Ya No Hace Falta (now you don’t lack for nothing) – Beginners Guide toTimba CD review

Havana, summer 1994. A hot Saturday night. Prime time Cubavision is broadcasting a live set from a young generation of musicians, playing a fresh form of music that combines the audacious technique of Irakere with the streetwise attitude of Los Van Van, funky and always ‘duro' (hard). The rhythms take the music far beyond the sugary salsa and uptight son. Songs that cut straight to the hard driving ‘Montuno', which mix rap and rumba, the audacious horn lines of Earth Wind & Fire with the son of the great Arsenio Rodriguez. This group is so confident in the future it has called itself the ‘New Generation Band'. Their first song is ‘Echale limon' (give it some lemon) – sexy, risqué and catchy, its dance grooves masking the complexity of the arrangements and the world class musicianship of every member of the band.

This was my first introduction to the sound of Timba. NG La Banda were making music for the new Cuba, right in the middle of the Special Period. This was a Cuba rediscovering itself and facing up to new challenges with lyrical honesty and musical clarity.

Other bands followed or transformed their sound to reflect this breakthrough – Charanga Habanera, Manolito y Su Trabuco, Dan Den, El Medico – even Los Van Van hardened their sound and with Mayito's vocals began to question old attitudes. Timba went worldwide thanks to tourism and greater opportunities for bands to travel. Bamboleo and Klimax are still producing track after track that push the boundaries as well as filling dance floors.

This 3CD set is a brilliant introduction, containing many of the key tracks by the major artists, from timba's beginnings to the current genre-busting grooves. Containing knowledgeable sleeve notes, this album is the one that gets your party going.

To buy this CD – online www.cubaconnect.co.uk price £10 + p&p or call 020 8800 0155