Nueva Generación
NG La Banda

Autor y Arreglista: José Luis Cortés

Notes for enjoying NG La Banda. Part 1


There are various categories of Cuban music.

The most representative ones are SON and RUMBA.

The word RUMBA is very famous in itself. However, the Cuban rumba is fundamentally different from, for example, the Cuban rumba in ballroom dance programs.

Rumba is based on the 3:2 rhythm created by the clave, and sings and dances to an abstract and extremely complex syncopated beat that is impossible with a rhythm box.

There are also different types of Rumba, such as Guaguancó, Yambú, and Colombia.

The woman swings her hips by the hem of her skirt, and the man attacks her crotch. It is a sex-themed dance in which the woman wins if she successfully evades the attack, and the man wins if the attack is successful (by hitting the woman’s crotch with his hands, feet, or hips).

The dancers are mainly Afro-Cuban, and the lyrics sung are not in Spanish but in Afro (the language of various tribes such as Nigeria, Congo, and Angou). Of course, it’s very sexy, but because of Afro-Cuban’s characteristic soft movements and syncopated steps, it doesn’t feel too sexy. It’s extremely sophisticated.

Guaguancó is a fast-paced, male-dominated rumba. Yambú is characterized by its slow tempo, female-led music, and inviting gestures. Rumba Colombia is a demonstrational solo dance performed by one man.

In the second song, “LOS SITIOS ENTEROS,” you can hear Guaguancó’s rhythm in the middle.

There are parts where the composition consists only of percussion.
That rhythm is the Rumba.

Son is said to have originated in Santiago de Cuba in the east, but its origins are unclear.

SON is basically based on the 3:2 clave and consists of guitar, tres guitar, bongos, pace, and trumpet.

Other common ones include “guaracha”, “mambo”, and “cha cha cha”, which has a faster tempo than son. “Bolero” is a slow ballad. The farmers’ song “Guajira”. “Conga” is considered to be the prototype of samba. There are songs such as ”danzon,” which may be the prototype of tango.

Furthermore, when it comes to ”Son Cha”, ”Bolero Cha”, which are combinations of these, and ”Obatala”, ”Arara”, and ”Bembe”, which are used in Afro-religious ceremonies, I no longer know what they are.

Furthermore, when it comes to contemporary bands with many formations (NG is one of them), they often create new rhythms by themselves (a typical example is “Songo”, created by Changuito, the genius percussionist of Los Van Van) and then become more and more confusing.

From RUMBA to SON, one of the characteristics of Cuban music is the “montuno.” There is even a category called “son montuno,” which in Japanese means “calling,” and in English, “call and response.”

The response part is as important as the vocals of a solo singer.

For example, if you memorize this response chorus at a concert, you can sing along and enjoy it 100 times more.

By the way, in the lyrics of this liner notes, I have enclosed the Montuno part in [ ].

If you listen to all the songs over and over again and memorize them until the concert, you’ll have a great time.

Solo singers sing between Montuno and Montuno, and in this case, improvisation is allowed at the concert.

In Cuba, we come up with lyrics on the spot or create new ones, and each song goes on and on, and the audience sings and dances along with us.

If you want to know more, come to NG La Banda’s concert.


Notes for enjoying NG La Banda. Part 2


There is no Cuban music without “songs.”

There is no such thing as instrumental Cuban music without vocals, from Afro-religious ceremonies to rumba, song, and modern salsa bands.

There are some jazz musicians, such as Gonzalo Rubalcaba, but I have yet to be impressed by any Cuban jazz musicians.

Why is there always a “song”?

It was probably because it was necessary, and there is no way anything that is not necessary could be born.

I will write the answer as to why it was necessary as a conclusion at the end of this note.

NG La Banda was formed in 1988 and has only released three albums so far.

Tracks 4, 5, 6, and 7 on this CD are selected from master tapes that have been recorded but never released.

Even now, NG continues to create songs at an amazing rate, and the reason why none of them are made into records or tapes is primarily due to the lack of raw materials such as vinyl chloride.

Composed by José Luis Cortés, orchestrated by himself or Hermán Velasco, and often rehearsed and performed dozens or even hundreds of times in concert, and then they recorded.

All of them have memorized it completely. The arrangement may be improved. Because of this situation, recording can be done in one shot. So we don’t have to record for six months, and the master tapes aren’t stored as carefully as they are in Japan or America.
After all, a one-shot recording is always possible.

Whether it’s NG or other bands, the speed at which they produce new songs is beyond our common sense.

Why do we need so many songs?

He has released three albums as NG La Banda, but there are also several session albums called Grupo Nueva Generacion centered around José Luis Corté and Germán Velazco.

José Luis told me:

”…Murakami, you like post-revolution Cuban music, that’s obvious.

After the revolution, many music schools were opened in this country where talented people could attend for free. A professor came from Eastern Europe and taught us classical music.

I practiced classical music so much that I was tired of it, and there were times when I was fed up. I once protested to be allowed to do Cuban traditional music.

Mozart and Haydn were European popular music at the time, but not our popular music. We wanted to do our popular music. I was in bands like Los Van Van and Irakere, but my desire to make my music grew stronger.

Around 1986, we started doing sessions under the name Nueva Generacion (New Generation). We were all friends from the music school. Nueva Generacion was too long, so we decided to abbreviate it to NG. It was a lot of trial and error in the early days, but gradually we were able to do our own thing.”

Jose Luis says it’s trial and error, but I like their early jazz-funk-like music. The sessions centered around José Luis Corté and Germán Velazco. are full of tension, filled with the anticipation of the birth of something new. It is supported by a strong taste of Cuban music and an incomparable high level of performance technique.

Now, I have to write my conclusion about the song. Why are there such chaotic lyrics that the division between “singing subject” and “listening object” becomes ridiculous?

This is because singing, playing music, listening to music, dancing, and concerts are not ”special things” in Cuba.

There are people in Japan who say that music is a part of life. However, if that were true, if everyone thought that way, there would be no need to say such things, and Japanese music would become even stronger and be performed overseas.

There are hundreds of songs in Cuba that can be sung together by young children just starting to walk and old people who can no longer walk.

Songs are not divided by generation.


Because it was necessary. To survive, they needed a large amount of beautiful and strong songs.

Hey, what were Cubans doing during the Cuban Missile Crisis? That’s what I asked a Cuban friend. She asked me back if it was about the Cuban Missile Crisis?

You know, when I told her that Khrushchev was delivering missiles when Kennedy was building a naval blockade and there was going to be a world war, she replied with a disgusted look on her face.

“That happened dozens of times, so I forgot.”
Ever since Cuba was founded by immigrants and slaves, it has been filled with crises and battles.

The people of Cuba are living their lives with laughter, even though they are in a difficult situation that is unimaginable to us.

At times like these, music was indispensable. They needed to forget themselves with beautiful music.

People honed their performance techniques, devised dance steps, created beautiful songs that anyone could sing, and continued to show respect and applause to outstanding musicians and singers.

I believe that as a result, a country of music like no other was born.

Ryu Murakami

José Luis Cortés (Vocals /Flute, Director)
Antonio Calá (Vocals )
Mariano Enrique Mena (Vocals )
Issac Delgado (Vocals : 2,3)
José Miguel Crego (Trumpet)
Elpidio Chappottin (Trumpet)
Germán Velazco (Alto Saxophone, Music Director )
Rolando Pérez Pérez (Tenor Saxophone)
Miguel Angel de Armas (Keyboards)
Rodolfo Argudín (Piano)
Feliciano Arango (Bass)
Calixto Oviedo (Bateria)
Juan Nogueras (Conga)
Pablo Cortés (Bongo)
Guillermo Amores (Guiro)

Producción: Josê Luis Cortés
Grabación y Mezcla: Tony Lopez Alonso (1, 2, 3, 8)
Ramon Alom (4, 5, 6, 7)
Grabado: Estudio de grabaciones EGREM
Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba 1990/91
Pintura de la Carátula: Jennifer Markes (‘When Morning Breaks Dawn’)
Weiss McGraw Publishing
La pintura fue escogida por Ryu Murakami Dirección Gráfica: Hiroaki Nagai (N. G. Inc.)
Diseño: Makoto Yamamoto (N. G. Inc.) Coordinación Gráfica: Kazuko Sanbo
Agradecemos a Haruhiko Kono, Yvonne Moreira, Carmen Mayans, Caridad Diez, Galleria Prova y Dennis Weiss por la realización de este album joponés
Album japonés recopilado y producido por Ryu Murakami

Licenciado por ARTEX para Japón