(Changüí del Guaso Productions, 2016)
This is the band’s first and self-titled album – Changüi Majadero. The band leader is Gabriel Garcia, from East Los Angeles, who in his teenage years fell in love with the sound of the guitar and with Cuban music. That love grew into a master’s degree that explored Afro-Latin music, during which he discovered the work of Grupo Changüi Guantanamo, an established ensemble that plays traditional music in Eastern Cuba. Garcia ended up on the island, where he fell completely under the charms of Changüi. Back in the States, he resolved to introduce the music genre to as many music lovers as possible. In collaboration with two Ortiz brothers – Alfredo and George – and Norrell Thompson (all of whom you may have heard already as part of the Los Angeles Salsa band Son Mayor) Changüi Majadero came to fruition and is now here to delight you.
The album is available for purchase on CDBaby. Peruse, for example, track 3, “Vamos Pa’l Guaso,” which was written by Jose Antonio Moreaux Jardines, of Grupo Changüi Guatanamo. You can hear in this tune what makes Changüi special, including maracas that keep the beat, and voices and a tres that freely improvise. Check also track 9, “Changüi Pa’ Ayotzinapa,” a Mexican corrido about the disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa, here turned into a Changüi, demonstrating how the genre was traditionally used to tell stories at gatherings and celebrations. Check also the connection between Changüi and Salsa by listening to tracks 7 and 11, the first one a traditional Changüi, and the second a tune ready for the dance floor after incorporating horns and other instruments.
Changüi Majadero will have an album release party on Sep. 16, 2016 at Grand Annex in San Pedro, California. Follow this link for the details. Learn more about the band on their website.