For many Elito Revé y su Charangón is the most successful popular dance music’s band these days. The acceptance for their most recent albums and the depth to which several of their singles have penetrated people, are enough support to that opinion.
It’s hard not to sin of heresy if you consider the high level and convening power of bands of similar cut in the Cuban music scene, but the truth is that La Reve, as it is also known, has been for a "long time" at the top of the charts.
With a creative work and a rich sustained tradition to uphold, the group these days is recording a new phonographic production at Abdala Studios under the Bis Music label.
About the new proposal and other immediate commitments of the group, OnCuba spoke with Elito Revé.
For a long time and successfully the Charangón has been in Cuba’s music, What do they propose with the new CD?
Since my father, Elio Reve Matos, created the orchestra over 50 it has gone through many stages, but always respecting the root, work on changüí, the ypical rhythm from Guantanamo.
The new phonogram is called the Steamroller of Cuba and will have 24 tracks, half of them new and the other 12 greatest hits grouping as La celosa, El campanero and Maricusa, that the public will receive with pleasure.
There are also others which are heard on the radio and enjoy popularity as El Jala Jala and Te veo más pallá que pacá.
The idea of doing this recount with songs from the 1970s and 80s, is to connect with a very important time for the orchestra in those years my father gave him the definitive "point" to his work and hence the role La Reve plays within the popular dance music.
The Steamroller of Cuba is currently in the voice works, and although we are still several months away from the final product, I have great faith in it, I’m sure it will be a great success.
– The previous album De qué estamos hablando, is a great record that still many enjoy as if it were the first day, what factors differentiate the Steamroller from that album?
I would not compare, both are very important productions for me and the group, and I think Charangón fans will give the final verdict, but I must say that the new material is quite ambitious for the features previously explained.
The Charangón has matured a lot from all points of view, and is a group that knows what it wants, a well-defined layout to follow in recent recordings, but also in constant change, without betraying its essence, which has distinguished it since my father founded it more than five decades ago.
I see what is distinctive about the Seamroller … in the sound that percussion gives, varied according to what you want in each song while observing the rhythm of changüí, the base of the work of the group.
The anthology tracks included on the CD are orchestrated with the Charangón current sonority, a fabulous job on the arrangements that two young people who have developed: Aise Hernandez and Wilfredo Naranjo junior, and music production is by Juan Manuel Ceruto, one of the most experienced producers in the country.
– They mix traditional and contemporary maintaining the hallmark…
Yes, of course, and the main reason of the popularity we enjoy today we owe to it. The band is young, has been renovated and is tuned with current musical tastes, but it does not lose the spirit that has captivated fans in 57 years of work.
Consistent with that, for the proposed new songs of the Steamroller … we have guests who represent the most modern trends of popular music in the country, including Gente de Zona, El Micha and brothers Christian and Rey Alonso.
Besides the musical work, we follow very closely the lyrics of our songs. Our texts have changed much over the years, have evolved and are liked by all ages. The Charangón remains in the preference of young, adult, elders and even the youngest ones.
We keep making good music, at the discretion of dancers and specialists, with De qué estamos hablando we won the Cubadisco Grand Prix in the 2011 edition, and in my case I have very clear where I go and what I want.
– Have designed a promotional strategy for the CD, some immediate commitment?
The Steamroller of Cuba still has several months of work remaining, but I want to make a concert-presentation in the Karl Marx theater and then do something more massive for the followers of the orchestra in the capital. I would also take the group around the country on tour, El Charangón is popular in all the provinces, but is still very early to talk about it.
For now we will stop working in the studios because we have commitments in Peru, a place where Cuban dance music is well known, and then we will visit several European cities. When we return will resume work on the album until it is finished.