Ska Cubano: Mambo Ska (Album)
by Lauren John. Published May 21, 2010.
I recently saw Ska Cubano live in concert at the Essex Global Gala (click for review), and although a CD doesn’t always capture the party atmosphere, and sheer energy of an act, this CD was one I couldn’t resist getting! Mambo Ska has just been released by the Cuban/Jamaican collective, and features music/lyrical contributions from various members of the band, including leader/vocalist Natty Bo, and sax player Megumi Mesaku.
The 15 tracks combine Spanish and English vocals, Latin standards like ‘Pepe’, and a heady mix of Ska, Cuban, and Jamaican influences, both modern and old school. The end result is an interesting mix of tempos, danceable beats, and instrumentals from the brass section flute, and strings. Notable tracks include the sing-along classic ‘Mambo Ska’, which is a great happy/party tune, and opener ‘Lupita’, which has a quaint, old town Jamaican vibe to it, and some fun lyrics. I also enjoyed ‘Hit The Track’, which you can picture crowds dancing along to, and ‘Hold Tight Jamaica’ with it’s catchy chorus. If its theatrical ad-libs you’re after, then ‘Cumbia Del Monte’ is well worth a listen too. But my gold star goes to ‘Tequila’, originally an instrumental, but transformed into a mighty sing song by Natty Bo and additional vocalist Carlos Pena. As I said at the start, it’s not quite the same as hearing these tracks live (which I recommend that you do), but it’s a well chosen mix of songs, and even when the vocals are in Spanish you can still fully appreciate the essence of what the song’s about. If you’re looking for a well produced soundtrack to your summer, or just want to inject some carnival spirit to the summer, then Ska Cubano could be the band for you.
‘Mambo Ska’ is available now. Check out www.skacubano.com for more details.