Ska Cubano - Ay Caramba!
The Bottom Line
This exciting CD blends Jamaican ska, Cuban son, and Colombian cumbia to form a new pan-Caribbean genre that is highly addictive and eminently danceable.
- Adroit musicianship.
- Fun and fresh concept and execution.
- Staying power... you can listen over and over without getting bored!
- Ska, Son, Cumbia... what more do you need?
- Pleasantly campy pan-Caribbean sounds.
- Light and slightly ribald lyrics on many songs.
Guide Review - Ska Cubano - Ay Caramba!
I first caught wind of Ska Cubano's exciting pan-Caribbean sound on Putumayo's "The Caribbean" compilation, and I immediately wanted to hear more. Luckily, Ska Cubano's full-length CD was no disappointment. This concept band imagines what it would be like if Jamaican and Cuban music had cross-fertilized, combining elements of both ska and son with other Latin and Afro-Caribbean elements. The result is campy, yes, but intensely delightful and wildly dynamic.
Singers Beny Billy and Natty Bo both contribute vocals, with Billy singing the Spanish-language songs and Bo singing in English. A stellar lineup of musicians from Jamaica, Cuba and England provide the backup; a combination of pleasantly dissonant horns, driving percussion and plucky backing vocals create a fun sound that comes off as entirely authentic.
Highlights of Ay Caramba! include traditional mento song "Big Bamboo" (a double-entendre if I ever heard one), cumbia "Tungarara" and the silly title track.
July 11, 2006