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Giles Peterson’s compilation exploring Cuban sounds from the 70s and 80s

According to this compilation by Gilles Peterson and Stuart Baker, Cuban music from 1975-1985 came in many forms: jazz, funk, tropicalia, disco and salsa …

The list of new musical genres that emerged during this period is as long as is the title of the compilation, Cuba: Music and Revolution: Culture Clash in Havana: Experiments in Latin Music 1975-85 Vol. 1. Yet that takes nothing away from how rich and fascinating a treasure it is. Compiled by Gilles Peterson and Stuart Baker on the Soul Jazz label, the collection explores the new styles that emerged in Cuba during the 1970s, including jazz, funk, tropicalia, disco and salsa. These are genres that Cuban artists experimented with at their own pace, giving rise to new and inspiring musical forms. Reflecting both the Afro-Cuban cultural heritage of a nation that gave birth to Latin music, and its recent transition to a socialist state, the music represented a search for new cultural identity. Most of the music presented on this album has never been heard outside Cuba.

Grupo Irakere – “Chequere Son”

The compilation leads us to rediscover mythical groups such as Irakere, Los Van Van and Pablo Milanés, as well as a host of lesser-known artists such as the radical Grupo De Experimentación, Juan Pablo Torres and Algo Nuevo, Grupo Monumental and Orquesta Ritmo Oriental, acts whose names remain largely unknown outside Cuba. These knowledge gaps are down to the sixty-year-old US trade embargo, still in force today, which prevents trade with Cuba. As a result, most Cuban vinyl never reached US shores.

Cuba: Music and Revolution is published as a companion to the book Peterson and Baker’s Cuba: Music and Revolution: Original Cover Art of Cuban Music – which we have already covered presenting Cuban record sleeves made in the 30 years that followed the Cuban revolution.

The compilation Cuba: Music and Revolution: Culture Clash in Havana: Experiments in Latin Music 1975-85 Vol. 1 will be released on 22 January via Soul Jazz Records.