Orquesta Aragon – The Heart of Havana – Cariño Records

As always the download link is located at the bottom of the post.

This one is for the kids…

When a friend of mine asked me for some recommendations for retro Latin music I knew I had just the record for her. My friend Aurora is a school teacher, this week her class is focusing on Latin music. Aurora, previously a critic of Garbage and Gold, knew just the right place to find some quality Latin American tunes. This one is for her and her students. It is my hope that these quality sounds plant seeds in their heads that shall one day grow into some classy musical flowers.

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The record I knew I had to provide to these children is The Heart of Havana by Orquesta Aragon. A classic record of Cuban songs originally released in 1957 on RCA Victor. My copy is a reissue put out by Carino Records. These recordings are absolutely beautiful. The Afro-Cuban jazz beats move along at a danceable tempo and are never monotonous or uninteresting. The vocals, oh the vocals… they have that angelic quality that often characterizes old recordings. Vocal harmonies blend into one ethereal singing voice. Then comes the flute, oh that blessed flute and it’s fluttering like harmonies. All the pieces of the Orquesta Aragon come together to leave us with some highly memorable tunes.

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I could imagine children hearing these songs and just enjoying them for the funny lyrical sounds. The opening song “Tilín”, for example, feautures the Orquestra singing “Tilín Tilín” repeatedly followed by the flute matching the melody of the vocals. It’s fun in an innocent way and is almost reminiscent of a Walt Disney film score. There’s plenty of other songs that feature “Cha Cha Cha’s” or “Pa-Ran-Pa-Ran” that are understood by people of all ages and tongues. I know that the kids will love this music. The teacher might even want to inform them that this music was created perhaps even before Mommy and Daddy were born. That oughta get the little buggers thinking!

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There is an added level of enjoyment from a more mature and perhaps bi-lingual listener. The songs are clever, comedic and range from songs about beautiful women, island life and taking it easy, to songs about rice and steak and even a song about radioactivity. So there you have it!  A record of 1950s Cuban songs that can be enjoyed by children and adults all the same. So no matter who you are or where you are in your life throw this record on and travel back to a pre-Castro Cuba filled with fine tobacco, rum and tropicalia.

Download Here

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