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Wow. Just when you thought you knew all about Cuban music, along comes this steaming hot release to prove you wrong. If the incredibly spirited music of the Creole Choir is distinctly different from the Cuban dance music of the Buena Vista Social Club phenomenon, it’s for a good reason. Its ten members are descended from Haitians who were brought to Cuba as slaves in the 18th century.
Those slaves’ ancestry accounts for the heavy African sound in both their drumming – the only instrumental accompaniment – and striking vocal melodies. If you also think you hear French and Spanish inflections in the vocals, it’s because the choir sing in Creole, a pot pourri of European, Caribbean and African tongues. These are extraordinarily fiery performances – enough to light up the sky on the darkest of days.