Sofrito – Tropical Discotheque (Strut Records, 2011)
Tropical Discotheque is a excellent collection of international roots-based dance music put together by Sofrito, one of the leading tropical music collectives in the UK. Behind Sofrito are DJs Hugo Mendez and Frankie Francis.
For their first compilation, Sofrito selected Afro-rooted cuts representing Colombian cumbia, Congolese soukous, Caribbean soca and calypso, and African highlife.
The cumbia cuts by Banda Los Hijos De La Niña Luz and Quantic Y Su Conjunto Los Miticos Del Ritmo are specially appealing. This is the rootsy Colombian cumbia, with deep African roots, not the watered down pop versions that are circulating in other countries.
The irresistible funky soca sounds of Mighty Shadow’s ‘Dat Soca Boat’ was quite a discovery. Other highlights include ‘Carnival Long Ago ‘ by The Roaring Lion and ‘Yiri Yiri Boum’ by Gnonnas Pedro.
The album’s title, Sofrito, comes from a popular sauce originally from Spain which consists of garlic, onion, and tomatoes cooked in olive oil. It is also widely found in Spanish-speaking America where recipes vary, incorporating additional ingredients such as cilantro.
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