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Arsenio’s take on Afro-Cuban

Ever paused a TV-show in the middle of a scene for a quick online search to get the name of a song? Rest assure, you are not alone. Primitivo by Arsenio Rodriguez sits among the albums that regularly finds its way to my turntable. Listening to it took me back to Narcos (TV-show) and one song in particular that rekindled my love for Latin music. I draw inspiration from literally anything that uses music in one way or another and TV series or Movies can be a good source. For all who never heard of Narcos, it is about the life of the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar. The song that was the focal point of my attention is called “Flores de Colombia” by Lalito y Conjunto Colombia. The rhythmic flow with the emphasis on the shakers set the scene and the mysterious melody which comes up ever so often keeps you enthralled during the entire song. You can play one song only so much before you are in dire need for some fresh material and so my search began. I had some entries into the unknown. One of the labels I already knew released the brilliant compilation Diablos Del Ritmo focused on music from Colombia. I also learned that Daptone Records was to release an album by Orquesta Akokan, but the source that really got me going was long-time blog A wonderful blog that shares music from around the world and formed an inspiration for me to start my own blog. It was there that I came across Arsenio Rodriguez for the first time. After listening to a couple of albums by Arsenio Rodriguez, I was already a fan but Primitivo took it a step further and was on repeat in my car for almost 4 consecutive weeks. The price and rarity of the record held me back for quite some time before I could add it to my collection. Until some time ago when I came across what seemed to be an original copy. After chatting a bit with the seller, I learned it was a rare promo release not meant to be sold but to promote the album on the local airwaves. I was quick to jump on this opportunity and had the record shipped all the way from Panama. The digital version had me convinced already, but listening to it on my turntable brought about the sultry atmosphere of an Cuban alley chockfull of people dancing in the streets. Without a weak moment in sight, it is an absolute joy to put this album on from start to finish. Some of my favorite tracks are the passionate “Lo Que Dice Justi”, the festive “Que Mala Suerte” and the more traditional work-out of “Fiesta en el Solar”. Research states that 10 minutes of positive music can make a huge difference in how you experience your day. With Primitivo, I reckon that just the first song is enough to make you float through the day bursting with positive energy. Give it a try!

You can find some more examples of my appreciation for Latin music in my previous articles; heavy rhythms, hypnotic vibes and Latin exotica and record labels worth following (Analog Africa).

*Spotify only has the remastered edition with a different trackorder than the original. It sounds very good but doesn’t stack up to the charm of the original version.

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3 thoughts on “Arsenio’s take on Afro-Cuban”

  1. It sometimes takes a bit of effort, but you will be rewarded with an addition to your collection that you will remember.

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