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07/01/2008
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Mi Sueño

Mi Sueño
Sound Recording Review

"Something sounded familiar on this disc. Upon closer inspection, it appeared: Greg Landau. A powerhouse in the Latin music industry, having produced members of the Buena Vista Social Club, Peruvian goddess Susanna Baca, pianist extraordinaire Omar Sosa, the very inventive Quetzal and an incredible effort by Cuban vocalist Bobi Cespedes, Landau once again adds his magic to this Bay Area collective dedicated to preserving Mexican and Cuban folk music.

Having taken trips to a different Santiago in both countries, the band whose name translates as "waterfall of flowers" releases an intimate gathering of 13 songs. The band lives up to its name - there is something very airy and spacious about their music, not to mention refreshing. Vocalists Arwen Lawrence de Castellanos and Sabra Weber weave trance-like melodies in and out of each other, as well as their musicians, Jorge Liceaga and Jorge Mijangos. There is even something Polynesian, perhaps Caribbean, about some of these songs, like the soft "No Vuelvo a Amar". Others sound rooted in the Cuban soil, like the instrumental "Chachamaco", a flute and tambourine number featuring an excellent guitar section. The guitar work is performed on a variety of stringed instruments (including the popular bajo sexto, vihuela, and tres cubano), especially on a number like "Ojos Azules". A simple merging of voices, guitar and the ever-so-present clave keeping time: utterly simple, as if stepping into an easy dream from which you have no desire to return."
- DB

Sing Out! The Folk Song Magazine
Winter, 2004

Puente a la Mar
Sound Recording Review by Mary Armstrong

Without a doubt, if you visit certain places in Mexico it is easy to imagine yourself in Cuba. Try the zocalo on a weekend, when there is a 50 piece orchestra playing the old danzones and the whole square full of couples who know and treasure the old rituals associated with the dance (ladies, don't forget your fan!). After the orchestra packs up, nip around the corner and into an almost hidden courtyard to el Rincon for smaller live bands and a less formal dancing experience. When Cascada de Flores states their Puente a la Mar (Bridge to the Sea) represents the connections between Cuban, Puerto Rican and Mexican trios, they tread gracefully on earth well-tamped by many dancing feet.

The Cascada itself is not of the commonest three singing guys with various guitars species. Rather one very proficient guitarist, Jorge Liceaga, who carries the melody for vocal duo Arwen Lawrence de Castellanos and Sabra Weber. The former adds another guitar line and the latter rachets up the Cubanismo with her charanga style flute lines and claves. A pity that Miguel Govea is only a guest on trumpet and trombone. The trumpet line he adds to "Hermosa Manana" is sweetly nostalgic, carrying us not only across the water but time as well, to Cuba of a century ago. The track right before that is purely Mexican, a version of the Llorona tale as sung in isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca. The boleros salted throughout the CD demonstrate the finesse of the vocalists, Yet, there is also great fun in the teasing, uptempo "Sobre Una Tumba Una Rumba." Each song has an explanation of its history, so it's possible to learn the roots while listening to experts play music they clearly love.--MA

Sing Out! The Folk Song Magazine
Winter, 2003

Cd Review by Richard Middleton

"Bay area trio Cascada de Flores explores the musical traditions of Mexico and Cuba with grace and sensitivity. Their music is strongly rooted in folkloric forms, yet they steer clear of anachronistic mimicry of the past, instead interpreting their repertoire in their own subtle way. The result is rich, delicate, and lovely."