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Date: Thursday, 04 Feb 2010 19:48
This blog is inactive and the server on which it is hosted is offline (hence the messy layout). You can still browse the archives (see bottom). All the best!
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Chapín)"
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Date: Saturday, 20 Dec 2008 22:13
Top 10 Albums of 2008

Calle 13 - Los De Atrás Vienen Conmigo
buy@iTunes buy@Amazon review
Choc Quib Town - Somos Pacifico
buy@iTunes buy@Amazon review
Aterciopelados - Rio
buy@iTunes buy@Amazon review
Julieta Venegas - MTV Unplugged
buy@iTunes buy@Amazon review
Acida - Greatest Hits
buy@iTunes review
Bajofondo - Mar Dulce
buy@iTunes buy@Amazon review
Bostich + Fussible - Tijuana Sound Machine
buy@iTunes buy@Amazon review
Plastilina Mosh - All U Need Is Mosh
buy@iTunes buy@Amazon review
Orishas - Cosita Buena
I Like It Like That Fania Remixes
buy@iTunes buy@Amazon review

Best Pop Songs
Julieta Venegas - El Presente (MTV Unplugged) post mp3
Juanes - Tres (La Vida Es... Un Ratico) post
Chambao - Papeles Mojados (Con Otro Aire) post

Best Rock Songs
Le*Pop - No Tengo Calma post mp3
Café Tacuba - Esta Vez (Sino) post
Babasonicos - Pijamas (Mucho) post

Best Alternative & Indie Songs
Jóvenes y Sexys - El Reloj (Bruno EP) post mp3
El Guincho - Palmitos Park (¡Alegranza!) post
Plastilina Mosh - Pervert Pop Song (All U Need Is Mosh) post

Best Salsa Songs
NG2 - Ella Menea (Con Todas Las De Ganar) post mp3
Willie Chirino - Pa'lante (Pa'lante) post
Adalberto Alvarez - Gozando En La Habana (Gozando En La Habana) post

Best Urban Songs
Arcángel - Pa' Que La Pases Bien (La Maravilla) post
Choc Quib Town - San Antonio (Somos Pacifico) post mp3
Calle 13 & Café Tacuba - No Hay Nadie Como Tu (Los De Atrás Vienen Conmigo) post mp3

Best Electronic Songs
Bajofondo & Julieta Venegas - Pa' Bailar (Mar Dulce) post mp3
Bostich + Fussible - Tijuana Sound Machine (Tijuana Sound Machine) post
Pibes Chorros vs DJ Uhn - Que Calor (Oro11 Mashup) post mp3

Best Video
Orishas - Bruja (Cosita Buena)

Best 2008 Phenomenon
Nueva Cumbiaaaaaaaaa Zizek Digital! post

Worst 2008 Phenomenon
The downfall of merengue music (save us, Juan Luis!)

Most Popular Download
NG2 - Ella Menea post mp3

Two posts in the last two months. A year-end top 10 with only 1 true 'personal discovery' (the rest was promo). A blog with no hosting and a messed up layout. And, frankly, not enough ganas to keep it going.

That's the sad balance of 2008 for La Onda Tropical. It's not that my interest and passion for latin music have faded, but the fun of writing about it is gone for sure. Blogging for me has always been cyclic - active writing (and enjoying it) followed by a pause (mostly because of lack of time) and then 'restarting' all over. This year, the pauses have been longer and the restarting seems harder each time.

So I pull the plug on what has been an extremely rewarding experience. Seeing that visitor number explode. Receiving those first well-funded comments. Getting in touch with the artists themselve. Feeling that, in a tiny dimension of humankind, my writing makes sense, contributes.

Who knows, I might start it all up again in a month or two. I won't stop listening to latin music, no way, so I'll probably feel the need to write sooner or later. Maybe over at Club Fonograma, if Carlos feels like it?

Thank you very much for reading. Listening. Interacting. I love you all and wish you the best.
I say goodbye with the most popular ánd most beautiful song of three and a half years La Onda Tropical.

Shakira - Despedida

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Chapín)"
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Date: Thursday, 18 Dec 2008 17:24
Dec 2: The hosting problems are still unresolved, but the company guaranteed me everything will be okay again in 6 days. Let's hope so, I have a lot of posting to catch up with (but I'd rather wait until I can put the mp3s online for you)!

Dec 18: Ok fuck it, I guess I won't see those files ever again, so I'm gonna try and fix everything manually and find a solution for the mp3s. It'll be quiet for a while here, though I won't deny you my Best of 2008 list. Coming soon!
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Chapín)"
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Date: Monday, 17 Nov 2008 20:49
What do German techno pioneers Kraftwerk have to do with cumbia? Quite a lot, Se ñor Coconut proved us with his 2000 debut El Baile Aleman. His collection of Kraftwerk hits transposed to latin rhytms was more than just a novelty, but a great example of how a good idea can become musically attractive too.
In the same spirit, the German DJ/producer now released Around The World with latin reworks of dance classics by Prince, The Eurythmics and of course Daft Punk. Not an unispired sequel, but a well-thought selection of essential dance songs from all over the world.

Only the original rhythm of "Que Rico El Mambo" and "Pinball Chacha" is close to the Señor Coconut version, in all other tracks the elaborate process of breaking the track down and rebuilding it step by step with his live band gives them that hard-to-define Coconut style. They sound familiar yet refreshing, charmingly old but at the same time trés hip. Belgian electro band Telex is honored with a brass-rich version of "Moscow Discow". Prince's timeless hit "Kiss" is given the latin touch by crooner Louie Austen (a special mention for the bass & percussion here). And Daft Punk's club anthem "Around The World" is the glue that holds everything together.

Most of all, it's just wonderful to see how much all those different musical genres have in common rhytmically. Who would've thought that Laid Back's "White Horse" makes an excellent merengue? Or that the Eurythmics classic "Sweet Dreams" is rhythmically and melodically a perfect chachacha? Around The World is a quirky mix of some great songs that will truly impress anybody.

Señor Coconut - Moscow Discow mp3
Album: Around The World (Nacional Records)
buy@iTunes buy@Amazon myspace

(PS: El Baile Alemán is being reissued digitally & physically to coincide with the release of Around The World!)
(PPS: Images and audio will be added as soon as my hosting is fixed!)
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Chapín)" Tags: "album, covers, electronic"
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Date: Sunday, 16 Nov 2008 18:10
The 9th Latin Grammys sucked. Bigtime. And for only one reason: Juanes sweeping all five categories he was nominated for - okay, La Vida Es Un Ratico is an okay album, but Album ánd Song of the Year goes a little to far for me. I was also bummed by Tego Calderon losing to Wisin y Yandel and Nigga, even if his latest album wasn't his best he's still miles above the commercialism of those competitors.
Café Tacuba and Julieta Venegas walked away with two awards each, and Marc Anthony and Gloria Estefan won in the categories I praised them in last year, so it's not all bad. Still, I guess you know who won't be on my best of 2008 list ;)

Hector 'El Father', who used to be one of my reggaeton idols thanks to the Hector y Tito classic "Baila Morena", just made the worst album of 2008. Juicio Final is a mess of religious nonsense, brainless hiphop and toe-curling ballads. But at least he seems to realize that himself: Hector says farewell to music and devotes his life to God now. At least we won't have to listen anymore! (via Latin Gossip)

The Latin Americanist had a small interview with Aterciopelados' Héctor Buitrago. They discuss politics, fatherhood, and of course the beautiful new album Río.

Rock en las Americas compiled an all-time latin rock & alternative top 20 as the conclusion to his elaborate 'Evolution of Latin Rock & Alternative Music" series (in Spanish). All top quality songs and a great introduction to the previous work of many bands we write about on La Onda!

A highlight from the abundance of latin indie reviews on Club Fonograma this month: No Somos Muchos Pero Somos Machos organize dirty electroclash parties in Mexico DF, but appartently enjoy making a greasy beat of their own as well. The remix they did for Mexican Institute of Sound is fabulous, check it out.

And finally, after the closure of Fat Planet (now replaced by the more 'Western' Discontent) we have to say goodbye to yet another recently discovered blog: Turn That Shit Off got, ahum, turned off. Venezuelan indie popstar Nuuro dedicated a funky song to the team behind the blog. So long, farewell, adiós, y muchísimas gracias!

PS: the layout, image and audio problems should be solved by the end of the week, according to my hosting company. Apologies!
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Chapín)" Tags: "links"
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Date: Saturday, 25 Oct 2008 20:02
It's been a busy week with two long-awaited releases who turned out to be fabulous albums. Check out Aterciopelados' Rio and Calle 13's Los De Atras Vienen Conmigo below, and to immerse yourself in the music, pop out the gray Yahoo player on your bottom left!

But what I wanted to say: when reading music magazines or browsing the web, I noticed that the first thing I look at in a review, is how many stars the writer thinks a record, movie, whatever is worth. It gives you an idea of what to expect, and can be an extra incentive to read the article. So I decided to add a 'star' rating to our reviews as well. Here's how it breaks down:

No stars - will probably not be reviewed, cause it's crap
- avoid!
- less than mediocre
- good effort but nothing special
- very good, has to be included in Top 10
- essential work of art!

Check out the list of previous albums by pressing "Show videos" below.

Aterciopelados - Rio ****
Calle 13 - Los De Atras Vienen Conmigo *****
Acida - The Greatest Hits ****
Daddy Yankee - Talento De Barrio ***
Bajofondo - Mar Dulce ***half
Fania DJ Series: Gilles Peterson **half
I Like It Like That - Fania Remixed ***
Plastilina Mosh - All U Need Is Mosh ***
Jorge Drexler - Cara B ****
Sergio Mendes - Encanto ***
Choc Quib Town - Somos Pacifico ****half
Pacifika - Asuncion **half
Manolito y su Trabuco - La Habana Me Llama ***
Adalbarto Alvarez - Gozando La Habana ***
Café Tacuba - Sino *****
Juanes - La Vida Es Un Ratico **
Gloria Estefan - 90 Millas ***half
Manu Chao - La Radiolina **half
Tego Calderon - El Abayarde Contra-Ataca **half
Marc Anthony - El Cantante ****
Marisa Monte - Infinito Particular ***
Marisa Monte - Universo Ao Meu Redor ***half
Bebel Gilberto - Momento ****
Mayra Andrade - Navega *****
Bonde do Role - With Lasers ****
Tita Lima - 11:11 ***
Spanish Harlem Orchestra - United We Swing ****
Daddy Yankee - El Cartel 3: The Big Boss **
Calle 13 - Residente o Visitante *****
Gotan Project - Lunatico ****
Moenia - Solar ***half
Buscemi - Retro Nuevo ****
Federico Aubele - Panamericana ***half
Luz Mob - Luz Interpretations **half
Jennifer Lopez - Como Ama Una Mujer *
Juan Luis Guerra - La Llave De Mi Corazon ****half
Ibrahim Ferrer - Mi Sueño ****half
Telmary - A Diario ****
Rodrigo y Gabriela - Rodrigo y Gabriela ***half
Aterciopelados - Oye ****
Los Amigos Invisibles - Superpop Venezuela ***half
Various - Los Cocorocos **half
Pitbull - El Mariel **
Luny Tunes - Los Benjamins *half
Tego Calderon - The Underdog *****
Mana - Amar Es Combatir **
Andres Calamaro - Tinta Roja ***half
Don Omar - King of Kings *half
Gustavo Cerati - Ahi Vamos *****
Jean - On **
Calle 13 - Calle 13 ****
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Chapín)"
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Date: Saturday, 25 Oct 2008 19:59
Calle 13 New Album Los De Atras Vienen Conmigo Latin Urban Reggaeton Hiphop Alternative Music Que Lloren Cafe Tacuba No Hay Nadie Como Tu Ruben Blades La Chilinga La Perla Puerto Rico
UPDATE: songs online.

Let's set some things straight first. Calle 13 doesn't make hiphop. And certaily no reggaeton either. It's kick ass music, and that's all that matters. Also, Rene Perez aka Residente is not a rapper. He's a poet. So before you go comparing the club potential of, let's say, Wisin y Yandel to the new Calle 13, understand that they're in a totally other league.

And to make that point very clear, the opening song on their new album Los De Atrás Vienen Conmigo is one big diss to 'commercial' reggaeton and its exponents. But where tirarea between rappers is usually limited to who has the biggest number of cars, guns and women, "Que Lloren" is a hit under the belt. The whole commercial system around modern reggaeton is made ridiculous in the characteristical Residente style, mixing poison with humor.
Te cojio de pendejo una disquera [...]
Tu eres un producto enlatado
Encima de un anaquel, antes cantabas rap
Y ahora eres pop como Luis Miguel [...]
Tu te vendiste mas barato que una prostituta en la autopista
Esto es la diferencia entre un negociante y un artista

The rapping might be too spoken word to keep the rhymes flowing, but it kinda matches the anger that's in the song. Still the chorus is quite catchy, and musically the best description I can find is 'norteño hiphop' - those horns!

So, no reggaeton ballads. But apparently there is room for love and romance on Los De Atrás Vienen Conmigo. The first single "No Hay Nadie Como Tu", with alternative icons Café Tacuba, is nothing but a rock ballad a lo latino. The song needs some time to grow on you, but it's a successful collaboration between two unconventional bands. The music reflects that, it's a bizarre mix of rock, rap and traditional instruments (didgeridoo, accordeon) driven by Luis Ledezma's drums. And again, the horns play a big role in setting the mood. A future classic. More love on "Electro Movimiento", graced with English vocals by an unknown talent. Visitante goes haywire with cheap synths, totally 80s electro. Over the top, as it should be, and the track doesn't feel out of place at all. "Todo el mundo con el paso del robot!"

Another theme is craziness. Figuratively, as on "Fiesta De Locos" (according to Residente inspired by an Emir Kusturica concert), or literally on "Jhon El Esquizofrenico". The latter shows the lyrical capacity of Residente, telling the tale of a 13-year old boy that collects corpses. Visitante creates a mystifying mood with strange fairytale music - think Edward Scissorhands. It's also reflected in the intro and outro, where a demon named Residente takes over the body of Rene Perez.

"La Perla" is an ode to the beauty of the roughest neighborhood in Puerto Rico. The song starts with subtle afro-latin percussion, and builds to a beautiful chorus with Rubén Blades and La Chilinga singing "La noche me sirve de sabana". Ever heard Rubén rapping? Here's your chance. Another collab worth mentioning is "Esto Con Eso", with superstar Juanes singing the chorus. It's catchy bass and funky guitar will get your caderas moving without a doubt. Though it seems a little strange dissing commercialism on the first track, and then inviting Juanes to sing.

In general, Los De Atrás Vienen Conmigo has both Residente and Visitante doing more what they want. The rapping is more poetry than enything else, sometimes like spoken word. The lack of flow isn't because his lyrics don't allow it (on the contrary, they rhyme brilliantly), it's his voice that's a bit too monotonous. But once you get over that, pay attention to the inventiveness of the music. Visitante made a musical work of art, with delicate tension building on every song and an incredible attention to detail. The emotion of the song is defined by the trumpets, who come in all forms and tones: melancholic ("No Hay Nadie Como Tu"), jazzy ("Ven Y Criticame"), salsa ("La Perla"), pompous ("Que Lloren"), even army-style ("Los De Atras Vienen Conmigo"). Which makes this the first latin urban album that feels as a whole, instead of a bunch of songs thrown together. Give it some time, and Los De Atrás Vienen Conmigo will become a new best friend.

Calle 13 & Café Tacuba - No Hay Nadie Como Tu mp3
Calle 13 ft. Rubén Blades & La Chilinga - La Perla mp3
Album: Los De Atrás Vienen Conmigo (Sony)
buy@iTunes buy@Amazon myspace

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Chapín)" Tags: "album, puerto rico, alternative, hiphop"
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Date: Saturday, 25 Oct 2008 19:59
Acida Greatest Hits Tweety Gonzales Alina Gandini La Vida Real Nadie Como Vos Burbank Latin Alternative Lounge Electronic Music
It's been a long time since I was so pleasantly surprised by a band I didn't know. Acida was the musical partnership of two of Argentina's most talented latin pop artists, singer-songwriter Alina Gandini and her producer husband Tweety Gonzales (yes, from the superstar rock band Soda Stereo that's making its comeback now). I seriously regret that a digital-only Greatest Hits compilation is my first contact. You get it: I like Acida a lot :)

Their music can best be described as dreamy electronics for an indian summer in the city. "Música para fumar y olvidar", sings Alina on the emblematic "Nadie Como Vos", and I can vividly imagine her sitting lonely at the bar, on a gloomy night in Buenos Aires. Acida's songs are drenched in the kind of cosmopolitan atmosphere you can only evoke with impeccable sampling and crystal-clear production like Tweety's. Think Groove Armada and Massive Attack.

He couldn't have found a more suiting voice than Alina's, sultry and girly at the same time. She makes "La Vida Real" and most of all "Burbank" sexy, smooth and soothing. But on the funky "Presente Permanente" is she's playful, just like on "Destino" with its cheery 90's synth piano.
And melancholy... the emotion that seemes to drive Acida, and undoubtedly created their most beautiful songs. "Yo Nunca Te Doy Paz" starts off with a moving piano solo by Alina's father, Gerardo Gandini, musical director for the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra. And is it a coincidence that Gustavo Cerati, the master of gloomy guitars, plays bass and sings backings on several tracks?

As a treat for those who already know and love Acida, the album comes with a collection of five remixes. The Federico Aubele mix of "Nadie Como Vos" highlights a nice little guitar loop, but the rest is totally obsolete. Another small minus: the jazzy drum 'n bass and repetitive vocals of "Las Palabras" don't mix with the sensitivity of the other tracks. The same for the crazy psychidelics of "Perdida" - think sitar, bass synth and lots of echoes. But overall, this is a must-have for any latin music fan who thought he knew all about electronica in the Americas. The old fans, well, they're just lucky bastards they have the original CDs :)

Acida - Nadie Como Vos mp3
Acida - Burbank mp3
Album: The Greatest Hits (Sonic 360)
buy@iTunes myspace
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Chapín)" Tags: "album, argentina, electronic, alternativ..."
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Date: Saturday, 25 Oct 2008 19:59
Daddy Yankee Talento de Barrio Original Soundtrack OST Banda Sonora Original BSO Movie Pelicula Pose De La Paz Y Guerra Latin Urban Reggaeton Fusion Music
The new Daddy Yankee CD has been lying around for a few weeks now at Casa Chapín. I don't know what caused me to delay this review - was it the ugly cover and the title Talento de Barrio, promising gangsta-style bragging I don't like? Was it the first track, "Talento de Barrio", which is just exactly that - bragging and shouting over a boring hiphop beat? Or was it the fact that this is 'just a soundtrack', released merely a year after El Cartel III?
Talento de Barrio is the OST to the movie of the same title, inspired by the life story of Daddy Yankee. In short: a young Puerto Rican faces a choice between his friends (and an inevitable death in gang wars) or his music (and leaving the ghetto). But it's more than a soundtrack between albums, it's a well thought out project and it quickly becomes clear that DY values this album even higher than El Cartel III, on which he worked 3 full years.

You'd expect the soundtrack to the life story of Raymond Ayala a.k.a. Daddy Yankee to be filled with old school reggaeton beats and cheesy nineties moustaches (like this or this). But if anything, Talento de Barrio is the most modern sounding DY record so far. It seems he finally made the choice between the unexciting and aggressive reggaeton that made him big, and the club-influenced fusion the genre has evolved into.

First single "Pose" is the perfect example of the direction DY is heading in. A beat hardly recognizable as dembow, drowned in clubby synths, made for the dancefloor instead of the barrio. Also see: "Salgo Pa' La Calle" (featuring Randy, who has a lot more experience in ravey-ton) and "Infinito". A lot of latino fusion tracks also mark this evolution into more danceable music - "De La Paz y De La Guerra" is the best track in my opinion, the heavier beat compensated by light-hearted trumpets.

Still, it's Daddy Yankee, people. So don't expect the intelligent prose of Calle 13. Don't expect the modesty of Tego Calderón. And certainly don't expect to hear someone who can sing. Last year I wrote that "he alternatingly sounds like an agressively shouting brat, and a B-list American Idol candidate with a hopeless inclination to singing off-key". That's even more true on Talento de Barrio because he just has to sing more: "Llamado de Emergencia" would have been a great vallenato-reggaeton fusion if it wasn't so horribly off-key, and the delightfully caribbean-sounding "Que Tengo Que Hacer" is only saved by using a vocoder.

Of course there are 4 or 5 obsolete tracks, like on any other latin urban album (the collab with Arcángel is a bit limited, and "Suelta" and "Somos de Calle" remind me too much of Barrio Fino). But overall I can conclude that Talento de Barrio is his best album so far. Opening up to new influences has payed off and delivered some of the catchiest music Daddy Yankee has ever made.

Daddy Yankee - Pose mp3
Daddy Yankee - De La Paz y De La Guerra mp3
Album: Talento de Barrio (El Cartel/Machete)
buy@iTunes buy@Amazon myspace

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Chapín)" Tags: "album, puerto rico, reggaeton"
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Date: Saturday, 25 Oct 2008 19:58
Aterciopelados Rio
Aterciopelados' Oye was one of the better albums of 2006, thanks to the powerful rock-with-a-message of Andrea Echeverri and Hector Buitrago (review). They conquered our hearts with sheer positivism, a mesmerizing lead voice and the odd political viewpoint.

The new album Río brings us more politics: title track "Rio" supports a recently voted law to keep Bogotá river clean, and "Bandera" is about immigrant rights. But Aterciopelados always was the band that paired political correctness with powerful and inspiring music, and those two tracks are no exception.

Río also brings us more creativity - from the childisch innocence of "Attaque de Risa", with a charming appearance by Echeverri's six year old daughter, to the funky Andean rhythm of "Madre". The best track must be "28", a pure song about pregnancy and hope by the two warmest voices of Colombia: Echeverri, and Goya from Choc Quib Town. She hijacks the end of the song with a zestful, vibrant Caribbean rap.

But, alas, there's also more flower power hippy nonsense. Respect for nature is one of the main themes on Río, yet sometimes Echeverri crosses the thin line between enviromentalism and pseudo-religion. "Gratis" and "Treboles" aren't bad tracks in itself, however the lyrics go too much towards chakras and tree-hugging for me. The psych 80s guitar and the weird background instruments make the atmosphere complete. Though it's not all bad: the title "Dia Paranormal" prepares you for the worst, but the energetic drums and Buitrago's quick picking make this a standout track nonetheless.

So while many politically or socially engaged artists don't focus enough on the music, Aterciopelados manage to deliver their messages successfuly in a package of funky poprock dotted with ethnic sounds. An intensely optimistic album, that makes you wanna go out and enjoy nature, enjoy life. And don't we all need a little optimism these days?

Aterciopelados - 28 mp3
Aterciopelados - Rio mp3
Album: Río (Nacional Records)
buy@iTunes buy@Amazon myspace
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Chapín)" Tags: "colombia, album, pop, rock, alternative,..."
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Date: Monday, 13 Oct 2008 18:06
Bajofondo Mar Dulce
The name Gustavo Santaolalla keeps popping up on this blog - if it's not as producer for Café Tacuba, Juanes or Calle 13 then it's for his ground-breaking and Oscar-winning soundtracks (Babel, Brokeback Mountain, The Motorcycle Diaries). But he also has his own band, the electronic tango collective Bajofondo Tango Club. Now shortened to Bajofondo, the mostly instrumental group gathered an impressive list of guests for their new album Mar Dulce.

Bajofondo's tango-with-a-beat has long been a success in cafés all over the Northern hemisphere, but on this album Santaolalla wanted to incorporate a more Latin American feel. A hard thing to achieve with pure instrumental tracks and lots of violins, though the melancholic alma of the tango shines through on all tracks. Most of all, Mar Dulce sounds very cosmopolitan, a little how I imagine Buenos Aires or Montevideo sound after hours in some ultra hip district.

The eight instrumental tangos on the album swerve between sensual, melancholic, extactic and gloomy. But it's the guests that make the album. On "Ya No Duele", guest rapper Santullo converts a hyperactive accordeon into the perfect accompaniment for his poetic, almost spoken-word-like performance. The contrast with "Hoy", where Juan Subira screams out his emotions raw and raunchy, couldn't be bigger. The international names however, disappoint a little. Elvis Costello is just a big old bore, and Nelly Furtado still hasn't mastered her afwul accent.
The best tracks are reserved for a handful of Latin American superstars. "El Mareo" has an inspiring Gustavo Cerati marrying his bass voice to echoing guitars and accordeons. La Mala Rodriguez makes "El Andén" entirely her own with a ceaseless rap attack on what must be the first elektrotangohop ever. And on single "Pa' Bailar", Julieta Venegas enhances the best instrumental track on the album with an incredibly catchy vocal.

As electro-tango collective, it's inevitable to be compared to Gotan Project, the band that launched the hype about eight years ago. And I must say, despite the big names and quality musicians on Mar Dulce, Bajofondo still falls short of the original. Maybe it's the dominance of Santaolalla, but it all sounds so produced in comparison to the soulful Gotan. Or is it my European ears that are used to heavier beats than Bajofondo's? Still, Mar Dulce remains a solid record that is probably well on its way to a new load of Grammys.

Bajofondo ft. Julieta Venegas - Pa' Bailar mp3
Bajofondo ft. La Mala Rodriguez - El Andén mp3
Album: Bajofondo - Mar Dulce (Decca)
buy@iTunes buy@Amazon myspace

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Chapín)" Tags: "album, argentina, uruguay, electronic, t..."
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Date: Sunday, 12 Oct 2008 14:13
Our favorite altrockers Café Tacuba lead the nominations for the 9th Latin Grammys with 6 nods, including Record and Song of the Year. Juanes and Gustavo Santaolalla have 5 nominations each. Some of the surprises are the New Artist nominees, who for once are truly undiscovered talents, and the 2 nominations for rapper Tego Calderón in the urban category. Here's the full list, if you have a few minutes time! The Latin Grammys will be awarded Nov. 13th in Houston.

The Complete 78s is a collection of classic 78 RPM recordings of Tito Puente and his Orchestra and Quartet from 1949 to 1955, remastered and never before released on CD. Part I is already in stores, with Part II coming up soon in November. His close friend Joe Conzo selected 160 tracks of the King of Mambo for this series. Wanna feel the magic of his old days again, and don't have a rare LP lying around? More info on this great collection here.

Tropicalidad informs us that the legendary Buena Vista Social Club concert at Carnegie Hall, New York in 1998 is finally available on CD. The concert was prominently featured in the 1999 documentary film by Wim Wenders that sparked an Afro-Cuban revival throughout the world. Check out the funny album cover (quality photoshopping, since Ibrahim Ferrer sadly died in 2005) and a free mp3 of "De Camino a Vereda"!

Fat Planet breaks the silence for an excellent post about the load of nueva cumbia releases in the last few weeks. ZZK Records brings us mixtapes from El Remolón, Fauna and Chancha Vía Circuito (the last being my favorite). And El Hijo De La Cumbia released Freestyle de Ritmos on Soot Records. But for all the info, background and mp3s, head over here!

And may I point you again to our two favorite sources of latin indie, pop and alternative music? Ritmo Latino did another great podcast with Monareta, Señor Coconut and Sonidero Nacional among many others. And Club Fonograma keeps delivering quality CD reviews in an [onnavolgbaar] tempo. Juana Molina, Jovenes y Sexys (also below!), Coconot and Vicente Fernandez all got really high ratings recently, be sure to check out their albums!
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Chapín)" Tags: "cumbia, news, links"
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Date: Sunday, 12 Oct 2008 14:13

Special edition with mp3s! Just because I felt like it ;)

Many were surprised by the nomination of Colombian singer-songwriter Monica Giraldo for Best Newcomer in the upcoming Latin Grammys, but her soft, jazzy latin pop deserves everyone's attention. Listen to "Por Verte Llegar" and get carried away by the purity of her voice and the delicacy of her music.

Monica Giraldo - Por Verte Llegar mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon

Mexican hipster netlabel Poni Republic embraced the acoustic indie pop duo Jóvenes y Sexys from Venezuela. "El Reloj" is a rhytmic pop song characterized by melancholic vocals and soft acoustic guitar, a little gem of a song that promises a lot for the future. Jóvenes y Sexys have only released one EP (Bruno) so far, but you can download it totally gratis at the Poni Republic blog!

Jóvenes y Sexys - El Reloj mp3 myspace

When three different promotors mention the same artist, you can bet something's buzzing. Alonso Brito is a Miami Cuban singer-songwriter with an instantly recognizable deep bass voice. His mixture of Caetano Veloso, salsa and sixties rock still has to grow on me, but it has potential. Check out "Bandolera" from the Santo Bueno EP.

Alonso Brito - Bandolera mp3 buy@iTunes myspace
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Chapín)" Tags: "cuba, colombia, pop, salsa, acoustic, al..."
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Date: Sunday, 12 Oct 2008 14:13
Sidestepper Buena Vibra Sound System Latin Electronic Fusion Dub Reggae Afro Colombian Music Paloma
We already featured Sidestepper as a MySpace find a long time ago, but his latest album Buena Vibra Sound System deserves an extra mention. On his latest album, Sidestepper founder Richard Blair wants to recreate the atmosphere of the Afro-Caribbean parties he hosted in Colombia, merely by joining local talent (and thanks to his status as well-known British DJ). "La Paloma", for example, travels from the Colombian coast to Nigeria, from there to Jamaica and back. Funky trumpets collide with African chants and a dub-like rhythm. Free to download from the Sidestepper homepage.

Sidestepper - Paloma mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon myspace

Monareta Picotero Llama Latin Electronic Champeta Cumbia Reggae Dub Fusion Music
Monareta on the other hand are doing the exact opposite. While Blair is a British DJ looking to join up Colombian talent, Andres Martinez and Camilo Sanabria are Bogotá natives looking to blend in their local culture (champeta, cumbia and calypso) with a more global sound. And that can vary from dub and reggae ("Llama") to electronic breakbeats ("Me Voy Pal Mar"). Picotero is their third album already, in stores Oct. 7th!

Monareta - Me Voy Pa'l Mar mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon myspace
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Chapín)" Tags: "colombia, UK, electronic, reggae, altern..."
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Winners   New window
Date: Sunday, 12 Oct 2008 14:12
Here are the winners for last week's contest:

Danni from Boulder Creek, CA
Miriam from Pacifica, CA
JD from West Palm Beach, FL
Maria from Corona, NY
Evandrea from Croton-on-Hudson, NY
Luke from Hamilton, NY
Gabriel from Camden, NJ

Expect your Nacional or VotoLatino iTunes Card in your mailbox soon. Thanks for participating!

PS: Some busy weeks ahead but I'll post whenever I can!
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Chapín)" Tags: "contests"
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Date: Sunday, 12 Oct 2008 14:11
VotoLatino is a nationwide initiative to encourage latino youth to register for the 2008 presidential elections in the US. VotoLatino was launched by Rosario Dawson and Maria Teresa Petersen and backed by a lot of celebrities like Fat Joe, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Alba, ... You might have already seen the banner on the right, where you can buy a benefit album filled with exclusive tracks for just $3.99. The album has been #1 on iTunes Latino for a few months, and with reason: the compilation joins Pitbull, Don Omar, Aterciopelados, Los Amigos Invisibles, Ozomatli and many more. So if you're a US citizen and haven't registered to vote yet - the world needs you. Click the button below and register! Or support the cause and buy the album.

Check us out!

To encourage you all to register, VotoLatino has 3 exclusive iTunes download cards to give away, with five free songs each.

But there's more. The nice folks over at Nacional Records also have iTunes download cards to give away - DOZENS of them!
With their cards you can download 20 songs from the whole Nacional catalogue, which includes some of this year's finest releases: Plastilina Mosh's All U Need Is Mosh (review), Bostich and Fussible's Tijuana Sound Machine (review) and Manu Chao's La Radiolina (review).

So what do you have to do? Just send an e-mail to laondatropical@gmail.com, and put "Card Me!" in the subject. Be sure to include your mailing address, or we won't be able to send the card over!
Only one string attached: you need an account on the US iTunes Store, which requires a credit card and a US address.
The all but innocent hand of my lovely girlfriend will pick the winners on Thursday, September 25th, so your entries must be in by then.

¡Mucha suerte!
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Chapín)" Tags: "contests"
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Date: Sunday, 12 Oct 2008 14:11
Fania Records Gilles Peterson Dj Series I Like It Like That Remix Classic Nuyorican Salsa Latin Jazz Music
UPDATE: It seems I Like It Like That: Fania Remixed also comes as a double CD with the original (hard-to-find) classics, which makes it even more a must-have compilation!

Ever since the legendary Fania Records was brought back to life in 2006, the label has been issuing a steady flow of reissues and compilations. This year two remarkable releases deserve your special attention.

The first is a spotless selection of Fania tracks by jazz guru and worldwide DJ Gilles Peterson. For the first edition of the Fania DJ Series, the British record collector listened to over 200 albums to select and compile 26 tracks. It's the first time he does a latin compilation, and you can feel he purely selected on the sound and spirit of the songs. So even though there are tracks by famous artists like Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Willie Rosario and more, I didn't recognize many timeless Fania classics. This compilation goes beyond the popular songs you've probably heard already, and takes you into the 42 year long history of a very special record label. The amount of instrumental tracks reflect his unability to understand the Spanish choruses, but also gives the record a focus on dance and percussion. So if you're looking to get to know a great label in a completely different way, this is the CD you want. If you want the familiar classics however, look elsewhere!

Ya Yi Ki - Johnny Colon mp3
Album: Fania DJ Series: Gilles Peterson (Fania Records)
buy@iTunes buy@Amazon

The other album I want to talk about is I Like It Like That, a remix collection on which dance scene remixers are paired with classic Fania artists like Hector Lavoe, Willie Colón and Rubén Blades. It's a shy first step into modern music for the label, and many remixes are only subtly changed compared to the original track. But hey, those songs are legendary for a reason! The two Lavoe tracks are real standouts, not only because of their length (over 10 minutes!!) but mostly because his voice is just so great. "Mi Gente" is remixed (very true to the original) by his own nephew Louie Vega, by the way.
Also great is "I Didn't Want To Have To Do It" by Ralfi Pagan in a 4 Hero remix, who finds a good balance between new and original; and the jazzy rendition of Roberta Roena's "Take Five" by Italian DJ Nicola Conte. But the biggest treat for me was finding Brazilian funksters Bonde do Role on this album: Favela Fania!
The mixes with a more dance/techno feel are often quite boring: Bugz in the Attic, SSH and sadly Gilles Peterson didn't do a very good job. But with a good skip button or a strict iTunes selection you'll be the proud owner of some unique interpretations of Fania classics.

Take Five (Nicola Conte Remix) - Roberto Roena mp3
Album: I Like It Like That - Fania Remixed (Fania Records)
buy@iTunes buy@Amazon
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Chapín)" Tags: "album, puerto rico, salsa, remixes"
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Date: Sunday, 12 Oct 2008 14:11
Recovering from a well-filled festival weekend and a month of internet-free travels, here's a round-up of what other blogs wrote while we were gone.

I think we can speak of a veritable nueva cumbia explosion by now. Two more sources to get your mashup fix. First, Cabeza! is a new 'netlabel' mixing urban goodness with the all-familiar cumbia. negromoreno's mix has lots of elektro samples and is sure to do good on Western dancefloors. Second, Altos Colombianos is some kind of cumbia mashup community (if you're lost, the remix page is here ;)). Masala recommends DJ Toty.
And meanwhile the guys from Zizek haven't been quiet either. They did a second US tour (too bad I wasn't able to check them out), of course with accompanying free promo EP. Also check out this great podcast mix for XLR8 by Zizek DJ Villa Diamante.

Bubblegum pop combo RBD, a.k.a. the ultimate nightmare of everyone with a teenage latina in their surroundings, has finally split up. The Latin Americanist has all the details. To illustrate how much the band meant to many kids out there, read this post over at Latin Gossip...

Plastic Caramelo define themselves as "glampeta" - champeta + dancehall + cumbia. I think they make noise - but that's exactly what I first thought about CSS, MIA and Bonde do Role who could be considered similar artists. Check out the video for "Plastic Caramelo" over at Fat Planet.

Swedish Classical Tango. The name might sound like "steak-flavored ice cream", the music is something very special. Beata Söderbergh is a cellist who discovered tango in a New York club - and decided to dedicate herself to the music. The album Bailata is the unique result. More (including an mp3 sample) over at SoundRoots.

After the series on their selection for the Latin Grammy's, Club Fonograma list their favorite songs of 2008 so far in another elaborate post sequence. Here are the links to parts one, two and three.

One of our more recent discoveries in the world music blogosphere, Stuart Buchanan's Fat Planet, decided to stop writing and focus on the music (in his Slang Tang podcasts). His final post is a great piece of writing on the issues many music bloggers share - I for one recognize myself fully in the things he writes. But no worries - I'm not thinking about stopping just yet. Just maybe things will slow down a little around here, as I'll take more time for other things in life. Then again, maybe not ;)
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Chapín)" Tags: "links"
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Date: Sunday, 12 Oct 2008 14:11
Saturday, August 9th
Antilliaanse Feesten Hoogstraten Belgium Caribbean Music Festival Latin Salsa Soukous Merengue Reggaeton Saturday Concert Festival Report review
Click above for more pictures. Some are courtesy of tropicalidad.be, you'll recognize them by their sharpness and beautiful composition ;). Dutch version of this article here.

All ready for a second night of caribbean fiesta, I could handle the few raindrops and the dark sky. The queue at the entrance was something else however - the crowd was overwhelming, even on the festival grounds. So I had to skip Amarfis y la Banda de Attake (merengue from the Dominican Republic and frequently featured on this blog), a bummer. Yet another cancellation - Puchy y su Coco Band mysteriously disappeared after they took a bus in Madrid - was the final blow for the festival line-up: on the main stage every band was either a replacement, cancelled or not my taste.

So the night started off in disappointment, but as soon as Gente D'Zona came on stage, it was replaced by awe and joy. The Cuban reggaeton duo only has a small repertoire of mostly similar songs to rely on, but the more exotic and less agressive cubaton had a strong appeal on the salsa-loving audience. A fanatic horde of Cuban girls was lining the front rows and singing along to every word - if you haven't guessed, Gente D'Zona is immensely popular in Cuba. The rest of the tent enjoyed the view of all the youngsters climbing the stage to show off their moves and their bodies - musically there wasn't much to experience anyway.

Afterwards my company and me were listening with a half ear to the sugarsweet bachata pop of Monchy y Alexandra (website) while sipping a cocktail and enjoying the atmosphere. It was raining a little, but nobody seemed to bother: the crowd of 30,000 people from all over the world was here for dancing, singing along, drinking, having fun. The Antilliaanse Feesten are definitely a very laid back festival with an almost tangible positive vibe (if you go next year, be sure to stay camping to be fully immersed!).

Then came the second chance for Son de Cali (myspace). Word of mouth about yesterdays performance filled the Joker tent to capacity - no room for salsa dancing this time, but the Colombian band was in much better shape now they got to know the audience. A phenomenal drummer and percussionist gave the salsa a thriving rhythm not found on their albums - while speedy piano work and great singing improvs fired up the audience.

Headliners Wisin y Yandel had to cancel at the last minute (see previous post), but I was pleased to see Angel y Khriz (website) replace them - I like their softer, more exotic Dominican reggaeton better than Wisin y Yandel's fairly unoriginal bling-bling. But alas the show was a complete disappointment: no live instruments, both rappers just shouting over a bassline (mostly off key as well), and uninspired versions of their hit songs "Ven Bailalo" and "De Lao A Lao". The audience seemed to have fun at least - though many came for Wisin y Yandel and expected a bigger show.

Off to the Joker stage for an unexpected discovery. Djunny Claude is from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and as such no material for this latino blog ;) But in the wee hours of the Hoogstraten night, he managed to get our tired legs to jump and dance for more than an hour to his contageous soukous music. The show was crazy, disorganized but wonderfully charming - at one moment the whole band dropped on the floor, after which for some reason Djunny started a dancing contest between the Congolese dancers on stage. Probably to show us white people ways of moving our body that we will never grasp. One to watch if you're into world music!

The honors for closing off two days of passionate, border-crossing music were for Carimi (myspace) from Haiti. It was their third time in Hoogstraten, and in this period they seemed to have picked up a lot from US culture. Which might be good for the show, but I came for the lovely, fast-paced compas music from their homeland, not for r&b; and hiphop. After a while they did seem to find the right balance, but while they were building an explosive party on the main stage, I was already heading back through the mud to my tent.

This edition of the Antiliaanse Feesten suffered quite a lot from the many cancellations, though many replacements did a very good job. Altogether we had a wonderful weekend of exotic music, and we'll certainly be back in 2009!
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Chapín)" Tags: "cuba, colombia, dominican republic, sals..."
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Date: Sunday, 12 Oct 2008 14:11
Friday, August 8th
Antilliaanse Feesten Photos Fotos Pictures Report Review Verslag Concert 2008
Click above for more pictures. Some pictures courtesy of tropicalidad.be (usually the sharp ones ;)). Dutch version here.

A beautiful sunset over the Blue Forest in Hoogstraten (on the border between Belgium and Holland) marked the beginning of an exotic night with lots of surprises. The knee-deep mud and the amount of cancellations couldn't ruin the atmosphere at the Antilliaanse Feesten, the biggest Caribbean music festival in Europe: the multicultural crowd was ready to party all night long with dozens of musicians from all over Latin America and the Caribbean.

And the start couldn't be better than with Rocola Bacalao (myspace), an energetic ska band from Ecuador. The nine members jumped around frantically while putting their heart and soul in their trumpets and guitars - which worked very contageous on the crowd at the Cahier Club stage. Their best songs mixed cumbia (and even merengue) with clever lyrics and an incredibly positive attitude - they just wanna have fun. Only when the guitars were cranked up, things got a little too loud and hyperactive for me.

Over at the main stage, Dominican merengue star Chichi Peralta kept us waiting for a while with a strange and totally unsuitable apocalyptic video - not the kind of intro you want for a sexy session of merengue. Chichi himself was hardly behind his percussion set, entertaining the audience while two not very talented youngsters took care of most of the singing. The usually exhilarating merengue was brought routinely, and though Chichi played the crowd quite well he didn't seem to have a lot of fun - maybe he's tired of performing? The multiple power failures didn't help either. Still, the latina girls jumping on stage to show off their dance moves were nice to watch ;)

Meanwhile, Manolito y su Trabuco (myspace) were setting the Joker stage on fire with their Cuban salsa and timba. It always strikes me how Cuban artists seem to have music and rhtyhm in their blood - with great professionalism Manolito and his band spun 15-minute long versions of their timba hits, playing the crowds with accelerations and improvisations. Lots of room for dancing, so all you could do was get carried away. Manolito ended the concert with a whirling "Loco por mi Habana", smiling from behind his piano.

Soca music might not be a focus of this blog, I had to see Machel Montano (website). The self-proclaimed king of soca (and honored with multiple awards at Trinidad & Tobago carnival over the years) has an excellent live reputation, and indeed the show was 2 straight hours of jumping and dancing. Realizing the simplicity of soca music can't carry a show on it's own, and being the pure entertainer he is, Machel brought some variation with r&b; and dancehall bits mixed between his own songs. And the audience digged it: 10,000 people jumping and whirling around flags is an impressive sight!

I ended the first night with Son de Cali (myspace) from Colombia, who replaced their compatriotas Grupo Gale. They were visibly tired when they got on stage - and to be honest, starting a concert at 3:45 AM is unearthly late (thanks to accumulated delays - or let's just say, latino spirit). They deserved a second chance - saturday on the Joker stage, and I'll tell you more about that in a few days!
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Chapín)" Tags: "cuba, colombia, dominican republic, trin..."
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