Grupo Irakere

Teatro Amadeo Roldan Recital

Mr Bongo • 1974

Grupo Irakere, or simply Irakere, is one of the most influential and successful bands in Cuba. Their début album was released a year after they formed in 1973, and there are even different versions of its title: some labels called it »Teatro Amadeo Roldan Recital«, while others simply used the band’s name. Their blend of Afro-Cuban tradition, jazz and rock is fully developed on this album, starting with the energetic wah-wah funk of the first track, »Bacalao con Pan«. Guitars dominate the first half of the song, but the horns gradually take centre stage after the organ. »Danza Ñañiga« is a great mid-tempo soul number, while in other places, like »Valle Picadura«, they start out ballad-soft and gradually build into a hip-shaking mambo, again with strong brass sections. Those horns! This rhythm section! Everything is tight, virtuosic and seemingly effortless, never to show off, but to serve the funk and everything the body craves. Vocals are a constant feature on this first reissue in almost 30 years, often in call-and-response style. »Taka Taka Ta«!