Clasicos a lo cubano

Imagine Beethoven’s Fifth´ seamlessly merging with a danceable salsa beat…

Or how about Strauss´ Blue Danube as a chic chachacha, yet keeping the essence of the classic piece…?

“Impossible!”    “Doomed to be bad-taste and cheesy!”        Is it really?

Sverre Indris Joner´s ingenious arrangements have refuted the prejudices and taken classic-music-lovers and the latin community by surprise.  As seen on YouTube performed by KORK (Norwegian Radio Orchestra) and Hovedøen Social Club, the recordings on DVD (released  by Sony) even reached the #1 on the Mexican World Music Charts

The recording being acclaimed by numerous latin musicians worldwide confirms what its all about: a profound understanding of Cuban/latin music and its mystified key parameter: clave… The sole fact that the legendary bass player Carlos del Puerto (Irakere, Cubanisimo) is a part of the soloist group should confirm that this is more than just another “gringo showing of his borrowed feathers”.

This project was first recorded with the renowned Munchner Rundfunk Orchestra and Klazz Brothers & Cuba Percussion. It has later been played with several orchestras in Germany and in some Asian countries. The performance from Oslo, Norway has achieved huge popularity on YouTube.  It is from two concerts on national television (NRK), and the orchestra is the Norwegian Radio Orchestra (KORK) with Sverre Indris Joner and Hovedøen Social Club as soloists.

The “counterfactive music-history-simulation”-idea of transforming music from its original into a different stylistic language has been one of Joners specialties for decades. First with his tango-quartet Tango for 3 doing classics as well as popular tunes as if it came from Buenos Aires´ golden tango-era.  Later doing Norwegian popular tunes with the band Hovedøen Social Club, turning them into Cuban dance music of the sixties.

And here as the logic consequence; this is the most ambitious form of counterfactive music-history-simulation: with symphony orchestra.  Classics from the great masters are filtered through Joners strange imagination, filling them with the Caribbean flavor. He has transformed these musical pearls into a different kind of tropical pearls – With the unconfoundable taste and swing of Cuba and the Caribbean…

Starting with Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, via stage music of Bizet and Tchaikovsky to Strauss jr. Grieg and even Wagner the baroque, classical and romantic eras are treated with a kind of loving disrespect. Or is it disrespect at its core?

The beauty of the idea is that Joner in the arrangements has equal respect for both the old classic pieces – with all their harmonic and melodic richness – as well as for the Cuban rhythmic traditions and structures that is far more sophisticated that any other popular genre. And the new fusion is communicating on a different level than both the classic originals and the salsa genre.  it’s not just an easy adaptation as seen many times before…

This is music for conoceurs of the classic repertoire as well as for the ”Latino”-fans. And for anybody that likes music without a necessity for rigid rules and walls between musical genres, this is a unique experience, quite unlike other symphonic crossover concerts.

more videos of Clasicos a lo cubano at the record page

1# on the mexican world music charts at