One of the notable tendencies in Swedish music over the last years has been a growing interest in Latin American and Cuban styles such as samba, salsa and the young, tougher offspring of salsa called timba. In 2006 pop singer Lisa Nilsson went to Rio de Janeiro to make a record, as did jazz saxophonist Magnus Lindgren two years later. In the opposite direction Brazilian singer Simone Moreno has settled in Stockholm, where she also recorded her 2005 release ”Samba Makossa” together with some of the Swedish musicians most into these styles.
If any of it has had some impact on the scenes in Cuba and other Latin American countries it is most likely yet another band – Calle Real. In 2003, this group founded by tres player and backing singer Patricio Sobrado was invited to play at the Benny Moré festival in Cuba. That marked the beginning of an international career that has brought the band around the world, including Venezuela, France, Ethiopia and Mali. In 2006, their record debut ”Con Fuerza” was pre-nominated in the category ”Best salsa album” at the Latin Grammy Awards, and the same year also brought them recognition in France, where they were elected ”Best Record” and ”Best Newcomer” by www.FiestaCubana.net.
Since then, this Swedish timba band has developed strong connections to the Spanish speaking communities in both Sweden and abroad. The other day bass player Andreas Unge told me about a gig the group did in the south of France, where they had attracted some six thousand people to a stadium. Short of ABBA reunited (that’ll be the day!), not many Swedish bands could have pulled that off. It’s all the more impressive considering that Calle Real operates way outside the pop mainstream.
On the other hand, these guys could make a refrigerator dance. I’ve seen it myself. With the energy and groove they possess, Calle Real makes people sweat as if they were made of water.
This spring the band will be playing in London, as well as in Poland and, further on, in Israel and Romania. For their American fans things look good too, as the band is currently planning an extensive tour of both North and South America.
Meanwhile, check them out at www.callereal.se or this clip below: