Latin Jazz & More
SE LLAMA SABROSO (They Call it Tasty) by Zona Franka (a zona franca is a duty-free port) is an exciting introduction of a style called "Changüí con flow", a fusion of traditional rural changüí with rap and other urban Cuban music.
As the name of the group implies, various musical styles from around the Americas are also featured. The songs are Cuban classics re-imagined in fresh, clever and innovative new arrangements that far differ from the original versions.
Changüí's importance in the DNA of modern Cuban music cannot be exaggerated, among other things, it donated some essential chromosomes to what became songo, which later, mixed with rumba and other influences, evolvedinto timba. Changüí con flow is another one of its descendants.
Managing the transition from singing to rapping and back again is harder than it may seem - if not done with a full mastery of both it can sound almost as if someone has being playing with the remote control for the television. Zona Franka does this seamlessly.
The anchors of the group are Yasser Eden and Carlos Hernández on vocals along with a formidable rhythm section that stays true to its grounding in changüi even while venturing into other styles. As you listen, you will also enjoy some infusions of samba, cumbia vallenata, jazz and flamenco elements in the mix.
Audiophiles will appreciate the high production values in this disc, a feature which is critically important for the rhythm section in this style.
A previous version of the group existed as Zona Franca as early as 2001 in Guantánamo, the cradle of changüí, but it was in 2014, when Yasser Eden became director, that the group's current musical personality began to take shape.
Their independent release Changüí de Hoy was nominated for a Cubadisco in 2014 Cuba's equivalent of a GRAMMY in the Fusion category.
Two of their competitors that year were Interactivo and Telmary, and although their styles are quite distinct, fans of Interactivo's early work will find much to like in this disc.
In 2020, they formally changed their name to Zona Franka. They have attained sufficient respect among their peers to convince the legendary Omara Portuondo to make a cameo appearance in this recording.
Zona Franka - Se Llama Sabroso