Having a good time – review of CD Pupy y Los que Son Son: Pasandola Bien

Cuban salsa maestro César Pedroso, otherwise known as Pupy, knows his audience. His tumbaos, the quintessentially AfroCuban driving rhythmic force he creates on piano and make his tracks pulsate, are incredible.

Pupy began as the pianist in Elio Revé’s Orquesta Revé and then joined Juan Formell to help found Los Van Van. During his more than 30 years with the band he composed some of their greatest hits, such as “Disco Azúcar” and “Eso Está Bueno”. 20 years ago he left to form his own group, Pupy y Los Que Son Son, producing new versions of his Los Van Van hits but also many other brilliant dance tracks. Together with former Los Van Van percussionist José Luis Quintana “Changuito”, who is responsible for their hypnotic rhythmic base, Pupy created what he called ‘Chango-Son’, developed on from the Los Van Van ‘songo’ sound of the 1980s, and their new group has become one of the Cuban dancer’s favourite bands.

Longevity has not meant relying on past glories. This album is a showcase for Pupy’s ability to work with many different artists and promote young emerging artists too. The musical arrangements and production are a joint effort between Pupy himself, Roelvis Reyes and the young Maykel García. There are four young singers who each bring their unique personal style: Dayan Carrera, Yoandri Castro, Lázaro Maya Morejón (previously with Elito Revé and Charanga Habanera) and the distinctively clear, soaring voice of the latest member, Alcibiades Durruthy, who made his debut as a singer on the Cuban TV competitive show Sonando en Cuba, as in the wonderful track ‘La Cuenta Decisiva’ (‘the final story’).

The track ‘Capullito de Alelí’ includes four pianos played by Pupy himself plus other top Cuban salsa pianists: Lazarito Valdés, Manolito Simonet and Alejandro Falcón.  It is a full 7-minute salsa-jazz instrumental which immediately transports you to Havana’s jazz clubs. The track ‘No me interesa’ includes rap artists Los Niches and Charles Mucharrima, as well as the amazing rumba singer Osaín del Monte.

The title of this latest album (produced by EGREM in 2018 and only now available on CD in the UK) translates as ‘having a good time’. And that’s definitely what it’s all about – perfect tracks for getting you dancing, or at least winding your waist, wherever you are.

Review from CubaSi Winter 2020-21 issue

Pupy y Los que Son Son: Pasandola Bien (Egrem 2018/TimbaMerchant 2020)
Buy CD from Cuba Solidarity shop here

Watch a live recording of Pupy y los que Son Son perform ‘La Cuenta Decisiva’ with singer Alcibiades Durruthy here