Real Project: GES

Editor’s note: Real Project won a Cubadisco 2021 Award for this album, GES [Grupo de Experimentación Sonora] in the category of Antología y versiones [Anthology and versions].

This is a quite magical programme that pays tribute to – and extrapolates upon – the idea of continuous experimentation through history – the history of Latin-American cinema, for instance, and this music also seeks to acknowledge musicians associated with the Grupo de Experimentación Sonora [GES] del ICAIC [Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos]. It features musicians who are on the knife-edge of contemporary experimentation – those who have achieved enormous success worldwide [such as Daymé Arocena and Yaroldy Abreu], and others who are on the brink of doing so which includes every other musician especially Cimafunk, Yusa, and the members of Real Project, hosted by drummer Ruly Herrera. The music pays special homage to the work done by Sara González, Silvio Rodríguez, Pablo Milanés, Noel Nicola and others in the realm of cinematic music.

It is clear from the outset that while the repertoire – made famous by celebrated Cuban musicians Silvio Rodríguez, Pablo Milanés and others – forms the sole basis of the album, the re-interpretations are defiantly provocative when referencing the “tradition” from whence they came. Rather these interpretations seem to suggest that tradition is all very well, but to be seduced by it can be a prison. And so the music – arranged by Ruly Herrera, Roberto Luis Gómez, and Jorge Luis La Garza – forces listeners to reconsider what the meaning of tradition really is. By actively throwing overboard melodic, structural and harmonic hooks that have become expressively blunted with overuse, Real Project has built from what might – or might not – be left.

The dreamy vocalastics of Daymé Arocena set us up for something ethereally beautiful on the ghostly version of “Corales”. This is immediately followed by an exquisite version of “Radiografía de una Apariencia”, which features Yusa and Yaroldy Abreu, together with members of the Real Project. The song is evocative of a grand Brasilian melodic, harmonic and rhythmic map that seems to burn quietly as the song progresses. The elegiac beauty of “Salgo de Casa” is no less memorable with the voice of Cimafunk soaring into a celestial realm. The apogee of the recording is certainly “Éramos”, a song set to the poetry of the legendary Cuban revolutionary poet José Martí.

This music is at times meditative and spiritual, as well as lucid and joyful. There is a fine interplay between the instrumentalists of Real Project, and all of this is magnified by the magnificent performances of the musicians [or “Interpreters”, as they are referred to] on this disc. Mr Herrera is a drummer beyond category. His work is rooted in the polyrhythmic approach that he has inherited from his Cuban heritage. Likewise pianist Mr La Garza, guitarist Mr Gómez and bassist Rafael Aldama, by virtue of their virtuosity, are passionate advocates not only for their instruments, but of musicianship of the highest order. Once again, BisMusic have excelled in producing a recording of historic value but overlaid with contemporary relevance. It is also a great place to explore this historic repertoire for the first time.  

Track list – 1: Corales; 2: Radiografía de una Apariencia; 3: Un Hombre Se Levanta; 4: Salgo de Casa; 5: Bachiana Popular; 6: Repentino; 7: Éramos; 8: Los Caminos; 9: Raga; 10: Tonada para Dos Poemas.

Personnel – Real Project is – Jorge Luis La Garza: piano, keyboards, vocoder and chorus [8]; Rafael Aldama: contrabass and electric bass; Ruly Herrera: drums and chorus [8], Roberto Luis Gómez: electric and acoustic guitars, banjo, and chorus [8]; Featured Interpreters – Daymé Arocena: voice [1]; Yusa: voice, guitar; Yaroldy Abreu: percussion [2]; Polito Ibañez Aylin Pino: violin; Elionay Figueroa: viola; Carolina Rodríguez: cello [3]; Erick Cimafunk: voice [4]; Niurka González and Yasel Muñoz: flutes [6]; Roberto Perdomo: voice [7]; Rubén Bulnes: voice, Adel González: percussion, Maykel González: trumpet; Yoandy Argudín: trombone, Emir Santa Cruz: tenor saxophone; Yunier Lombida: baritone saxophone.

Released – 2020
Label – BisMusic [CD 1217]
Runtime – 43:17

Raul Da Gama
Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

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