"Jose Conde" - the album- is a world music stretch from Conde's acclaimed and award winning work with Ola Fresca (2008 Best Latin Record -Independent Music Awards - (R)Evolucion -Mr Bongo UK). The songs are clothed in electric and organic, funky world beats inspired by nature, love, rhythm and the sounds of words. Trading the Cuban tres for a vintage Gretsch guitar, Conde composed and produced this record in his Brooklyn home studio. Peppered with diverse influences and colors from South Africa to Brazil to Peru etc., and a humor and rhythmic phrasing undeniably and soulfully Cuban, yet uniquely Conde, the music is delivered with booty shaking grooves by an international group of acclaimed special guests and Conde who in addition to singing, recorded multiple instruments.
Jose Conde glides the line between Latin heritage and American storyteller traditions sliding from a booty shaking groove in poetic universal themes of nature’s beauty to personal expressions of romantic longing and loss. His new song based record is peppered with influences from Africa to Peru, from Cuba to New Orleans with most songs in Spanish but also in Portugese, and English. Conde may be compared to Caetano Veloso, Manu Chao or Jack Johnson, but he has a unique and intriguing voice of his own as has been noted by respected reviewers (see quotes) . Conde was the Winner of the 2008 BEST LATIN RECORD in the Indy Music awards and received rave reviews for the unveiling of his new band at Central Park Summer stage in NY in June (all About Jazz) The new work brings Conde full circle to his more pop and rock side and also evolves from his critically acclaimed work with the more Cuba centric band Ola Fresca. In 2 albums with that group, AY! Que Rico (PiPiKi/Universal), and (R)Evolucion (Mr Bongo UK - IMA 2008 Best Latin Album winner), as well as with the Baby Loves Salsa children's album (Rope a Dope/Sony), Conde delved in and deviated from Cuban rhythms, juxtaposing and fusing styles and playing with language and metaphor to achieve a unique signature sound. Conde's many tours, performances, and multiple licenses for Putumayo and Rough Guide world music compilations, have garnered him praise for what the Boston Globe calls a "singer-songwriter's trademark whimsy that stretches across multiple styles and is utterly swinging. "With heavy emphasis on rhythm and atmospheric world groove mutations as a backdrop for Conde's sweet honey vocals and poetic stories, the "nu Latin Groove band includes world beat drummer Gintas Janusonis, Brazilian multi percussionist Ze Mauricio, Cuban conga master Roman Diaz , Cuban groove bassist Jorge Bringas, guitarist Rafael Gomez, and Jose Conde on voice, guitar, and keys. Conde has a new solo album is in the works he is co producing with drummer Gintas Janusonis with a release expected in the winter of 2010. In the last couple years Conde has performed in notable venues such as Chicago World Music Fest, Montreal Jazz Festival, NY Central Park Summerstage, Bocafest in Veracruz Mexico, Green Apple Festival Miami, Santa Monica Twilight Dance Series, Kennedy Center DC, NY Global Rhythm Festival, New Orleans Voodoo Festival, and was also musical director, songwriter and singer for Baby Loves Salsa on Rope a Dope Records/Sony. In two critically acclaimed albums, Ay! Que Rico- 2004 (PiPiKi/Universal) and the award winning, (R)Evolucion (Mr. Bongo Records UK)- 2007, Conde traversed Puerto Rican bomba to Haitian compas, Cuban son to New Orleans swamp "funk creating a sound which has been hailed the world over as a "brilliant and thrilling" (Billboard) "smorgasbord of sounds that keeps listeners in a diasporic daze" (Trace). Five Jose Conde songs from both his Ay! Que Rico and (R)Evolucion albums have been featured in international compilations on Putumayo and Rough Guide Records. Conde's recent song and video, Respondele a Obama, which to date has 200,000+ views on Youtube, became an anthem of the US 2008 presidential campaign.
Like an elephant walking through the front doors of a tourist hotel to eat from his favorite mango tree, described beautifully in his song "Elefante en Hotel," Jose Conde is a phenomenon in his own right. Like the elefante in the living room (or hotel lobby, as the case may be), Conde arrives with a poignant and graceful power that cannot be ignored.
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NEW YORK TIMES: "Conde's vocal understatement is unusual. He formulates an Afro-Cuban music with an emphasis on songs with characters, wordplay and mild social ideas and brings together son, with New Orleans funk, Nigerian Afrobeat, James Brown rhythms, Haitian compas, New York City boogaloo and even jam-band stuff."
BOSTON GLOBE: "JosÃ© Conde displays a singer-songwriter's individuality and trademark whimsy that stretches broadly across multiple styles that makes complete historical and musical sense and is utterly swinging."
MONTREAL GAZETTE: "Sexy and fearless Cuba-centric with great shake your booty grooves."
VINILMANIA ITALY: "Explosive originality and style that gives new light to Cuban Music".
TRACE: "A heart stopping smorgasbord of sounds that keeps listeners in a diasporic daze"
TIME OUT NEW YORK: "Displaying finesse, subtlety, and respect, Cuban-American Jose Conde evolves beyond the Cuban Revolution to a state of harmonic coexistence across conventions."
NEW YORK POST: "(R)Evolucion busts past musical boundaries and makes listeners get up and dance. It will have you shaking that booty, for sure."
LATIN BEAT: "A deep work of art that is poetic, sexy, multi-lingual, multi-generational, proudly analog, fearlessly hybrid, and above all fun."
NEW YORK FREE PRESS: "Looking back to the tradition and experimentation of Ray Barretto or Irakere with an ear towards the future, Jose Conde y Ola Fresca deliver high energy."