Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Wara - Somewhereland

Thanks in part to the community of young Cubans in London, the capital city is currently a very exciting place to be for anyone making or searching for new music. The London based group Wara is one such example, a project created- and directed -by the talented and adventurous Cuban vocalist and keyboard player Eliane Correa. The band has recently produced this CD whose playful and positive title represents well their eclectic musical landscape.

The five numbers here aim to fuse timba and salsa styles with soul, funk and afro grooves along with dubstep and drum ‘n’ bass, in an attempt to capture the vitality and variety of the current Latin scene and take it a step further. Indeed, the group’s name comes from ‘guara’ which is slang for someone full of positive, playful energy.

The songs’ themes  deal - both in English and Spanish - with the dilemmas and delights of modern London, from forbidden or troublesome  relationships to the excitement of travel or even  those cold hearted gringos who cannot or do not want to see the potential of their own city.

The CD features some excellent and well placed cameo appearances - the established singer Jesus Cutiño adds life to a salsa number with a superb vocal contribution; elsewhere some supremely tasty lyrics from the youthful Cuban rapper Phillipsman sets fire to a reggaeton groove.

The musicianship throughout is exemplary although the recording here lacks a little natural warmth and if anything there is a sense that with only four songs (and one remix which introduces acid and dubstep grooves to the Cuban standard ‘Lagrimas Negras’) there are too many styles squeezed into too small a room here and that the band will benefit from a bit more space to let their playing breathe and their personality expand and grow on record. Obviously this is not the case live (even Arsenio Rodriguez’ recordings were a brutally cut representation of what his band .would play on stage!) and it will certainly be worth catching them live.

However, despite this reservation the rapid cut and thrust of this CD stands as a good introduction to this talented and creative band.

Review by Dave Willetts

For more about Wara see www.myspace.com/waralondon

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