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.
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.