October 16, 2005

Used Cuban Music

Remember record stores? Before you could download music, people would go to commercial outlets often called “record stores” or “music stores.”

Most large cities still have “used” music stores, in which a large variety of music can be found, and these stores are much more fun to rummage through than today’s typical pre-packaged “media outlets,” since you’re likely to run into anything and everything, even music that would never make the rounds at MTV or the shelves at Tower.

Since the CDs that you no longer listen to can be traded in for new stuff or sold, outlets such as “Streetlight,” “Amoeba Music” and "Rasputin,” can be said to fulfill an important environmental function. In these or similar establishments I’ve found some lucky rarities, such as “The Original Orquesta Aragon Live in Havana, 1956” and the more recent “Pello el Afrokan en Vivo.”

I remember watching “Pello” as a young child on Cuban TV (sometime after the Missile Crisis but before man’s first walk on the moon). He had a large ensemble with a lot of energy and that Cuban urgency for which the music is known.

Pello was “the man!” and I didn’t hear him again until 30 years later, when I was lucky enough to find the CD at a used store in Seattle.

Good Rhythms.


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