Monday, June 26, 2006

¡Arriba los Latinos! - Argentina

Well, only Argentina made it through the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup. I was kinda hoping either Mexico or Ecuador would've made it, they have excellent players but still keep thinking as a team - in contrary to Argentina's star attitude.

Not much time today, so here's another song of the magnific Gustavo Cerati. "Adios" is another beautiful song off Ahí Vamos, the Argentinian singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer's latest CD.

Gustavo Cerati - Adios mp3 video (live) lyrics buy@iTunes

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Reggaeton: Tito El Bambino, Yomo

Cultures exist to be mixed. That seems the idea behind "Flow Natural", the most exceptional track off Tito El Bambino's solo album Top of the Line (also read this previous post). Tito is Puerto Rican, but on this track he invites famous Jamaican dancehall rapper Beenie Man to join in. The song is also marked by a strong Indian influence, courtesy of star producers Luny Tunes, who plan to release a special "Banghraton" compilation soon. Indian vocalist Deevani has been on their tracks before (remeber the hit album Mas Flow 2). Result: an eclectic mix of genres and cultures, and a truly unique track!

It's rare that a reggaeton track on these pages isn't produced by the above mentioned duo Luny Tunes, or DJ Eliel, who provide the beats for all major reggaeton acts. But back in the 90's, reggaeton was dominated by producers like DJ Joe and DJ Blass. These oldschool DJ's now plan a comeback with Abusando del Genero, which is sadly a very typical reggaeton album (20 different artists, maybe 2 good songs, and a lot of bling bling). Luckily they managed to get young talent Yomo for one of the songs, "Dale Con Pepa". It's also a typical reggaeton song, probably only suited for dancing in a Puerto Rican nightclub, or showing off the sound system on your Chevy Suburban. Though whatever he's rapping is complete nonsense, I like this track a lot :) And it serves as an example that this sangre nueva in reggaeton is very welcome!

Tito El Bambino ft. Beenie Man & Deevani - Flow Natural mp3 lyrics buy@iTunes
Yomo - Dale Con Pepa mp3 lyrics video buy@iTunes

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

¡Arriba los Latinos! - Argentina y Ecuador

We continue our series on the FIFA World Cup. Two Latin American countries fought themselves into the next round with heroic victories, Argentina and Ecuador.

I have a bit of trouble finding songs that are hot in Ecuador now, so here's a nice song from a couple of years ago. "Sueña" by Gerardo is a hiphop track, but even if you don't like rap you should listen to this. It's a very pure and melodic song. No beats, no samples: just an acoustic guitar, Gerardo, and appartenly a young priest doing the backing vocals. And it's got an encouraging message:

Cuando digan que no vales, no sigue no mas
no cambies tu rumbo y dale
no mires atras
que cuidandote yo estare ... sueña
Freely translated: never give up, keep on going and don't look back. The video is a nice portrait of the people of Ecuador. Wikipedia reports that Gerardo is a record executive now, well I hope he still keeps on writing songs like this!

Gustavo Cerati and Babasonicos are dominating the charts in Argentina (and my iPod as well, actually). But the young pop trio Airbag (yes, it's a stupid name) are getting some radio attention too, with their feelgood summer song "Amor de Verano". I have to admit I didn't like the song at first, it sounds a bit too produced (especially the tone change at the end). But the chorus is so contagious you will be singing "Siiiiiiii, solo eso fueee" all day long for the next three months. Be warned! :)

(Again thanks to Lien for the info on Ecuador!)

Gerardo - Sueña mp3 video lyrics buy@iTunes
Airbag - Amor de Verano mp3 lyrics

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Pop/Rock: Babasonicos, Pereza

Babasonicos have been on my playlist before, and the widely popular Argentineans keep providing us with dreamy pop songs. Like "El Colmo", a sad song about the anonymity of a big city. Singer Adrian Dargelos Rodriguez (in the middle of the picture above) sounds both desperate and melancholic, the discrete guitar effects adding to the desillusional atmosphere. Two minutes and 40 seconds of pure emotion.

Animales, the third Pereza album, is over a year old, but I've only noticed it recently because of "Todo". It's is a special song, something between a sensitive ballad and a dirty sex song. The remarkable video suggests the same ambiguity: if you've never seen snails behaving indecently, this is your chance. Apart from that, the introverted verses contrast wonderfully with the explosive chorus. I hope we'll hear new material from these promising Spanish boys soon!

Babasonicos - El Colmo mp3 lyrics translated lyrics buy@iTunes
Pereza - Todo mp3 video lyrics buy@iTunes (Europe only)

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

¡Arriba los Latinos! - Ecuador: Cruks en Karnak

Today we start a special series of posts on La Onda Tropical. Every time a Latin American team wins an important soccer match in the World Cup in Germany, I'll post a song related to the winning country. ¡Arriba los Latinos! Let's hope one of the many Latin teams will reach the final. (PS: I'm not including Brazil, my musical knowledge of this fascinating country is completely inadequate.)

Yesterday evening Ecuador won unexpectedly from Poland, so we start out with a popular latino poprock band from Quito: Cruks en Karnak. Their fusion of pop, funk and afro-latin music is said to be very representative for Ecuador (though it reminds me of Maná, Jaguares and many other latin rock bands). To promote the country in Europe, Cruks en Karnak were even invited to do a series of concerts in Germany in the footsteps of the soccer team's matches, so if you're in the neighborhood be sure to check them out.

"Que Te Me Vas" is a contagiously funky song, equally suited on the dancefloor as on the radio. I'm not suprised these guys are more or less universally adored in Ecuador. It's the only new song on their latest album Antrología, a greatest hits compilation but also a perfect introduction to the 10-year long history of Cruks discs. You can buy it at their site for a mere 12$, and the previous album 13 Gracias at the giveaway price of 5$!

(Gracias a Lien por la informacion, y feliz cumpleaños!)

Cruks en Karnak: Que Te Me Vas - mp3 video lyrics buy@their site

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Flamenco: Ojos de Brujo

Another beautiful Ojos de Brujo song, to keep the spirits up while studying. "Sultanas de Merkaillo" will guarantee a smile on your face and the sun in the sky.

Pasa, pasa, tristeza pasa, pasa

Pasa por un momento y entra calor

Fuego y abrasa, pasa!

If you don't own their marvellous album Techarí yet, you're missing out on a lot of flamenkillo hip hop fun.

Ojos de Brujo - Sultanas de Merkaillo mp3 video lyrics translated lyrics buy@iTunes

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Reggaeton: Don Omar - King of Kings

Reggaeton albums are often disappointing: most of them only have three or four good songs, and ten bad ones just to fill up the track list. The new Don Omar album King of Kings didn't really promise much either- it's release was very much anticipated, but mostly because it was postponed so many times. Don Omar had a really bad year in 2005 facing narcotics charges, and the beef between him and Daddy Yankee was all over the media. Not much time left for creativity, one would think.

The album starts out very well though. Violinist Miri Ben-Ari adds another dimension to Predica, the first song. It's about Don Omar's religious past, so a classical element fits perfectly here.
Then its back to good ol' gunshot samples & aggressive raps. "Reportense" is far from orginal, but a nice reggaeton song that will be blasting from a humvee near you very soon.
Innovation is a rare thing in reggaeton, but with "Ojitos Chiquitos", DJ Eliel brings a whole new sound to the genre. Omar is less aggressive but at the same time more gangsta, a true Don and master of the flow. Jangueo and Salió El Sol are party material, also very different from what we're used to in reggaeton.

But sadly, that's about it. Proving right to the 'three or four good songs' cliché, the rest of the album is completely interchangeable. There's a few failed experiments with other genres: ballad in Tu No Sabes and Muñecas de Porcelana (the latter song is about a lesbian love affair, causing some disturbance in conservative press). Dancehall Ragga in Belly Danza and Salió El Sol. And what's left is -excuse my words- complete and utter crap.

Don Omar's rough and rugged voice takes some time to get used to, but if you listen to the whole album another big fault pops up: monotony. Each played seperately, the songs sound all right. But if you listen carefully, almost every rhyme is sung in the exact same way. Throughout the WHOLE album! You can't say Daddy Yankee has a better voice, but at least he's being creative with it.

I know a lot of you won't like me anymore for giving Don Omar a bad review. But the four good songs on "King of Kings" are still worth the buy, in contrary to Daddy Yankee's million-selling Barrio Fino album. I hope Don Omar will be just as successful in bringing reggaeton to the masses. In the meantime I'm just anxioulsy waiting for the new Tego Calderon disc.

Don Omar - Reportense mp3 buy@iTunes
Don Omar - Ojitos Chiquitos mp3 buy@iTunes

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Contest Update

Here's the right tracklist for the Onda Tropical Mix:

  • Catupecu Machu - A Veces Vuelvo

  • Fobia - Doce Pasos

  • Michael Stuart - Mayor Que Yo

  • Luny Tunes, Baby Ranks, Daddy Yankee, Tonny Tun Tun, Wisin y Yandel, and Hector El Bambino - Mayor Que Yo

  • Calle 13 - Atrévete-te

  • Zion y Lennox - Don't Stop

  • Yaga y Mackie ft. Nina Sky - Bailando

  • Orlando Conga - La Lavadora

  • Limi-T 21 - El Baile Pegao

  • Daddy Yankee - Lo Que Pasó, Pasó

  • Juanes - La Camisa Negra

  • Kumbia Kings - Mi Dulce Niña

  • Shakira y Alejandro Sanz - La Tortura

  • Juan Luis Guerra - Las Avispas

  • Jeffrey - Palabritas

Reinout from Belgium got the most songs right. Congratulations ;)

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