Greater Latin America    JUAN-CARLOS FORMELL    World Music at Global Rhythm - The Destination for World Music


Greater Latin America    JUAN-CARLOS FORMELL    World Music at Global Rhythm - The Destination for World Music
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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

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Juan-Carlos Formell
Cemeteries And Desire
Narada

By Tom Pryor

Published September 22, 2005

For those who don’t yet know Juan-Carlos Formell, allow me to introduce you. The Cuban-born singer/songwriter is a fourth-generation musician with an impressive pedigree: he’s the son of Los Van Van founder Juan Formell, and the grandson of Francisco Formell, the arranger for the
great Ernesto Lucuona, and the great-grandson of a bandleader in Santiago de Cuba. But he’s also an impressive talent in his own right, who made quite a splash with his gorgeous and visionary 2002 release Las Calles Del Paraiso. But while most of his compatriots stick to the flash of timba or the rumble of rumba, Formell isn’t afraid to follow a quieter muse, reviving the bossa-nova like filin (or “feeling”) sound. On his latest release, Cemeteries And Desire, Formell takes on the myth and romance of New Orleans with just a lone guitar and his impressionistic lyrics. The result is a moody, reflective take on the Big Easy. Filled with an exile’s longing (Formell escaped Cuba in 1993) and a romantic’s heartbreak, Cemeteries And Desire reconnects New Orleans to her Caribbean roots, all without banging a single drum.

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