Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pop: Jorge Drexler - Cara B

Jorge Drexler Cara B Live En Vivo Concert Album Uruguay Acoustic Pop Latin Music

Long time readers of La Onda already know that Chapín and I are huge fans of Uruguayan cantautor Jorge Drexler (See this post for more Drexler). Everytime a Latin music festival in Belgium releases its line-up, we're always desperately looking for Drexler's name, only to be disappointed once again. Unless we should happen to be in Spain when he's performing - Drexler has been living mostly in Catalonia for some years now -, we're afraid we'll never see him play his songs live for us... You'll imagine our joy when we found out Drexler was to release a live album, entitled Cara B ("B-Side"), in April! Finally we have it, and when we listen to it we can actually imagine looking right into Jorge's guitar.

This two-disc album is a compilation of the best moments of Drexler's 2007 tour in Spain. Disc one contains the songs that were frequently on Drexler's set-list during his tour, most of them off his latest studio album 12 Segundos de Oscuridad (2006). Disc two, Cara C, is a selection of less known songs and covers. In Spanish (e.g. an introverted version of Kiko Veneno's "Volando Voy"), but also in Italian, Portuguese or English. Between the songs, Drexler is chatting and laughing with the audience, giving a really good impression of the intimacy of his concerts. The acoustic versions on Cara B lack the smart electronic arrangements of Drexler's studio recordings, but on this album, the singer and his gently weeping guitar create a universe on their own. Sometimes there is a singing saw involved, for example in the title track "Cara B"; an ironic, yet very sensitive song about a bad mood. Check the skipping record effect!

The intimate live atmosphere on Cara B suits Drexler's songs really well: every track is a little poem, written and sung by a real artist. Now that we can hear him play live, we definitely want to see him perform one day. ¡Ya vente a Bélgica, Jorge!

Jorge Drexler - Cara B mp3
Album: Cara B (Warner)
buy@iTunes buy@Amazon myspace

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Merengue: Amarfis, Oro Solido

Here are two smokin' hot merengue tracks, to keep that summer spirit up!

Amarfis and his Banda de Attake are always a guarantee for fast-paced hip-shaking merengue. Okay, maybe the lyrics are no literary masterpiece, but as long as you're sweating on the dancefloor you won't even hear that. "Full De To" is vintage Amarfis, a piano arpeggio that's impossible to follow, and dozens of trumpets accentuating the incessant beat. Sorry about the promo talk in the middle of the song, but it's the only file I could find :-\

"Se Me Fue" by Orlando Conga is enterily the same genre: a drum rhtyhm that's impossible to follow unless you're of Dominican blood, repetitive lyrics straight from the daily life of a merengue star (women, women, women) and LOTS of horns. You could call this track a bit more minimal, as the piano and trumpets aren't as prominent, but still there's only one thing you can do to a track like this: dance!

Amarfis y La Banda de Attake - Full De To mp3 myspace
Orlando Conga - Se Me Fue mp3 myspace

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Lost in MySpace

It's been a while since we had a look at what's bubbling in the MySpace scene. Due to the overload of bands this has become a kind of linkdump - sorry about that, but this way we're sure you'll find something you like below!

Ibrahim Ferrer Jr. - Son of the late Cuban son and bolero legend.

Mexican Institute of Sound - DJ Gorky (of Bonde do Role) did a sexy Cumbia Favela Funk Remix of the Institute's "Escribeme Pronto", check it out.

Watussi - the Australian answer to Manu Chao, Sergent Garcia and other mestizo fusion.

Ludo - Costa Rican-French, bluesy rootsrock which seems to have found a wide audience on MySpace (just look at his number of plays and profile views..).

Omar Alexander - He's half Colombian, half Indian and has a very special voice that comes out the best in the ballad "Abandona El Amor" - with a funky panflute.

Cumbia Ya! - A fairly new cumbia outfit from France, which will set the summer festivals on fire here in Europe (for example, July 5th at the Cameleon festival in Belgium!).

Los Turbopotamos - Rockabilly and ska from Peru

Some Spanish indie rock bands I liked:
Vestusta Morla
Miss Caffeina

More indie rock, this time from Mexico: Mama Burger.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Pop: Julieta Venegas, La Mala Rodriguez

Julieta Venegas MTV Unplugged Eres Para Mi La Mala Rodriguez Latin Pop Rock Alternative Acoustic Music
I guess I don't have to tell you about the heavily promoted MTV Unplugged album that Mexican poprock princess Julieta Venegas released this month. But I'd still like to share a track with you, just because it's so great to hear it live. If you're not familiar with Julieta's music, this CD is an excellent introduction to her varied oevre, by the way! (Acutally, most MTV Unplugged albums are a great way of getting to know the artists from another side - Shakira's 2000 album is the best entry point for exploring her early Spanish-language work, for example!)

"Eres Para Mi" was a big hit across Latin America and the USA last year. I liked it, but maybe not quite enough to post something about it ;) However I love the unplugged version with Spanish rapera La Mala Rodriguez. Their voices are strangely compatible, the agressive blended with the etheric, and the reggae/ska rhtyhm is deligthfully sunny.

Julieta Venegas (ft. La Mala Rodriguez) - Eres Para Mi (Unplugged) mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon myspace

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