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Latin Music

    POSTED 24 MAY 2001

    "Gozo Poderoso" Los Aterciopelados Our price: $14.22 | You save: $0.75
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    Celebrated Colombian alt-rock group Aterciopelados return with their fifth album, which adds to their spicy multicultural mix. Incorporating traditional Latin American rhythms with electrified punk attitude and lead singer Andrea Echeverri's unique vocals, Aterciopelados make Latin pop with an edge.

    "Cruzando El Rio" Radio Tarifa Our price: $14.99 | You save: $2.98
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    Since their inception, Spanish group Radio Tarifa have been imagining a world in which Spain and North Africa existed in musical harmony. Their latest release pushes their revisionist history even further, creating a hypnotically opulent new reality.

    "Mi Son" Rick Trevino & Los Super Seven Our price: $12.99 | You save: $3.98
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    Texan Chicano Rick Treviño works his Latin roots on his new album, "Mi Son." Reveling in his own cultural heritage, Treviño incorporates Mexican instruments and song styles, such as ballads and rancheras, on this lovely trip down memory lane.

    "Malo Cantidad" Carlos Manuel Our price: $14.22 | You save: $0.75
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    Cuban salsa hybrid sensation Carlos Manuel is set to storm the U.S. with his vibrant sounds. After scoring a major hit in Havana with the song "Malo Cantidad" (roughly translated as "I'm Bad"), Manuel's high-voltage salsa collage has become the sound of the streets. The creative singer incorporates hip-hop, son, and R&B elements into his musical mix.


    Moreno Veloso, son of legendary Brazilian singer-songwriter Caetano Veloso, does his father's legacy justice with his debut release, "Music Typewriter." Veloso's angelic voice melds beautifully with electrified bossa nova beats. Download "Arrivederci," a funky slab of Brazilian pop.
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    "The Best" La Lupe Our price: $15.99
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    Beloved by all who have ever heard her sing, 1960s Latin music diva La Lupe is one of the most spirited singers ever recorded. Each wail sends shivers up and down the spine. With her sassy vocal stylings and her tormented, emotional delivery, she made each song come alive. "Best" includes some of the Cuban queen's great work with the orchestra of her ex-lover Tito Puente, among other groups. Soul by the pound.

    "Sobre El Fuego" India Our price: $14.22 | You save: $0.75
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    Nuyorican salsa sensation India is one of the fiercest dance-floor divas around, and her 1997 album "Sobre el Fuego" shows why. Salsa may be "just" dance music, but India imbues it with powerful meanings, using her rich, full voice to accentuate the saucy rhythms.


    "Girlfight" Karyn Kusama Our price: $104.99
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    "Girlfight" is a movie about a woman without self-esteem issues. Imagine that. The feistiest heroine that movie screens have seen in recent years (compare her with the sniveling romantic Bridget Jones), Michelle Rodriguez's character, Diana, packs a wollop. Angry and anything but ladylike, her physical and emotional strength demonstrate women's power in the face of adversity, and her street sensibility will resonate with ladies of the hip-hop generation (and anyone with a backbone).

    "I Like It Like That" Darnell Martin Our price: $13.99 | You save: $0.96
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    Lauren Velez's character, a New York Latina in a suffocating relationship with few options, decides to rebel. She starts a job that takes her outside of her natural radius and introduces her to her own potential. "I Like It Like That" is a sassy, well-made movie that hits where it hurts.


    "Endangered Species [EXPLICIT LYRICS]" Big Pun Our price: $14.99 | You save: $3.98
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    Bronx bomber Big Pun was the first Boricua MC to hit No. 1 on the "Billboard" charts, for his '98 single "Still Not a Player." But he was also a gifted lyricist whose remarkable breath control enabled him to spit lengthy verses without a pause, as demonstrated on his debut, "Capital Punishment." Though Pun clearly reveled in his decadent lifestyle, he also set a precedent for Latino lyricists, carving a new space for funky bilinguals in the mainstream. "Endangered Species" provides an excellent overview of his work, both solo and in collaboration with other artists such as the Beatnuts.

    Posted 26 APRIL 2001

    "Abrazame Muy Fuerte"
    Juan Gabriel
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    Mexican legend Juan Gabriel returns with another gem, managing to update his signature sound without losing his roots . Though Gabriel goes without mariachi accompaniments on this release, his emotive voice and these modern arrangements continue to capture the Mexican spirit that he's been tapping for decades.

    "De Vuelta Y Veulta"
    Jarabe De Palo
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    Barcelonan rock group Jarabe de Palo return with a follow-up to their two previous hit albums, 1997's "La Flaca" and 1999's "Depende." "De Vuelta Y Vuelta," features more of the blues rock and poetic lyrics that have made them famous.

    "La Historia"
    Ricky Martin
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    Sometimes people just sound better in their native language. Though Ricky Martin's latin lover schtick may work for awhile in the mainstream, his Spanish catalog shows much more depth and soul than his latest pre-fab hits. "La Historia," a Spanish-language greatest hits collection, is a good mix of dancefloor hits and balladry that shows him at his best.

    "Billboard Latin Music Awards 2001"
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    The Billboard Latin Music Awards' "CD" unites selections from the biggest stars of Latin American music, including Colombia's Paulina Rubio, Mexican Luis Miguel and Nuyorican Marc Anthony.


    Ruben Gonzalez's latest, "Chanchullo," is more of the virtuoso's elegant stylings, though in this collection the Cuban piano veteran takes a more laid-back approach than he did with his gorgeous North American debut, "Introducing...Ruben Gonzalez." Download "Chanchullo," the collection's bustling title track, which features Gonzalez providing robust piano solos that power the percussion-heavy band.
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    Go to all Latin downloads
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    "Mi Reflejo"
    Christina Aguilera
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    On "Mi Reflejo," Christina Aguilera rediscovers her own Latin roots (her dad's Ecuadorian) just in time to cash in on the Latin craze. But she also shows that she's got more chops than most pop princesses: her muscular vocals make these translations of her English-language hits sound good, and elevate this collection from cash grab to competent pop.

    "On Time"
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    Pleasing the party people since their first big hit, "La Morena," Dominican merenhouse unit Ilegales are back with "On Time," another album of dancefloor heaters. They also toss in a couple of ballads, which should get teenage hearts racing, without the aerobics of merengue.

    "Estilo Libre"
    Eros Ramazzotti
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    Eros Ramazzotti's nasal voice is one that you either love or you hate. The surprisingly named Italian pop star records both in Spanish and in Italian, and his latest, "Estilo Libre," combines a harder rock feel with those unmistakable vocals.


    "Live: The Last Concert [LIVE]"
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    Selena's tragic story sometimes overshadows her musical abilities. But her considerable talent and soulfulness are the qualities that enable the queen of Tejano music to live on in the eyes of her fans. "Live: The Last Concert" showcases her stunning ability to captivate onstage. Fabulous from beginning to end.

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    Vinicius Cantuaria
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    Brazilian legend Vinicius Cantuaria left Brazil in 1994 in order to understand Brazilian music better, and he brings a luminous lucidity to his latest project that indicates that he did the right thing. In past lives, he has been a drummer for Caetano Veloso and a pop star in his own right, but with "Vinicius" he is a subdued dreamer, creating variations on the Brazilian musical theme that he imbues with a special, subtle shimmer that makes the rhythms fresh like morning dew.

    "Music Typewriter"
    Moreno Veloso + 2
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    Taking after his father Caetano Veloso with his irreverent wit and divine voice, Moreno Veloso's debut, "Music Typewriter," sauces up Brazilian rhythms with shots of electronica and jazz. Veloso's angelic voice and these new school arrangements make beautiful music together.


    The newest titles, the hottest bands, our favorite discoveries--let our expert editors e-mail you the best of the music world with Delivers. Choose your favorite genres to begin receiving more e-mail recommendations. Also, check out the New & Future Releases page to view titles by release date, catch the latest digital downloads, investigate the coolest new reissues, and more.
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    "Coleccion Romantica"
    Juan Luis Guerra
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    Legendary Dominican merenguero Juan Luis Guerra certainly has enough romantic material in his vaults to sustain a great "Coleccion Romantica," and with this one he demonstrates his potent poeticism. This collection, which is dominated by ballads, allows Guerra's beautiful voice to take center stage, and it demonstrates his willingness and ability to experiment with different musical rhythms and excel in all of them.

    Los Super Seven
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    Los Super Seven were formed as a supergroup of predominantly Mexican American musicians. But now, in their second collection, "Canto," they've added artists from other musical traditions to the mix, creating a disc that sometimes plays like the soundtrack to a nostalgic evening in the cantina of an anonymous mountain village and at other times sounds like the future sound of Latin America. Peruvian singer Susana Bacas, Brazilian legend Caetano Veloso, and Cuban American pianist Albert Salas add depth to the mix.

    "Jerry Rivera"
    Jerry Rivera
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    Puerto Rican singer Jerry Rivera has developed a considerable fan base as a salsero, so his latest project (on his new label, BMG Latin) has come as something of a surprise to many of his fans. "Rivera" proposes heartthrob Jerry as a new Latin pop king, and producer Bebu Silvetti provides him with swoony ballads and mid-tempo pop numbers. Rivera's substantial vocals work well here, but fans of his salsa career beware: this is a whole new Jerry.


    "Mardi Gras Mambo" is the brainchild of maverick trumpeter and Cubanismo! bandleader Jesus Alemany and the Yockamo All Stars' Mark Bingham, and this meeting of the musical tales of two cities--Havana and New Orleans--works very well. Both traditions are rooted in sonorous African rhythms, so the combination of a decadent New Orleans boogie with a voluptuous Havana rumba makes sense--
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    "Marie Leveaux" perfectly captures the free-flowing fun of these cross-cultural sessions in the Big Easy. Download this highlight from "Mardi Gras Mambo."
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    Go to all Latin downloads
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    "Escena Alterlatina..."
    Various Artists
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    Demonstrating the diversity of Latin "alternative" music, "Escena Alterlatina" includes funkdafied hip-hop from L.A.-based Delinquent Habits and alt-folk from Mexican Julieta Venegas, and each track is a potent reminder that people outside the English-speaking world are making edgy, inventive, eclectic music. A great introduction to what lies beneath the mariachi 'n' mambo stereotypes.

    "A Lo Cubano"
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    Cuban quartet Orishas prove that rap in Spanish can be just as tight as rap en ingles. On "A Lo Cubano," whose great beats unite Latin sabor with hip-hop attitude, the Orishas achieve an unusual, excellent balance of the familiar and the extraordinary. Plus, their reworking of Nas's "Represent" proves that they have hip-hop chops.


    "Heavy Salsa"
    Sonora Carruseles
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    Cali, Columbia-based Sonora Carruseles' debut means exactly what it says.  This is "Heavy Salsa" at its best, in the tradition of 1970s New York legends like Willie Colón and Ruben Blades. While weak-kneed salsa-lite, with its sugar-coated singers and plasticized beats, has gained favor in North America and the Caribbean, the Columbians keep it real, with relentless rhythm sections and the baddest of boogaloos. A great discovery for any serious salsa fan, Sonora Carruseles have what it takes to keep a party on its feet.

    "Con Todos Los Hierros"
    Sonora Carruseles
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    Back with another excellent album, Sonora Carruseles prove once again that they are among the best in the business, with the hottest, fiercest salsa around and some comely cumbias to boot. Including tributes to Nuyorican heavy-hitters like Pete Rodriguez, Sonora Carruseles leave no doubts as to where their inspiration comes from. Eschewing pop flavor, they combine a punishing horn section, great voices, and tighter-than-Lycra arrangements.  This group continues to amaze. Every track is a winner: they're like the JBs of salsa.

    See our Fierce Columbian Salsa List
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    "Aniversario 45"
    La Sonora Poncena
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    This live recording celebrates the 45-year career of this Puerto Rican salsa dynasty. "Aniversario 45" was recorded last year at the Tito Puente Amphitheatre in San Juan, and this marathon set illustrates La Sonora's prowess in many different rhythms, from salsa, to "plena," to "bomba" to Latin jazz jams, and it all sounds spectacular, with veteran leader Papo Lucca on the piano. It's a pleasure to be able to hear the history of Latin music as interpreted by one amazing group.

    "No Me Olvidaras"
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    For those dismayed by Jerry Rivera's recent conversion into a ballad-belting popster, Sony Discos, his old label, presents his 20 greatest salsa hits in this collection, "No Me Olvidaras." Though it retreads the territory of 2000's "Oro Salsero," for new listeners it's a great introduction to Rivera's upbeat salsa.


    "Amores Perros (2000 Film) [SOUNDTRACK]"
    Various Artists - Soundtracks
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    It's fitting that the most important Latin American film in years should have an amazing soundtrack, given the preoccupation Latins have with music and director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's history as a radio DJ. This soundtrack is almost as frenetic as the movie itself, which depicts a high-speed crash between Latin tradition (Celia Cruz) and futurism (Illya Kuryaki). Visionary without being alienating, this raw and romantic soundtrack is a fitting accompaniment to the movie that will define Mexico City in the minds of countless foreign fans.


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editor, Elizabeth Mendez Berry © 2001, and ncdn associates of,bn,tower,cdnow




reviews excerpted are copyright © 2001 & associate ncdn and CDnow, TowerRecords, Barnes & Nobel associates