African Music Anthology
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Osdalgia is one of the most promising of Cuba’s new generation of artists. In 2000, La Culebra, her first record, won “best album from a new artist” at the Cubadisco awards. All her life, Osdalgia has been singing, painting and writing. Initially, she studied classical singing at the Conservatoire, then turned to the theatre, where she acquired the fundamental skills needed to fully express feelings and emotions. In 1992, she at last began to sing professionally on stage at the Le Parisien cabaret in Havana. She had only one goal: to learn from each artistic experience in order to become as complete a performer as possible. After her second record, Mi Armonía in 2001, she released Suenan Los Cueros this October. She wanted this new album to be determinedly contemporary, establishing a fresh approach to Cuban music and using the talent that is hers alone to put across all that the island has handed down to her.
Osdalgia sings… (a text by Sigfredo Ariel)
Osdalgia sings… in an explosion of energy. And dancing. It doesn’t matter where you are, there’s no escape. The surge grips you, forces you to turn and listen to her, ready for every surprise. You laugh when she laughs, hold your breath when she languorously expresses her affection and merge with her in a fervent celebration that combines so many facets of rhythms that seem to spring from the deepest well of being. And that’s exactly where they do spring from, you can be sure of that. The drums sound, the guitar spills out its chords…
Osdalgia sings audaciously, bravely. She opens her heart, offering herself up fully, explaining herself in every word and melody. She has created those songs she needed, filling them with her voice, and chosen others that are closest to her way of singing and being from the traditional repertoire. It doesn’t matter if other voices have sung them over the years – Ay José, Yo no lloro más or Para mi Cuba yo traigo un son… On this album especially, Osdalgia becomes the Osdalgia who wants to find fulfilment, knows that she can succeed… and does.
Osdalgia has brought together the right musicians, the proper instruments and the most devoted of partners. Weaving brilliantly through the genres and expressions of Cuban music – bolero, guaguancó, danzonete and habanera – she shows a special affinity for son (a fusion of influences and intense musical dialogue) and mischievous guaracha – in other words, the heritage of an African presence… She confirms her stature. It is no chance occurrence that she has been acclaimed by the Cuban media, as well as audiences as various as they are demanding. Her power grows with each new record, at each show.
Osdalgia sings and writes fresh, profoundly Cuban music. She depicts her people, their lives and their everyday conversation. La sesión or La fulana llegó, for example, are two authentic folk portraits of the real Havana she knows so well and loves so much; fortunate Havana, adorned by the presence of this simple, attractive woman who pays it tribute, musically relating its loves and hates, and brightening it with her joy.
A collection of jewels, the record culminates in a genuine feat: a rumbero medley, a fevered exchange of voice and drums, homelands of beats passed on to the Caribbean from Africa to merge with European guitar, enabling the music of the island to consummate its original communion, the basis of its joie de vivre, for it moves in the weft of origins. These are the ingredients that have brought this spontaneous record to fruition, punctuated as it is from start to finish by Osdalgia’s clear laughter as she finds definitive fulfilment. It’s a sincere offering, a marvel presented to all. Wherever you are, come closer and listen to her sing.