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Ibrahim Ferrer: Toda Una Vida

This posthumous release of Cuban veteran sonero Ibrahim Ferrer traces nearly three decades of his work with an array of Cuban artists between 1960 and 1988, including the orchestras of Pacho Alonso, Chepín-Chovén and others. Much in contrast to the more traditional sounds of the internationally celebrated Buena Vista Social Club, these songs, previously unreleased outside of Cuba, demonstrate some of the transitional periods in post-revolutionary Cuban music. It is a sound you can grow to love, especially with such a fabulous selection of classics as well as obscure tunes.

Ferrer’s voice is a refreshing mix of father-figure gentility and coy sonero, and listening to him across these decades past has a remarkable time-capsule effect. There are tender moments, such as the tribute to revolutionary devotion in the Guantanamera-esque “A Los Cien Años,” and the melancholy bolero “Perdonarte,” which features Ferrer in a lush duet. But the majority of these tracks feature the sounds of Cuba’s rock-tinged son as well as the newer pilón rhythm, wrapped in danceable, postmodern fun. Toda Una Vida also includes some hilarious lyrics, such as “Pero Que Suegro,” a warning to all wayward in-laws in the world, and the markedly anti-imperialist “Súper Ratón.” Highlights such as “Ay, Candela,” “De Camino a la Vereda” and “No Te Precipites” showcase Ferrer in an entirely new light, and will surely delight old and new fans of a sound not often heard off the island of Cuba.

Originally Published