January 20, 2006

CD Reviews.....

By Francisco H. Ciriza

Fernando Osorio
Debe Ser

Super intriguing release from the Miami-based Colombian-born singer-songwriter Fernando Osorio. The winner of the 2004 Latin Grammy for Best Tropical Song for “Ríe y Llora” plays his heart and soul out throughout the 11-song acoustic set. Debe Ser is smooth and confident with Osorio’s voice affecting a pleasurable, unassuming, but passionate tone and with a slight edge. The mostly romantic compositions exhibit a fatalistic but optimistic outlook and feature percussive Spanish and Brazilian strumming and rhythms. While difficult to overlook any song, two highlights include the moving and poignant “El Sol” and “La Negra Tiene Tumbao” written for the late salsa queen, Celia Cruz.

Sergio Mendes

This one is a great idea. Why not mix ultra-cool Latin Jazz and one of today’s hottest voices? Sergio Mendes’ group, Brazil 66, helped internationalize the Brazilian sound and Will.I.Am of pop idols, Black Eyed Peas, is one of todays hottest voices. Although he is the featured vocalist, guest appearances include Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, John Legend, and others. Timeless blends hip rap stylings, and R&B silk with Mendes’ signature samba and bossa nova beats. The result is a surprisingly balanced mix of contemporary African-Ameriçan urban consciousness and solid Latin jazz chops on tunes both new and classic, such as the 1966 breakthrough “Más Que Dada,” which features lyrics sung in Portuguese rhymed against English-language raps, sweet female Brazilian backing vocals and a cool Sao Paulo lounge vibe.

El Tri
Más Allá Del Bien Y Del Mal

El Tri with all of its grace and glory represents Mexico’s hard rock old guard. With all the time-tested reliability of AC/DC, the explosive destructiveness of Guns N’ Roses, and enough stamina to outrun both Motorhead and Blink 182 combined. The heavy metal heroes of El Tri offer another rock and roll classic, estilo latino. This CD is quintessential Rock en Español, featuring the familiar interprative blues-based riffs and chord patterns fronted by Lora’s wicked but strangely comforting howl on 11, tequila, tortilla, and testosterone-fueled tracks that bear a fearless and biting wit. Más Allá’s lyrics take aim at political corruption, laud Che Guevara, honor the late Pope John Paul and a take hilarious look forward to El Mundial.

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