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
Wisin y Yandel ft. Eve - Quisiera Saber
mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon
Casa de Leones - Shorty
Hector 'El Father' - Pa' La Tumba
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
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
Saturday, December 22, 2007
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!
Saturday, December 15, 2007
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'm counting on an equally overwhelming participation!
Friday, December 07, 2007
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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)!
- And 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!