José Angel Navarro is an extraordinary Cuban guitarist who has developed a very special technique in which he plays the rhythms of the Afro-Cuban ceremonial drums (the “bata”) on the strings of the guitar. Not only does he faithfully reproduce the rhythms and sounds of the drums, his execution contains a deep and profound sense of the “swing” of authentic bata drummers.
Recorded in Spain, this album is dedicated to Ochun, the Afro-Cuban goddess of love, whose attribute is honey (miel). Played on the solo guitar of Jose Angel Navarro, each track accurately replicates the rhythms that invoke the energy of the orisha and bring forth her seductive, teasing smile. The cover, which was conceived by Jose Angel himself, depicts the artist on a balsa (raft) made of the bata drums, sailing on a sea of honey, with his guitar as the oar.
"This recording is a thrilling tour of the complex musical traditions of Cuba .... "Miel" opens a door to the unlimited possibilities of solo guitar." ~ Acoustic Guitar Magazine
Jose Angel Navarro
A native of Guines, Cuba, Navarro is unique amongst Cuban virtuosos in that he is completely self-taught. His hometown is well known in Cuba for its tradition of preserving Afro Cuban folkloric music and for producing great musicians of all styles. Listening regularly to the sound of the ceremonial 'bata' drum, Navarro developed his unique guitar style and, though trained as a civil engineer, Navarro was able to gain the support of guitar maestro Leo Brouwer who encouraged him to continue and to develop his distinctive approach to the instrument.
Jose Angel takes pride in his original compositions which integrate many elements of Cuban music such as guaguanco, bolero, and Carnival camparsa, with a more modern sensibility influenced by flamenco, classical and jazz. He has shared the stage and collaborated with many other guitar maestros, who have always taken a special interest in his unique presentation. These include John McLaughlin, Stanley Jordan, Larry Coryell, Paco de Lucia and Luis Salinas, among others. In 2005 Navarro moved to South Florida in order to develop and continue his career.
This CD is dedicated to OCHUN, the Afro-Cuban goddess of love, whose attribute is the sweetness and sensuality of honey (miel). Ochun also rules gold (money) and her color is yellow. She loves to dance and is always laughing. Beloved by all, she is the goddess of sweet water and dwells by rivers and waterfalls. Also called Our Lady of the Caridad del Cobre, she is the patron saint of Cuba.