Cristóbal Galán was born in Madrid (Spain) around 1625; nothing is known about his musical education or the early stages of his career. Between 1653 and 1664 he acted as "maestro de capilla" in various churches. From 1664 to 1667 he was director of the choir at Segovia Cathedral, and then he was appointed director of music at the convent of the Descalzas Reales. The queen regent wanted him to become director of music at the royal chapel, but this met strong resistance. It was only in 1680 that he obtained this position. It didn't bring him much luck, as he felt that he wasn't appreciated enough. Payments were also often delayed, mainly because of the bad economic state of Spain in the last decades of the 17th century. Not only Galán, but all musicians suffered from this situation.
The final recording of the mighty Queen of Salsa's career, Regalo del Alma was certainly in keeping with the exuberant, joyful tone that her enormous fan base has come to expect from her. With stylistic influences and production value a bit more modern than one might expect from a legend whose recording career has spanned 45 years, this album will hook yet another generation on Celia Cruz's regal, earthy presence. Cruz is joined by a cast of consummate professionals including producer Sergio George, percussionists Marc Quiñones and Luis Quintero, and many of the usual suspects that one might expect to find on a record of this caliber. These contemporary masters bring a freshness to the project that is invigorating.
Pianist, composer, arranger Hilario Durán makes a triumphant musical homecoming on his new album Contumbao. Grammy nominated and multiple Juno Award winner, Hilario Durán, is one of the greatest pianists to come out of Cuba, and is an arranger/composer of the highest order. His new release “Contumbao” reunites him with some of the now high profile musicians he worked with at the famous EGREM studios for many years, making well over 500 records. Special guests include Horacio “El Negro” Hernández, Chucho Valdés, Chicoy, Pancho Amat, Changuito, and new up and comer Batá player/vocalist Brenda Navarrete.