Cuatro de Diciembre's been going from strength to strength, we couldn't have imagined how far we've come along in a year: we've got a fully developed repetiore which suits our ethos of music-making right down to the ground; our original music is on a par with the very best of the classic covers that we do, and there's an evolving synergy between our recording and live activities. We saw that at our last gig of the year at Sabroso, where our recorded songs formed a solid spine for a cracking playlist.
Next year promises more exciting developments as our recordings edge towards completion. We're just a few equipment pieces short of being able to record everything the way we want, namely: a great pair of stereo mics for recording timbales, a Shure Beta 91 kick-drum mic, a transparent pair of studio monitors, and a high quality valve compressor for vocals.
Most of December's been dedicated to carving out the shape of a new song for our upcoming CD to bring the total number up to 10. The theme is done and I've isolated the feel of the montunos. The next step is to get the Spanish lyrics saying what I mean them to say and matched to the montunos. That should take a few more weeks yet. In the meanwhile, the montuno section to one of the songs has been re-developed much to my relief. That had been bugging me for the past year now, and it's been raised to the same comparably high standard as the rest of the suite.
I've also picked up the tres again for the first time in years, and that's my main target for this break, to get two of guajeos up to recording standard for a couple of songs. Having played a lot of bass and some guitar in the intervening period has changed my approach to palying that instrument, for the better.
I think you'd have noticed that the band is central to my activites. But rest assured that that's not all. I'm half-way through writing the next tutorial and hope to have it posted early in the new year. I've nearly finished Alejo Carpentier's book, and have already started Cuban Miami by by Robert M. Levine and Moises Asis. You can expect ideas raised by these sources to feed into the website as soon as I finish the tutorials: most probably first in the salsa glossary and salsa timeline.
I'd love to write more, but it's taking me away from the things I urgently have to do. So until next year,