musicology #0660

Antonio Machin – Lindas Cubanos

Back in the saddle with this majestic piece courtesy of vocalist supreme Antonio Machin featuring Daniel Sanchez. Born in Sagua La Grande in 1903 to a Cuban woman and a Spanish father the youngblood found himself working at a young age to support the family. The story goes that he was singing quietly to himself when a priest passed by and was so taken by his voice that he urged him to sing in public. Young Antonio obliged and tore it up in his first performance, (Schubert’s Ave Maria), determined to make something of himself he dedicated his life to learning the art and craft of the vocalist. By the age of 20 he was the ladies choice on the manor and in 1926 he moved to the big smoke, (Havana), and earned a position as a singer in a Cafe. It wasn’t long before he began to make waves and found himself singing in (Big) Don Azpiazu’s Orchestra at the Havana Casino. Four years later and the Don’s fame led them to New York City where they laid down a 78 titled ‘El manisero’ which went on to be the first Cuban hit in America. Not wishing to return to Cuba he settled in New York and in 1932 formed the Cuarteto Machín with Puerto Rican natives Plácido Acevedo (trumpet), Cándido Vicenty (tres) and Daniel Sánchez (second voice and guitar). Recording over 200 cuts of prime Carribean/Latino the Cuarteto evolved into the Sexteto adding the imperious Remberto Lara.

In 1935 He left New York and landed in London and then moved over to Paris before finally settling in Madrid at the end of the 1930’s. ‘Father’ Machin is a Cuban music legend and one listen to his ‘work’ should guarantee that all genuine musicologists take note, (if not already known), of his name. Cuban music had a MAJOR influence on ‘Popular’ music and elements are heard in many musical styles from the Salsa of Brazil to the Ska of Jamaica. This cut was recorded between 1933-34

“The music of Cuba developed from a unique set of historical and social circumstances. African slaves, brought to work on the Spanish sugar plantations, soon outnumbered the European colonists. The attitude of the Spanish political and religious institutions towards African culture, while undeniably oppressive, was more open than in some other colonial societies. Catholic priests did their best to convert the Africans to Christianity, but they overlooked their worship of African deities as long as they gave them Christian names. In fact, santeria, a religion that combines Catholicism with African deities and rituals, is still a key part of Cuban spiritual life.

Son developed around the turn of the century in Oriente, a region in eastern Cuba. Migrating musicians brought son west to Havana in the 1920s, where it exploded in popularity. The fundamental element of the son is a rhythmic pattern called clave (lit. “key”). Played on two wooden sticks, called claves, this repetitive beat is the foundation upon which all of the other musical elements are structured. It gives son the propulsive swing that has endeared it to people around the world.” – Putumayo


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