Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Salsa: Alberto Alberto

Again thanks to Billy Bryans, a Cuban CD made the way to my mailbox. This time it's salsa, and it goes by the name of Alberto Alberto. Traigo de Todo is his first solo album, but he has an impressive background in several Cuban and Canadian salsa orchestras (read his bio at Mister Bryans' blog).

The title (meaning "I'm bringing it all") quite captures the album: Alberto does the singing, the composing, the improvising, and the gathering of a perfect-pitch band. Whether salsa, timba or ballad, you can hear this is a professional at work. Maybe the Grammy-winning producer Joaquin Betancourt has something to do with it, maybe it's Alberto's experience (both in legendary Cuban bands and in Toronto), but a fact is: this album sounds perfect.

Exactly that is my (only) point of criticism: it's too perfect, if you know what I mean. Especially the ballads lack a certain amount of fire and soul. If all tracks would be like "Tu Canción" - fiery, intense, energetic - this album would definitely be the best of 2007. More tips: "Concedeme un Milagrito", "Traigo de Todo" (the title track), and "Toronto". Still, Traigo de Todo is a promising album by a star in the making.

Alberto Alberto - Tu Canción mp3

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Monday, February 19, 2007

MySpace - Reggaeton: Don Omar, Wisin y Yandel

La Onda Tropical MySpace
La Onda Tropical is continuing on the Web 2.0 wave: we now have our own MySpace! You can go interactive on us at la_onda_tropical. Be sure to add us as your friend, to help get our counter above the measly number of zero!

And what better song to inaugurate our fabulous new addition, than the newest Don Omar single, conveniently called "MySpace"? It's been a while since I've enjoyed plain commercial reggaeton, but this is one hot track. El Don raps like never before, Wisin y Yandel do an excellent guest performance, lyrics are simple but very effective, and all that makes a very contagious hip shaker.

Don Omar ft. Wisin y Yandel - MySpace mp3 video buy@iTunes

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En La Misma Onda

(A new feature on La Onda: we link to articles we enjoyed reading on other blogs and websites. Yes, I stole the concept from The Latin Americanist, but I hope they don't mind ;))

VivirLatino has a roundup of latino Grammy winners. More awards: the nominees for this year's Billboard Latin Music Awards.

A Blog Soup talks about Jibara, the mountain music of Puerto Rico.

Mister Bryans and are following Telmary on her visit to Canada. (Read our review of her debut A Diario).

About Latin Music and the Dutch-language Latin Blog NL have also discovered the greatness of Los Cocorocos.

Sand Is Overrated links to an impressive live performance of Rodrigo y Gabriela on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

La Troba Kung-Fu is a new mestizo band from Barcelona. World music blog Tropicalidad has a great (Dutch) post about them.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ojos de Brujo Contest Winner

Gabriel Chacón wins a copy of Techarí by Ojos de Brujo. Congratulations!

The rest of you: thanks for participating! You can always grab a copy of Techarí the traditional way, the album is released in the US next tuesday (Feburary 20th). European flamenkillo fans can order right away, through iTunes or Amazon.

And I'd like to make a service announcement: the silence on La Onda (caused by a fantastic skiing holiday together with El Guiri ;)) will probably continue for some time. I'm moving out to live with my novia, and you'll understand there won't be much time left for blogging. After things have settled down, I'll be back in full force!

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Flamenco: Ojos de Brujo (+ contest!)

Ojos de Brujo - Techari
As you might remember from other posts, we like Ojos de Brujo! On February 20, their album Techarí will finally be released in the US. Let’s celebrate that with two more songs! Ojos de Brujo caught our attention with their sunny flamenco tunes, but also with their socially engaged lyrics: on Techarí, Ojos de Brujo express their worries about today’s society. “El Confort No Reconforta” is a fierce indictment against capitalism and consumerism, against a society where money is more important than human lives:

“Derechos humanos mueren día a día calladamente
Personas sin papeles no ven salida a su vida legalmente
Inmigrantes encerrados en las iglesias en huelga de hambre
"¿¿Dios no existe o por impago le han cortao el cable??"”

This song is typically Ojos de Brujo: an exciting blend of cante flamenco, hip hop beats, and rattling rhymes by percussionist Maxwell Wright. Very impressive! Another song with a message is “Piedras vs. Tanques”: aggressive guitars (that reminded me of Rodrigo y Gabriela) open this song full of rage, but stand aside for the beautiful rumbita burden (hand clapping, guitars, a beautiful voice…). It’s an authentic protest song with a hopeful message, inciting a popular revolution:

“Señores presidentes el pueblo no quiere batallar más
al frente mande a sus hijos si con armas quiere ganar
aquí piedras contra tanques no más cadenas ni un paso atrás.
Escucha este silencio
será tu pesadilla son las voces de mi gente echando el resto
sanando, revolucionan, luchando el presente...”

As you see, this is quality music. No beats or big pimpin’ here, but a unique mix of genres and meaningful lyrics.

And you can win this fabulous album right now: just drop a mail with your address at laondatropical {at} telenet {dot} be. There is however one limitation: you must have a mailing address in the USA this time. (Don't worry, there will be plenty of contests for the rest of the world in the future!).

Ojos de Brujo - Piedras vs Tanques mp3 buy@iTunes (Europe only) buy@Amazon
Ojos de Brujo - El Confort No Reconforta mp3
buy@iTunes (Europe only) buy@Amazon

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