NG La Banda
is a Cuban musical group founded by flutist José Luis "El Tosco" Cortés. NG stands for nueva generación
('next generation'). NG La Banda are the creators of timba
(a term coined by Cortés), the most important popular dance and music genre of the past two decades. Prior to founding NG La Banda, Cortés played in the Afro-Cuban jazz-fusion supergroup Irakere, and the seminal songo band Los Van Van.1988-1992The Early Period: early timba songs "La expresiva" and "Los sitios entero", featuring Giraldo Piloto on drums and the vocals of Issac Delgado. Most of the tracks can be found on compilations such as the QBADisc release En la Calle
The Middle Period: classic timba songs as "Santa palabra" and "Echale limón", Calixto Oviedo took over for Piloto on drums. These albums are available on CD.
1996 to 2001
The Late Period: NG began to gradually break away from pure timba and moved into an experimental phase, with songs such as "La medicina" and "La dura".
NG La Banda within the context of contemporary Cuban Society
NG La Banda became known as the music of the people, emanating from the barrios and the poorest parts of Havana, yet many intellectuals deemed it too dirty and vulgar to be a valid art form. Cortes became known as "El Tosco" or "Rude Boy" because of his sexual lyrics and unabashed stage and street presence. As a result of NG La Banda's success, many more timba bands sprung up throughout the 1990s. "The intellectuals say that timba is crap," Cortés says."But this is a racist concept. Cuban popular music has always been the music of the people, of the poor barrios, where there are very few whites. This is the music that comes from below, that makes people want to dance. But just because people dance to it doesn't mean it's not as serious as any other serious music. Timba is not your father's, or your grandfather's, Cuban music; not the sweet traditional sounds of the international hit Buena Vista Social Club. Timba is the sound of Cuba now, a rhythmically dense, relentlessly energetic music played by highly skilled musicians for a demanding dance-floor audience, with lyrics that draw from and become part of the language of the streets."
As a music style, timba crystallized in the late 1980s largely thanks to the experimentations of NG La Banda, a band led by black flute player and composer José Luís Cortés, who made his music into the voice of the marginal black barrios of the capital city . . . in the early 1990s the novel style moved to the centre of the popular musical scene of Havana. Thanks to the fertile ground provided by the boom of international tourism, timba became the mainstay of night entertainment and the sound-track of the new tourist dolce vita—Perna (2005)