Latin Reggae and Mestizos

Various Artists - Latin Reggae
Various Artists – Latin Reggae

Various Artists – Latin Reggae (Putumayo, 2008)

Compilations are a good way to get acquainted with new artists, but they are not always accurate. Putumayo Presents Latin Reggae focuses on reggae from the Spanish speaking countries in Spain and Latin America. While the compilation is satisfactory musically, the selection does not reflect the complete reality of reggae en español.

There are certainly some essential artists represented, such as Puerto Rico’s Cultura Profética, Chile’s Gondwana, Argentina’s Los Cafres and Spain’s Black Gandhi.

The rest of the selection are artists who use reggae in some of their songs, but are not truly reggae acts. Most of them are from Barcelona and belong to the mestizo scene that is popular in Madrid and Barcelona. The producers seem to have focused exclusively on Barcelona because no Madrid reggae groups are featured. Ironically, some of the best roots reggae groups in Spain are based in Madrid: Cañaman (who recorded in Jamaica), Emeterians and Mad Sensi.