Friday, May 26, 2006

One Year Anniversary/100th Post Extravaganza!

Next week La Onda Tropical will celebrate its first birthday. And last week, I posted the 100th entry to this blog. Two reasons to celebrate! So let's do a little contest...

Below you'll find a special birthday mix of latin pop, rock, merengue, salsa and reggaeton songs that have been featured on La Onda (and its Dutch-language predecessor Latino Muziek Blog) the past year. Recognize as much songs as you can, and mail me the right track list! The five participants who get the most songs right, will receive one of these five cds (be sure to mention your preferred disc in the mail):

Here's the mix: part 1 & part 2. The winners (and the right track list) will be announced on Friday June 2nd. Until then there'll be no updates to the site (I'm in the middle of exams now).

Have fun!

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Salsa: Puerto Rican Power

No, this is not a family picture from some guy's wedding. These are the twelve (!) members of Puerto Rican Power, a salsa orchestra that's been around since 1970. They've seen it all: they've played with Celia Cruz, Cheo Feliciano, Ismael Miranda and a load of other salsa stars. Tito Rojas started his career as a vocalist of the group. In fact, most of the salsa brava movement (a faster and naughtier salsa) we owe to them. (Check this page for an impressive list of CDs, awards, and international tours).

So it's not a surprise that "Se Ven Bonitas" is professionally performed and perfectly structured. These guys breathe salsa. Trumpeter (and director since '78) Luisito Ayala keeps things traditional, emphasizing on the dancefloor value of the song. Minor point of criticism: musically the song is quite varied, but the line "Se Le Ve, Se Le Ve" gets a bit boring after hearing it 50 times in a row.

Puerto Rican Power - Se Ven Bonitas mp3

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Reggaeton: Akro, Don Omar, Wisin y Yandel

Big news from the Belgian hip hop front: Akro, one of the main MCs of the very talented Starflam crew, released his solo album last week. L'Encre, le Sueur et le Sang (Ink, sweat and blood) is a variating album, including the dark oldschool Liegeois hiphop we're used to, but also sophisticated, socially engaged ballads. Why I mention this on a latin music site? His DJ (Mig One) is from Colombia, and he convinced Akro do to a reggaeton track on his album. Roldan, of Cuban hiphop formation Orishas (very popular in Europe and beyond), joins him on the track. "Elle Veut" is exactly how I like reggaeton: a strong beat, exotic and sweaty mood, forcing you to dance. If you don't understand French nor Spanish: the lyrics are (of course) about girls.

Don Omar will release his eagerly anticipated new album King of Kings next Tuesday. Our collegues at have compiled an album preview. It sounds very promising! More about this very soon...
In other news, El Don will also write some tracks for the religiously inspired disc Linaje Escondido, a new reggaeton concept that wants to bring a positive christian message. Those who wonder why a rapper like Don Omar, who mostly sings about guns, women and partying, makes christian songs: in a previous life, he was an evangelical priest.

Puerto Rican reggaeton stars Wisin y Yandel will make their first crossing to Europe next month. Probably thanks to the success of their collaboration with R Kelly (Burn It Up), which made the reggaeton duo famous around the world.
Ze zullen op vrijdag 23 juni optreden in Powerzone Amsterdam ter gelegenheid van de Puerto Rican Reggaeton Party. Tickets aan 22,5€ in voorverkoop.

Akro ft. Roldan - Elle Veut mp3 buy@iTunes (only in Belgium)

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Plastilina Mosh

Eccentric is the least you can say about Plastilina Mosh, a Mexican duo bringing an eclectic mashup of elektro, pop, rock and hiphop. They look like a crossing between Mexicali mafioso and John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, and write songs about monster trucks and human disco balls. Also check out their fabulous website, including pictures of famous people with 70's pilot sunglasses.

Matching a longtime Plastilina Mosh tradition, the song "Millionaire" is part Spanish and part English. Don't focus on the ridiculous English lyrics (Baby I'm a millionaire / Got power like Tony Blair) but instead notice the cool video game sounds, groovy bass part and the subtle keyboard near the end of the song. I guarantee you won't get the song out of your head after a few listens.

"Millionaire" is one of the few new songs on their greatest hits album Tasty. It's a very alternating selection of their three previous albums, be prepared for a surprising mix of rock, dance and disco pop.

Plastilina Mosh - Millionaire mp3 buy@iTunes

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Rock: Fobia, Los Tipitos

I've posted about Fobia earlier, praising the first single (Dos Corazones) off their latest album Rosa Venus. This new song, "Doce Pasos", is quite similar: vocals distorted by heavy effects, and simple guitar riffs. An organ-like tune gives the song a merrier feeling, but the general theme isn't happy at all: it's about forgetting a girl.

Primero hay que aceptar
Y debo de reconocer
que estuve a punto de llamar,
oir si estabas, y colgar
Pero hoy no...
As in Dos Corazones, tears and laughs aren't far away from each other (remeber the video with the pregnant guy?). This time singer Paco mentions rendirte honores con shampoo (freely translated: shower masturbation). Fobia still twist their basic rock songs in a unique way, proving right to their title "Mexico's Rock Legends".

Los Tipitos are from Argentina (as are most hip latin rock bands these days). "Campanas en la Noche" is also a very basic rock song: riff, drums, vocals. But a very contagious one indeed. Slowly building up to an explosive chorus, Raúl Rufino sings how he's anxiously waiting for his girl to return. If you read Spanish, be sure to check out the beautiful lyrics to this melancholic song.

Fobia - Doce Pasos mp3 buy@iTunes
Los Tipitos - Campanas en la Noche mp3

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Nuestro Himno

The Hispanic Community in the US is speaking up, and not everyone seems to like it. On May 1st, hispanic immigrant workers paralyzed the country with a nationwide strike, in protest of new immigration laws. The same day Nuestro Himno, a Spanish version of the US national anthem, was released by latin label UBO. After a week, it's getting huge airplay on Latin radio stations, not only because of the all-star cast (Olga Tañon, Gloria Trevi, N'Klabe, Ivy Queen, Pitbull,... even Wyclef Jean) but also because of the political statement attached to the song.

The hymn is causing a lot of controversy: president Bush has already condemned the song, saying:

I'm not a supporter of boycots[...] I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English.
Even other hispanic artists (like Los Tigres Del Norte) have criticized Nuestro Himno, and rival record labels called it "a promotional stunt" for UBO's upcoming cd 'Somos Americanos' (We Are Americans). UBO reacts, stating they donate most of their profits to pro-immigrant organisations.

So if you want to hear what the fuss is about: here you can listen to the song and read the (altered) lyrics. My personal opinion: I think conservative America should realise that without immigrant workers, their highly valued economy will crumble down to pieces. They should respect immigrants, legal and illegal. And the Belgian national anthem is written in two languages, so why would a Spanish version of the US anthem be so wrong?

Source: Reuters, Yahoo, National Public Radio

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Friday, May 05, 2006

Service Announcement

Broken playlist links should be fixed now.

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Summer Night Party

The skin-scorching temperatures here in Belgium are an excellent reason to start thinking about a hot summer night party.

Let's start the party in Spain, more specifically in Barcelona, where Ojos de Brujo treat us to a fusion of hip hop and flamenco on their latest album Techarí ("Free" in gypsy language). "Silencio" starts as a quiet song, but the flamenco guitar and handclapping take the song to another level, evoking a sensual and ritmic noche de verano. (Though I wonder where we should hear the hip hop influence?). More about modern flamenco in last month's article about Chambao.

Crossing the ocean, in Puerto Rico there's no party without reggaeton. Tito 'El Bambino' (former parter of Hector 'El Father') is scoring for the first time with a solo single (Caile), but on the album Top of the Line (produced by Luny Tunes, who else) there's a better tune called "Tu Cintura". Tito is still the worst singer in the whole of Puerto Rico, but in this song Don Omar joins him in a lyrical desciption of female forms.

Eddy Herrera might be Dominican in origin, but his music is nowadays almost equally popular in Central America as in his home country. At bailes (parties) in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, his latest song is a certain floor-filler. "No Le Cuentes" is a very typical modern merengue: lyrics about a love triangle and jealousy, musically not very innovating, but the formula still works!

Ojos de Brujo treden op 4 juni op in de AB in Brussel. Niet te missen! Tickets 22€ in voorverkoop. Hopelijk later ook integraal te bekijken via AB TV.

Ojos de Brujo - Silencio mp3 buy@iTunes Europe
Tito 'El Bambino' ft. Don Omar - Tu Cintura mp3 buy@iTunes
Eddy Herrera - No Le Cuentes mp3 buy@iTunes

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