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cd Afro-Latin Party
There's plenty of food for thought in Putumayo's delicious new Afro-Latin Party. Like the previous Putumayo compilations Afro-Latino and From Congo to Cuba, the 10 tracks here document the fascinating musical marriage between Africa and Cuba that has seen the original African rhythms brought to Cuba by slaves evolve and migrate back east across the ocean to influence a new generation of African music (and in the process produce offspring everywhere from Croatia to Portland, Oregon). But that almost implies that the disc is of interest to musicologists only, when quite the opposite is true. Afro-Latin Party is anchored by three tracks from Africando, the Cuban supergroup that records with different African lead singers, and their seamless blend of African and Carribbean spices nicely sets the tone for the disc. With Pepe and the Bottle Blondes' wry take on classic cha-cha, "Cuentame Que Te Paso" (featuring a former lead singer for Pink Martini) rubbing shoulders with classic-style salsa from Croatia's Cubismo ("Morenita") and Puerto Rico's Jose Mangual Jr. (the white-hot "Ritmo Con Ache"), the disc is an excellent primer on the global reach of salsa music, but more importantly one that sounds best blasting out of speakers that aren't too far from the dance floor. --Ezra Gale
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