Havana Cultura // The Soundclash Mix! // Out Now
October 27, 2014
In 2009, there was ‘Gilles Peterson Presents Havana Cultura’ followed by a remix album. After that ‘The Search Continues’ (2011) and then ‘Mala In Cuba’ (2012). Now we have ‘Havana Cultura Soundclash!’, a compilation of collaborations between Cuban vocalists/musicians and unsigned artists from around the world.
All projects have brought musical exchanges to Cuba — with its illustrious yet traditional music scene — a nation where rhythms (salsa, rumba) exist as the lifeblood of its people; where access to new music is limited, barely any broadband internet service and decent home studio technology is rarely affordable. Despite this, Havana boasts a solid homegrown hip-hop scene and vibrant nightlife ruled by reggaeton, with house, techno, EDM, dubstep, trap and moombahton breaking through.
Besides, cultural exchanges are the essence of electronic music. Cuban rhythms (especially Afro-Cubano) trace back to the heart of dance music — from disco through to Chicago house and beyond — cross-pollination is what keeps it moving forward, so what’s wrong with bringing electronic music to a nation that in a way helped birth it?
This is what ‘Havana Cultura Mix – The Soundclash’ is all about. After sieving through thousands of entries to a remix competition, 10 artists from all over the world (UK, Germany, Hungary, Holland, South Africa, Russia, Switzerland, Chile and Cuba) were selected by Gilles and his Brownswood production partner Simbad to travel to Cuba to work in the studio with hand-picked singers, rappers, percussionists, brass and key players to put together an album.
The result is 12 tracks that not only shine a spotlight on electronic artists to watch, but showcase untouched talent within a tropical, vibrant place such as Cuba; a rare window into this enchanting country with a slow economy characterised by rum, vintage cars and cigars.
Shining through on the album from Cuba is the spine-tingling star quality of Daymé Arocena and the ferocious rap quality of Barbaro and El B. Elsewhere there are stunning diva harmonies from Sexto Sentido and the supple male vocal chords of Los Niches, while a range of ambidextrous Cuban instrumentalists, from collectives like Interactivo, can be heard spilling rhythms and spraying melodies all over each and every record.
From the electronic side, there’s the UK funky touch of Rukaiya Russell and footwork soul of Russia’s Raumskaya; the refined production sensibility of Chillum Trio (Hungary) and rambunctious riddims of South Africa’s Seu Seppie as well as house, trip-hop, trap, minimal tech funk, distorted dubstep and more from noi5er (Chile), Teipah (Chile), Kerkstra (Holland), DJ MonoKey (Germany), Merlin Cornu (Switzerland) and Kike Wolf (Cuba).
In combining these two worlds — the preservation of Cuba and the innovative realm of electronic music — Gilles, Havana Cultura and their artists not only twist traditional forms to create something new, they give musical evolution a little nudge forward in the process.
Gilles Peterson Presents
Havana Cultura Mix – The Soundclash!
1.Elegguá – Kerkstra feat. Sexto Sentido
2.Para ti – Rukaiya Russell feat. Sexto Sentido
3. La vida no vale nada – Kike Wolf
4. U Knew Before – Raumskaya feat. Daymé Arocena
5. Yemaya – Chillum Trio feat. Coki & Yeni
6. Me Ileva La Habana – noi5er feat. Daymé Arocena
7. Traigo – Seu Seppie feat. El Niche
8. Ritmo sensorial – Rukaiya Russell feat. Los Niches & Charly Mucha Rima
9. Mañana? – Teipah feat. El B
10. Soy Cubano – Kerkstra feat. Etián Brebaje Man & Sexto Sentido
11. Sandunga – Merlin Cornu feat. Daymé Arocena
12. Volar en lo profundo- DJ MonoKey feat. Barbaro