Expreso Ritmico

Cuban album design of the ‘60s, ‘70s, ’80s and ‘90s.

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  • Los Barba y Omara Portuondo

    Los Barba – Viven Muy Felices / Por Que No Estás [Areito, EPA-6221]
    Sleeve design by Noelvis

    Omara Portuondo – Siempre Es 26 / Amanecer De Victoria [Areito, EPA-6874]
    Sleeve design uncredited

    Here are two excellent sides from two different 45’s. Los Barba’s “Por Que No Estás” follows the path of Leonor Zamora’s heavy, psych-beat sound. It’s full of fuzzy, warm guitar and what sounds like an homage to The Beatle’s “Hey Jude” towards the end. This is a great track with excellent bass lines and fuzz guitar solos. Next is a syrupy soul track titled “Siempre Es 26” by Omara Portuondo full of much expected synth and horns being that it’s produced by Juan Pablo Torres. It’s a head-nodder.

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  • Leonor Zamora + Airplanes

    Leonor Zamora – Cancion Del Marinero / Siento Que Llego El Amor [Areito, EPA-6330]

    Take a listen to this obscuro beat/mod/shaker 45 from Leonor Zamora coupled with a cool picture sleeve.

    I find the similarities of Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna’s Directo Desde Cuba and Leonor Zamora’s Cancion Del Marinero / Siento Que Llego El Amor sleeves interesting. The Directo Desde Cuba cover features a Russian Tupolev CU-T903 and the Zamora 45 cover depicts a Soviet Ilyushin Il-62 both with the Cubana de Aviación design (general photos here and here). The designer credited on the Directo Desde Cuba album is M. A. Machin (Thank you, Medline). No designer is credited on the Leonor Zamora 45. I haven’t found information on M. A. Machin yet. While it’s most likely a stretch, perhaps Machin designed the Zamora sleeve too. Either way, both covers depict the Cubana de Aviación design (and look nice side by side).

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  • Noelvis + Los Barba + Omara

    I made a post regarding Pacho Alonso Y Su Pachucos and graphic designer Noelvis in late 2012. Recently, I’ve photographed and recorded many Cuban 45’s to post here soon. As I go through my collection of Cuban records I am slowly but surely making note of graphic designers for each release when credited. The Los Barba 45 is one of the first rock-related Cuban releases I really fell in love with and the cover is designed by Noelvis. While going through a stack of recent arrivals to record, I noticed an Omara Portuondo 45 I hadn’t listened to yet. However, I noticed right away that the Omara lettering on the front is the exact same twig-style as Los Tainos’s self-titled LP. I have to assume it’s designed by Noelvis, though she is not credited on the back. Like many Cuban albums, the graphic designer is not credited. I feel it’s safe to say it’s her work at this point due to the twig-style lettering similarities.

    While there are prolific poster designers like Eduardo Muñoz Bachs (1937-2001), who even designed LP album art (Ñico Rojas | De Cuba La Amistad Y mi Canto), I wonder if there are album designers that carry such status.

    So far, I’ve found the following releases with design credited to Noelvis:

    Pacho Alonso Y Sus Pachucos Upa Upa LP [Areito, LDS-3417]
    Los Van Van s/t LP [Areito, LDS-3425]
    Los Llamas s/t LP [Areito, LDS-3430]
    Grupo Monumental, La Monumental LP [Areito, LD-3532]
    Los Brito s/t LP [Areito, LD-3591]
    Los Bucaneros s/t LP [Areito, LD-3288]
    Los Tainos s/t LP [Areito, LD-3650]

    Los Barba 45 [Areito, EPA-6221]
    Omara Portuondo 45 [Areito, EPA-6235]

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  • Ricardo Eddy Martinez - Yeye Son / Este Tumbao

    Ricardo Eddy Martinez Y Expreso Rimico – Yeye Son / Este Tumbao [Areito, 45-7043]

    Before I landed a copy of Ricardo Eddy Martinez’s funk masterpiece Expreso Ritmico, I had to sit tight with the Yeye Son / Este Tumbao 45. It is time to share a little bit of that special album from one of the 45’s containing tracks on the LP.

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  • GUEST MIX: Memorias del Subdesarrollo by Thur Deephrey

    GUEST MIX: Memorias del Subdesarrollo by Thur Deephrey

    Thur Deephrey took a trip to Cuba in late 2012 and put together a lovely mix full of Funk, Soul, Beat and sound from forgotten Cuban cinema. For the past few years he’s made experimental Jazz and psych-infused music that you can hear here. His Miles Davis tribute, Kind of Brew is excellent.

    Here’s what Deephrey has to say:

    After staying in Cuba for a while in late 2012, I came back to the beloved studio with all kinds of dirty, dusty vinyl and tapes and went to work… first thing that came about is this mind-bending course through the reaches of Cuban Jazz, psychedelic, folk and funk-rock from the last century, laced with beats and episodes from long lost Cuban cinematography all rolled into one trip. The album is coming summer 2013.
    The trip features old Cuban film tapes I’ve found in Havana… it’s named after the movie “Memorias del Subdesarrollo” directed by Tom Gutierrez Alea (1968) and contains excerpts from the cuban films:
    “Soy Cuba” by Mikhail Kalatozov (1964)
    “Hasta La Victoria Siempre” by Santiago Álvarez (1967)
    “79 Primaveras” by Santiago Álvarez (1969)
    “El Tigre Salto Y Mato, Pero Morira… Morira…” by Santiago Álvarez (1973)
    It also features real talk from heavyweight cinematic visitors and residents of Havana like Michaeal and Fredo Corleone (Godfather 2) and Tony Montana (Scarface).”

    Memorias del Subdesarrollo by Thur Deephrey

    00:00 – 01:00 : excerpt from “Soy Cuba” by Mikhail Kalatozov (1964) / Mongo Santamaria – Bata
    01:00 – 02:23 : ???
    02:23 – 05:10 : Los Brito – El 4-5-6
    05:10 – 09:58 : ???
    09:58 – 12:16 : Irakere – Takatakata
    12:16 – 21:45 : ???
    21:45 – 24:00 : Flying Lotus – Unexpected Delight (sampling “Tito Puente – Call of the Jungle Birds”)
    24:00 – 26:33 : “Havana Superman / 50 Bucks Pal” – “A Rebel’s Story” excerpts from Godfather 2
    26:33 – 31:47 : ???
    31:47 – 33:44 : Mirtha Y Raul – El Sueno de Andria
    33:44 – 34:40 : excerpt from “Soy Cuba” by Mikhail Kalatozov (1964)
    34:40 – 40:15 : ???
    40:15 – 40:29 : excerpt from “Soy Cuba” by Mikhail Kalatozov (1964)
    40:29 – 41:25 : LOS ALDEANOSADIVINA feat JHAMY
    41:25 – 52:57 : ???
    52:57 – 55:31 : Combo Tiempos Nuevos – De La Fiesta de Mejor / excerpt “Memorias del Subdesarrollo” by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea (1968)
    55:31 – 60:57 : ???
    60:57 – 64:02 : Viglietti – Yo Vivo en un Tiempo de Guerra
    64:02 – 68:47 : ???
    68:47 – 70:02 : Coutry Joe & the Fish – Section 43 (Soundtrack to “79 Primaveras” by Santiago Álvarez (1969) )
    70:02 – 77:05 : ???



  • X Festival De La Juventud Y Los Estudiantes - Berlin 1973

    X Festival De La Juventud Y Los Estudiantes – Berlin 1973 [Egrem, LD-FX-3, 1973]

    X Festival De La Juventud Y Los Estudiantes comprises of tracks from Vincente Feliú, Carlos Gómez, Miguel Porcel and Martín Rojas. Unfortunately no graphic designer is credited for album design.


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  • Nuevas Incorporaciones

    I added new titles to the 33 and 45 sections. Vincente Rojas’ A Las 2 a.m. reminds me of the easy soundtrack vibes from Raul Gomez’s funky Instrumental. The Leonor Zamora 45 (airplane pic sleeve) contains a nice beat track. Sound coming soon.


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  • Organo Hermanjos Ajo, Grupo Jaleo, Y Bembé, Bata Y Chequeré

    I added a few interesting Siboney (and Areito) titles to the gallery. First off, I can’t say I’ve heard anything like Organo Hermanos Ajo before. Think hand-cranked, organ-led Cumbia. And it was released in 1989! What? Thanks to my friend Stefan (of Jazzanova fame) for introducing me to their other title. I don’t have much to say about Grupo Jaleo other than I like these two tracks and love the Jaleo lettering. POW! Bembé, Bata Y Chequeré might be my new favorite Siboney title (aside from Grupo Monumental). The fusion of traditional Cuban rhythms and contemporary styles works fairly well. The Los Van Van title pictured above with the great typographic design is a little disappointing musically. Their sound took a lighter turn towards the 80s and this is just that.

    The Antologia de la Musica Afrocubana series is an excellent compendium of traditional Afro-Cuban rhythms and instruments. I’m unclear how many volumes exist, however, they all seem to have been released in 1981. These would appeal to those interested in ethnic field recordings from heavy labels like Folkways, Ocora and Lyrichord.


    Organo Hermanos Ajo, s/t [Siboney, LD-410, 1989]

    Grupo Jaleo, s/t [Siboney, LD-294, 1987]

    Bembé, Bata Y Chequeré, “Tambores de Bonne” [Siboney, LD-375, 1987]


  • Pacho Y Noelvis

    Pacho Alonso Y Sus Pachucos, Upa Upa [Areito, LDS-3417]

    I have a few Ritmo Upa Upa shakers from Pacho Alonso Y Sus Pachucos™ Upa Upa album to share while you enjoy the colorful and expertly laid out cover design. The designer of the Upa Upa cover, Noelvis, like many Cuban designers, tended to use bright color and bold, flat type choices with photo and hand drawn elements. It looks like Noelvis splat crudely mixed paint onto a burning, hot griddle for the background image of Upa Upa. I love how the type flourishes over the mixed paint imagery from Pacho to the Upa Upa text at the bottom. Below are other examples of Noelvis’ cover design work. I like the way she takes a mixed media approach, or employs hand drawn lettering (see Los Tainos). The juxtaposition of musicians on the Los Van Van cover with a simple red line outlining and splitting the two images with the jumpy Los Van Van lettering is exciting and funky like the music. Simplicity makes great design and Noelvis hits that note highly.


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  • Palma Discography

    Palma Discography (Compiled by Adam Dunbar, 2012)
    LP1001: Adolfo Guzmún, Frank Emilio Y Pedro Justiz – Pianoforte
    LP1002: Elena Bourke – A Solas Con Elena Bourke
    LP1003: Orquesta Aragon – Cha Aragona Cha
    LP1004: Solos de Instrumentos
    LP1005: Cuba Instrumental – Solos De Instrumentos
    LP1006: Pacho Alonso – Via Libre Llego
    LP1007: Gina Leon – S/T
    LP1008: Bola De Nieve – Otra Vez Bola
    LP1009: Los Zafiros – S/T
    LP1010: Chucho Valdes – Jazz Nocturno Jazz
    LP1011: Pucho Escalante – Jazz Cuba
    LP1012: Tres Cuartetos – S/T
    LP1013: Orquesta Aragon – Charleston Cha
    LP1014: Los Armonicos – Armonia Con Los Armonicos
    LP1015: Celeste Mendoza – Sabor A Cuba
    LP1016: Gilberto Valdes – Eco
    LP1017: José Antonio Este Es José Antonio
    LP1018: Chappottin y sus Estrellas – Guarapachanga
    LP1019: Nico Rojas – S/T
    LP1020: Grupo Cubano de Musica Moderna – Jazz 6/PM
    LP1021: Orquesta Riverside – Para Bailar
    LP1022: Eddy Gaytan – Jira Internacional
    115.613/77: Los Chikichaka – El Chikichaka (Uruguay-only press)

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