Charanga Habanera Before and After

Discussion in 'Salsa Music' started by timberamayor, Apr 1, 2015.

  1. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    So they used to be my favorite of all timba bands and due to their popularity I believe that many non-timba fans have the erroneous idea that all timba sounds like them. But after Tirso left the band David moved more and more into boy band mode until they are an unabashedly boy band timbaton group. Still hugely popular and fun in concert but nothing I want to listen to at home.

    So here is the "full suspension concert" Kevin has pieced it together from the radio audio, which was much better than from the various VHS recordings from TV, and fused it with the video. But since the concert was cut short on TV part of it has no video, just the audio. But it's a great look at CH during the height of their timba era and the famous concert that led to the temporary suspension and then the split of the group. 1 hour 26 minutes long

    And then we have what they are today.

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  2. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    Another classic Charanga Habanera concert before they went Absolute Boy Band. This is 1998 after the break-up with most of the 2nd Coming of the Charanga Habanera including Michel Maza, who was the only bandmember that didn't leave after the suspension. He left a little later :) But here we have brilliant young musicians Tirso Duarte on piano, The Mengual Brothers (twins) on congas and bongos, Yulién Oviedo on Timbales/bass drum, Osmany Collado on flute/sax/synth, "El Abuelo Carmelo" on first trumpet (Alexander Abreu's mentor). And La Tropical is the most "Cuban" venue as opposed to the more touristy casa de la música,

  3. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    And in keeping with the theme of the thread above you saw Yulién before and here he is after - a singer now.
  4. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    and something new...timbaton not timba
  5. kbitten

    kbitten Clave Commander

    what was the 'suspension'?

    CH is not for me kkkk
  6. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    You asked so get ready LOL

    In 1997 the band had just released their 4th CD "Tremendo Delirio" and were the most popular band at the moment. They played a live televised concert for an international youth festival. During Lola, Lola Michel Maza climbed the scaffolding and pretended to do a striptease. really nothing worse than at any of their concerts but now live and on a televised communist party sponsored event. In addition they sang Usa Condón - which is bar none the coolest song ever written about using condoms. The late 90s in Cuba were a very sexy time and the govt got bands to do sort of public announcement type songs as well. But as this one goes on - it uses double entendre to talk about smoking pot seemingly. Also there are rumors that Danny Lozada had a coro about the green mango falling that was a reference to Fidel. Whatever the specifics, I suspect they pissed off the powers that be on many levels and the TV broadcast was cut although the concert continued and you can find the complete audio from radio programs.

    The government then suspended the band from playing for 6 months. Thus the concert is known in Timba Lore as The Suspension Concert. During the suspension, Danny Lozada and Juan Carlos Gonzales started their own band Danny Lozada y su timba cubana -- and recorded the CD Tanto le pedí. The rest of the band - with the exception of Michel Maza and the sound man - broke off with David after the suspension and formed Charanga Forever. Keep in mind that David was at one point married to Michel's mother Beatriz Marquez - although I don't know if they were married at this point.

    David hired a great new band - Tirso Duarte, Aned Mota, Noel Diáz, Dante Cardosa, the Mengual brothers, Yulién Oviedo and others. But before they recorded the next CD "El Charanguero Mayor" - Michel left to join La Forever. And this was the era of what is known in Timba Lore as The Charanguerra. Well, I like to call it that anyway and since I'm telling the story...;) To make the story short - David won, but as always competition spurred the bands on to make some great albums.

    Te voy hacer llorar - Danny Lozada (he wasn't part of the charanguerra)

    Somo la charanga (Dice Formell) a song written by Juan Formell for CF. You can hear Sombrilla, Michel Maza and Mandy Cantero on vocals. they continued the tradition of wearing ugly clothes on stage - but I digress.

    And from CH El Charanguero Mayor
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  7. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    Interview where David responds to the statement that people think he cares more about looks than singing ability (nowadays - it wasn't always so). BTW I like Lachy a lot. He was with revé a while, the CH where he got the nickname Lachy Fortuna and then back to Revé and now with Pupy :) He's a good singer.
    Last edited: May 19, 2016
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  8. kbitten

    kbitten Clave Commander

    you know, I thought portenho's spanish was terrible for foreigners but cuban's is worse kkkk I mean, it's hard to understand them kkk
    the video I posted about rueda in the old days when cubans started to talk, I was like WtF?

    when someone talks like that, with 'air in the mouth', we always say 'tira a macaúba da boca' meaning take out the little coconut you have in your mouth to speak' kkk

    and they swallow the end of the words..
  9. khabibul35

    khabibul35 Tumbao

    Very interesting, I'm crying inside at the moment, thinking about all the great songs that we missed out on due to the break up of the band. :(

    I see your story on what happened, but in the video they link another video, which is supposed to have some of the story but I found no such link. I'd be very curious to hear a more in depth story if one exists. I suspected it was the gov't, but wow, crazy. There's gotta be more to it.
    Last edited: May 20, 2016
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  10. kbitten

    kbitten Clave Commander

    yeah.. I understood the whole suspension thing but they didnt need to split because of that..unless they only played in Cuba and six months being forbidden to work is ridicoulous.

    I know is nonsense but one of the reasons that kept me from visiting Cuba is their goverment..Can't separate things specially now when have way more reasons to despise los gobiernos de izquierda.
  11. kbitten

    kbitten Clave Commander

    I was right about their accent haha

  12. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    Mainly I think Danny left to get around the suspension and I think the other guys were dissatisfied and felt like David was taking too much of the credit. The most info I've seen is at Juan Carlos Gonzales told his side of the story in the History section for CH. David bfeifly addressed the subject during the interviews in the Popular DVD, but I'm not sure where you can get it now. the Havanabuzz site is no longer active, but search for Popular! and you might find it. Jen also did and other The animals of salsa about reggaeton vs timba in Cuba. Interviews with Gente D'Zona among others long before the world fame they have now. Might be interesting for some people. I think both DVD are good. Popular was filmed between the release of Soy cubano, soy popular and Charanga Light.

    CH history at Follow the Next links to read through he whole story
  13. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    Yeah, all musicians are govt employees so they can be sanctioned. Being under sanction means they can't go on tour either. At the time Cubans couldn't leave the country without getting an exit visa from the Cuban government. That was changed a few years ago and is one of the good moves that Raul has made in opening up the country and making things more "free", along with allowing Cubans to rent cars, to buy and sell homes and to stay at tourist hotels that were previously tourist only. And of course the greater privatization. They have now passed 500 000 private businesses opened in Cuba.

    But at the time things were more restrictive. I think mainly dissatisfaction was the reason for the breakup and David said that the suspension didn't really last 6 months due to popular demand. I don't know for sure myself. I don't think there are any official dates.

    Having known Cuban musicians the reasons they leave bands are
    Money - either they feel they are getting paid to little or they get a better offer from another band
    Respect - they feel that the bandleader doesn't treat them with respect
    Travel - they want to be in a band that does international tours or that does MORE international tours than the band they are in now
    Fame - Musicians also leave to move up the ladder from the third-line to first-line bands. The general assumption is that the higher status the band the more money you make and the more you tour. But David also said in an interview that the govt actually doesn't let them do "too many" concerts to try to control the popularity of the band i.e. so that they won't develop an overwhelming am0ount of popular support. That is how David sees it anyway.
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  14. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    Danish is like that. people say they sound like they are talking with a potato in their mouth (not many coconuts in Scandinavia)

    I'm used to it. I actually find Cubans easier to understand than most South Americans. I was even told by a Colombian that I speak Cuban Spanish LOL. But then I was playing Andrés Suarez in Cuba and someone said "He has the same accent as you" and he's from Galicia so...:) I think I picked up his way of pronouncing "g" from listening to him so much.

    OT. Here is a short interview I did with Andrés in Madrid. I had 20 questions prepared for Pablo Milanés but he didn't want to do an interview so I had to make up questions on-the--fly for Andrés and you can tell I didn't quite know how to start. then I had to listen to his answers while making up the next question at the same time LOL

    And here one of the Canciones que nunca debí componer - sorry OT but i LOVE Andrés music. Just him and the guitar in this case.
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  15. I'm so late to this topic but CH are currently in heavy rotation on my playlist so...
    For me, when I think of CH, I think Juan Carlos Gonzales. That's classic CH to me. His style is unmistakable and, at least to my brain, is borderline alien music- example being A Mi Me Gustan Todas (especially the synth breakdown). I might even go as far as to say that is my favourite CH song.
    I havn't listened to Lozada's post CH material, is it on par with the previous CH albums? I need some encouragement to listen to it as I currently have too many songs on my "currently listening" list and just as many on my "to listen" list.

    This will be an extremely unpopular opinion, but I dont think Tremendo is the best CH album, even for that period. I say Pa'Que Se Entere La Habana is a superior and more exciting album (Tremendo is still great though).
    My order of CH albums goes Pa'Que Se > Mayor> Tremendo=Loca (I might enjoy loca marginally more than Tremendo).

    Tirso's playing is undeniably spectacular though (there's no denying the intensity of the song Charanga Mayor), to me it is a refined, silkier JCG with more finesse, but I really like the staccato abrupt playing of JCG.

    As for new Charanga, it's nice to laugh at. Never have I seen a band go from The uppermost echelons of music to bottom of the barrel rubbish, what a transformation!
  16. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    I like Lozada's album. I wouldn't say it's quite at the classic CH level, but kit's good. I had to listen to Allá va eso twice before I liked it, but the second time I decided I loved it. So put I would let it rotate into your playlist once and you can see if any of the sngs really stilkc with you. Since you like JCG so much it might really appeal to you.

    Yes the transition from a real innovator and leading edge band to a timbaton boy band is sad, but David said "he decidido quedarme arriba por el resto de mi vida" and that is what he's doing in terms of remaining popular with the younger crowd, but of course serious timberos were heartbroken when he went full boy band.
  17. I just listened to this ( recommendation)...

    This song is great! I just learnt that JCG was at some point also in Charanga Forever, and composed the above song. The quality is horrible though, and there is no digital download on amazon :(
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  18. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    Yes you should check out the first 2 CF albums.
  19. Who's on piano on the first CF album, is it Cucurucho? The article on is a bit confusing.
  20. Marcos

    Marcos Son Montuno

    Many years ago I got "La cuqui quiere fiesta" by CF and didn't like it at all. I thought the sound quality as poor, and generally found the style of the band cluttered. I don't know how this album is considered historically, but is it representative to how their first two albums sounded?

    I never heard the original CH, my wife got into CH around 2003 (maybe?), when she saw them live as they toured Japan with Haila Mompie and recorded their live show. My wife tells me it was a great show. We saw them live in San Diego in 2012, and while the timbaton boy band sound and look was not to my preference they started on time (which is a big issue for famous latin bands) and made a big effort to put on a good show. Based on those two I would recommend seeing them live, while explaining to them to watch a couple of their music videos first.

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