The tumbadoras of Chano Pozo | Culture | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Cuban percussionist Chano Pozo.
Cuban percussionist Chano Pozo.Foto: Getty

The cult of demise permeates all common music. Just a few days in the past, it was 50 years for the reason that disappearance of Gram Parsons and, greater than his formidable songbook, the ugly story of the theft of his physique and his (incomplete) cremation in California’s Joshua Tree National Park was repeated.

In the case of percussionist Chano Pozo, his existence appears outlined by that day in 1948 when he was murdered by a former Puerto Rican soldier in a Harlem bar, just a few days earlier than his thirty fourth birthday. That episode seems in books, films, songs…

Born on loads (the Havana equal of our corralas), Luciano Pozo was a problematic younger man, who skilled reform faculties, police stations and hospitals, a bit of black man who his contemporaries bear in mind as quick and ugly; At the identical time, he was thought-about “handsome,” within the Cuban sense of the adjective: quarrelsome, smug, bully. And he spent his cash on costly garments. But he redeemed a present: he danced, sang and performed. He performed the assorted tumbadoras, additionally known as congas: he might deal with as much as half a dozen, fitted on a desk. And it was not a cushty instrument: handmade, it required heating the goat pores and skin head to tune it.

He additionally had sufficient creativeness to compose songs that he scrupulously registered with the Cuban authors’ society. And they had been recorded, by Chano himself or by his best admirer, Miguelito Valdés, who triumphed along with his rumba Buy purchase. But that creativity barely paid off: he had the inevitable fights with the writer that managed the rights. And a black musician, even when he was as common as Chano, barely made any cash. So he took the route that so many Cubans have chosen: to migrate to the United States.

He landed in 1947, at an ideal time: jazz and Afro-Cuban music had been making eye contact; Thus, the Stan Kenton and Machito orchestras competed in the identical theater. Installed in New York, Chano inevitably linked with the insurgents of the bebop. It was Dizzy Gillespie who employed him for his huge band. Today, when the latin jazz It is a worldwide style, it’s troublesome to conceive the great audacity of all these concerned. Neither Chano spoke English nor did his colleagues know Spanish. But there was musical understanding: the gringos adopted these rhythms and benefited from Chano’s compositional expertise. With them he recorded the immortal Butter; with saxophonist James Moody premiered Tin tin deo. Both items, it may be stated, are performed each evening on levels across the planet.

Chano by no means misplaced his handsomeness. Until he humiliated one other good-looking. There are numerous variations in regards to the crash, however it’s higher to belief Chano Pozo, life, the e book by Rosa Marquetti. A banal occasion: Chano purchased some cigarettes butter (marijuana) that turned out to comprise oregano. He indignantly accosted the salesperson, whom he publicly slapped (and took away the $15 he had paid). This one, nicknamed El Cabito, went for a pistol and returned to empty his journal into Chano’s physique.

And it’s over? No, Chano left a deep mark each in Cuba and within the United States, the place he solely spent a yr and a half. When he arrived, the tumbadora was nonetheless confused with the bongo. Twenty years later, he was already enjoying all types of music, from soul to rock. And there it continues.

All the tradition that goes with you awaits you right here.



The literary information analyzed by the perfect critics in our weekly publication


Subscribe to proceed studying

Read with out limits