The Glow of Havana – a preview

Chico Chica will be releasing their second album, The Glow of Havana, in February 2016. Here is a preview of three of the songs:

There is something about a second album that gives a band a certain standing. There are plenty of one-album bands but a follow-up announces to the world: ‘we’re here for the long term’. And about time too. Mélangerie was released in 2011 and since then, despite plentiful writing, there there have been a mere two singles: Pense à Moi and Ali’s Song.

So this paucity of output will be put to rights with an ambitious series of 10’’ vinyl releases, each showing a different stylistic side to the band. In the summer of 2014, we enlisted the help of Roberto Pla to cover for Michel Drees’s absence. Barbara Snow had worked with Roberto for fifteen years and was keen for him to add a salsa dimension to the band’s sound. So when we came to the next session we chose those songs in the set which would best benefit from such a treatment. The result is The Glow of Havana. The title is taken from an Ernest Hemingway novel – either The Old Man and the Sea or To Have and Have Not, I can’t remember which. It is an album of which we are immensely proud and is certainly a big departure from what we had done before. We have prioritised quality over quantity and made this a four song album. Some may call it a mini-album or an EP. Some may even call it a song cycle.  But it’s none of those things. It’s an album.

So why vinyl? For fun of course. It also means we can engage a proper artist, Phil Bartle. Phil will paint the picture and design the whole package. Not just this album, but the whole series. Yes, it will be what marketing people call a premium product.

Next week, I will be off to the Womex show in Budapest. It will be the first time I set eyes on the Danube. It can’t wait. Womex is a music fair specialising in world music. I have no idea what I will do there or who I’ll meet but I will try to talk to people about the album without becoming a bore – a hard balance to strike, I know.

Chico Chica’s pianist Hilary Cameron and I were out drinking the other night and popped into St James Theatre in Victoria. We spoke to James Albrecht the artistic director and pencilled in Wednesday 17th February 2016 for the launch party. It is going to be a memorable night so make a note of that date.

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