amidst the Cuban musical cascade, the contemporary son of Septeto Santiaguero stands exceptional. La Pulidora ("the polisher") registers the brilliance of Cuba's female dance-floor devotees. Santiaguero's second NubeNegra release is brightly conceived, superbly recorded and true to name, eminently danceable. A deep sense of their musical heritage energizes Septeto Santiaguero, who stretch the boundaries of the son and never retread familiar ground. Guitarist Rudens Matos and clave player Antonio Rodón trade clever, soaring lead vocals throughout, against a vivid chorus and an inventive, deceptively suave instrumental combo. Each track offers its own surprises, but most moving is the last, Santiaguero's recovery of a home-recorded cassette demo by the late great sonero, Marcelino Guerra "Rapindey." On "Me Voy a las Dos," Rapindey's incomparable vocal rasp hovers in a mystic parallel dimension: a magnificent tribute embroidered by his younger admirers, up and coming masters on their own account. As musical director Fernando Dewar reflects upon Rapindey's extraordinary revelation from beyond the grave, "I have finally played with you, maestro." ¡Presente! - Michael Stone

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