“Ferrer is on stunning form, coaxing endlessly subtle nuances from a
set of finely crafted original songs…heavenly. ★★★★”
—The Guardian

 “The Cuban maestro has hit top form. ★★★★”—Q

“an excellent bolero singer”—The New York Times

 “a stylish vocalist, possessed of a wonderfully nuanced interpretive gift”—Billboard

 “A classic from top to tail. ★★★★”—MOJO

 “Ferrer was not only the last of the great son singers from Cuba, but he was
also a one-of-a-kind vocalist—a carefree performer who can move audiences
with innate grace and style.”—Newsweek

World Circuit Records is set to release a very special edition of Buena Vista Social Club vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer’s Grammy-winning second solo album Buenos Hermanos, due February 28.

Originally released in 2003, Buenos Hermanos won critical acclaim as an audacious and assured album firmly rooted in tradition, whilst expanding the horizons of 21st Century Cuban music with its varied repertoire and modern sound.

Producer Ry Cooder has now gone back to the original tapes to remix the entire album, adding four previously unheard tracks from the original album sessions to a brand new sequence, creating a completely reimagined Buenos Hermanos.

“It’s better than ever, if I may say,” comments Cooder on the new mixes. “We went back into the session tapes and found songs that were overlooked for some reason, and you’re going to be as thrilled as I am. We’ve really polished it up and improved it and expanded it, it sounds almost brand new. There’s one thing for sure: we need something good, something beautiful in these days and times.”

The reimagined version of the album also features refreshed cover artwork featuring an alternative photograph from the original album shoot by Christien Jaspars. Along with digital formats, the release will be available as a CD casebound book and 180g heavyweight double vinyl—with both packages including English and Spanish lyrics—and a new foreword from Cooder. A limited edition art print will be included with the first 50 preorders of the new album via World Circuit’s webstore. Preorder the album at http://worldcircuit.lnk.to/BHSpecialEdition.

In celebration of the forthcoming reissue, World Circuit is premiering the never-before-heard track “Ven Conmigo Guajira,” a lively interpretation of a classic Cuban country song in the romantic dance hall style. Available to listen to now for the first time, the song was originally penned by the renowned composer & bandleader Francisco “Machito” Grillo (who died while performing at Ronnie Scott’s in 1984). “We must have been crazy to leave that out,” says Ry of the track, “That’s the best version of that song I’ve ever heard.” Listen to/share the track here: http://worldcircuit.lnk.to/BHSpecialEdition.

Having retired from nearly 40 years of performing, Ibrahim Ferrer was shining shoes in 1996 when he was approached by Afro-Cuban All Stars’ band leader Juan de Marcos González to sing on the sessions that would become the original Buena Vista Social Club album. The record was released to phenomenal reception the following year, going on to sell over eight million copies and catapulting Ferrer and his fellow musicians to international fame.

Buenos Hermanos followed Ferrer’s first solo album Buena Vista Social Club Presents Ibrahim Ferrer and was hailed at the time as a selection of fresh takes on classic songs and thrilling examples of the romantic ballads and boleros for which Ferrer was justly famed. It went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album that year.

The handpicked core band is an unusual ensemble that combines the Cubans Orlando “Cachaíto” López (bass) and Manuel Galbán (electric guitar, piano and organ), Ry Cooder (guitars), the esteemed Chucho Valdés (piano) and Miguel ‘Angá’ Díaz (congas). Additional inspired flavor comes courtesy of accordionist Flaco Jimenez, the gospel-charged voices of the Blind Boys of Alabama and the ambient trumpet of Jon Hassell.

Buenos Hermanos is a record full of variety and unique energy: there’s the free-flowing improvisation “La Música Cubana,” composed spontaneously in the studio by Ferrer and Chucho Valdés; the explosive rhythms of “Hay Que Entrarle a Palos a Ése” with Galbán’s time-warp organ solo; and the gritty guitars of Cooder and Galbán on “No Tiene Telaraña.” The two guitarists are juxtaposed to strikingly different effect against Demetrio Muñiz’s orchestral arrangement on “Mil Congojas,” while there’s the playfulness that Flaco Jimenez’s accordion brings to “Naufragio,” the charming cha cha cha “Como El Arrullo de Palma,” and the pop sensibility of the lovely “Boliviana,” which Valdés originally wrote for Irakere in the 1970s.

Unearthed from the original album sessions and previously unreleased until now, “Mujer” is an emotional performance from Ibrahim of this famous bolero, written by the legendary Mexican musician and songwriter Agustín Lara. “Ojos Malvados” (“Evil Eyes”), composed by Cristina Saladrigas (one of the few women in the early days of traditional Cuban “trova”), is another elegant bolero that has become part of the repertoire of some of the greatest Cuban musicians, from son and bolero giants Trio Matamoros to Barbarito Díez. The fourth track to be added to the original album, “Me Voy Pa’ Sibanicú,” is a “guaracha,” a style connected to the Cuban son that reflects the tremendous street humour of cities like Ibrahim’s hometown of Santiago de Cuba, and which is usually spiced with double meanings and satire.

Ferrer brings to these songs not only his ripe and long-standing vocal mastery, but a confidence and self-assurance that, according to Cooder, puts him up there alongside such all-time giants of Cuban music as Ferrer’s own personal hero, Beny Moré.

“These are songs that make me feel younger,” said Ferrer at the time. “I have put my deepest feelings into them and it’s my way of giving something back to my listeners and thanking them for their support. I enjoy feeling there is something inside what I am singing.”

Buenos Hermanos [Special Edition]

  1. Boquiñeñe
  2. Música Cubana
  3. Boliviana
  4. Me Voy Pa’ Sibanicú*
  5. Buenos Hermanos
  6. Mil Congojas
  7. Ojo Malvados*
  8. Guaguancó Callejero
  9. Hay Que Entrarle a Palos a Ése
  10. Perfume De Gardenias
  11. Como El Arrullo De Palma
  12. Mujer *
  13. No Tiene Telaraña
  14. Ven Conmigo Guajira*
  15. Naufragio
  16. Fuiste Cruel
  17. Oye El Consejo

* previously unreleased tracks from original album sessions

Photo credit: Christien Jaspars



About Velton 524 Articles
Velton Hayworth is a professional photographer and blogger. Velton loves to cover the nightlife and entertainment scene. Follow Velton on Twitter @ILoveFtWorth

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