Auntie Flo & Esa ‘Highlife World Series: Cuba’
“delicate chord patterns and soft melodies transport you direct to a Cuban beach.. “
London-based producer Brian D’Souza aka Auntie Flo and his jamming partner Esa Williams have teamed up for a series of collaborative releases on Highlife Recordings. Each of these released will centre on a country and its musical culture with original songs featuring local musicians. All proceeds from each release will be sent back to the respective countries in order to fund further musical projects and their costs in years to come. There are to be three parts in early 2015, the first of which is Cuba.
Opening track ‘Die Bailando’ is thirteen minutes of blissful rhumba inspired grooves, made in the last quarter of an hour of a two-day session. With vocals from Eric Alejandro, trumpets by Julio Rigal and percussion by Yissy it is a relentless, stripped back Latin groove drowning in oodles of funk and trumpet lines that will send a shiver down your spine.
Esa contributes two tracks; the first ‘Sabela De Cuba (Afro Synth Mix)’ is light and well-rounded with a liquid feel. Plenty of Latin percussion woven over delicate chord patterns and soft melodies transport you direct to a Cuban beach. ‘Vitrales’ opens with light staccato guitars and xylophone like sounds before a squelchy, wobbling bass cuts through. An intricate interesting track it has a much more trippy effect that gradually builds, somewhat reminiscent of Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells’ in style.
The final piece, ‘Mother Theresa’ (named as a tribute to their Spanish translator), is a studio jam with beautiful drumming and delicately jazzy piano. A light house groove breaks in with some fat trumpet lines for a Latin lounge jazz vibe that you could listen to all day, for me this is the stand out track on a superior record. With two more releases from Kenya and Uganda anticipated there are exciting things ahead for the Highlife crew and I for one cannot wait to see their fresh approach to unusual genres.