March 16, 2009


To tell you the truth, I had this record for years before I realised the singer was in fact a woman. The realisation coincided with my first trip to Cuba.
I know sleeve clearly states the artist performing is Chiquita Serrano et son ensemble typique, but who was to say that Chiquita was the singer?

In hindsight I should have known it was a female voice. I have listened to a compatriota of Chiquita Serrano, Celia Cruz, for even longer.

I have tried to find out more about Chiquita, but have found little more than that she was a singer with Rico's Creole Band and that she performed and recorded with her own orchestra in Paris in the late 1950s.
This may explain why she appears on this French label with obvious Senegalese 'roots'.

The lp has a remarkably distinct sound, and a nice selection of songs, with three versions of Cuban classics ("Guajira Guantanamera", "Son De La Loma" and "Mata Siguaraya"), a Santeria-related and a carnaval track. My favourites are the opening tracks of both sides: "Negro Bembon" and "Mari Juana"(!*).

Bellot Disques MAG 117

*and this track reminds me of Amadou Balake's "Yamba"...

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