OK, so it’s not that Uncle Tom. We’re talking Tío Tom, legendary Cuban rumbero whose music is celebrated on a new Smithsonian CD
Rumba, sticks & poetry;
as the free liner notes (PDF) say “The rumba was born in Cuba out of a fusion of African traditions, and it dates back to the colonial era, when there was dancing and playing of music in the barracks of slave plantations… With only voices and varied percussion (cajones ‘boxes’, drums, sticks, spoons), its polyrhythm, vocal nuances, and musical structures turned out to be complex, though flexible.”
who trusts things which are complex and not flexible?
This is the Smithsonian’s third notable nu-world latin release of 2008; the others involve very fast vallenato (Ayombe) and even faster, insanely fast merengue típico /perico ripiao (La India Canela), the stuff that Carolina wrote on a few days ago (which can also be found towards the end of Geko Jones’ wow-analysis of a minimal synth driven pedophiliac mambo tune from DR and what that has to do with the price of milk in rural Hispanola and interweb editorializing).
Check Esquina Rumbera for more on the Afro-Cuba style.