IMAGINE if you can the Skatalites jamming with the Buena Vista Social Club and Cab Calloway’s big band, with some klezmer thrown in for good measure.
Combining Cuban son and mambo, Colombian cumbia with Jamaican mento, and ska and good old- fashioned swing, this most unlikely of British bands will have even inveterate non- dancers tripping the light fantastic. The album title, a Cuban expression of euphoria, says it all.
Ay Caramba ’ s souped- up mix is as intoxicating as rum and cola, and comes laced with sizzling sax, trumpet and piano breaks and risque lyrics: a tad too tongue- incheek in the case of Big Bamboo; veritably tongue- twisting in Istanbul ( Not Constantinople) . The sound, while unmistakably modern, contains numerous nods to yesteryear.
Beny Billy, lead vocalist in this 11- piece expat- driven ensemble, claims to be the reincarnation of legendary Cuban singer Beny More. In many ways, Ska Cubano take up where another fun- time outfit, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, left off in the 1980s. Ay Caramba Ska Cubano Cumbancha/ MRA