Yet again an extraordinary album, courtesy of Peter Gabriel and Real World Studios, that absolutely sings from your speakers.
The Choir came over to the Edinburgh Festival this year, won the Festival Editors Award. They received rave reviews and The Scotsman described them as being “unlike any other Caribbean music show to cross the ocean. The only links to the likes of the Buena Vista Social Club is in virtuosity, fidelity to tradition and the sheer privilege of hearing musicians who could easily have remained Cuba’s best kept secret had they not been given this break.”
Vibrant dancing and spectacular harmonies and undiscovered music of the Caribbean performed by a vocal and percussion ensemble little known outside of Cuba. The Creole Choir of Cuba have preserved musical treasures from Haiti, Dominica and Cuba within their rich descendant communities in Cuba.
Founded in 1994 during the ‘Special Period’ when the Cuban economy fell into a black hole following the end of the USSR and of Soviet support for the revolution. Food was short while homes and work places often went dark due to lack of electricity. It was at this difficult time that members of the Professional Choir of Camagüey who were descendents of Haitians, decided to re-forge the resistance songs and laments of their forebears. Lead by their Choir Director Emilia Díaz Chávez, Grupo Vocal Desandann, as they are called in Cuba, revived the songs of their ancestors for modern times. Desandann literally means ‘descendents’ and as the choir say: “For us music is like food, it feeds the spirit and is a major inspiration for everyday life”.
The Creole Choir describe each of their songs as being ‘like a small film’ filled with vitality, humour and compassion. They tell stories of survival despite abject poverty, of heroes who defied colonial masters, of ghosts at the crossroads, of enduring love, of homesickness for family, of abandonment but never loss of hope, mother’s laments and prayers, of the desire for freedom. With irresistible melodies driven by richly textured harmonies, shifting Caribbean rhythms with a very original root bass sound, this is impassioned singing by a unique group.
Both exhilarating and moving, this album demands dedicated listening. Available in three formats including super high-quality 24-bit FLAC, please do let us know what you think