Afro-Cuban Legends: Compay Segundo/The Afro-Cuban All-Stars (1998)

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Released 18-Oct-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Booklet
Web Links
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 106:12
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Patrick Savey
Tony Knox

Warner Vision
Starring Compay Segundo
Omara Portuondo
Benito Suarez
Juan de Marcos González
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Afro-Cuban All Stars

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    The Afro-Cuban Legends disc contains two separate programs featuring some of the greatest Cuban musicians of the last fifty years.

    The first feature is titled The Afro-Cuban All-Stars at the Salon of Dreams (50:12) and is a documentary looking at the Cuban music scene and how it has evolved over the past few decades. This documentary focuses upon Juan de Marcos González and his efforts to form the Afro-Cuban All Stars, a group featuring some of the true greats from Cuban music. In addition to examining this group's formation and the effects that the isolation of Cuba has had upon its music, this feature also provides a number of highly enjoyable musical numbers.

    The second feature presented on this disc is titled Compay Segundo live at L'Olympia (56:00). This feature is a live performance given by Compay Segundo and a number of other Cuban musicians in 1998 at the Olympia theatre in Paris. Other than a short introductory shot of the band members leaving their dressing rooms, this feature is a direct reproduction of their live performance and no additional footage or background material is included.

    Viewers should note that the design of the menu system does make switching between the two programs a little difficult. When the disc is initially started, you are presented with a language selection menu with the choices of English, French, German and Spanish. After making the appropriate selection, the user is then taken to a main menu allowing play/resume, subtitle selection, chapters and a weblink. If the user wishes to view the second feature they must first select chapters and then select Compay Segundo from the bottom on the screen. After selecting this, the viewer is then presented with a chapter list for the second feature and they may then select the first chapter to begin playback. While this does work, a more intuitive way for viewers to switch between features would have been appreciated.

    The track listing for Compay Segundo live at L'Olympia is as follows:

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Track Listing

1. El camisón de Pepa
2. Es mejor vivir así
3. Como La avellaneda
4. La Juma de ayer
5. Orgullecida
6. Una rosa de Francia
7. Ahora me da pena
8. Para Vigo me voy
9. Chan Chan
10. Guantanamera

Transfer Quality


    The video transfer for the first feature is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. The second feature is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. I was unable to determine the original aspect ratio for both these titles but no obvious cropping or panning is present during either feature.

    The transfer for both features is extremely sharp at all times. Some of the historical footage shown in the first feature is significantly softer than the rest of the footage but this is to be expected and is not a fault of the transfer. No low level noise was detected during either feature. Excellent levels of shadow detail are visible at all times during both features.

    The colours displayed during this transfer are vibrant and appear to be accurately reproduced at all times. During the live performance of the second feature, various brightly-coloured lighting styles are used but these do not pose any problem for the transfer. The first feature displays a natural colour palette and this helps to convey the derelict and run-down feel of Havana.

    A slight instance of Gibbs effect may be seen during the opening titles of the second feature at 0:41. A single MPEG artefact may also be seen during the opening sequence of the first feature at 0:04. No other instances of MPEG artefacts were detected during the transfer.

    Numerous instances of aliasing can be seen during both features. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 19:35, 20:44, 38:37 and 48:03 during the first feature and at 0:48, 1:18, 1:48 and 3:05 during the second feature. The majority of these artefacts are quite minor but their frequency is moderately disruptive to the viewer.

    Film artefacts may be seen during the first feature at 14:52 and 29:49. These are quite minor and are not disruptive. As is to be expected, the historical footage in the first feature contains numerous film artefacts, but these are never disruptive to the viewer.

    Two analogue tape errors may be seen at 45:35 during the first feature and at 7:57 in the second feature. Both these errors are only minimally disruptive.

    The first feature is provided with English, French, German and Spanish subtitles. The English subtitles are not provided during the English portions of the transfer. The Spanish subtitles are not provided during the Spanish interview sections. No subtitles for any language are provided during the musical performances. During the second feature, four identical sets of Spanish subtitles are provided. These subtitles are only provided for the song lyrics and are not included for the song introductions or comments between players.

    Each feature is provided on a separate layer of this dual-layered DVD. Consequently, no layer change is apparent.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    A high quality stereo PCM track is provided for both features and is able to accurately capture the excellent live performances presented.

    The dialogue and lyrics are always clear and easy to understand.

    No dropouts or problems with audio sync were detected at any time during the transfer.

    The surround and subwoofer channels were not utilized during this transfer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Other than a weblink and booklet with a track listing, no extras are provided on this disc.


    The non-animated menu is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This disc is not currently available in region 1.


    Afro-Cuban Legends is a disc that will definitely appeal to all fans of Cuban music and will provide an entertaining introduction to those viewers unfamiliar with this musical style.

    The video provided is quite adequate for the feature but is slightly marred by the occurrence of numerous aliasing artefacts.

    The clear PCM audio track is able to accurately reproduce the enjoyable soundtrack.

    No extras are provided on this disc.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Sunday, October 21, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

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