Como yo gozo y retozo – Maikel Blanco: Album Anda y Pegate


Anda Y Pegate – Maikel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor (Planet Records)

Maikel Blanco delivered THE Cuban CD of 2007, « Recoge y Vete », a driving salsa Cubana/timba CD that rocked both Cuban and salsa scenes. The young pianist and percussionist has a knack of writing great songs – driving montunos, powerful brass arrangements, amazing vocals and coros and perfect bloques (breakdowns). With one of the best bands in Cuba today, the energy of this band is huge. Like Manolito, Maikel’s knows how to keep the dancers happy and not to push the timba button too far. Thats why « Recoge y Vete » was played out in salsa clubs not just Cuban ones. Well, 2009, he’s done it again! This CD squeezed out last autumn but it is starting to be heard everywhere this year.

Once again, Maikel Blanco has written some amazing songs – in fact, he is credited as author of every track! The breadth of material is impressive – the big timba / salsa tracks are here in numbers – la ruedistas check « Debajo De La Balacera » and « Si Le Gusta Repite » (this last one makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck!!). However, Cuban roots are always maintained by even the most hardened timba band – check the lovely son « Yo Como Candela ». It could be Son 14 or Afro Cuban All Stars playing. For pure salsa Cubana, title track « Anda Y Pegate » will be the Cuban anthem this year.

Make no mistake, Maikel Blanco delivered the big Cuban release in 2009 and he is the one way out front that the others need to catch. Who can keep up except maybe Pupi and Tirso Duarte? We shall see. One thing for sure – contemporary Cuban music is on a roll again so enjoy it whilst it lasts. If you buy one Cuban music album, make it this one. – Lubi Jovanovic

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