Pellejo Seco is sometimes described as a world fusion band, because you can hear a hint of flamenco there, a smidge of hip-hop there. “I’ve tried to stay outside of jazz,” composer and tresero Ivan Camblor says, “to conserve the son tradition. As a composer I want to concentrate on that. I do use some jazz and some other elements, but I use them in the service of traditional cuban son. We’re really a traditional son septet. I play mostly my own compositions, I don’t have to play standards. When people hear my songs they recognize the sound, they feel the accent of the son septet. On Facebook they say things like “Cuidado, ¡esa gente tiene un gran sonido cubano!”
The name Pellejo Seco is partly a tribute to the hard lives of farmworkers and their sun-scorched skin, and it’s also Havana street slang with multiple sexual allusions. “I wanted to leave behind traditional Cuban band names and have something happier – I don’t want everything to be serious, I want people to laugh,” says Camblor.