Paul Van Ross visits EGREM studio in Cuba

August 27.

Today I went to visit the EGREM recording studio of Buena Vista Social Club fame. Accompanied by percussionist Jacinto i was able to discuss recording & rehearsal rates and was able to view the main studio and console as well as a rehearsal room.

It’s hard to describe how majestic this studio is, the main recording room has a real feeling of stepping back 60years in time. It’s easy to imagine the likes of Frank Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald having recorded here.

I had hoped to record some of my original compositions with some Cuban musicians aiming for a more traditional Cuban flavour rather than a jazz flavour.

In the evening myself and Aussie Steve accompanied Jacinto to a religious event where Jacinto had to perform some of his duties as a babalow (priest) in the Santeria religion.

Basically we visited young boys age 6 & 12 who were “initiated”. The were both dressed immaculately in associated clothes for their saint, one in pure white, the other in red & white. We followed the etiquette and also played lots of drums and shared a meal. The two boys were being visited all week by family and friends.
No photos were allowed.

After much discussions with Jacinto about musicians to use we decided to check out a local Latin Jazz gig at Cafe Miremar featuring the rhythm section from Chucho Valdes’ band.