Monna Bell y Aldemaro Romero
“La Onda Nueva en Mexico”
Released 1970 on Discos Musart
Reissued on VampiSoul, 2007 (Vampi CD 087)
01 – Que Bonita Es Mi Tierra (Ruben Fuentes)
02 – La Bamba (Arr. Tony Lucio)
03 – Cucurrucuccu Paloma (Tomas Mendez)
04 – El Balaju (Andres Huesca)
05 – Cielito Lindo (Arr. Tony Lucio)
06 – La Bikina (Ruben Fuentes)
07 – Guadalajara (Pepe Aguilar)
08 – Xochimilco (Ma.Teresa Lara)
09 – El Jarabe Loco (Arr. Garcia Peña)
10 – La Malagueña (Elpidio Ramirez, Pedro Galindo)
11 – La Negra (Ruben Fuentes, Silvestre Vargas)
12 – Tres Consejos (Fuentes, Cervantes)
A Venezuelan arranger, pianist, and conductor welding his country’s joropo with Bossa Nova, roping a Chilean singer as a collaborator in his schemes, and recording an album in Mexico City with a repertoire of jazzed-out Mexican compositions, shake well and add a sepia-toned album cover depicting the entire ensemble as Mexican revolutionaries. What’s not to like about this? Apparently the Mexican government of 1970 didn’t like it much as they basically squashed the album’s chances of reaching much of an audience by ‘strongly encouraging’ radio DJs not to play it. Eventually it saw a reissue with a less “controversial” front cover but by then the moment had passed.
Aldermaro Romero, a contemporary of the much weirder oddball conductor Esquivel, had come into international claim with his “Dinner in Caracas” album in the 50s. There he was credited as the catalyst for the Onda Nueva sound, a blend of traditional Latin American rhythms and melodic figures with pop music, bossa nova, jazz, and lush orchestrations. Monna Bell (born Nora Escobar) had made her name as a singer in Spain with a bunch of records, before relocating to Mexico sometime around when this album was recorded, where she would live until her death just a few years ago. The taste for Bossa Nova in Mexico City had led a lot of Brazilian musicians to take refuge there (as talked about a bit in this Carlos Lyra post) by the end of the 1960s. Monna Bell had been turned on to the new beats, as proven in this 1964 film clip from the film “Buenas Noches, Ano Novo”, in which she sings ‘Desafinado’ flanked by dancing white women who successfully hypnotize two flabbergasted black men with their circular hip swinging and willow-tree-swaying-in-the-breeze arm movements.
This videoclip has nothing at all to do with this album, but wasn’t it fun?
The original album liner notes in Spanish provide a somewhat lofty and all-over-the-place context for the emergence of these new musics through the vehicle of “transculturation” (an idea and term coined by Cuban anthropologist Fernando Ortiz in the 30s and virtually ignored by Anglophone academics until recently). La Onda Nueva en Mexico embodies these lofty ideals quite perfectly, blending the diverse elements with enough subtlety that its uniqueness is almost masked by its naturalness. Some of the musicians playing on it include: Victor Ruiz (bass), Alvaro López, Salvador and Félix Agueros (drums, percussion), Julio Vera (congas), Los 4 Soles y Gasparin (vocals), Enrique Sida and Jaime “La Vaca” Shagún (trombones), Tomás “La Negra” Rodriguez, Armando “El Kennedy” Noriega and Rodolfo “Popo” Sánchez (saxophones), Ramón Flores and Chilo Morán (trumpets), Pablo Jaimes, Jorge Ortega, Enrique Neri, and Aldemaro Romero (electric and acoustic piano). Gualberto Castro sings with Monna on “El Balajú”. Since only 3000 copies of this gem were originally pressed, good luck finding an original on vinyl (although there was a repress later in the 70s, with the aforementioned different cover). So, kudos to VampiSoul for making this one available to the world again, and enjoy La Onda Nueva en Mexico.
in 320kbs em pee tree
in FLAC LOSSLESS AUDIO