Stories » Pedrito Martinez returns to Havana to record historic album / Village Voice

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Pedrito Martinez returns to Havana to record historic album / Village Voice

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By the time he got to Cuba last October, the word had spread: Pedrito Martinez was in town to make an album. Old and young rumberos thronged to the EGREM studios in Havana to welcome one of their own. Martinez, the New York–based percussionist and Grammy nominee, had known the instant the United States and Cuba agreed to restore diplomatic ties that his group's second album would be made back home. "A lot of Cubans living outside of Cuba, like me, we were waiting a long time for the issue to get fixed," Martinez tells the Voice. Since moving to the U.S. in 1998, he'd returned to the island for visits, but never with the full band. "As soon as it happened, I said, 'I'm going to record in Cuba.' "

Habana Dreams, out this week, is the product of intense studio time with Cuban guests on the tracks - singers Descemer Bueno and Issac Delgado, rapper Telmary Diaz - and a whole community in support. "Each day there were forty people in the studio giving you twenty thousand hugs," says co-producer Willie Torres. "Pedrito was in heaven."

READ THE FULL Village Voice ARTICLE