by: tiffany czech
Leave behind the life you know wherever you are for just thirty minutes and take a trip to Cuba with La China De La Gasolina. The self-titled album is the product of a trip to Havana, the capital of Cuba. There, Charlie Garmendia would use a multi-track tape recorder to capture the rich musical culture that the island has to offer. It was with the help of the young musicians and artists he met that the late-night jam sessions turned into a collective body of work.
With 11 tracks, the listener can dip their foot in many parts that all come together to form a sonically cohesive whole. That whole begins with “Edro”, an electrifying track that seems to signify the beginning of a breaking news story, or maybe even the opening credits to the latest buzzing film. In just 23 seconds, the song manages to captivate the listener, thus beginning their Cuban journey. Then comes “La Gasolina”, one of the standout tracks. Using prominent synthesizers, one finds themselves transported to the middle of a busy Cuban street filled with only the best dancing and music. That feeling continues throughout the whole album, all the way until the final track, “El Terror”, which relies heavily on percussion to signal that the journey is finished. This is the song that puts the picture of a small group gathering around a campfire at the end of the day in your mind, satisfied with everything that day has given you. From the Cuban jazz moments of “Año Nuevo” to the Latin pop spectacle that is “Demonio Bongo” and everything in between, there is certainly a lot to be satisfied with.