Saturday, June 30, 2007

En La Misma Onda

La Onda Tropical Latin Music Links
After that little salsa overload, we're getting ready for another theme week. Have a sneak peek here ;) In the meantime: links! (PS: Did you know this is our 200th post?)

Wayne&Wax analyzes how reggaeton is embracing more true latino influences (cumbia/salsa), as opposed to it's black (reggae) origin. And shows that references to those roots are nonetheless still ubiquitous. A fascinating read!

A nice selection of salsa fusion mp3s over at Masala. Die-hard La Onda readers will recognize the girls of K-Narias on the first track! Here is our article on the Canarian reggaeton twins.

The Latin Jazz Corner has an extensive look at the Spanish Harlem Orchestra album United We Swing (also reviewed below).

Win a José Conde CD over at The Latin Americanist!

Captain's Crate tipped me onto "Descarga En La Discoteca", by dj/producer Ursula 1000. Not only interesting because of the electro-latin funk approach, but also because of the Los Amigos Invisibles vocals: they contribute in their typically chaotic manner. Ursula 1000 is on the same label as Federico Aubele, by the way: more info at ESL Music.
(Related articles: here on Federico Aubele, and here on Los Amigos Invisibles).

And lastly, Mexican singer and actor Antonio Aguilar died June 19th at the age of 88. He was an icon of Mexican cinema and ranchera music. I leave you with the videos to two of his most famous songs, "Un Puño De Tierra" and the very appropriate "Tristes Recuerdos".

Show Videos...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Salsa: Spanish Harlem Orchestra - United We Swing

Spanish Harlem Orchestra - United We Swing - Classic Salsa Latin Music
In the late '60s and early '70s, New York was at the very heart of the newborn salsa scene. Home to many Puerto Rican immigrants, Spanish Harlem was a melting pot of rhythms, dances and ideas. Each member of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra has an extensive history in that scene - they worked with legends like Celia Cruz, Hector Lavoe and Tito Puente. Band director Oscar Hernandez joins the talent of 13 excellent musicians in his big-band salsa orchestra, reminiscing the heydays of Nuyorican salsa. Sounds promising? Their previous album Across 110th Street even won a Grammy!

And the new album United We Swing is -dare I say- an essential album for salsa lovers. It bursts with nostalgia, but not the kind you can practice sitting down quietly: this is a dance record par excellence. Most of all it's a tribute to the early salsa clubs - third track "El Tiempo Del Palladium" is even named after one. Maybe the lyrics are not that clever, but who cares? As long as the music is solid! Incessant congas and timbales (courtesy of Luisito Quintero), jazzy improvisations on the piano, and chant-and-response vocals all contribute to a general feeling of positivism, a feel-good vibe.

Examples: "Plena Con Sabor" (try to follow that rhythm with your inelegant white ass) and "Salsa Pa'l Bailador". As the title says, excellent for dancing. Both tracks are intertwined with countless improvisations, several layers of percussion, and stirring trumpets. And as a bonus, Paul Simon signs for a salsa rework of his evergreen "Late in the Evening" - an obsolete track in my opinion, but I guess it'll help sell some cd's.

Conclusion: even for people not easily impressed by big names or elaborate dancing, these sunny tunes are still a great way to start the summer. Hernandez and his all-star orchestra show us classic salsa is still very much alive!

Spanish Harlem Orchestra - Plena Con Sabor mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon
Spanish Harlem Orchestra - Salsa Pa'l Bailador mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon

Show Videos...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Salsa: Issac Delgado, Manolito Simonet

Let's focus on what's happening in Cuban salsa at the moment..

Nobody noticed when Cuban salsero Issac Delgado fled the island and settled in Florida last year. Though he was living the life of a star, and could travel freely all over the world, he decided to defect to the US because of his artistic integrity.

In Cuba, the Ministry of Culture dictates which way things are going to go in music, literature and art. Everything is channeled, and one can't step out of those boundaries. I didn't feel free to do what I wanted because the ruling system tells you exactly where you can work and what you can do.

An honorable decision, in my opinion. More so because of the 'jinx' that seems to hang over emigrated Cuban musicians: most have seen their career torpedoed after the jump (like Manolín, a.k.a. El Médico de la Salsa).

Issac instantly throws overboard the timba he helped to boom in the early 90's (when he was singer of NG La Banda, pioneers of the fast-paced Cuban salsa rhythm). His first US album En Primera Plana leans more towards the slower Puertorican and New York salsa his new audience is used to. Here's the first single, in duet with Puertorican salsero Victor Manuelle: "La Mujer Que Mas Te Duele". I must say I liked his previous work better, although this is still an ace salsa song if you're into the more romantic stuff.

Manolito Simonet, on the other hand, is still safe and sound on the island. And making some great music in the meantime! "Comunicate" is timba the way I like it: catchy, sexy, and lots of improvisation. No wonder he won this year's Cubadisco Award for 'Best Dance Music'. His orchestra (Trabuco) even manages to make violins sound tropical and sensual, and Manolito himself has a versatile and characterful voice. I feel like travelling to Cuba again this year ;)

Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco - Comunicate mp3 buy@Amazon
Issac Delgado ft. Victor Manuelle - La Mujer Que Mas Te Duele mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon

Show Videos...

Birthday Contest: Winners

Woops! In all this exam commotion, I forgot to announce the lucky winners of our birthday contest!

  • Calle 13 - Residente o Visitante goes to Kristen in Gainsville, Florida

  • Spanish Harlem Orchestra - United We Swing goes to Eldorado in Singapore (man, are we global or what?)
Thanks a lot for participating everyone!
PS: That Spanish Harlem Orchestra review is still in the making ;)

Show Videos...

Monday, June 11, 2007

En La Misma Onda

Latin Music Links

I hardly find the time to listen to podcasts, but for Ritmo Latino I gladly make an exception. The show is recorded in Poland, aired in Micronesia, presented by an American, and consists of an eclectic selection of Latino tunes. Did somebody say 'global village'? (Almost reminds me of that blog by two Belgian students, written in English, focusing on Spanish-language music ;))

Another noteworthy blog: ¿Revolución, No? is a lesson in latin music history. With fully downloadable out-of-print albums!

VivirLatino brings the best news of 2007: Soda Stereo might reunite for a tour! I hope the legendary band (lead by our favorite rockero, Gustavo Cerati) will record some songs again too.

And the weirdest announcement of late might be this: reggaeton icon Hector 'El Father' wants to become a pediatrician. Blog Reggaeton reports his main reason is 'not being afraid of needles'. Something tells me most parents will not take the writer of "El Tiburón" and "Gata Celosa" very serious as a doctor.

US presidential candidate Barack Obama is reaching out to latino voters. Reggaeton-style! A support group called 'Amigos de Obama' recorded this catchy campaign song. Guanabee has the lyrics!

And finally, mestizo legend Manu Chao lets you download his new single for free. "Rainin in Paradize" sounds a bit different because of the distorted guitars, but essentially it's just another ripoff of his successful 1998 debut Clandestino. We leave you with the video to his earworm hit "Me Gustas Tú"!

Show Videos...

Monday, June 04, 2007

2nd Birthday Extravaganza: Contest! Remixes! Mp3s! Reviews!

Has it been two years already? Damn! I could write an extensive post remeniscing the good ol' days, when this blog was written in Dutch and had about 20 daily visitors. Fact is, I still massively enjoy writing and designing La Onda, and I hope to spend much more hours looking for rare latin music and sweating over minuscule design details!

Of course we're doing another giveaway for the occasion! You can win one of these two sparkling new and super hot albums:

Calle 13 - Residente o Visitante
Even more impressive as their debut: Calle 13 have matured. Visitante confirms as a key innovator in latin urban music, Residente proves his splendid lyrical skill and sharp sense of humor. An essential album! (read full review)

Spanish Harlem Orchestra - United We Swing
This Grammy-winning all-star orchestra gives a new meaning to virtuosity. They prove old-school New York salsa is still hot, and will be hot forever. We'll review this album here soon!

Just send your name, address, and album of preference to Don't forget to mention "Birthday" in the subject. We'll announce the winners next week!

But what would an anniversary post be without a big load of mp3s? Here's a collection of remixes, covers, live versions and mash-ups, loosely related to artists and songs you first heard here at La Onda. (My bandwith limit has been exceeded - I'll re-upload the songs soon!)

Shakira ft. Alejandro Sanz - La Tortura (DJ Manish Arabanghra Remix) mp3
Shakira herself, of partly Lebanese descent, would certainly approve of this eclectic remix. The Middle Eastern violins play a prominent role while the banghra-influenced beat constantly switches and changes. PS: "La Tortura" was the first song ever posted on this blog! (original post)

Ojos de Brujo - Sultanas de Merkaillo (Novalima Remix) mp3
An exciting remix of a magnificent song. The flamenco clapping and fast guitar were already irresistible in Ojos de Brujo's original (found on Techarí, recently released in the US). Afro-Peruvian band Novalima added a thobbing beat and voice effects, with a tropical dance track as result. (original post)

Gustavo Cerati - Crimen (Live, ft. Ricardo Mollo) mp3
The most beautiful rock song of 2006 performed live in Buenos Aires by two legends of Argentinian rock. Cerati is as brilliant as in his Soda Stereo heydays, and ex-Sumo guitarist Ricardo Mollo joins in for an explosive solo and sober vocals. (original post)

Grupo Control - La Camisa Negra (Juanes Cover) mp3
"La Camisa Negra" has been remixed dozens of times. This norteño cumbia version by Grupo Control contrasts wonderfully with the light-headed, poppy original because of its melancholic, almost sad vocals. (original post)

Federico Aubele - En El Desierto (Live @ Stubb's) mp3 buy@iTunes
Although this live version lacks the sweaty atmosphere of the original song (found on his forthcoming sophomore album Panamericana), Aubele must be applauded for his effort to translate this mainly electronic track to an unplugged performance. (original post)

Chambao - Pokito A Poko (David Ferrero Housepark Remix) mp3
DJ David Ferrero takes flamenco-chill collective Chambao to the dancefloor. You probably did not hear them first here, but if I'm correct, Chambao is now ready to storm North and South America with Caminando, a rework of the previously released Pokito A Poko and some older tracks. (original post)

Bebe - Malo (Oskar Fuego Remix) mp3
Oskar Fuego spices up "Malo" with a heavier rhythm. "Malo", and even more "Siempre Me Quedara", became worldwide hits after they were featured here - could there be a connection? ;) (original post)

Mach & Daddy - Pasame La Botella (DJ Tranzas Batucada Remix) mp3
The anthem of last summer in most parts of Latin America. Also, the anthem of many dumped men who drunk away their sorrow. The remix adds carnival-style drums to the already cheerful carribean rhythm. (original post)

Shakira ft. Wyclef Jean - Hips Don't Lie (Sera Sera Spanish Version) mp3
The anthem of last summer in the rest of the world. This is the Spanish version, which is usually better than the English one. I guess Shakira's voice is just more suited for singing in Castellano... (original post)

Calle 13 - Atrévete-te (Rompe Mashup) mp3
"El reggaeton se te mete por los intestinos, por debajo de la falda como un submarino": even mashed up with a Daddy Yankee song, Calle 13 sound superior. The hit that catapulted them into latino fame still hasn't lost its appeal. (original post)

Daddy Yankee - Impacto (ft. Voltio, Jowell y Randy) mp3
This remix has the participation of the hot reggaeton duo of the moment, Jowell y Randy. I like the Fergie version more, but hey, you probably hear it enough already ;) (original post)

And our final treat: the long-awaited new Daddy Yankee album, El Cartel 3: The Big Boss, extensively reviewed below! To think I posted this only two weeks ago ;)

Show Videos...