Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Los Zafiros - Y Sabes Bien

Los Zafiros were an extremely popular Cuban vocal group for a brief time during the 1960s. The group's sound is a unique fusion of popular American influences (most obviously doo-wop) and styles more commonly associated with Latin America (son, mambo, rumba, samba). The results sound like nothing else. Their heartbreaking story is the subject of the documentary Los Zafiros: Music From the Edge of Time, a film that can really only hint at the larger political and social forces behind the group's rise and fall.

"Y Sabes Bien" is a fantastic song. Honestly, I'm not a big of a fan of doo-wop, but I find Los Zafiros' vocal harmonies utterly captivating, and the underlying rhythms make the music compelling for me in a way that doo-wop has never been. That and Manuel Galbán is an absolute genius on the fretboard. Oh yeah, and this video is amazing.



Los Zafiros first came on my radar after I picked up Ry Cooder and Manuel Galbán's fantastic 2003 collaboration Mambo Sinuendo. Many of Los Zafiros' biggest hits are collected on the 1999 Nonesuch compilation, Bossa Cubana. I highly recommend both albums.

2 comments:

rickdog said...

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You can search your blog and all the others in my custom google search:

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Anonymous said...

Hey there,

I'm glad to find someone who likes Los Zafiros! I discovered this music group from a compilation cd of Devendra Banhart's influences, he being from Latin America. My current favorite is "La Luna en tu Mirada". I have the cd Bossa Cubana, and it's a shame America knows little about them.