Azúcar Negra was formed in 1997 when Leonel Limonta, Haila Momprié (no longer with the band), and other musicians split off from Bamboleo. Limonta had written almost all of the material for Bamboleo’s brilliant second album, “Yo No Me Parezco a Nadie” and Haila was one of the lead singers. Azúcar Negra created a great new arrangement of the title song and Limonta continued to pour his songwriting talent into the project. In 2001, after a number of world tours, they finally released their first studio album, Andar andando. Their second CD, Sin mirar atrás, was released in early 2004.
Timba.com’s Michelle White was on hand for one of Azúcar Negra’s frequent European tours and contributed this concert report which also details the latest personnel changes.
Also please check out our first interview with Limonta (2000) and Bárbara Valladares’ first hand account of the 2000 tour of Los Ángeles and Las Vegas.
All of Azúcar Negra’s material is written by Limonta, who also wrote four huge hits for Charanga Habanera and two for Issac Delgado. Juan Carlos González said of Limonta — “He’s not a trained musician, but every song he brought in had some kind of special magic and became a huge hit”. Various bandmembers have contributed arrangements, such as Adalberto Domínguez, who is also once of Timba’s top bassists, a great pianist, and an absolute wonder to watch on stage.
In the years prior to the release of Andar andando, Azúcar Negra, like many Cuban bands, had a string of radio hits.