Silvio Rodriguez, The Best of Silvio Rodriguez Cuba Classics 1

Brian Cullman

By Brian Cullman

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
One of the great poets and singers of the Cuban revolution.

Rodriguez is loved and revered in Cuba, his homeland, as one of the great poets and singers of the revolution, with songs that celebrate both the politics of love and the love of power. As the title of the album (Urgent Songs) spells out, these are fervent and desperate songs that transcend language (and probably time and space too). Accompanying himself on guitar, with the sparest of backing, just a harmony here or there, a touch of echo, a note or two of piano, Rodriguez evokes a world of beauty and struggle. With his light tenor and graceful phrasing, Rodriguez sounds a bit like a rumpled, less cosmopolitan Caetano Veloso, or a bit like a more melodious Bert Jansch. What are the songs about? Loss and regret and betrayal and self-betrayal… at least that's what it sounds like from here, not knowing Spanish.. “Oh Melancholia,” he sings. Oh, melancholy. Despair never sounded so seductive.