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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music - Tony Hil­lier

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

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