1973 formed Irakere is no doubt one of the best known groups that ever came from Cuba and they’re one of the most influental bands too. They created their own style with mixing together almost everything rhythmic they heard; jazz, funk, rock and traditional Cuban rhythms. They were busy with album recordings and even more busy with travelling around the world. They also used to record albums wherever they were performing and that was the case in Finland too. Irakere visited Finland in 1976 to play at the Turku Jazz festival and at the same time they visited the Finnvox Studio in Helsinki to cut an album that was then released on Finnish Love Records‘ Cuban music oriented sublabel Cuba. Otto Donner produced the album by the way. The time they visited Finland they weren’t yet known in the United States and they were playing with their original tight line up with Oscar and Chucho Valdés, Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D’Rivera, Jorge Alfonso and Enrique Plá among others.
Album starts with one of the best version I have heard of their standard “Chekere son”, a great funky son track with tight start and a nice break. Then comes two mellow tracks “38½” and “En nosotros”. They’re followed by another funky uptempo one, the magnificent studio version of “Juana 1600″. Side b opens with similar sounding uptempo Cuban funk track “Moja el pan”. It’s followed by Chucho Valdes‘ piano track “Este camino largo”. Then comes “Xiomara” that starts with a heavy beat and continue as a groovy midtempo vocal number. Last track is the horn driven Cuban funk track “Illa” with some serious fuzz guitar, heavy percussion work and a sort of a break.
Moja el pan
Este camino largo