La Corona

OH 009CD OH 009CD

Out Here Records presents the sound of post-globalized, post-Buena Vista Social Club Cuba in 2008: Madera Limpia. Guantánamo is a small town in the southeast of Cuba. Tourists are rarely seen there. There are no sights or attractions, no beautiful beaches -- the beaches, about 13 miles from the town, are under U.S. control and are the location of the military base of Guantánamo Bay. The old Spanish colonial style houses are decaying, and the mood is ancient. Time seems to stand still: hopes melt in the afternoon heat, the country's turbulent past is hidden underneath a long shadow. Communication with the outside world is difficult; those with aspirations for a better life try their fortunes in Havana -- or they go to Miami or Europe, never to return. This is the home of Yasel Gonzalez Rivera and Gerald Thomas Collymore, the driving forces of Madera Limpia. "My rap is an expression of what young people feel in Cuba," explains Yasel, "what they live, what happens everyday." "Tirando Con La Cara" is about guys from the countryside who go to Havana and end up as prostitutes. The dark "Boca Floja" addresses a very Cuban subject -- people spying in every neighborhood -- provoking dangerous conversations and reporting everything to the police for their own benefit. "En La Esquina" concerns the constant rush for status symbols in order to cover up poverty. In "Danza Mulata" they talk about their own experiences abroad and the emigrants they met in Europe and their longing for home. Above all though, La Corona with its globalized rhythms, celebrates life, and is about not losing one's dignity. The musical language Madera Limpia use transforms a love for Cuban music into a globalized youth culture. Heavy percussion meets the melancholic tres, an occasional tuba takes over the bass, and above all you have Yasel and Gerald flowing effortlessly between rap, reggae/dancehall and rootsy changui, the native style that originated in Guantánamo. Alina Teodorescu, a Romanian filmmaker now based in Munich, made the documentary Paraiso, a kind of road-movie on their life in Guantánamo and he also produced this record. La Corona is a blend of local acoustic traditions and urban Latino youth culture which shows that Cuba is alive and kicking and is ready to make you dance while being firmly rooted in the traditions of Cuban music.