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Orquestra America: Sabor Profundo

The floodgates of Cuban music are still open, thanks to the Buena Vista Social Club phenom, and who’s complaining? Another group deserving recognition for its seminal influence is Orquestra America, formed in the ’40s by Ninon Mondejar and violinist Enrique Jorr¡n, generally cited as the creator of the cha-cha-cha. A full service dance band extending the charanga tradition, with harmonizing violins, cellos, percussion and wooden flute, and here with piano and bass in the mix, the group’s personnel has changed over the years, but the musical mission remains the same. On its new CD, Sabor Profundo (RealRhythm 50102; 50:49), we hear the sound of history that is, in a sense, in the remaking. It’s a juicy, unpretentious set of the dance forms that once defined Cuban music, including cha-cha-cha, danzon, bolero, mambo, guaracha and son.

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