Thursday, 13 September 2012

Mala - In Cuba

Mala - In Cuba (Brownswood Recordings)
This time I am record reviewing a box of 4 records called Mala in Cuba, it is called Mala in Cuba because all the music on it was made by a man with rastafarian hair called Mala (who is from London where he makes electronic music called dubstep) after he went to Cuba to listen to Cuban music and to meet up and play with Cuban musicians. I think it is a very good thing for Mala to have gone to Cuba to make music and I reckon he would have probably liked it there as it's always good to go on holiday and see new things and meet different people. Here is a video that Mala made to explain why he went to Cuba for you to watch so you can see why he did it:
          I don't know too much about Cuba except that it is in the Caribbean and that they make big cigars there and that it is a socialist country and that Fidel Castro was the leader there for a long time though I'm not sure that he still is. At home I have a Pathe Newsreel DVD from 1959 which shows about the revolution they had in Cuba and what Cuba was like before Castro when Batista was in power. The newsreel said there were lots of casinos there before the revolution but I don't think they are there any more because Castro got rid of them. Although I know a little bit about Cuba I don't know anything about Cuban music so I hope that I will learn a little bit about it while I am doing this review.
           The first record in this box has three songs on it and the first of these is called Mulata which I looked up on the internet and found out is the spanish word for a woman with one white parent and one black. The song starts off with piano and then some drums and then the piano stops and the bass and more drums start and then the piano comes back afterwards. This is a nice slow track that is very mellow and a lovely way to start this record.
            The next track is called Tribal and it also starts with piano but when the song starts it has more drums on it and it is a little more faster than the first song. The drums sound a bit Spanish to me because it reminded me of Salsa which is music for a type of dancing that they do in Spain - Cuban people are a bit similar to people from Spain because the Spanish founded Cuba a long time ago and took their music with them. I think it is interesting how Mala has mixed the Spanish sounding Cuban music with his own music and I think it works very well indeed.
             The next song is on the B-side of this first record and is called Changuito and I didn't know what that meant so we looked it up and found out it is the name of a famous Cuban Percussionist who plays on this song - you can read all about him here and see a video of him here. The track begins with drums that sound a bit like saucepans but are really some drums called timbales which are the instruments played by Changuito and then a big bass comes in which reminded me of some of the reggae records i've listened to recently for my reviews. This is a quite noisy tune with sounds in it like car horns beeping in traffic but it is noisy in a good way and I think this would be a very good tune to dance to at a discotheque.
              The second record in the box begins with a song called Revolution so I suppose it must be about the revolution that I talked about before. A revolution is where the people of a country get fed up with their government and so get together and get rid of them. I think that this is a good idea that people can do that because sometimes governments can be a bit rubbish so it is a good thing to get rid of them - I think the government here in England is no good because they keep cutting money from disabled people like me and that it would be a good thing to have a revolution here but I'm not sure this will ever happen. This is another fast song with drums which reminded me of marching so maybe it is supposed to sound like people marching to the revolution. I thought this was a very good song indeed.
                The next song on this record is called Como Como and it is a bit different from the songs I have heard so far because it has singing on it and so far all the songs have been instrumental. This is a bit more mellow than the last couple of tunes and the voices sound very nice on it. I think this would be a nice tune to listen to while relaxing with a drink and smoking a cigarette or I suppose one of them big Cuban cigars - I've never smoked cigars though as I only smoke Benson & Hedges cigarettes but maybe I will try one some day.
               The last song on this second record is called The Tunnel and it starts off with a noise like cars going into a tunnel but then the reggae sounding bass starts up again with some Cuban drumming and later some deep sounding piano and a noise like scraping wood - I liked this song a lot and it is another one that I think would be good to dance to at a disco.
                The third record begins with a tune called Ghost which starts off with drums and people clapping and this goes on for a while before the tune starts properly, this is a slower song than the last couple and it reminded me a bit of music from films, maybe it would be an African film because the drumming and the clapping makes me think of African tribes and the music they make. I thought this was a very good song indeed and I enjoyed clapping along to it even though i'm not much use at this type of clapping.
                 The next song which is called Curfew is another one with lots of piano in it and at the beginning it reminded me of music that you would hear in old ballrooms. There is a lot of piano on this record so I think they must play the piano a lot in Cuba - while we were doing this review we looked to see if we could find Cuban piano music and found this video with lots of different Cuban piano players on it which I thought was very nice:
The piano is not the only interesting on this song though because although it starts of sounding like old ballroom music it changes and sounds a lot more like modern dancing music, I liked this one a lot because of this.
              The last song on this third record is called The Tourist and it is another slower, relaxing song that again made me think of the music that people used to dance the cha-cha to. The cha-cha is an old dance and when I looked it up up to do this review I was surprised to find out that it is a Cuban dance and I was quite pleased with myself because I didn't know that before and just guessed it. I think it is interesting that Mala made this modern tune that sound like a cha-cha tune because maybe it will help people who listen to it learn about Cuban music and dances which I think is a good thing.
                The next record in this box is the last one and has two tunes on it and the first one is called Change. This song starts off with piano that i thought sounded a bit like someone who didn't really know how to play hitting the same key over and over again but then there are other piano bits in it that sound more better so I don't think whoever can't play but was probably just pretending. There are lots of other instruments in this song like lots of drums and something that sounds like a trumpet and maybe a violin - there is lots going on in this tune and I liked it a lot.
                  The last song in this box is called Noche Sueños which means night dreams and on this one a singer called Danay Suarez sings in Spanish over the top of  Mala's music. Because it is in Spanish I didn't know what she was singing about because I can't speak Spanish but she has a very nice voice and I thought this song was pleasant to listen to and a good way to end the record.
             Overall I thought these records were very nice to listen to and I thought it was an interesting to mix the Cuban sounds with more modern sounds. I hope it sells lots of copies and makes Mala very famous and I hope lots of people get to listen to this music so they can learn a bit about Cuba like I did - I would like to go to Cuba myself one day and look around at the things there and listen to music like Mala did. I would give this record 10 out of 10.

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