Havana Son is the latest installment in drummer/percussionist Conor Guilfoyle's fascination with Cuban music, and this time he's got the chemistry balanced to a tee.
A pleasingly diverse snapshot of Irish multiculturalism at work, Guilfoyle has recruited talented musicians from Cuba, Argentina, Spain and Italy, all of whom have grasped the opportunity of musical life in Ireland, plus the cream of domestic Latin players. They gel perfectly.
Doing exactly what it says on the tin, Havana Son present a rigorously authentic take on son, the guitar driven acoustic idiom that is the precursor to the modern salsa sound. Popularized so memorably by the global phenomenon that was BVSC, son is the soundtrack to Cuban daily life, as omnipresent on that Caribbean island as jigs and reels are on this one.
At its melodic core is the double act of the indigenous Cuban guitar known as tres, played here by Ariel Hernandez, and the Spanish guitar of Carlos Talens. Andrew Csibi's upright bass, Frailan Moran's congas, and Guilfoyle's bongos and all important campana, or cowbell, lend the rhythmic vitality that is the heartbeat of the island's music.
Soaring over the top, the declamatory phrases of Stefano Muscovi's trumpet and the powerful, engaging voice of Habanero Evelio Galan, bringing the enduring music of his native city to his adopted homeland here in Dublin.
Evelio Galan - voice
Conor Guilfoyle - bongos, campana
Carlos Talens - guitar
Ariel Hernandez - tres
Paul Williamson - trumpet
Andrew Csibi - double bass
Frailan Moran - congas