La China de la Gasolina

In December 2019 Dominican raised drummer/percussionist, Charlie Garmendia (Clear Plastic Masks, Champagne Superchillin’), returned to Cuba for his second winter. His previous trip had landed him in the good graces of a small scene of young musicians and artists in Havana. With local musician, Alberto Cartaya, and photographer, “Jorgito,” as primary collaborators, Garmendia was welcomed back to a community of late night jam sessions, endless laughter, and cigarette smoke.

Armed with a couple of multi-track tape recorders, Garmendia found himself in all the right moments to hit record and capture the rich musical traditions of the island. In the spirit of improvisation and camaraderie, the end result boasts a collective stream of consciousness where many hands and voicings, together, create the whole.

The roots of Garmendia’s travels to Cuba spun from the desire to reconnect with his past. His mother was born in Havana and left the island when she was young. After a chance meeting on a warm parisian night  with the visual artist, Maytego, Garmendia found the connection that would reintroduce himself to his heritage. With this winter trip, his intent was not to make the album La China la Gasolina, but the first night after his arrival, the title tracks effortlessly took shape. The excitement of this first night soon fell victim to a wave of complications as Garmendia came down with a mysterious illness that left him bedridden for three weeks. If not for the aid of his friends, he may have not been able to find the fortitude to spend the rest of his time recording and collaging together what would eventually become La China de la Gasolina.

Look for La China de la Gasolina wherever you stream music on September 25th 2020. Physical cassettes will be available via Mississippi Records distro imprint.