Neuma Records has been releasing dozens of albums by composers and performers from many corners of the world for the last three decades.

Next up is Sonidos Cubanos 2 – second in a Latin Grammy-nominated series – an album that focuses on the music of five composers who are Cuban-born or of Cuban parentage.

Composed by Flores Chaviano and played by the Orquesta de Cámara de Siero, led by Manuel Paz, with Héctor Cuello as soloist on the Spanish gaita, NiFe is a tribute to the victims of a 1995 mining accident in Spain that depicts in clamorous dissonances the chaotic events of a national tragedy and their aftermath.

Ivette Herryman Rodríguez’ Memorial is a lyrical solo setting of Christina Rossetti’s poem, “When I am dead, my dearest” sung here by the crystal-clear soprano Lindsay Kesselman, with the accomplished accompaniment of pianist Oscar Micaelsson and cellist Norbert Lewandowski.

A virtual opera set in a post-USA dystopia, Sabrina Peña’s Young Libertaria depicts a young woman’s struggles as she leads a children’s army against evil corporate scientists, while Eduardo Morales-Caso ‘s Evolving Spheres employs the participation of Lorenzo Iosco and Duncan Gifford teaming up to play an inventive fantasy for bass clarinet and piano.

Performed by the superb ensemble Lontano, Odaline de la MartinezLitanies vividly recalls some of the composer’s childhood memories of growing up in Cuba.

Jagged, slicing, atonal asperity is contrasted to moments of tonality, as if the troubling aspects of one’s past struggled within one’s recollections with whatever one can hold on to for comfort.

After an opening section in which an ostinato bass line lingers on ominously, a lively syncopated passage for the woodwinds and the strings moves in to evoke Cuban dance rhythms. A hint of lyricism is heard when a cello plays a mournful passage. Then soli for bass flute and violin are juxtaposed to a bass line similar if not identical to the one that opened this intensely emotional musical walk down memory lane.  

Neuma RecordsSonidos Cubanos 2 produced by Cuban-American composer Orlando Jacinto Garcia is an invaluable sound anthology that provides the opportunity for five talented composers to share their uniquely diverse music with a larger audience, for which heartfelt applause is due Neuma Records‘ Philip Blackburn for creativity and enterprise.

Rafael de Acha     ALL ABOUT THE ARTS