Vintage Latino is a collection that pays tribute to the nostalgic era of Mexican and Cuban boleros, Cuban sones and guajiras, Argentinian tangos, Puerto Rican trios and Venezuelan llaneras. While Buena Vista Social Club shined a spotlight on Cuban music of the 1950s, Vintage Latino features some of the lesser known but equally extraordinary music of that era by musicians from Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. It also includes other Cuban legends and respected trios who performed in cafés and brothels in pre-Castro Cuba.
Begin your journey with two classic boleros, a romantic song style popular across Latin America. The first, a version of the classic “Perfidia” performed by Trio Melodicos captures the ambiance of a particular corner of 1950s Cuba. Trio Melodicos frequently performed in the Casa Marina, a renowned brothel in Havana, and their music would have been lost to time had it not been for the efforts of two Jewish Cuban playboys who recorded them in the 1950s. It’s followed by “Mentiras Tuyas” which was a hit when it was first recorded in 1956 by one of Cuba’s most distinctive singers, Rolando La Serie.
Next, get ready to cha-cha with the retro Latin sounds of Republique Democratique du Mambo, a 16-piece orchestra from southern France, and their version of the mambo hit “Cha Cha Cha Para Ti.” The album continues with a duet by two world renowned Latin American artists; a grande dame of Latin American music, Uruguayan Lágrima Ríos, and Gustavo Santaolalla, an Argentinian composer, producer and musician who won Academy Awards for Best Original Score two years in a row. Santaolalla realized a long-time dream of gathering some of the legends of Argentinian and Uruguayan tango music for a recording and documentary film entitled, Café de Los Maestros. Recorded for that film before Rios passed away in 2006, “Un Cielo Para Los Dos” (A Heaven for the Two of Us) displays Rios’ influence on tango through her traditional Afro-Uruguayan style called candombé.
The time warp continues with “Eso,” another classic romantic bolero sung by Cuban/Mexican singer Armando Garzón, also known as “The Black Angel with the Velvet Voice.” Born in Cuba, he has lived, recorded and performed in Mexico for decades. Mexico and Cuba both claim the bolero as their own and Armando has been able to combine both regional flavors.
“Piel Canela” (Cinnamon Skin) by Las Rubias del Norte was originally a hit recorded by the Lecuona Cuban Boys in the 1930s. While neither of the members from this New York-based duo are of Latin origin, they share a passion for Latin and other music of the 1940s and 50s.
Puerto Rican jazz flautist Néstor Torres recorded this rootsy Afro-Cuban-flavored song “Tierra Colorá” in 1981. Orquesta La Moderna Tradiction (The Modern Tradition Ochestra) was founded by a group of talented and diverse musicians who were united in their passion for the classic Cuban ballroom music style danzón. “Juárez” is a classic danzon-chá that begins with a slower section during which dancers are expected to select their partners and stroll casually onto the dance floor, ready to kick it into high gear when the groove begins.
Putumayo’s Vintage Latino will take you on a journey to a time of romance and poetry, a moment when Latin America was finding its voice and wooing the world with its enchanting songs.
“Chinita” is a classic Cuban love song performed here by Trio Zamora, which was among the hundreds of small 3-person groups called “trios” that performed in Havana at the Casa Marina and other brothels and cafes in the 1950s. Venezuelan singer and songwriter Simón Diaz devoted his life to the propagation of the music of the llanos (plains) where ranchers and farmers sang songs that reflected a way of life closely connected to the land. “Despedida” (Farewell) features the quintessential instruments of musica llanera: the Venezuelan harp, cuatro (a small four-stringed guitar) and maracas.
The Colombian singer Arista (Aristarco Perea Copete), dedicated his career to the Cuban bolero and son, genres that he heard as a child on the Pacific coast of Colombia over 75 years ago through records brought by sailors and fishermen.“Amantes” (Lovers) appeared on his album Arista Son. Mexican songwriter Consuelo Velásquez wrote “Bésame Mucho” in1940 and it has gone on to become one of the most recorded and performed Spanish language songs of all time. Here it isperformed by Colombian and Paris-based star Yuri Buenaventura.