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Cubanissimo: A History of Cuban Music
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A music documentary produced in France on the vibrancy and the history of Cuban Music, featuring some of its greatest practitioners of yesterday and today.
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on January 20, 2007
To speak of Cuban music is to tell an amazing story, and sadly, this documentary is entirely devoid of story-telling. A jumble of archival footage and strange, "filler" material of random Cuban scenes, "Cubanissimo" unravels from the very start with its lack of chronology, terrible editing and incompetent subtitles (not only misspellings but completely nonsensical in places). While certainly well-intentioned, this film cannot portray the wonders of Cuba's music and music-makers. Of the 90 minutes, the only highlights come sporadically - such as the vintage footage of "Feeling" queen Omara Portuondo (so folks can se her true roots before the Buena Vista Social Club phenomenon), and the one-and-only Benny More. It seems as though no one associated with the production of the film did any real research - all they needed to do was read something by Maria Teresa Linares, Helio Orovio, Leonardo Acosta or any number of Cuban musicologists to get a sense of WHY the history of Cuban music is relevant, unique and highly-influential. This film will only confuse anyone seeking to learn anything about the island's music and mystery.
on September 25, 2008
Artsy,Yes,meandering,Yes.This montage of the different styles of Cuban music has footage by unknown Cuban artists that made me slam Google for info on who they were and what they accomplished. Poverty,Yes,Hardships, Yes. The people of Cuba are some of the greatest dancers in the world and to see the smiles on their faces when they Rhumba is worth a million dollars.The scene where Omara Portuondo is singing with a male companion and shaking her finger as if scolding, laid bare the origins of Boleros for what they are: conversations. The player calliope is one of the most futuristic instruments I've ever seen. This DVD says more about Cuban music than any other DVD I've collected looking for the source of the various styles. It's quirky and rough, but the musical scenes are sharp and crisp and to learn about Senen Saurez alone was worth the cost of the purchase.