Battle of the Bands!
Once again it's time for another Battle of the Bands. This is the event in which I participate on the 1st and 15th of each month. We have Far Away Eyes at Far Away Series to thank for conceiving this homage to music. Stephen T McCarthy acts as the list steward and Battle of the Bands host--you can find his blog with the list of participants at StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands. The premise is simple: Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it. Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battles to vote on.
Are You Ready for Cuba?
With U.S. / Cuban relations becoming normalized, it looks like you can start planning your vacations to this island nation that we've cold-shouldered for over 50 years. In my opinion it's about time. The entire history of our poor relations with Cuba under Fidel Castro was misguided and something that should have never been allowed to happen. Not that I'm a supporter of the wrong-headed Castro dictatorship, but in some ways our government is responsible for the direction that was taken by Cuba over the past several decades.
Now Fidel is becoming a footnote and Raul will soon be following his bro to the grave. Adios a los bozos! With those old farts gone we can start having fun in Havana again. Enjoy the beaches and casinos. Dance the nights away in the glamorous night clubs. Experience Cuban music in its country of origin.
The Cuban sound has long influenced much of the music scene. With the Latin-African mixture infused with healthy doses of jazz and even classical, Cuban music transcended communistic dictatorships to become embraced by the world. Today's Battle of the Bands features a Cuban music classic, La Negra Tomasa.
La Negra Tomasa
La Negra Tomasa is a song by Cuban composer Guillermo Rodriguez Fiffe who recorded the first version in 1937. The song has remained a staple of the Musica Cubana repertoire ever since. One outstanding version of the song that you might want to listen to if you are so inclined is the Cuban jazz take by the Buena Vista Social Club. This is not for you to vote on though--just for your listening enjoyment.
Now on to today's contestants:
Compay Segundo "La Negra Tomasa" (2001)
Compay Segundo is a stage name which might be compared to the English idiom "second fiddle". He got the name because he was always the back-up singer in his early partnerships. Compay's career which began probably in the 1920's continued until his death in 2003 at age 95.
Besides his fame as a vocalist, he was a versatile instrumentalist, a composer, and inventor. He achieved a greater international fame through his association with the Buena Vista Social Club project.
Here is traditional rendering of "La Negra Tomasa" by the great Compay Segundo.
Caifanes "La Negra Tomasa" (1988)
Though having long been a music standard, the Mexican new wave prog rock band Caifanes introduced the song to the audiences of the modern generations. The band, whose name might be loosely translated as "cool dude", cited the band King Crimson as its main influence. The band's most influential member, musical genius Saúl Hernández went on to form the outstanding rock band Jaguares, a favorite of mine.
You get a good comparison to Compay Segundo's version with the first three minutes of this clip (this is what was released as the radio friendly single), but if you stay past the 3:20 mark that's where things get more interesting for me as the band heads off into a spacey jazz rock instrumental break before going back into a reprise of the song's vocal.
Time to Vote!
Come along and play! Please don't back out on this pairing with the excuse that you don't like the music or you don't understand what they're singing. You don't have to like the music and the lyrics don't mean that much anyway. Just judge what you hear. Which version do you prefer? It's up to you to determine the winner.
Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose (or which one was the least objectionable to your ears). Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.
Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:
‘FAR AWAY SERIES’
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’
DC Relief Battle of the Bands
Shady Dell Music and Memories
The Doglady's Den
Cherdo on the Flipside
Jingle, Jangle, Jungle
Women: We Shall Overcome
Alex J. Cavanaugh
J. A. Scott (New this round!)
Novel Brews (a new addition!)
Results on Friday June 19th