Juan Almeida - Fantasia | RECORD STORE DAY
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DISC: 1

1. Preludio
2. Este Camino Largo
3. Decide Tu
4. Interludio
5. El Arriero
6. Te Canta Mi Tambor
7. Ritmo Abierto
8. Postludio
9. Final

More Info:

The next album in our Cuban Classics series is a hard one to pigeonhole. It's a real oddity, unique and not in keeping with the majority of Cuban albums we know, but it's all the better for this. Coming courtesy of Juan Almeida, the Fantasia LP is an eclectic and epic, instrumental ride through Latin jazz-funk, trippy electronics and orchestrated classical music. Sounding at points like a full-blown orchestrated score to a dusty animated film extravaganza, with phrases and passages repeating like the appearance of ghostly spectres throughout the recording. At others, it busts into exotic funk, psychedelic-trippiness and Afro-Cuban percussion. As rich and varied as the record, so too was Juan Almeida's (Juan Almeida Bosque) life. A descendant of African slaves born in a poor neighbourhood in Havana in 1927, Almeida went from bricklayer to university law student, through which he would meet Fidel Castro. He played a key role in the Cuban revolution, becoming the only black commander and famously voicing "Aqui no se rinde nadie!" ("Nobody here surrenders!") when outnumbered at the start of the offensive. Castro would later make him one of his vice presidents, but Almeida's legacy does not stop there. He also became the composer of over 300 popular Cuban songs, many of them recounting his days as a guerrilla. Produced, orchestrated and conducted by Rafael Somavilla, who worked on a vast array of Cuban recordings including Raúl Gómez's 'Instrumental' which we also reissued on Mr Bongo, the feel of Fantasia is big, luscious, grand and pop-classical. It has become a highly sought-after, cult Cuban rarity amongst collectors and like many great albums, every repeat listen brings with it new elements previously unnoticed. Such is it's richness and depth. A truly mesmerising, off-the-beaten-track instrumental record.