Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Reggaeton: Casa de Leones, Hector 'El Father', Nigga, Wisin y Yandel, Eve

Jowell Randy Casa de Leones Shorty Wisin y Yandel Eve Quisiera Saber Control Hector El Father Pa La Tumba Nigga DJ Flex Te Quiero Reggaeton Puerto Rico Panama Latin Music Lyrics Party
Let's get the end-of-year parties started with some dembow!

The 'Hottest reggaeton duo of 2007' award goes to Jowell y Randy, proof is "Shorty" off the excellent Casa de Leones CD (see previous article). Everything is kept quite low-brow at the start, a human beatbox groove with some delicate piano and synth touches. But in the chorus, the subtle addition of an accentuated beat makes your booty move instantly to the urban goodness. The rhythm is more dance than reggaeton, but I like it nada mas. More Jowell y Randy? Google for "Velandote" or "Primero Bailalo".

Hector El Father on the other hand, isn't exactly known for his subtility. Though "Pa' La Tumba" will definitely get a party started - a chaos of merengue beats and rapping reggaetoneros. It's quite the cacaphony, but it works on the feet. His trademark tongue-in-cheek humour is mostly in the hilariously crappy video (below) - Hector trying to keep his cool while doing a dull boysband dance, surrounded by dozens of beautiful women. That doesn't even need a parody.

"Te Quiero" by Panamanian rapper Nigga (who wisely changed his name to DJ Flex for the US market) can be quite irritating, but it's the nicest of the latest wave of romantic reggae panameño songs. I don't think I've talked about this movement yet, which is mainly characterized by one-hit wonders scoring continent-wide approval with 'soft' reggae-pop songs (also see La Factoria, Makano). Notice the slow beat, the distinctly more caribbean sound and the extreme radio-friendliness :)

Hit-of-the-moment "Sexy Movimiento" is way too much women, cars and bling for me (video), but thankfully Wisin y Yandel are not just endlessly recycling the same track on their latest Los Extraterrestres."Quisiera Saber/Control" is a bilingual duet with Eve, a welcome change in the testosterone-dominated genre. Again it's the rhythm making the difference, leaning more towards dance music than reggaeton, while the song keeps a special urban appeal. Now if they would only learn to shut the hell up during that last minute...

Keep an eye on the blog for our Best of 2007 list, with the final results of our reader poll (which is still open for voting - on your right!).

Casa de Leones - Shorty mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon
Hector 'El Father' - Pa' La Tumba mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon

Nigga - Te Quiero mp3 buy@Amazon
Wisin y Yandel ft. Eve - Quisiera Saber mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon

Casa de Leones - Shorty

Hector 'El Father' - Pa' La Tumba

Nigga - Te Quiero

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Hip Hop: Guanaco

Guanaco Pesos Pesados Sound System Lento Ecuador Reggae Hip Hop Latin Music
A very unsuitable post for the time of year, I know - for christmas tunes I gladly forward you to these old Puerto Rican carols over at Mudd Up :)

Guanaco is not only a kind of llama, but also a talented young MC from Ecuador. With his Pesos Pesados Soundsystem he's conquering MTV with the catchy single "Lento", a reggae-influenced hiphop song. Although a little more musical variety wouldn't harm the track, it still stands out because of Guanaco's rough voice. He raps about the easy life and the emptyness of today's materialistic society - an evil even the slums of Ecuador doesn't seem to escape. Be sure to watch the rough (but clever) video below!

Guanaco - Lento mp3

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

En La Misma Onda

Don't forget to vote for our 2007 Readers Award - who do you think deserves to be called the best latin artist of this year? The poll is on your right, in the sidebar!

mun2 rounds up the facts on the horrifying murders of three grupero folk singers in Mexico. Jose Luis Aquino (Los Conde), Sergio Gomez (K-Paz de la Sierra) and Zayda Peña did NOT sing those dreadful narcocorridos, glorifying illegal immigration and drug trafficking, but average romantic Mexican folk songs - leading to the suspicion that drug cartels are also extorting mainstream acts now.

Shakira received a very deserved Golden Globe nomination for "Despedida", which you can still download in our playlist (on the right, in the sidebar). (via mun2).

"Many Venezuelans are suffering through the dictatorship of Chavez" - Alejandro Sanz will definitely not perform in Venezuela until 2011 :) His october gig in Caracas got cancelled after a similar remark. (via VivirLatino)

Latin Gossip reports Ricky Martin could be gay. Get outta here. In other shocking news: the sky is blue.

A much-hyped MC battle between Arcangel and Jowell y Randy, which would be decided by text messages from the audience, ended up without winner because of technical difficulties. After a very rehearsed 'kiss-and-make-up' scene on stage, the press even accused the three rappers of organizing the tirarea (diss songs) just to build the hype for the concert.

It doesn't always have to be Maná or RBD: the Independent Music Awards have a few nice finds among their 'World' category winners, like José Conde or the -to me unknown- Zoraida Santiago. SoundRoots also selected their picks for 2007's best world music. Great stuff as always, but not much Spanish-language music this year.

For our Dutch readers: Tropicalidad talks about Colombiafrica/The Mystic Orchestra, a mixup between the Caribbean flavors of champeta and the distinctively African soukous rhythm, which both have evolved from the rumba. Curious what that sounds like? Check out their MySpace!

I was thinking about doing a christmas-themed article, but then Ritmo Latino posted this great holiday podcast - I couldn't possibly match that ;) Happy holidays!

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Winners! Plus, Our First Ever Reader Poll!

Thanks for your massive participation in our holiday season contest, I almost couldn't handle that much lovin' :)
Congratulations to the lucky winners below!

  • Nacional Records Compilation
    Jan from London (UK); Andrew from the West Midlands (UK); Lauren from Columbus, OH; Dana from Tucson, AZ; and Amanda from Monte Rio, CA.
  • Alexis y Fido - Sobrenatural
    JD from West Palm Beach, FL; and Catherine from Saltash (UK).
  • Toby Love - Reloaded
    Chas from Derbyshire (UK); and Josée from Ottawa.
  • Voltio - En Lo Claro
    Jim from New Zealand; and Samantha from Elm Mott, TX.
  • Los Mono - Somos Los Que Estamos
    Martin from Derwood, MD.
I would also like to point your attention to the ugly little poll to your right, in the sidebar. The end of the year is approaching, and with it those countless best-of lists and summaries. This year I decided to let YOU have a say as well - we all love some interaction, right? Which artist deserves the La Onda 2007 Readers Award? is the question, and I included the names mentioned the most on the blog during the last twelve months. Of course if you have a suggestion yourself, don't hesitate to vote "other" and mention your own favorite in a comment to this post.

I'm counting on an equally overwhelming participation!

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Friday, December 07, 2007

The Biggest Holiday Giveaway Ever!

It's been a while since we had a contest here, verdad? Well, I have no less than 12 full CDs to give away before Christmas (those record companies sure are spoiling us!). And all you have to do is send one e-mail! Piece of cake! Send your name, mailing address and preferred CD over to One condition: you mention 'Ho ho ho!' somewhere in your mail. The contest closes Friday Dec. 14th, so you'll have your CD in time to put it under the tree :)
Which CDs we're giving away, you ask? Here's the list:

  • Nacional Records has 5 compilation CDs to give away. The album has tracks of latin 'indie' artists like Mexican Institute of Sound (review), The Pinker Tones and Nortec Collective. Funky stuff!

  • On the urban front, we have two CDs each of the latest important reggaeton releases: Sobrenatural by Alexis y Fido (mentioned here), En Lo Claro by Voltio and Toby Love Reloaded by Toby Love (both mentioned here)!
    $12.99 $12.97 $18.97

  • $9.49And finally we have one copy of YouTube hit Los Mono - their eclectic electronic album Somos Los Que Estamos was reviewed here.

But there's more. Due to popular demand, we again made a selection of fine latin remixes, all of which have some connection with artists we love. There's the usual batch of urban makeovers to big latino hits, but we've also come across some unexpected covers and rare electronic remixes. If you found an interesting mix yourself, don't hesitate to comment!

Shakira & Beyoncé - Beautiful Liar (Freemasons Remix) mp3 buy@iTunes
British club-house deejays Freemasons (responsible for many European summer hits) made a thumping dance mix of Shaki's duo with Beyonce. It's both easy on the ears and groovy to the feet (an expression of which I'm not sure it exists :)).

Sergio Mendes ft. Black Eyed Peas - Mas Que Nada (Masters At Work Mix) mp3 buy@iTunes
Only two posts ago I confessed you my love for Masters At Work, a latino DJ duo specialized in exotic danceables. This funky remix of the Black Eyed Peas' version of Brazilian samba classic "Mas Que Nada" is also a part of the Loteria Beats Mixtape by Raul Campos.

Aterciopelados - Complemento (Nino Remix) mp3
"Complemento" was one of my favorite tracks of 2006. This remix tears the song apart, and then rebuilds it step by step over a groovy dance beat. If you're up for more, Aterciopelados post all the remixes of their songs to the 'Downloads' section of their official site.

Los Tipitos - Mil Horas (Andrés Calamaro Cover) mp3 buy@iTunes
A beautiful update to Calamaro's latin rock classic. I especially like the addition of the piano. This song is part of Calamaro Querido! Cantando Al Salmón, a tribute CD to the Argentinean legend, also featuring Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Julieta Venegas, Pereza, Los Pericos and many more.

Café Tacuba - Ojalá Que Llueva Café (Juan Luis Guerra Cover) mp3 buy@iTunes
That's right, Mexico's finest alternative rockers covering the Dominican Republic's best known merenguero: Juan Luis Guerra. This is Café Tacuba the old style - lots of traditional/folk influences, no drummer, and an infectious positive mood. Excellent cover! (Sorry for the lousy quality...)

Gloria Estefan - No Llores (Urban Remix with Pitbull) mp3 buy@iTunes
One of the better 'urban' reworks of a big latin hit - but that's Pitbull for you, always conscious of his roots. He emphasizes the rumbling basses and deep trumpets in the song, removes Santana (great move!), and raps a few lines himself. Never knew R&B could sound so tropical!

Juanes - Me Enamora (Reggaeton Remix) mp3
An average, typical reggaeton remix - well, all that's been done is adding a background dembow beat. Still, I prefer this delicate mezcla over many of the more agressive horn-and-bells remixes out there.

Calle 13 & Orishas - Pa'l Norte (with Don Cheto) mp3
Don Cheto apparently is a hispanic TV show host (I never heard of him). All I know is this banda-sounding remix is very well done. Of course it helps that the original song is one of the best and most contageous of this year ;)

Casa De Leones - No Te Veo (Remix) mp3
The 'remixed' elements here are subtle and (let's be honest) quite obsolete, but any excuse is good enough to re-post this club banger. The reggaeton anthem of '07!

The Pinker Tones - Karma Hunters (Mexican Institute of Sound Remix) mp3 buy@iTunes
The Pinker Tones are one of the artists you'll find on the Nacional Records sampler we're giving away above. Here one of their tracks is remixed by one-man DJ project Mexican Institute of Sound. Always a guarantee for a funky track with lots of scratching and sampling! :)

Hope you enjoy the tracks, and don't forget to participate in the giveaway!

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

En La Misma Onda

Following the motto 'better late than never': a full backstage report on the 2007 Latin Grammys, blogged live from Las Vegas by VivirLatino. Big winners included La Onda sweethearts Juan Luís Guerra (5 awards, including song & album of the year, and a lifetime achievement award) and Calle 13 (3, including the whole 'Urban' category). There were also awards for Aterciopelados and Manu Chao (Best Alternative), Gustavo Cerati (Best Rock Song), Ojos de Brujo (Best Flamenco) and El Gran Combo (Best Salsa). I must say the Latin Grammys are growing into the only music award show that really awards quality instead of popularity!

Spanish pop combo La Oreja de Van Gogh has split up. Singer Amalia Montero decided the time was right for a solo career. Jorge over at Crisol de Musicas has some interesting reflections on the marketing mechanisms behind the band and the separation. My thoughts: now Montero can focus on the sugar-sweet bubble pop she's made for, while the band can pursue their more rock-oriented nature.
But, in a vile twist of fate, pop princess Paulina Rubio (40% plastic, 60% marketing) could become the new singer of the band. Cover your ears! VivirLatino further suggest this is just another move in Pau's transformation from Mexicana to Española.

Menudo was the mother (erm.. father?) of all boysbands, conquering Latin American charts in the early 80's and later launching the career of Ricky Martin. Now some record company bobo decided it's time for a Menudo revival, and five new boys were selected through a reality TV show. *Sigh*. Of course, the result is crap. Have a listen over at Latina Viva.

Besides being the only rapper willing to defend Calle 13's Grammy sweep, rapper Julio Voltio is also releasing a new album (En Lo Claro) and a joined tour with Toby Love and Alexis y Fido (called 'Yo Soy Barrio'). Both his tourmates also released an album this month, respectively Reloaded and Sobrenatural. Off the album, "Ponmela" is a nice collaboration with hot duo Jowell y Randy. As always, Richard Liriano has the songs! (Here, here and here).

Some quickies:
-Mun2 has an article on latin DJ duo Masters at Work, an old love of mine.
-SoundRoots takes a global tour of YouTube music videos, including Manu Chao and Gotan Project.
-Last week's Masala podcast is kicking some serious reggaeton ass.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Rock: Pereza, Los Bunkers, Los Tipitos, Inmigrantes

As I've put y'all nearly two weeks without new tunes, here's a bigger post to make up. All of these artists have been on La Onda before, but seen their latest efforts they're certainly worth mentioning again!

Pereza Aproximaciones Aproximacion Spanish Latin Rock
Their lazy voices fit the band name perfectly: Pereza. The new CD of these Spanish guitar gods, Aproximaciones, again offers us poetic rock ballads with a rough edge. The catchy chorus of title song "Aproximación" is an explosion of distorted guitars, contrasting with the dreamy verses and humming, not unlike their last big hit "Todo" (review here).

Los Bunkers Chili Latin Rock Vida De Perros Mientele
It's always surprising to me how long latino bands can keep releasing singles from the same album. The reasons behind this could be subject of entire papers, so I wont dig into that ;) But the fact is that the latest single of Chilean band Los Bunkers is still off 2005's Vida de Perros. "Mientele" has it all: witty lyrics, a great riff, an impressive solo, hell even the bass play is flawless. But I have to repeat my previous criticism that Alvaro Lopez is technically just not a good singer. Still, the track has everything to rock out!

Los Tipitos Argentina Latin Rock Tan Real Flor Negra
Los Tipitos made it high up my best of 2006 list with "Campanas en la Noche" (review here). The beautiful, melancholic lyrics are still present on "Flor Negra", only the sound has shifted to a more mainstream poprock vibe. Which actually suits them very well, the piano is a great addition and the chorus has a high sing-along factor. The song is doing quite well in the Argentinean charts too.

Inmigrantes Turistas En El Paraiso Graffiti Argentina LatiN Rock
Twin brothers Carlos and Pablo Silberberg are definitely gonna make it. The second single of their duo effort Inmigrantes is as catchy and inventive as the first one: "Graffiti" has that British-influenced guitar sound I love so much, and plenty of youthful enthouisiasm. I wish them a lot more singles of this quality

Be sure to check out the videos of all these great songs below.

Inmigrantes - Graffiti mp3 buy@Amazon
Los Tipitos - Flor Negra mp3 buy@Amazon

Los Bunkers - Mientele mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon
Pereza - Aproximacion mp3

Inmigrantes - Graffiti

Los Tipitos - Flor Negra

Los Bunkers - Mientele

Pereza - Aproximacion

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Lost in MySpace

Another look at the latino MySpace-o-sphere. If you haven't checked out our own MySpace spot, go ahead and be our friend - we're close to 200 amigos! :) And hopefully with the arrival of Facebook Pages (aka Facebook Music) we'll soon have musical networking that's a little easier on the eyes.

Our new favorite record label: Nacional Records, which houses not only Manu Chao, Aterciopelados and Mexican Institute of Sound but also lesser known La Onda favorites as Los Bunkers and Los Tres. A special mention goes to Raul Campos, a famous LA deejay who just released an exciting mixtape called Loteria Beats. It's filled with funky instumentals, trip hop & latin rap - check it out.

Another notable netlabel is Tres Peso. It was founded by a New-Zealander who dedicates his time to represent Cuban reggaeton artists who can't leave the island. Without a lot of funding, Tres Peso is compeltely relying on guerilla/internet marketing - and with some success, as they now have 21 artists signed. Have a go at "Otra Onda" by Rezistencia, a tad aggressive but still quality cubatón.

Dub and reggae artist Ticklah did a very special cover of Eddie Palmieri's "Mi Sonsito". The rest of his music is totally non-latin, but this song is funky, catchy and original - it fits perfectly in the new latin funk movement of Los Mono, Los Amigos Invisibles and Mexican Institute of Sound.

Besides a very beautiful MySpace page, Iyexa has some beautiful altpop tunes in Portuguese which can only be described as 'Afro-Brasilian funkjazz with some mestizo reggae thrown in'. Yes, I though of that myself :)

Apparently "Baja Panties" by R&B combo C-Note is quite the club hit. I'm not fully convinced yet, and the fact they have their own reality TV show adds up to that ;) Nevertheless, everybody appreciates some R&B from time to time!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Pop/Rock: Jarabe de Palo, La Mari

Jarabe de Palo Adelantando Dejame Vivir La Mari Chambao Spanish Pop Rock Flamenco
It's a busy month, so I can use some peaceful tunes to wind down a little. And Jarabe de Palo is always a great source for delicate popsongs!

Even this summer at the Jarabe de Palo concert I attended, "Dejame Vivir" was one of the most intimate and enchanting songs in the set. The additional vocals of La Mari (of our favorite flamenkito band Chambao) add a more traditional Andalucian touch to Jarabe de Palo's usual poprock sound. It's a no-nonsense track without pretention: simple guitar chords with soft percussion is all it takes to let Pau Donés and La Mari bring their leave-me-be message. Be sure to watch the very suiting and utterly beautiful video below!

Jarabe de Palo ft. La Mari - Dejame Vivir mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Merengue: Elvis Crespo, La Banda Gorda

Elvis Crespo - Llore y Llore - Regreso El Jefe - La Banda Gorda - Dejen Esos Perros - Puerto Rico Dominican Republic Republica Dominicana Merengue Latin Dance Music Mambo
It's been a while since I've served you some truly tropical tunes. Here are two merengues to keep the summer spirit alive when the fall kicks in!

"Lloré y Lloré" is a quite atypical merengue for Elvis Crespo, with the fast singing and the soundplay in the chorus. Though of course you'll recognize his voice and the somewhat sluggish beat. An interesting track, even though it's not being played as much on the radio as it deserves.

The last time I featured La Banda Gorda was back in '05, but little has changed in their music. "Dejen Esos Perros" is badass Dominican mambo, filled with double entendres and sexy rhtyhm fills. Singer José Peña Suaso has that tongue-in-cheek kind of voice that makes merengue so damn sexy - and funny at times. Enjoy!

Elvis Crespo - Lloré y Lloré mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon
La Banda Gorda - Dejen Esos Perros mp3

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rock: Café Tacvba - Sino

Cafe Tacuba Café Tacvba - Sino Si No - Volver A Comenzar - Alternative Latin Pop Rock Mexico
I have to admit that - up until now - I kinda underestimated the importance of Café Tacvba. You have to forgive me: my first contact with latin music was only four years ago, when the hype following their 2003 masterpiece Cuatro Caminos was settled down, and the band members decided to take a sabbatical. Proof: when I dared to write the band had dissolved in this post, irate reactions of the extensive 'cafeta' fanbase followed.

No, Café Tacvba is very much alive, and they are probably Mexico's single most important rock band. Since 1989, they've been the missing link between rock and Mexican folk (Re, 1992), the best cover band of the continent (Avalancha De Exitos, 1996), Grammy winners with instrumental art-pop (Reves/YoSoy, 1999), and the Mexican answer to Radiohead (Cuatro Caminos, 2003). They're the most diverse band in latin rock history - and that's still an understatement.

Sino, the first Café Tacvba album in four years, is another example of the constant evolution that marks their career. Folk elements are rare, and the combination of lead guitarist Joselo Rangel and drummer Victor Indrizzo (Beck) leads to stormy rock explosions ("De Acuerdo"). Gone is the somewhat cheesy pop of hit single "Eres", but instead we hear powerful guitar songs. There's even room for experimental ("Arrulo") and epic stadium rock ("Esta Vez"). What stays, are the existentialist lyrics, and the feeling that you're listening to something truly great.

The album opens delicately, with a soft piano and a fragile Meme building up the tension, until "Tengo Todo" breaks loose: a beautiful pop song, adding some Beatles psychidelica near the end. "53100" makes me think of "No Surprises" (there's that Radiohead comparison again..) while "Y Es Que..." has a very Catupecu Machu harmonica melody. And "El Outsider" adds some funky electro bleeps, while lead vocalist Ruben Albarrán declares himself the number one individualist.

I could write a whole page on "Volver A Comenzar" alone, the sublime first single. It's an eight-minute epic of 80s disco dancerock (New Order, Depeche Mode) interrupted by an acoustic chill moment. The chorus rocks, and the band sings great. It's only matched by "Esta Vez": equally epic, the same touching lyrics. A calm and melodic start soon derails into a rock classic worthy of Muse (or for the older readers: quite reminiscent of Led Zeppelin). In short: two rock gems you need to download ASAP.

But these two songs alone can't give you an impression of the whole album... so much is happening here, between The Who (experimental jam "Gracias") and The Beach Boys (the harmonic "Quiero Ver") is a disc with nothing but highlights. Maybe the four 'tacubos' aren't the most technical singers, they solve that by variation (all of them take the role of lead singer), and they are genious musicians who write indestructible songs. The most exciting album of the year.

Café Tacvba - Volver A Comenzar mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon
Café Tacvba - Esta Vez mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

En La Misma Onda

The MTV LatinoAmerica Awards again managed to ignore new talent and sent the most obnoxiously commercial acts home with the 'Moonman' statue. Maná won 'Artist of the Year' and 'Best Group', Avril Lavigne took 'Song of the Year' and 'International Pop Artist', and there were awards for Evanescence, Belinda and Panda. Or as Crisol de Musicas sums it up: something smells rotten.

Latina Viva reports that Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez cancelled an Alejandro Sanz concert, just because Alejandro once said he's not a big fan of the prez. Maybe he sees Sanz as too big a competition - Chavez recently released his own folk CD. Talk about a nutcase.

The Latin Americanist had the wonderful idea to adapt VH1's 'The Greatest' to latin music: they're gonna compile a list of the best latin rock songs of the nineties. Mail your favorites to!

More rock at The Latin Americanist: the return of Soda Stereo was a big success - over 70,000 people attended the reunion concert of the Argentinean supergroup. The post further mentions the "piss-poor" tribute to Soda held at the MTV Awards. They can't get anything right, huh? :)

The video for "Promesas" by Los Mono (see this post) has become quite the YouTube hit: over 350,000 people have watched it after it was featured on the YouTube home page. Now that's an exposure an alternative latin artist can only dream of! Watch the video here and here.

And finally, to prepare for 'Dia de los Muertos' (All Saints Day) next thursday, Ritmo Latino has a specially themed podcast. Creepy! :)

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Reggaeton: Casa de Leones, Alexis y Fido

It's been a while since we've given you some good ass booty-movin', party-startin', muscle-rollin' REGGAETON! Consider this as damage control for the weeks I haven't been posting: the two big reggaeton hits of last summer.

Alexis y Fido might not be as much in the spotlights as, let's say, Wisin y Yandel, but the duo has its occasional smash reggaeton hit. "Cinco Letras" is a perfect example. This song is just made for the dancefloor, with the delicate electronic accents, and the chant-and-response chorus makes it irrestitably catchy. Nothing new on the beat or lyric front, but hey, that's not what we're looking for here ;) Their next album Sobrenatural is scheduled for an October 20th release.

An up-and-coming duo that's here to stay: Jowell y Randy. After guest rapping on almost every reggaeton album released the last few months, they've recently joined the group Casa de Leones, with relatively unknown raperos Guelo Star, Maximan and J-King. But they're not just another reggaeton boysband: debut single "No Te Veo" betrays a more club-oriented approach with a poppy edge. The beat is more soca than classic dembow, perfectly mixable with house or techno stuff, similar to the more experimental tracks on Daddy Yankee's latest. A nice evolution!

Alexis y Fido - Cinco Letras mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon
Casa de Leones - No Te Veo mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon

Alexis y Fido - Cinco Letras

Casa de Leones - No Te Veo

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

En La Misma Onda

I'm back! Thanks to El Guiri for filling the void, and the mp3s accompanying his Manu Chao review are up at last.
Of course the music industry didn't sleep while I was trekking through Slovenia. An overview!

Opinions vary on the new Gloria Estefan album 90 Millas. She supposedly went searching for her musical roots, resulting in a 'modern take on classic Cuban rhythms'. Mister Bryans says

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what her politics are, it doesn't matter how many famous musicians played on her new album, or how powerful her husband is, it just matters if her music is any good.

Well, About Latin Music gives 90 millas a five-star review, while the Miami Herald think it's worth only two. This just begs for an Onda review, no?

Babyfaced rapper Tito El Bambino has recorded a track with superproducer Pharrell Williams for his new album It's My Time. But "El Booty" isn't as hot as the first single, "Solo Dime Que Si". BlogReggaeton has the info, Richard Liriano has the tracks!

This Tuesday is the big day for Café Tacvba: the release of their first studio album in four years, Sino. Here's the extra long video to their epic single "Volver A Comenzar" on YouTube. The video follows the track in its sound & feel: 80's disco dancerock interluded by serene acoustic chills. Well, maybe the bootylicious bling-bling part is a little out of place ;) Be quick - Universal Records is taking the videos down...

Of course you'll hear more of these albums soon here at La Onda. Glad to be back ;)

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Movies: Bebe in Julio Medem's "Caótica Ana"

In the year 2000, Spanish director Julio Medem (Los amantes del círculo polar, Lucía y el sexo,...) lost his sister Ana Medem - a promising paintress - in a car accident. Now, seven years after his sister's death, Medem translated this traumatic loss into a new film: Caótica Ana ("Chaotic Ana"). This film is a tribute to his sister's art, her personality and the strength of women in general. Without a doubt, Medem's film is a beautiful and touching commemoration of his beloved sibling, but personally I think Medem could have treated this subject in a slightly more sober and less hysteric way: Ana is discovered to be the reincarnation of thousands of women of the past, all mistreated and killed by men. Medem desperately tries to bring up as many themes as possible and link them (violence in nature, American imperialism, capitalism, father and daughter relationships, lost love...), which actually distracts the film from its original purpose. It's not a bad film, but it lacks consistency and credibility.

The good thing about Caótica Ana is that one of our favorite Spanish artists is in it! Bebe (Nieves Rebolledo Vila) , born in Valencia, won the 2005 Latin Grammy Award for Best New Artist after her album Pafuera Telarañas came out in 2004. In Caótica Ana, she plays Linda, Ana's Andalusian-speaking friend in an artist home in Madrid. Bebe surprisingly enough is the most naturally playing actress: in a very convincing way, she makes you believe she's like this in real life. The other actors are sometimes very annoying: up to four characters are foreigners and have a terrible accent in Spanish, but at the same time speak Spanish perfectly, without even the slightest grammatical error! To me, this was just too unnatural and it even made me laugh at very inappropriate times. Anyway, if you have te chance to see this movie, I would still recommend you all to do so, because in spite of the somewhat artificial plot and the annoying actors; photography, editing and soundtrack are excellent! And uh... you get to see a lot of boobies! ;)

Caótica Ana was released in Spain on August 24, and will be presented at the Toronto and New York Film Festivals, before its release in the States on December 26.

Here's a trailer for the movie (in Spanish):

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Pop: Melendi

I'm off on a 12-day trip through Eastern Europe, so you'll have to rely on El Guiri for the meantime :) At the moment he's allowing his white skin some much-needed sun in Sevilla, Spain, but he'll be back soon.

Melendi - Mientras No Cueste Trabajo - Calle La Pantomima - Espana Pop Flamenco Rock Latin Music
One artist he'll be hearing often is Melendi, currently #3 in the Spanish top 40. Ramón Melendi Espina has a nose for success: he manages to combine a singer-songwriter background, a streetwise image and a passion for flamenco music into a typically Spanish commercial pop/rock sound. He appears in videogames, commercials, and sold almost a million records, but when he sings about Oviedo street life in"Calle La Pantomima" you just have to believe he even sleeps outside. A melancholic song consisting of childhood memories, but in a way very uplifting and sunny.

Melendi - Calle La Pantomima mp3 buy@iTunes (Europe only) buy@Amazon

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

En La Misma Onda

A short news update!

Last wednesday, the nominees for the 2007 Latin Grammy awards were announced. Juan Luis Guerra came off best, with 5 nominations; Calle 13 and Ricky Martin each got four. I was especially surprised to see Gustavo Cerati's "La Excepción" nominated for Best Song. Heavy competition in the Best Urban category too, with Calle 13, Orishas, Daddy Yankee, Don Omar & Wisin y Yandel all going for the gold. And murdered ranchero Valentin Elizalde scooped a posthumous nomination. Here's the complete list, and here are some interesting comments by Latina Viva, bashing every artist I like in the list ;)

Two big shots in latino music recently released a new single: Gloria Estefan released "No Llores", a collaboration with Carlos Santana that sounds very much like all other Santana songs. And yesterday, Juanes premiered "Me Enamora", which sounds very much like all other Juanes songs. Of course you can listen for yourself, here and here!

A remarkable coincidence brings two albums to two Belgians at the same time. Except that Wouter over at Tropicalidad is a tad faster than me ;) Manu Chao's La Radiolina is found 'filled with energy and idealism', though Wouter feels like Manu pushed the recycle button a bit often. Piñata by the Mexican Institute of Sound is described as 'a catchy mix of old-fashioned cumbia, chachacha and danzón, woven with deep electro beats, lounge and hiphop'. Coming soon to La Onda ;)

And we conclude with two Brazilian bands in concert: Bonde do Role invites half the crowd on stage for a favela funk party, and Bebel Gilberto signs for an intimate and beautiful performance. Thanks to FabChannel, you can watch both concerts from A to Z below!

Bonde do Role:

Bebel Gilberto

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Reggaeton/Hip Hop: Tego Calderon - El Abayarde Contra-Ataca

Tego Calderon - El Abayarde Contra Ataca - Tradicional A Lo Bravo - El Que Lucha No Avanza - Latin Rap Hip Hop Reggaeton Urban Music
Almost exactly one year ago, we praised Tego Calderón's previous album as the only good reggaeton album recorded up until then..

The Underdog is the new sound of the latin urban genre, a sound that blends Afro-Carribean influences with some of the hottest beats around. It's hip hop and reggaeton with soul and fuego.

It took Tego a label change, a big budget, and almost two and a half years to complete the album. So I was slightly surprised when I heard he would release his next CD merely one year later. Was his inspiration flowing so freely that he just didn't need the time? Or did the bosses over at Atlantic Records push Tego to quickly record another album, after The Underdog was met with disappointing sales, despite praising critics?

Fact is, the simultaneous release of El Abayarde Contra-Ataca and Tego's first feature film Illegal Tender smells like sly marketing. A quick quote about the movie, where Tego plays the bad guy (a Puerto Rican gangster):
A laughable low-budget mess about third-rate drug thugs, put together with the sheen and polish of a fourth-grade Christmas pageant. (E! Online)

Luckily, El Abayarde Contra-Ataca has become a better effort, though not exactly solid gold.

Both the title and the cover art are a clear reference to El Abayarde, the 2002 debut that launched Tego's career and internationalized reggaeton. And in many aspects, the music is also a return to those times, when Tego focused on underground reggaeton and gangsta-style hiphop. For example, "Lo Hecho Hecho Está" joins a hard core of Latin rappers (Voltio, Ñejo, Chyno Nyno) in a rough and very street anthem to Puerto Rican slums. "Los Mios" and "Quiereme Como Soy" carry inspirational rhymes with a positive message, like we're used to from Tego, but the hiphop finishing and the poor collaboration of Pirulo weaken the songs. If you're into pure rap, you probably won't bother, but I'm not very fond of these tracks.

Tego has always been one of the most innovative rappers, but on El Abayarde Contra-Ataca all experiments seem to fail pitifully. He branches out into r&b ("Quitarte 'To" featuring hype-of-the-moment Randy) and merengue ("No Era Por Ahí") without convincing. The latter might even be the most horrible song of 2007 - a mess of super fast merengue, pale raps and irritating noises. And the dark "Cual Es El Plan Y Eso" with Calle 13 and Yaviah could have been a spectacular combination, but the debilitating beat drowns the track in boredom.

So thank God (or rather, producer Luis Almonte) for reggaeton! "Tradicional A Lo Bravo" is a good choice for the first single, showing the fusion-style reggaeton we like. One minor point of criticism (valable for most tracks): vocal mixing could have been a lot better, there's too much echo and Tego sounds faint, while his voice is one of the most characterful in latin music.
"TTT Tego" is a catchy club banger worthy of his first big hit "Al Natural". The most exotic track is "Ni Fu Ni Fa", which joins funky breakbeats with Afro-Latin percussion and chanting children. And "El Que Lucha No Avanza" is top quality urban music: a positive attitude, original samples, and unstoppable lyrical flow.

Despite the obvious hasty finishing and the failures mentioned above, El Abayarde Contra-Ataca is a varied disc by the most talented latino rapper out there. Tego has an impressive voice, an incomparable flow, and a grand songwriting skill. Maybe the album is too much Abayarde and not enough Underdog? As Underdog, Tego surpassed the genre and created a whole new direction for himself. Let's hope he uses his talents to the fullest again for his next album.

Tego Calderón - El Que Lucha No Avanza mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon
Tego Calderón - Tradicional A Lo Bravo mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lost in MySpace

Lost in MySpace Latin Music Molotov Andy Palacio Kinky Circo Jiggaton
(Another update below, 21/08)
Life after the separation: Molotov found a very original solution to their recording obligations. Every band member made a 4-song solo EP, and the EPs combined are sold as 'the final Molotov album', called Battle of the Band. As usual everything is bathed in irony - band members repeatedly appear in the press trashing the other member's songs. The battle will be decided at the Molotov MySpace, the song getting the biggest number of plays there will be promoted to the radio. I'm going for "Dejate Algo" by Paco Ayala!

An artist I've been wanting to share with you for a long time is Andy Palacio.This Belizean talent brings the story of the Garifuna, a unique people descending of African slaves, living on the coasts of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. For his latest record Watina, he dove into Garifuna language and culture, and the result is a pure and warm album, hovering between blues and afro, a true tribute to Garifuna music. Be sure to spend some time on his (gorgeous) MySpace, and if you want to read more there's loads at SoundRoots, MondoMix and Fly.

Kinky and Circo are two alternative rock bands riding on the MySpace wave of the last few years (especially Kinky, take a look at their number of plays!). Both mix 80's electro through their poppy riffs, which can be both very entertaining on saturday night, and very irritating on sunday morning. You decide!

Did you ever wonder what reggaeton would sound like in English? Neither did I - it just can't be the same, right? Production crew The Presidentz thought otherwise: they gave some rap tracks starring Jay-Z, Pharell Williams and Kanye West the reggaeton treatment. The result leaves me kinda indifferent. The songs are quite solid, but I miss the Spanish edge and the references to latino culture. You can preview the whole album (called Jiggaton) on their MySpace.

UPDATE: Mexico's favorite alternative rockers Café Tacuba have posted a new song on their MySpace. "Volver A Comenzar" is a 7-minute epic teaser for the 2 October release of Sino, the first Café Tacuba album in over four years. The Grammy winners have once again opted for Gustavo Santaolalla in the producer's seat (who doesn't, these days?). We're already looking forward to it!

2nd UPDATE: In response to police violence in Puerto Rico, Calle 13 released a smokin' hot tirarea (diss) at the PR police force, and the 'colonial' government in general. "Tributo a la Policía" can be found on their official MySpace, or downloaded at their website. This is not the first time, Calle 13's very first single "Querido FBI" was another powerful middle finger towards the US and PR governments, also released after a dubious killing.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Rock: Inmigrantes, El Cuarteto de Nos

Two latin rock tracks for the young and trendy!

Inmigrantes - Golpe de Suerte - Turistas en el Paraiso - Argentina Latin Rock
Inmigrantes consists of twin brothers Carlos and Pablo Silberberg, Argentinean youngsters who have been playing music together since they were 11 years old. They have a lot of live experience, playing in the (huge) bar scene of Buenos Aires, but "Golpe de Suerte" is their very first single. Energetic and enthusiastic are the first words that come to mind, with that catchy bass riff opening the song. What follows is flawless guitar/drum interaction, revealing the boys' talent. Maybe their voices lack some maturity, but their youthful spontaneity is very contagious indeed!

El Cuarteto De Nos - Ya No Se Que Hacer Conmigo -  Raro - Uruguay Latin Rock
The always interesting Crisol de Musicas put me on to El Cuarteto De Nos, a latin rock band from Uruguay that's been around for 27 years already. Guitarists Roberto and Ricardo Musso are brothers - get the link with Inmigrantes? ;)
"Ya No Sé Que Hacer Conmigo" is the latest example of their complexless funrock: witty lyrics are alternately supported by a southern-sounding acoustic guitar and tearing distortion. They rock like 20-year olds, only the theme of the song (changes in life) gives away their true age. And the way they still try to rhyme every sentence is just priceless. Be sure to check out the very 'designer' video too (below)!

Inmigrantes - Golpe de Suerte mp3 buy@Amazon
El Cuarteto De Nos - Ya No Sé Qué Hacer Conmigo mp3 buy@Amazon

Inmigrantes - Golpe de Suerte

El Cuarteto De Nos - Ya No Sé Qué Hacer Conmigo

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Holiday Report: Jarabe de Palo, Daddy Yankee

We're back! And yes, even on holiday we're soaking ourselves in latin music. Spending that holiday in Spain or Mexico helps a lot of course ;) Here's what we've been up to.

Járabe De Palo plays a home match in Castejón de Sos
Jarabe de Palo Adelantando Gira Concierto Concert Tour Castejon de Sos
Chapín saw Járabe de Palo perform in their home area in Spain, a unique concert for both the band and the locals. You might know Járabe de Palo of (international) hits like "Bonito" and "La Flaca", and they've just released their 6th album Adelantando, with "Olé" as first single.

Castejón de Sos is a tiny mountain village in Alta Ribagorza, the region where lead singer Pau Donés lived for most of his life. And with tiny, I mean tiny: the 1000 attendees momentarily tripled the usual population of Castejón. As it was raining most of the day, many feared the (open air) concert would be canceled; in addition, Castejón is reached only by treacherous mountain passes not suited for tour buses and trucks loaded with speakers and instruments. So the greater was the relief when eventually the group entered the stage (which was moved indoors) to kick off this special concert.

I always thought JdP songs suffered from being too radio-friendly and too much the same (compare "Bonito" and "Olé" above). But the mere enthousiasm of Donés and his band, together with funkier arrangements, lifted this concert way above the quality of the CDs. The band seemed to know exactly where the songs needed to be spiced up (or mellowed down) to work on stage, even the songs I hadn't heard before sounded like latin pop classics. Guitarist Jordi Mena deserves a special mention, his impressive solos rocked the show. Also, the chemistry between Pau and his audience was extraordinary. He made fun of his friends, talked about his growing up in the region - all in the local Aragonese dialect - and got the audience on his hand from the first minute. The big hits were sung along word for word, and a bis round with "La Flaca" made the place go completely wild. A unique concert indeed! I still blame myself for not having a digital camera around...

(More dates for the Adelantando tour at the official JdP site.)

El Guïri meets Daddy Yankee
Daddy Yankee Loves La Onda Tropical
El Guïri had the luck to interview film writer Guillermo Arriaga (of Amores Perros, 21 Grams and Babel) at a Mexican TV show. And backstage he bumped into none other than Daddy Yankee! Yankee said he's a long time fan of La Onda and checks back here every week, but he's a little shy to comment online. He didn't have time for an interview, but of course we could call him 'anytime' for VIP concert tickets and stuff like that.

(Or maybe that's not true, and all we got was the lousy quality picture above! ;) The white guy on the right is El Guïri himself, if you hadn't guessed.)

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007


  • I think we can call our Semana Brasileira a success: between 400 and 500 daily visitors is not something we're used to here ;) We loved all your comments, the more the better!

  • The winner of the Tita Lima album 11:11 is... (drumroll).. Matt from Somerville, PA! And thanks to everyone who participated, of course.

  • El Guiri is kicking back in Mexico at the moment, and I'm leaving for Spain in a few days. So you'll have to do without new posts until the beginnings of August, when we will return in full force! You can check out the wonderful blogs in our Link List (to your right, at the bottom) to help you through this dark period ;) See ya!

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Lost in MySpace Brasil

MySpace Brazil Trama Virtual Links New Music
We conclude our Semana Brasileira with a dive into MySpace and its Brazilian equivalent TramaVirtual. Thanks to our friends over at Masala, who have a nose for undiscovered Brazilian talent!

Sany Pitbull is a baile funk master with 20 years of DJ experience in Rio's favela funk scene. His own tracks are mainly instrumental, darker and more filled with electronica than most carioca funk.

If you're into complex hiphop beats, sunny vibes and freestyle rhymes, Slim Rimografia is something for you. Check out "Bom Som"!

Ivete Sangalo is the most succesful artist in axé bahia music, a feel-good reggae/samba/pop mix that must have been invented on a Brazilian beach. Although lately she's inclined more towards MPB and pop ballads.. She has an unofficial but very informative MySpace here!

Tecno Brega is something special. The music style, mixing brega music from north-east Brazil and European techno influences, is marketed completely aside from the normal music business. Artists are distributing CDs for (almost) free to lure people to highly popular soundsystem concerts (aparelhagem). It actually sounds like a reggaeton beat over polka/schlager music, trés kitch. Banda Tecno Show should be an example..

More trashy kitch as we look at Banda Calypso: their style is brega calypso, adding a distinctive caribbean flavour to the brega music. They seem to be selling big time, but I didn't manage to find ONE sound sample. Luckily there is YouTube: check out some videos below!

Banda Calypso - Isso é Calypso

Banda Calypso - Pra Te Esquecer (Live)

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Marisa Monte - Infinito Particular/Universo Ao Meu Redor

Marisa Monte - Infinito Particular - Universo Ao Meu Redor - Vilarejo - Bonde do Dom - MPB Musica Popular Brasileira Samba
Marisa Monte is one of the main exponents of MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira), Brazilian pop you could say. Though it takes only a second to realize MPB is nothing like the mainstream trash we get served up North: Marisa specializes in intimate, melancholic songs, with a typical pop/rock structure but still relying heavily on Brazilian influences like samba and bossa nova. Marisa was trained to be an opera diva, but singing her favorite Brazilian tunes in Italian bars is what led to her discovery. She sold 9 million copies of 8 different albums, and worked with almost every Brazilian music legend imaginable (she even started her own supergroup, Os Tribalistas, with Carlinhos Brown and Arnaldo Antunes).

In 2006, Infinito Particular and Universo Au Meu Redor were released simultaneously after three years of silence. Infinito Particular has Marisa's trademark dreamy pop songs: lush melodies, discrete arrangements and a touch of bossa nova. "Vilarejo" is a perfect example. Her intriguing voice takes you to MPB heaven in a laid-back atmosphere. Before you realise it the song is over, and you hit 'repeat'!

For Universo Au Meu Redor, Marisa dove into samba history. It's been a long-time dream of her to give old samba gems her characteristic treatment, and turn them into solid pop songs. Of course it's not carnival samba we're talking about, but the slower, more traditional guitar style of the early 20th century. Marisa manages to give the songs a modern, consistent sound while keeping intact the heart and soul of the original sambas. In "O Bonde do Dom", she adds stirring violins to the beautiful samba melody. Of the two records, Universo Au Meu Redor is my personal favorite: while Infinito Particular can be too polished and well-behaved, Universo and its samba vibes reveal true class. Marisa Monte, a great lady!

Marisa Monte - O Bonde do Dom mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon
Marisa Monte - Vilarejo mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon

Marisa Monte - O Bonde do Dom

Marisa Monte - Vilarejo

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Bebel Gilberto - Momento

Bebel Gilberto - Momento - Night and Day - Brazil Latin Jazz Bossa Nova
When talking about Bebel Gilberto (daughter of the legendary João Gilberto), one should keep in mind the following formula: bossa nova + chilled out electronics + Bebel = good songs! How about that?

In 2004 I first discovered Bebel, thanks to her second studio album Bebel Gilberto. It wasn't her first album (in 2000, her debut Tanto Tempo was released), but definitely her best one. Now, please give a warm welcome to Momento! On her new album, Bebel immediately proves she still knows how to wrap you up in a warm blanket of sound ("Momento", "Night and Day", "Azul" etc.). The songs on "Momento" generally sound very laid-back. I've never actually been in Brazil, but Bebel Gilberto's songs make me feel as if I were chilling out on some Brazilian sunny beach (which, after a few intense weeks of exams, I could really use!). Anyway, to keep the listener's attention, a small number of more danceable tracks (e.g. "Caçada", "Tranquilo") were included. No real floor fillers, but dreamy songs that will perhaps make you gently shake your head, or even your hips, while lying in your hammock. Make sure not to knock over your caipirinha though!

Unfortunately, Bebel's English hasn't improved since her self-titled album from 2004, but the songs in English are just as good as the Portuguese ones. Actually, one of the best tracks on the album is the English "Night and Day", Bebel's interpretation of a song composed by Cole Porter. She maintains the jazzy character of the song (that saxophone towards the end!), but gracefully adds her own Brazilian touch to it.

Nevertheless, I couldn't help comparing this album with the exquisite Bebel Gilberto, and conclude that Momento is slightly inferior to it. It's just that, in my opinion, Bebel hasn't really added anything new to her music on this album, which causes it to sound a little bit too smooth at times. But hey, as I said at the beginning of this post: Bebel just stands for good, relaxing music, and that still hasn't changed!

Bebel Gilberto - Night and Day mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon

Bebel Gilberto - Momento

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Mayra Andrade - Navega

Mayra Andrade - Navega - Cape Verde Morna Music
While we're exploring Brazil's biggest talents this week, we make an exception for this album: Mayra Andrade doesn't sing in Brazilian/Portuguese, but in her very own Cape Verdean Creole (for your information, Cabo Verde is an archipelago 500km off the coast of Senegal). The thing is, she is just so good that we want to make sure you don't miss out on her, so prepare for some Cape Verdean vibes!

Although Mayra Andrade's music is clearly marked by the Cape Verdean atmosphere, Mayra herself has had a taste of an enormous variety of cultures: she was born 1985 in La Habana, Cuba, but grew up between Senegal, Angola, Germany and Cape Verde. Since 2003, she has been living in Paris. Her international career is just getting started: after being discovered in Canada when she was 16, she toured in Cape Verde, Portugal and France for a long time and she was also the supporting act for Cape Verdean legend Cesaria Evora, a major influence in her work. Nevertheless, she hadn't recorded anything proper until last year, when she finally released her debut album Navega - the gem we're talking about here.

Although Mayra's exotic Creole singing on the album sounds very seductive, it's actually a shame for us -foreign listeners- that she didn't opt for Portuguese: unlike most Portuguese songs, I couldn't hardly understand a word of what she's saying, until I bumped into English translations for all of the songs on this album, on Mayra's website. And so, I discovered yet another layer of Andrade's music: not only does she have an extremely jazzy, sensual voice and a cute face, judging by her lyrics she also appears to be smart. She sings about real themes, such as failing democracy, poverty, love, etc.

On this album, Mayra Andrade takes us on a trip to her isle. Islands, as we all know, are usually surrounded by water, so we shouldn't be surprised to hear that a marine feeling dominates this album. The title, "Navega" (sail, navigate), says it all. It's as if this album contained two different story lines: one inside the lyrics, the other one inside the music. In the very first track, "Dimokransa", the music almost makes you feel the salty sea breeze on the Cape Verdean coast caress your face, while Mayra is actually singing about failing democracy, referring to important figures in Cape Verdean history. Two completely different sensations -marine atmosphere but seriously political lyrics-, fitted together in such a way that you can only profoundly enjoy this song. And not only this song, because high standards are maintained throughout the entire album: "Mana" is a slow bossa ballad about a girl who followed her ambitions, only to find out that money isn't everything. The French "Comme s'il en pleuvait" is the only song on the album where Mayra doesn't sing in her mother tongue, but that still doesn't take away the marine feeling: just guitars, saxophone and Mayra's hoarse voice, mmm... In the slower "Nha Sibitchi", Andrade describes some of her neighbours in Cape Verde, and in "Navega", the lyrics finally connect with the marine sound: while Mayra sings about how hard it is for a fisherman's wife to fearfully await her husband's safe return, the gracefully rippling music reflects tears of love and the water of the stormy sea at the same time. From this track on, things only get even better: "Poc li dente é tcheu" is about the heart-rending choice between poverty and emigration - the paradisiacal beauty of Cape Verde doesn't take away its misery. To the sound of guitars and cello, Mayra sings goodbye in "Dispidida". But we don't say goodbye to her until the very last note of "Regasu", Mayra Andrade's ode to morna - the Cape Verdean genre full of saudade that Cesaria Evora brought to international attention.

Think of this album as a "navegação": embark in Mayra's boat and sail the seven seas with her. We did it with pleasure. Actually, we enjoyed it so much that we can't wait for the next album to come out! But until then: mommy, can I go again?

Mayra Andrade - Dimokransa mp3 buy@iTunes (Europe only) buy@Amazon
Mayra Andrade - Dispidida mp3 buy@iTunes (Europe only) buy@Amazon

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