Un Bolero Para El Benny
A few months ago, I was extremely pleased to be asked by TERMIDOR RECORDS to prepare and record a collection of songs paying homage to the Cuban music of the 1950s and 1960s, and especially to the indispensable Benny Moré, who is aptly known as the “Bárbaro del Ritmo” or “the Barbarian of Rhythm”.
It was an enormous challenge, considering all of the recordings that had already been made in Cuba and elsewhere honoring this legendary musician. Moré looms as one of the most outstanding figures in the panorama of Cuban music spanning the ages.
To achieve a result that was authentically new, we contracted Darill Fernández de la Fuente, for whom I have immense respect as a great composer of popular Cuban music, to write the songs that have gone onto this CD. We urged him to create tunes with harmonies, melodies and lyrics that are consistent with the spirit and style of that era.
Today I can affirm that Darill has once again exceeded all expectations.
In addition, as part of our plan to create a tribute to Benny Moré, we included four songs from his repertoire that really stand out in this selection for their beauty and importance. Last but not least, we included a bolero that, although it was written after his death, we consider the bolero of boleros: Como un Milagro by that giant of Cuban music, Juanito Márquez. All of the renditions are very much our own, while consistently respecting the spirit of the musicians who originally wrote and performed them.
For my part, I began by listening to hundreds of recordings from that era, for the most part by Benny himself, in order to study the styles of orchestration, arrangements, harmonies, rhythmic patterns and other details used by the great Cuban bands of the time. Then I confronted the challenge of creating a sound that was consistent with what we had set out to accomplish. On the way I decided to make use of various orchestral formats that were very popular during that period, such as the “jazz band”, the “conjunto” (with four trumpets or two trumpets and two trombones), the “combo” (a small ensemble that included an electric guitar and drums) and others that were extremely common in our country, in large part due to the enormous influence of the music that was popular in the United States during the postwar years.
For the vocals, who better than one of the most talented and charismatic singers currently active in our country: Luis Frank, who boasts a large discography, has won many awards, and has benefited greatly from sharing the stage with giants such as Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, Omara Portuondo, Pío Leyva, Rolo Martínez, Rubén González and Guillermo Rubalcaba, among others. He made his contribution to this project with absolute modesty, preparing himself conscientiously and very responsibly to master the challenges, which he did with flying colors — he even considers this CD to be his best and most successfully crafted effort. On a personal level, I want to thank him for his friendship (he’s like a brother to me) and his trust.
I’d like to acknowledge the outstanding work, the magnificent ear and good taste, and the contributions and suggestions of our sound engineer, Gustavo Duchesne, who played a key role in producing this CD. Thanks also go to Frank Du-Quesne for his invaluable assistance, and to our production assistant Hilda Gilda for keeping track of everything. Without them, this project wouldn’t have been possible.
I’m also grateful to the musicians for their devotion and hard work. And to Olga for giving birth to that super singer, Luis Frank.
And also to Benny, who was always with us in the studios, the same ones where he also recorded nearly all of his enormous musical legacy, and whose latent presence accompanied and inspired us throughout the sessions (he practically “materialized” during the recording of the bonus track “Fiebre de Ti” — we really felt him in the studio!).
Nicolás A. Sirgado Llanes
|1. Un Bolero Para El Benny|
|2. Rezo En La Noche|
|3. Montuno Apretao|
|4. Que Hacer|
|5. Preferi Perderte|
|6. Cuba Baila|
|7. Sera Tu Amor|
|8. Yo Puedo Con Me Dolor|
|9. Me Gusta Mas El Son|
|10. De Que Te Vale|
|11. Como Un Milagro|
|12. Fiebre De Ti|