MENU Gilles P blog from Havana, Cuba // 07-05-10

Gilles P blog from Havana, Cuba // 07-05-10

May 7, 2010

Finding myself once again walking up the steepest set of stairs and into the comfort of the Egrem studios – well sort of comfort… there’s air con here and after the 20 minute walk from my hotel in blistering Havana heat I’m happy to be cooling off right now. It’s the third and last day of our European tour rehearsals – its been a far more chilled week than when I last came here – almost exactly a year ago – during which not only did I produce an entire live album with Vince Vella and Roberto Fonseca, but I also made a film, stood in a million different locations having my photo taken, did a documentary for the BBC… and even spun a few in the Turf club… Wow …even I can’t quite believe that! So this time I made sure to relax a bit, enjoy my stay, do some jogs at twilight catch a gig or 2 but mainly focus on getting the right balance for the live shows which begin at the end of June.

First things first… whats my role gonna be? I don’t play any instruments and I don’t wanna be the white boy on clave…but Roberto really wants my involvement on stage… maybe I can mix the sound live perhaps? so I was a bit confused on my first day here, but after going through a few of the tracks with the rhythm section I realized that we could take a bit of the remix arrangements and fuse a couple in – the second part of ‘Roforofo Fight’ using the Louie Vega arrangement works really well… I can add a little kick there, and the Michel Cleis remix of Rezando is murder when played by the band – I can def add some beats to it live: meanwhile Roberto’s played me a beautiful old fashioned guaganco which he wants me to find some atmos to surround with – I can also hear it going a little Studio 1 – a bit inspired by the Dee Nasty productions of Cachaito around 10 years back. It also
has sprinklings of Gotan – I’m hearing poetry and words and stuff… so its looking good – some new ideas being thrown around too – a killer version of something… but I don’t want to say yet!

So all in all I’m feeling good about this – it’ll be a great show I think – Ogguere and Danay are here too – but having Roberto’s quartet is amazing – like having a Latin Robert Glasper – in fact I was really trying to get Glasper out at the Worldwide Festival to play back to back with Fonseca… but he’s doing Maxwell this summer so that’ll have to wait till another time.

I saw Chucho Valdes play here last night – he did a sort of Chopin tribute blending some themes into his wild mix – it worked at times – but at others the fusion was a bit too much for me – too many notes! I’ve also spent some valuable time talking with Edgar from Doble Filo – he was the guy I went record shopping with on my last visit…and he did a great remix of ‘Mami’ on the forthcoming release – he also presents a TV show here in Cuba and is about the most tuned in guy when it comes to the up and coming talents… so he’s left me a load of stuff to shift through on my flight home… I’m quite keen to do a second volume of Havana Cultura – maybe using different international producers like Marc Pritchard, Scuba, Diplo…and working more around the hip hop and reggaeton underground… lets see!

In the meantime these are the dates we’re doing:

Sat 26th June // Place des Quinconces (tent), Bordeaux, France
Sun 27th June // Festival Afro-Latino, Bree, Belgium
Weds 30th June // Museumsquartier Jazz Fest, Vienna, Austria // TICKETS
Fri 2nd July // Roskilde, Denmark // TICKETS
Sat 3rd July // SAGE Gateshead UK
Tues 6th July // Barbican, London UK // TICKETS
Fri 9th July // Worldwide Festival, Sete, France // TICKETS

Cheers

Gilles P