San Francisco (California), USA – The Rough Guide to Latin Street Party is a collection of Latin street beats that represents both mainstream and alternative visions of música bailable (dance music). From retro cover versions of classics recorded faithfully in analog to digital mash-up remixes, Rough Guide to Latin Street Party has it all for a Latino sound system: salsa, merengue, bachata, cumbia, reggaetón, Latin soul, and all points in between.
In a ‘rum-fuelled’ recording session at Candela Studios in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2005, international DJ/producer/musicans Quantic and Nickodemus wanted to make a tune that combined house and Latin, breakbeat and jazz, with a tempo that sped up from 95bpm to about 118. They sped up the original beat they were working on for another tune and asked the members of Candela Allstars to continue grooving to the rhythm track, with excellent results.
A fascinating mix of ‘street’ beats and Caribbean spice comes from Los De Abajo that takes its name from a classic novel about the Mexican Revolution. The group fervently believes that change comes from the ground up. Also into blending styles, Sidestepper came about when UK producer Richard Blair took a trip to Bogotá, Colombia. While transforming the club scene there, Blair formed creative relationships with the country’s young musical innovators. Upon his return to London, Blair adopted the DJ handle ‘Sidestepper’ and immersed himself in the burgeoning drum and bass scene, and several groundbreaking albums later he has forged an interesting hybrid of Jamaican, UK and Latin styles.
Many R&B and funk classics of the 1960s and 1970s have the Latin clave beat in their DNA; pianist Alex Wilson and expressive soul diva Lauren Dalrymple make these connections explicit in their smoldering interpretation of Bill Withers’ massive hit ‘Use Me’. For all of those who thought authentic analogue salsa dura was in hiding and Latin jazz had gone all smooth, here’s the real deal: the new album by Gilberto ‘Pulpo’ Colón Jr, a man who as Héctor Lavoe’s pianist for sixteen years needs no introduction. The session musicians and arrangers are also topnotch.
Colombia’s ‘heavy salsa’ ambassadors Sonora Carruseles came about as a reaction to the overly smooth and pop-oriented salsa romantica taking over in their native country and emanating from Miami/New York in the mid-1980s.
The New York-born Dominican immigrant diaspora of late has been shaking up the world of traditional bachata and merengue. Since their massive 2002 hit ‘Obsessión’, Aventura has been turning heads with its genre-bashing take on the once purely acoustic and marginalized form of bachata, steadily gaining fans and awards in the wake of their intense touring. The group is formed by the four Santos brothers. Brothers Rafa, Luis and Toño Rosario, AKA Los Hermanos Rosario have come a long way since their humble beginnings in Higüey, and after thirty years in the business they are still filling stadiums and creating infectious merengue.
Ricardo Lemvo and his Makina Loca are essential to any global street party, and his fifth album, Isabela, is one nonstop intercontinental fiesta. On ‘Mentirosa’, an intense charanga—rap hybrid, we are treated to the special talents of composer and vocalist Jesús A. Pérez ‘El Niño’, whose distinctive Cuban flavorings of authentic Spanish language soneos (improvised singing), flute and piano serve to complement Ricardo’s sweet Lingala.
This compilation also features The Pimps Of Joytime, Chiqui Rodríguez, José Alex y Los Trotamundos, Chale Brillante Y Su Gambino, Magic Juan Featuring Puerto Rican Power and Jesús Pagan y Su Orquesta
Buy the CD:
- In North America: Rough Guide to Latin Street Party
- In Europe: The Rough Guide to Latin Street Party
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV 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 albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.