Luis Conte: Cuban Dreams

On Cuban Dreams, veteran percussionist Luis Conte steps away from his busy studio work for a highly personal musical exploration of his Cuban roots, which includes narration and background vocals from family members. The CD opens with crashing waves and the tinny buzz of a Radio Cuba broadcast, leading into “Drume Negrita,” an Afro-Cuban lullaby gently sung by Leila Guerrero. “Isla Linda” is performed in the traditional son style-with bongos, maracas, acoustic bass and trumpets-that speaks to Conte’s love of the island. Elsewhere, there are representations of the various Cuban styles of music-ballads, ballroom dancing and hymns-including the rich, 11-minute “Walk to Carnival Medley,” in which Conte and family members pass various street bands, whose music is all represented. Throughout, Conte’s percussion percolates and instructs, as he goes on the musical ride of his lifetime.