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Deep Rumba: A Calm In the Fire of Dances

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Ever since the Buena Vista Social Club won that Grammy, all kindsa folk have been fiendin’ for any CD that says “Recorded in Havana” on the back. Hah! Like the 100% real shit can’t exist nowhere but Cuba proper. Silly wabbits-Kip Hanrahan has been producing Afro-Cuban-stanked albums on American Clave since the mid-’80s. Matter of fact, Deep Rumba-Hanrahan’s studio collective-dropped the mos’ fresh, mos’ innovative “Cuban” music album of all in ’98, Esta Noche Se Vuelva una Rumba (This Night Becomes a Rumba).

In 2001, Deep Rumba returns with the way looser, jazzier, hookier, poppier A Calm in the Fire of Dances. The band is blessed by Andy Gonzales on bass, Charles Neville on tenor, legendary Cuban rumbero/priest Orlando “Puntilla” Rios on chants, two divas Cubanas (Xiomara Lougart, Haila Monpie), one violin and a veritable murderers row of Afro-Cuban/Latin percussionists. Deep Rumba is cajoled kicked-pushed-amped-dragged-lifted by the indomitable trap drums of leader Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez ’til the music feels-tastes-trips-smells as 100% Afro-Cubano as Los Munequitas de Matanzas.

Note to the Buena Vista geepies: The closest Deep Rumba gets to “Chan Chan”/”Candela”-type “hits” are the Afro-Beat smackdown “Sugar and Cotton (Black Hands in White Labor)” and the rumba con guauanco-fiery “Quimbara 2000.” Screw el carne-A Calm In the Fire of Dances is all about the motion of the ocean.