Israel Kantor

Back in Cuba during the Forties and Fifties, when conversations turned to sonero Beny More, the most common refrain was "Todo podrán imitar lo, pero nadie va igualar lo" ("Everybody can try imitating him, but nobody will ever equal him"). There have been a slew of tribute albums by lesser soneros — namely Oscar D'Leon and Roberto Torres — but none has come close to matching More's unique, baritone-rich vocals. Well, no one until now, that is. The former lead vocalist for famed Los Van Van, Israel Kantor blends a powerful voice and impeccable timing that recall More in his prime. Whether transforming "Santa Isabel de las Lajas" from straight-on cubano to a party anthem of sorts one minute, or bringing it down a notch with the bolerolike "Oh Vida!," Kantor breathes new life into traditional Cuban music. His respect for More and the other Cuban giants of bygone eras is evident on the Grammy-nominated Tradición: Tropicana All-Stars with Israel Kantor.

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