... alles über Salsa in Berlin!

Interview mit Papo Ortega von Cubanoson


Mit ihrem Hit Recordando A Cuba gelang der Band Cubanoson 2006 ein Revival des Son Cubano auf den Tanzflächen. Und das, obwohl die Band aus New Jersey kommt. Michael von Salsa-Berlin.de sprach mit Bandleader Papo Ortega.

Und unter unserer Rubrik CD des Monats findet Ihr eine CD-Besprechung des neuen La Excelencia Albums

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You were born in New Jersey as a son of Cuban parents. Did you ever had the opportunity to visit Cuba?

As much as I love our music and want to see my heritage island, I have never visited Cuba, I had two uncles. Both were executed under the Castro regime, and as a matter of respect to my family, I will not visit the Island until there is a democratic government.

One must have a strong connection to the Cuban culture to make such excellent Cuban music. Could you tell us a little, how this culture survives in the United States.

My strong connection comes from my family, who were predimnantly involved in our country music called "Punto Guajiro". What this basically is a guitar and atres or laud playing short background montunos if you will, where singers improvise their lyrics back and forth and its really amazing, how these guys can make up lyrics on the moment, have them rhyme and make sense. My aunt is named Maria Julia Torres, she was known in the 50s as "La Londra De san Jose" singing Punto Guajiro and Guajiras, my uncle, Sergio Sori is an excellent laud, tres and guitar player but his specialty is writing, he wrote 2 of the songs on the album, Guajiro Soy and Recordando a Cuba, the title track, which by the way he wrote in about 4 minutes. My father Leonel and mom Juana both play guitar and sing as well. In Union City where I live, for many years this city was called the 2nd Miami due to the influx of Cubans in the 1960s. There were always many lodges, associations and clubs that were predominantly Cuban, however that has hence died down and the cultures have changed. Cubans are still in New Jersey but more in Florida. The culture remains among all of us and Cuban music is still alive in Miami, New York and surrounding states, but not at the level of the 70s and 80s. Thanks to countries like yours the music remains alive and well.

Do you have produced the Cd by yourself? I found no mayor label on the CD. How hard is it to get a contract in these days with these labels as a Salsa / Son - Band.

I produced the CD from my pocket and used my own Cubanoson label to print it. It is nearly impossible to get signed by a major company, even the smaller ones don't help. Thanks to Mr. Sergio Bofil, who is listed as the distributor, (although in reality he is distributing around the world for me, I continue to distribute it myself,) has no signed contract, rather a gentleman's word. No distributor will commit to buying a large quantity of a CDs until there is a big hit.(Hopefully with your help, one of my songs will be a hit and then I can print more CDs sell more, and hopefully record a 2nd one!) Its basically me promoting the CD and playing at events or clubs when hired. It is unfortunate for many great musicians here and I guess all around the world who could never get on the radio, or be backed by a major label. Its a tough business, but we all continue to do it for one reason, not the money, rather the love for our music.

Thank you so much for promoting my music, maybe one of these days we can have a drink in Berlin, I hear its beautiful and I would love to visit.

Thanks for the interview and good luck to you, your family and all the musicians. I hope, that you can sell enough CDs to produce a second one! And yes, I hope we will meet us in Berlin for a Mojito :-) So, I want to call up the German Salseros: Please support Papo and his Band. Buy this excellent CD - it's not expensive. You can here sound samples on his WEB-site http://www.cubanoson.com/.