Brisas del Palmar, from Santiago de Cuba
Brisas del Palmar

   The rich harmonies of Brisas del Palmar have been pleasing crowds in Santiago de Cuba since their inception in 1999, where they perfected the boleros, sons, and guarachas of their island homeland. This family quartet proudly present a varied repertoire of traditional Cuban music and original compositions, reflecting their unique style and interpretation.

   They are known in Cuba as one of the leading groups of traditional music. They won special recognition at the 2000 International Festival of Boleros in Santiago de Cuba. They placed second in the 2001 Festival of Singers of the Americas, held in Guantanamo, Cuba. In 2002 at the same festival they were honoured with the award for the best new group in the Americas. This Guantanamo festival is a competition of groups from all over Cuba, Mexico, Central and South America.

   Rosell Lamora, the lead singer, started his musical career as a small boy singing for the neighbourhood near his parent's farm on the East Coast of Cuba. His voice is truly a gift.

   Rosell's younger brother, Yordanis, grew up under his influence, and excels at the requinto guitar. This unique instrument is smaller and higher pitched than the classic European guitar and has six strings. In Cuba the requinto is tuned 2 1/2 notes higher than a standard guitar. Yordanis' gentle voice complements the harmonies of the group. He is also a gifted songwriter and has added his original work to the group's repertoire.

   Their oldest brother, Isaias, ads percussion and his smooth voice to the blend. His rnusical career started in big band salsa groups before joining Brisas del Palmar two years ago.

   The fourth member of the group, Alexei, completes the voice harmonies and plays guitar and requinto. He also developed his music in the Santiago de Cuba area and played with other trios before joining Brisas del Palmar.

   "Son" music is to Cuba what "blues" is to the USA. Son originated in the 19th century, in the rural eastern provinces of Cuba. African musical elements were mixed with Hispanic rhythms and the French influence from neighbouring Haiti. The simple and short verses speak of everyday life, with a unique chorus, which takes the form of "question-answer" between the lead singer and the group. The Cuban bolero was also born in the 19th century in the eastern provinces. It has developed into a music and dance style in 2/4 time, with rich poetic lyrics talking of nostalgia and love. During the 1920's a mixture of bolero and son became popular in Cuba and is currently performed by many trios, quartets, and septeros. Guaracha songs developed in the port of Havana during the 18th century. These lively songs are characterized with humorous, satiric lyrics poking fun at everyday situations. Cuba's most famous guaracha composer, Miguel Matamoros, further developed this style of music in the 1930's.

   Brisas del Palmar enjoys preserving these old songs by re-energizing them for the pleasure of new generations. They look forward to second tour to Canada in 2004.