Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1088

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Gilles Peterson & Roberto Fonseca present Havana Cultura - Barbican Hall 06/07/10

Roberto Fonseca present Havana Cultura @Barbican 06/07/10
Roberto Fonseca present Havana Cultura @Barbican 06/07/10 Giles Peterson presents Havana Cultura @Barbican 06/07/10

The first thing I noticed at this cuban soundclash was the amount of excited young people, students I dare say, up for a night of exotic new sounds. Gilles Peterson, looking and sounding relaxed introduced events like he does on radio one in his own inimitable laid back fashion and the scene was firmly set for a mainly scintillating evening.

Firstly, Roberto Fonseca is one hell of a pianist. The new wave he is spear heading, left by the Buena Vista legacy, is on a roll and this boy is amply placed in poll position and that's a thrilling space to be in.

This keyboard master swings like a barn door and his rock solid montunos would seduce a bevvy of cuban conchitas with the minimum of fuss. Schooled by the late great Ibrahim Ferrer sees this hatted honcho as perhaps Cuba's leading light. His immense prowess filled the vast hall with great slabs of piano dexterity and it goes without saying Peterson has landed once again on his feet by meeting this extremely gifted MD who has realised the DJ's ambitious dreams.

Equally adept at playing traditional salsa as well as down beat,head nodding hip hop RF walks the tightrope with ease. Peterson's nob twiddling and dropping of beats changed the mood byintroducing two rappers called 'Ogguere' whose infectious upbeat personas reminded me of JedWard (with talent!) these cuban blues brothers caused a riot and got the somewhat constrained barbican enviroment up on it's feet and partying!

Singer Danay Su·rez Fern·ndez added some silky sultriness to this acclaimed ensemble with some moody genre switching, and gave us some fine supermagic cuban origin fresh dopeness topping a beautiful summer's evening. Her contributions are well worth a check on the Havana Cultura C.D that is jam packed with fresh talent and style hopping latino lushness.

So the blueprint led by Nick Gold and Ry Cooder all those years ago has been redefined by GP, and his introductory film before the concert shed some light into how Havana Cultura came about. it's well worth a view as was tonight's concert Fonseca and co have stirred me up like a pokey mojito. Listen to the new platter and do yourself a real favour. Joyous stuff!
Words Emrys Baird

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