Cuban record labels and recordings - general purpose info and history thread. What do you know?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by MrRom92, Aug 14, 2015.

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  1. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel Thread Starter

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I'm very interested in Cuban records but unfortunately my knowledge is fairly limited. I'm somewhat familiar with some of the labels but I'd love to know more about their history and conventions.

    For instance, I know PanArt had copies of their masters sent to the U.S. which allowed them to retain their catalog when they were exiled here post-revolution. How can one tell "old" PanArt from "new"?


    When you see a record on Egrem or Areito, you know that it's pretty much a fully-Cuban production, from recording to mastering, pressing, art design and printing of the jackets/labels. Authentic and indigenous, or so to speak. :)

    However on other records from labels like PanArt, Kubaney, Discuba, etc. I often see things like manufactured or distributed in the USA, or Hialeah Fl. (which I understand has a large Cuban community) etc. So, what's up with that?

    What are some of the labels that were active in both old and post-revolution Cuba, and how can one tell records are authentic Cuban pressings?


    It would seem that there isn't much of any info online in regards to some of these labels but I'm looking forward to learning from what some of you may know. :)
     
  2. Walter H

    Walter H Santa's Helper

    Location:
    New Hampshire, USA
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  3. Wally Swift

    Wally Swift Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn New York
    I used to see Cuban records all the time in the Czech Republic thrift stores.
     
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  4. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel Thread Starter

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I have not! That seems like a great resource, I will have to translate it and go through it once I'm back in the states. Thanks for sharing :)



    I really don't ever see them ever, anywhere. I've even had pretty bad luck in my limited searches in Miami, although there is one really great shop, (Yesterday & Today Records) which has a huge selection. I have visited them twice so far and made some choice picks whenever I had the opportunity to visit :)
     
  5. Wally Swift

    Wally Swift Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn New York
    I may still have a few around here somewhere. Let me have a look. If I find any you can have them for the cost of shipping.
     
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  6. chewy

    chewy Forum Resident

    Location:
    West Coast USA
    Candido's from cuba!
     
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  7. Wally Swift

    Wally Swift Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn New York
    One LP record that stands out in my mind is by Miguel Matamoros who became famous with "Trio Matamoros". It's credited to him alone and it has a farm scene on the cover. I believe it was on Pan Art. It's a small jazz combo with female vocals. You'd never guess how good this record is from the cover!
     
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  8. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel Thread Starter

    Location:
    Long Island, NY

    That is seriously awesome - thank you so much :) I will certainly send a PM your way. I am a little familiar with Los Matamoros, but only barely - they have one track on a comp thy I just purchased. By your description it sounds pretty awesome, makes me even more excited to hear that. I feel bad about taking anything off your hands that you're attached to - as much as I'd love it, please don't send anything you'll miss too much :) my collection is so small as of this point, only about 4 LPs but I'm very eager to get whatever I can find/afford. Becoming more familiar with what's what will certainly help with that.
     
  9. Chazro

    Chazro Forum Resident

    Location:
    West Palm Bch, Fl.
    Beyond Egrem & Areito it can be a crap shoot. Between the S. Florida product and the fact that many Cuban artists recorded anywhere but the U.S., it can be difficult to ascertain what's pure Cuban product. But are you into the product or the music? 'Cause the Cuban music scene is VERY alive and well! Check out Descarga.com (it's not exclusively Cuban but has a tremendous catalog, CD's & LP's, that's absolutely worth digging into). Another great source is timba.com, where it's primarily Cuban music but the focus is on new music. With only 4 LP's, you've got quite a bit to choose from.
     
  10. Chazro

    Chazro Forum Resident

    Location:
    West Palm Bch, Fl.
    I just saw yr located in Long Island. Casa Latina Music in Manhattan is one of the oldest and best Latin music shops in the world, it's really worth a visit.
     
  11. Wally Swift

    Wally Swift Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn New York
    If I still have a few records, I may or may not, you can have them. I'm not so much into this music. But I would pick up these records when I found them because they usually sold quickly. I did sell a bunch to a collector a couple of years ago. But I may still have a few. I'll respond to your PM shortly.
     
  12. ShockControl

    ShockControl Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    What exactly do you want to know? I have accumulated over the decades lots of albums on the Discuba label, and other similar labels, in addition to Cuban recordings released in the US and/or Mexico. Artists include Orquesta Aragon, Orquesta Riverside, Beny More, Fajardo, Chico O'Farrill, etc. Not to mention all the Cuban artists who were recording in the US (Mongo Santamaria, etc.).
     
  13. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel Thread Starter

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    You raise a very good point, it should be about the music although to me, in the case of this particular interest it is a lot about the artifact as well since I don't really have much of any of my family's belongings from Cuba. It's just my own way of reconnecting with the past, in a way that's somewhat familiar to me. I appreciate you letting me know about that shop - I rarely make the trip into Manhattan but it sounds like I'll have to check it out whenever I can!

    I'd love to really know all the labels I should look out for, and the history behind them since info on these labels seems to be very scant on the web :) the records I have actually are comps which I figured would give me a broader sense of what was going on musically at the time, so I am actually familiar with some of these artists in some capacity.
     
  14. Daisy89

    Daisy89 New Member

    Dear Mr Rom92, I will do my best to explain all I know about cuban records labels cause my English is not that good.

    As u might read in so many articles in web, Panart was the first cuban record label. I have my doubts about this, cause a year ago, I found an 8 inch 78 record, labeled as STAR, (primera casa impresora de discos en cuba), which means first records pressing house in Cuba.

    Even if PANART, was or was not the first one, was followed by other labels that also captured the magic of cuban music. The best known are Puchito, Gema, Suaritos, Velvet, Discuba (Rca Victor), Kubaney, Maype, Antilla and Duarte.

    I have made a list of others labels from Cuba such as calesita, cafamo, capri, cima, combo, corona, faraón, fama, Ferrer, FMR, Ganate, Jaronu, Tabares, mambi, modiner, Mida, Meca, stelar, sonoro, rossell, Rosy, and on an on…a little more than one hundred.

    As you know, after 1959 in Cuba, things never were the same. PANART was nationalized until its transformation in EGREM (Areito) studios. The other labels suffered same destiny and tend to disappeared.

    Now, back to your question How can one tell "old" PanArt from "new"?

    First Panart records labels were orange and the word Panart was written as PAN-ART in capital letters. In an attempt to have more sales, Ramon Sabat (PANART´s owner) changed the design and color of the label and made it blue. People started to think that blue labeled records were better than the orange ones, but truth is that they had same quality.

    So I dare to say (and you are advised I am not an expert) that the orange label in 78 records didn´t last too much time. Maybe it was active to 1944 to 1947 (or close). Blue labels in 78 rpm show the word Panart in cursive style.

    In 1952, the company started the production of Long Plays and 45 records. 10 inches LPs are older than 12 inches an I personally found their cover´s design more attractive .

    After 1959, PANART was absorbed by Castro´s regime and the label (usually in white color) pointed the word “Nacionalizada” below Panart. Same thing happen with the Puchito label.

    So, that’s pretty much a way to tell old Panart from new ones.

    Good luck & Greetings from Cuba,

    Daisy
     
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