The earliest recordings of Cuban rumba

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The earliest recordings of Cuban rumba

Postby davidpenalosa » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:31 am

"Last year, musician, artist and collector Myron Ort posted on his website what we believed were likely to be the first recordings of traditional rumba (that is, rumba with only voice and percussion), by Carlos Vidal Bolado, under the name 'Vidal Bolado y su ritmo de tambores' (SMC Pro-Arte 2519, 2520).

In this article we'll attempt to summarize our research so far about these and other early recordings of traditional Cuban rumba up to 1956, and provide a comprehensive overview of the discography. Percussionist David Peñalosa and I have been evaluating many of these recordings and we will be elaborating on them at a later time"—Barry Cox. "The earliest recordings of Cuban rumba: A comprehensive summary." ¡VAMOS A GUARACHAR! Web. 30 May 2011.

Read Barry's entire blog, with audio and video clips here:

http://esquinarumbera.blogspot.com/2011/05/filiberto-sanchez-first-to-record-rumba.html

anthropologists.jpg
Anthropologists Harold Courlander (1908-1996), William Bascom (1912-1981), and Richard Waterman recorded the first known field recordings of traditional rumba.

SMC covers.jpg
The earliest known studio recordings of traditional Cuban rumba were made in New York City by Gabriel Oller's SMC Pro-Arte label.

drummers.jpg
Chano Pozo (1915-1948); Carlos Vidal (1914–1996); Mongo Santamaría (1917-2003).
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Re: The earliest recordings of Cuban rumba

Postby JohnnyConga » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:03 pm

A little background on this album(which I have in mint condition an signed twice by Mongo himself)...it was his DEMO recording from 1952,in a one room studio Gabriel Oller had in a hotel in Manhatten(I forget the name of it)..he also had a room next to the studio where he sold his DEMO(which I also have with Sabu Martinez)..In 1952 it only cost 25 bucks to record at Ollers studio in that one room cut live to his 2 track recorder and cut to vynil on the spot...Mongo took that Demo to TICO(and recorded Drums and Chants) and got his first recording contract(one of 9 different recording contracts with a variety of labels over his illustrious career-no other artist that I know of was, or has been ever signed to as many labels during their own career,like Mongo was)..His Agent/Manager was the great Jack Hook, who kept Mongo working for over 30 years...
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Re: The earliest recordings of Cuban rumba

Postby davidpenalosa » Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:05 pm

Johnny,
You say it was Mongo's demo, but clearly Gabriel Oller also officially released it on his label. It stands to reason that Mongo signed a contract with SMC for that release prior to the release of Drums and Chants on Tico. That would make the SMC contract , Mongo's first contract.
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Re: The earliest recordings of Cuban rumba

Postby JohnnyConga » Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:06 pm

The SMC label was a non label/Independent in the sense of the record business back then..he sold copies of those recordings out of his store on the second floor of the hotel..Mongo also told me personally that it was a"Demo" recording and that got him his first "label' recording contract with TICO...as TICO was an established label at the time...not all things were put to paper back then as well..if u could get a recording done for 25 bucks why would u need a contract for it or for the sale?.Most guys got a flat fee for their recordings back then, no matter how many were sold..The label didnt do anything for his recording...if u wanted the SMC label recordings to buy you went to Ollers own store in the Hotel, where I bought mine back in 1966-67..I never ever saw the SMC label anywhere in the city that sold Latin music....
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Re: The earliest recordings of Cuban rumba

Postby davidpenalosa » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:38 pm

JohnnyConga wrote:The SMC label was a non label/Independent in the sense of the record business back then..I never ever saw the SMC label anywhere in the city that sold Latin music....


Hi Johnny,
SMC recorded the greats: Mongo Santamaria, Chano Pozo, Machito, Arsenio Rodriguez, and others. The records had serial numbers and all of the other trappings of commercial releases. SMC made 78s and well as 33 1/3 LPs. I don't see how their lack of distribution in NYC nullifies their status as a legitimate label.

some SMC records.jpg
Some of the many records released by SMC.


Interesting rock n roll record released by SMC:

Little Moose and the Hunters - Granny Rock.jpg
Little Moose


I don't doubt that Mongo considered those tracks to be his demo. However, SMC also released them as a commercial product. I think there must be an interesting story there, one where sadly, Mongo was probably deprived of some earnings.
-David
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Re: The earliest recordings of Cuban rumba

Postby JohnnyConga » Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:59 am

Oh Im sure Mongo, Arsenio and the rest, all 'lost' money on the deal....but for them it was an opportunity they couldnt get elsewhere at the time..and being they were all close, they all recorded there, separate and together...and yes I will agree SMC was a legit record label...
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Re: The earliest recordings of Cuban rumba

Postby davidpenalosa » Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:10 am

Always appreciate your stories from back-in-the-day Johnny.
-David
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Re: The earliest recordings of Cuban rumba

Postby jorge » Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:29 am

Barry Cox and colleagues have done some seriously scholarly work digging up these earliest rumba recordings and then transcribing and translating the words. Barry's blog is a treasure chest of rumba. If you haven't spent at least few hours checking it out, you are needlessly undereducated in the history of rumba and have no one but yourself to blame! In addition, there is nothing else in the world like the Cancionero Rumbero. They have transcribed lyrics for over 400 rumbas. Huge contributions. Check out El Tumbador by Filiberto Sanchez y su ritmo Abacua, tight rhythm, clean, nice quinto and singing, tempo and clave just like we still play today, well recorded. Probably the first rumba rap on record.
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Re: The earliest recordings of Cuban rumba

Postby davidpenalosa » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:41 am

Barry's the Man.
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Re: The earliest recordings of Cuban rumba

Postby Anonimo » Sat Jul 02, 2011 3:35 am

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