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A Toda Cuba Le Gusta

A Toda Cuba Le Gusta cover art

Track Listing

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1Amor Berdadero (José "Cheo" Marquetti)6:38
2Alto Songo (Luis "Lilí" Martínez)6:44
3Habana Del Este (Juan de Marcos González)6:40
4A Toda Cuba Le Gusta (Remberto Becquer / Juan de Marcos González)5:47
5Fiesta de la Rumba (Trad., arr. Juan de Marcos González)5:54
6Los Sitio' Asere (Silvio Pino)5:20
7Pío Mentiroso (Miguel Ojeda)4:35
8María Caracoles (Pío Leyva & Pedro Izquierdo)4:50
9Clasiqueando con Rubén (Juan de Marcos González)5:13
10Elube Changó (Alberto Rivero)4:02

About this Album

The Afro-Cuban All Stars is a dream 13-piece band comprising four generations of Cuba’s finest musicians. A Toda Cuba Le Gusta (Everyone in Cuba Loves It), recorded by World Circuit in Havana, is the band’s debut album, and it features six of the island’s most brilliant singers. In a celebration of the diversity of Cuban music the album’s ten songs run through a great range of styles including danzón, son-montuno, guaguancó, Mozambique, Afro, mambo, and guajira.

The All Stars were brought together by musical director Juan de Marcos González (leader of the son group Sierra Maestra), as a backing band for his heroes, the legendary soneros (singers) from the 1950s "golden age" of Cuban music. González wanted to capture the flavor of the great Cuban big bands of the era but not simply as an exercise in recreation. With his contemporary arrangements and his choice of musicians and repertoire combined with the all-acoustic ensemble’s extraordinary power and exuberance, he succeeds in paying homage while demonstrating the vitality of the music.

The list of lead vocalists is a virtual "who’s who" of the greatest Cuban soneros; the octogenarian Pío Leyva (Estrellas de Areito) and septuagenarians Raúl Planas (Rumbavana, Celia Cruz), Manuel "Puntillita" Licea (Sonora Matancera), and Ibrahím Ferrer (Pacho Alonso) are joined by rising stars from a younger generation, Antonio "Maceo" Rodríguez (Sierra Maestra) and Félix Valoy (Alberto Alvarez).

To back these individual talents through a diverse selection of songs, González brought together a very special group of musicians. On piano is one of the founding fathers of modern Cuban music, the legendary Rubén González (Arsenio Rodríguez, Enrique Jorrín, Estrellas de Areito). On double bass is Cuba’s finest, Orlando "Cachaíto" López, who learned his trade as part of the extraordinary bass playing López dynasty which includes his father Orestes López and uncle Israel "Cachao" López.

The six piece horn section (three trumpets, two trombones, sax, flute) is made up from the best players of Havana’s celebrated Tropicana Orchestra. Soloists include the great Manuel "Guajiro" Mirabal on trumpet (Orchestra Riverside, Estrellas de Areito) and Afrokan (Irakere) on trombone. The album also features guest solos from Ry Cooder on guitar ("Alto Songo"), Orchestra Aragon’s legendary flute player, Richard Egües ("Havana del Este"), and Barbarito Torres on laoud ("Amor Verdadero").

In a country renowned for its percussionists, the All Stars’ six piece section is matchless and includes the 19-year-old phenomenon Julienne Oviedo on timbales and the great Miguel "Angá" on congas.

The atmosphere at Havana’s Egrem Studios was electric. The younger musicians were playing with their heroes, the older players were inspired by the energy surrounding them and the singers, renewing old rivalries, strove to outdo one another. Visiting musicians arrived daily to crowd into the control booth to watch the proceedings and with the spark lit, the entire recording was completed in just one week.


Jose Cheo Marquetti, composer (1)
Demetrio Muniz, arranger (1)
Luis ‘Lili’ Martinez, composer (2)
Juan de Marcos Gonzalez, composer (3,9) arranger (2-7,9,10)
Remberto Becquer, composer (4)
Silvio Pino, composer (6)
Miguel Ojeda, composer (7)
Pio Leyva & Pedro ‘Pello El Afrokan’ Izquierdo, composers (8)
Jose Manuel Ceruto, arranger (8)
Alberto Rivero, composer (10)
Ibrahim Ferrer, lead vocals (8)
Pio Leyva, lead vocals (2, 7)
Manuel ‘Puntillita’ Licea, lead vocals (1, 2)
Raul Planas, lead vocals (2, 4)
Jose Antionio ‘Maceo’ Rodriguez, lead vocals (2, 6)
Felix Valoy, lead vocals (5, 6)
Juan de Marcos Gonzalez, Tres and leader (10)
Ruben Gonzalez, piano (1, 2, 6, 9)
Orlando ‘Cachaito’ Lopez, bass (3)
Luis Alemany, Trumpet
Manuel ‘Guajiro’ Mirabal, trumpet (2, 4, 7-10)
Daniel Ramos, trumpet
Carlos ‘El Afrokan’ Alvarez, trombone (9)
Demetrio Muniz, trombone (10)
Javier Zalba, baritone sax, flute (4)
Miguel ‘Anga,’ congas (8, 9, 10)
Julienne Oviedo, timbales
Carlos Gonzalez, bongos
Alberto Cirgilio Valdes, maracas
Carlos Puisseaux, guiro
Alberto Virgilio Valdes, chorus vocals
Luis Barzaga, chorus vocals
Juan de Marcos Gonzalez, chorus vocals (5, 6)
Ry Cooder, slide guitar (2)
Richard Egues, flute (3)
Barbarito Torres, laoud (1)

Produced by Nick Gold & Juan de Marcos Gonzalez
Recorded and mixed by Jerry Boys
Recorded at Egrem Studios, Havana, March 1996
Mixed at Livingston Studios, London, 1997
Mastered by Dave Bernez at The townhouse and Duncan Cowell at Sound Mastering

Design by Kathryn Samson at Visible Edge
Photographs by Cristina Piza


This album is available from Nonesuch in the United States and Canada only.

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