Album Reviews

Ibrahim Ferrer – Buenos Hermanos

(World Circuit) UK release date: 10 March 2003


A leading light of Cuba’s venerable Buena Vista Social Club returns with a classic collection guaranteed to bring some bright sunshine back into our musical lives.

This 76-year-old vocalist certainly isn’t getting any younger, but has the gusto, enthusiasm and years of experience to put many a young pup firmly in their place.

This is an album which draws on all the classic rhythms of Cuban music, from gently rolling salsa, big band wowzers to those heart-achingly wonderful slow ballads – all of which are executed with passion, precision and amazing ease. Ferrer may be the star of the show, but he’s surrounded by a coterie of musicians whose talent is also second to none.

For much of the time, the lush percussion, deftly-tinkled salsa piano and meaty flourishes of Cuban brass are the sounds that take your breath away. As for that voice, it shines the most on dreamily slow tunes like Naufragio and the harmonious Perfume De Gardenias, which whisk the listener back to a truly golden musical which is still alive and well in Castro’s paradise.

Ferrer can still hit those notes and even do a little bit of incidental yodelling. It’s a creamy, easy voice which has had decades of practice and shows few signs of cracking. It’s obvious that he’s a veteran, but his well-worn voice remains as sweet as a nut.

This record may be new, but is all about a past musical heritage. You won’t find any new innovations here- although that’s its very reason for its existence and is still a cause for excitement.

Ferrer is no slouch when it comes to the joyously rapid, instrumental-driven gems such as Hay Que Entrarle A Palos A Ese, which cannot possibly fail to get even the laziest northern European spinning around the room.

It would be easy to endlessly wax lyrical about this record, but it’s just easier to hear it for yourself. Another magical collection from the Buena Vista marvels which will make you want to book the first available flight to Havana. As for Ibrahim and his Social Club stalwarts, it’s high time they were declared world treasures.


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Ibrahim Ferrer – Buenos Hermanos


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