Tony Ávila: Timbiriche

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Shop Talk

Listening Post 27. Nations rarely achieve higher living standards without losing some of their essence in the climb. The Cuban troubadour Tony Ávila sings and composes with wit, nostalgia and caution about the grinding wheels of change and progress. The title song of his second solo album—a timbiriche is a little shop or stand that sells food and trinkets—addresses the march to open small businesses. “If selling is a science,” he sings, “let’s see what happens…Cubans, open your doors and windows/But don’t sell the smell of that apple” (video 1). Ávila’s music is rooted in several island traditions: guitar-and-voice trova; rapid tempo guaracha; and Cuban son, which combines Spanish canción with Afro-Cuban percussion. Largely autobiographical, Timbiriche’s 15 tracks also include love songs and social commentary. In Nacimiento (Birth), he sings of arriving late—noting that his mother was 44 when he was born, but also reflecting his preference for artistic models from an earlier generation. In Cuatro Paredes para Amar (Four Walls to Love, video 2), he recalls the house where he grew up. Ella Saltó del Papel (She Jumped Off the Page) is a duet with the folksinger Silvio Rodríguez about a woman who tired of being contained in a poem and flew away. Along with the apple aroma, Cuba would do well to hold on to the sound of Ávila. (Blue Night Entertainment/Bis Music)

 

 


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