Charanga Cakewalk’s latest recording, Chicano Zen, combines Mexican, Texan and American sounds, including cumbia, rancheras, son jarocho with neolounge electronic music and world sounds. Led by Michael Ramos, Charanga Cakewalk specializes in feel-good grooves. On this recording Ramos is accompanied by the kindred musical souls of Lila Downs, Rubén Ramos, Patty Griffin, Martha González, and David Garza. Read more details about the album here: Chicano Zen, the Latest by Charanga Cakewalk.
Latin Travels, Vol. 2, released in 2005, is a collection of Afro-Cuban and Brazilian electronic and dance grooves. It includes exclusive tracks and remixes from Beny Moré, Bobi Cespedes, Tim “Love” Lee, The Tao of Groove, Los Mocosos, Rondo Brothers and many others.
Innovative Mexican American singer Lila Downs jumps into Mexican popular music on La Cantina. She presents a collection of cumbias, corridos and rancheras. Rather than seek a retro sound, Lila modernizes these styles by combining accordion, harp and marimba with rock instruments and electronics in a fascinating way.
Los de Abajo is a multicultural Mexican band that performs a combination of alternative rock, DJ scratching, dub, ska, electronic world and hip hop with Mexican cumbia, corridos and mariachi music. Some of the lyrics on Lda V The Lunatics are politically charged criticizing Mexican social injustice. The fabulous Temple of Sound produced the album, providing its magical touch, which includes a guest appearance by the charming Natacha Atlas.
The Rough Guide has released recently an album titled The Rough Guide to Urban Latino. Trying to put everything that is happening in urban Latin America in a single CD is very adventurous. This CD shows barely a glimpse of what is happening in the large Latin American metropolitan areas. The producers have chosen some of the cutting edge artists from Cuba, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, the United States, representing everything from Cuban hip hop and New York Reggaetón to rock and rootsy electronica.
For Reggaetón fans, there is the new collection entitled Loudes 68 presents The DVD-CD the Movement of hip-Hop and Reggaetón . The compilation includes big names in the Reggaetón category, including Baby Rasta, Los Nandez, Don Dinero and many others. The most interesting for non-Reggaetón fans are “Isla Bonita” by Don Dinero, who uses Afro-Cuban vocals and rhythms and the tragic and retro vocals of “Payaso” by RH Clandestino.
Puerto Rican outfit Calle 13 will probably offend a lot of listeners who are not used to strong lyrics. The CD, Calle 13, includes a Parental Advisory sticker because of its sexually explicit and crude lyrics. The group performs hip-hop and Reggaetón with Spanish-language lyrics that range from sexually explicit to political. Perhaps the most attractive part of their music are some songs, which are quite amusing and sometimes downright funny.