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Sintesis - Ancestros CD (album) cover

ANCESTROS

Sintesis

Prog Folk


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4 stars If you have never heard the fusion between rock and african chants, this is the album to start with; SINTESIS, after a trilogy of LP oriented from prog rock to pop rock, breaks its traditional approach to rock music and gives to their cuban fans and the world something revolutionary to hear and assimilate in terms for contemporary music.

Set around the couple (in music and life) of Carlos Alfonso and Ele Valdés and the huge musical skills of Lucía Huergo, this LP smashes the boundaries between two worlds that everyone thought could not be jointed: the modern occidental rock and the ancestral african chants.

It is simply amazing how these guys came up with this idea of merging the Afro Cuban chants (basicly coming from Central Africa - the Yoruba branch of tribes and dialects set on this part of that continent) which still nowadays has a very important impact and religious following in Cuba and the modern Cuban rock scene of the late 80's (not much to do with the worlds approach to new wave, metal, etc.).

Alfonso and Huergo share the credits for the 8 compositions in the LP (1, 3, 5 and 7 for Alfonso, the rest for Huergo) and again Alfonso and his wife Ele Valdés share vocals, where Carlos - without being a very gifted singer - represents very well how these chants are to be sung and Ele - with her beautiful voice - adds a very useful freshness to these rare dialect voices.

On the purely musical side, Huergo takes the lead with her multi-instrumental perfomances (very good on piano and synths, superb on the wind instruments), Padilla is a fairly gifted drummer (maybe too focused, for my liking, on the technology and the programming of the drums, probably that was the style coming up in Cuba in the late 80's), Bustillo sounds good for his standards and makes memorable riffs for the album, but may sound to dated for some as myself (reminds me of the guitarists from the late 60's and early 70's). Alfonso has always been an fair bass player (nothing too fancy here either) and Ele, allthough she's credited for playing keyboards, her main function is on vocal (not a bad player, though).

Asoyín, Opatereo and Mereguo were huge hits in Cuba on those years, so we recomend it to the listeners; but don't miss the beautiful Titi-Laye where the late Lázaro Ross (a master on the Yoruba chants) gives a class on how to sing this type of music and Huergo gives her best perfomance of the album.

In my honest opinion, I don't give this album a 5 stars because of the lacking in the musical perfomance (it would get much better on further albums); but I give it a 4.5 for it beeing a pivotal album for both: Sintesis's musical carrer and Cuban's rock history.

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Posted Monday, April 17, 2006 | Review Permalink

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