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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 37 | volume VII | July-August, 2004



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 37July-August, 2004
Sound Reviews

Manuel ‘Guajiro’ Mirabal

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Nenad Georgievski

”Guajiro is one of the most characterful trumpet players that Cuban music has had. He followed the Cuban style and in the end plays the trumpet like Guajiro, he has the best thing an artist can have – his own language. When you hear him playing there's no doubt about it, you know it's him.” Demetrio Muñiz.

    Having been an integral part of the Buena Vista Social Club series of albums and tours from their inception, trumpeter Manuel ‘Guajiro’ Mirabal brings us his debut solo album. This album sees Guajiro leading a tribute to the spirit of the legendary giant of Cuban music, Arsenio Rodríguez. All of the tracks on the album were written by or associated with Arsenio. The music here is performed by a specially assembled group in the mould of Arsenio’s great trumpet led conjuntos of the 1940s and 50s.
    Guajiro has been a key figure in the Cuban music scene for over 50 years and has played with just about every Cuban star you could care to mention. During World Circuit’s now legendary recording blitz in Havana in 1996, Guajiro featured on all three of these seminal albums: Afro-Cuban All Stars ‘A Toda Cuba Le Gusta’, ‘Buena Vista Social Club’, and ‘Introducing Rubén González’. The trumpet occupies a hugely important role within Cuban music, and Guajiro is its archetypal exponent, making him the unquestioned choice as the trumpet soloist for all three albums. The phenomenon that followed these releases has brought about a renewed reverence for artists such as Guajiro, who is now in greater demand than ever.
    It is no co-incidence that with his key role in the current resurgence in music from Cuba that Guajiro has decided to make his first solo album a tribute to Arsenio Rodríguez.
    Nicknamed ‘El Ciego Maravilloso’ (The Blind Marvel), Arsenio was a revolutionary figure completely transforming the sound and definition of Cuban music. An expert in Congolese rhythms, he pushed African influences to the fore, refashioning the traditional sexteto by adding the conga drum, and two extra trumpets to give it a lot more power and scope, and setting his syncopated tres playing style (double course 3 string guitar) against the percussion to great effect. His innovative usage of the piano began with a young Rubén González, who played on Arsenio’s first recording in 1943, and developed over the years with Lili Martínez. When Arsenio moved to New York in 1950






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