Mama Ines

The Havana Novelty Orchestra

A humorous version of a Cuban melody

With the surprise success of “The Peanut Vendor” which launched a rumba craze in 1930, it is not surprising that a satire of Cuban music would be recorded.

The so-called Havana Novelty Orchestra was actually a group of New York studio musicians led by Nat Shilkret and including Andy Sannella on clarinet and steel guitar.

On Dec. 19, 1930, they took the simple folk melody “Mama Ines” (also known as “Mama Inez”) and did crazy things to it including adding some slap tongue tenor, laughing clarinet, enthusiastic and overcrowded drumming, crazed trumpet playing, a bit of steel guitar, and a bass clarinet trading off with nutty laughing.

The result is a classic of its kind!

– Scott Yanow

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