Music Reviews

Carlos Vives love bombed a Royal Albert Hall full of Latinos as he indulged his audience in a two hour journey though Colombian nostalgia, alegria and sentimiento.
From Venezuela arrives Agente Rex, a new rock band formed by heavyweights of the Caracas music scene. Venezuela has never been short of musical talent and this band showcase how far the rock genre has come since the 60s. A mature and solid sound, Agente Rex bring a fresh sound to Caracas’ already burgeoning Latin Rock scene. Great arrangements and it is worth mentioning the fantastic guitar execution by Carlos Cabrices (Franco de Vita). The first promotional cut La Tregua has a music video more associated with pop bands, which shows the ambition of the crew. A great debut by the Venezuelans.
Gerardo Nunez is considerd a master of New Flamenco, and this time he partners up with Swedish jazz guitarist Ulf Wakenius in a unique meeting of virtuosos. Much more than just a Flamenco album, Logos is the musical dialogue between two of the most important guitar players of this generation. Nunez leads the conversation, with Wakenius playing second guitar and Ángel “Cepillo” Sánchez González on percussion. ‘Logos’ takes us deep into the world of Jazz guitar through the labrynthine canals of Flamenco. It is a fearless musical experiment with beautiful results. Highly recommended.
One of the UK leading Conguero Snowboy is back, this time on his own label and delivering his latest Mambo/Salsa album! Snowboy and the Latin Section: New York Afternoon, his very own tribute to the NY
‘Something Wild’ is the translation of this title, the second volume of Munster Records project compiling Spanish rock, indi, pop and other underground music from the 60s. Living under the Franco’s regime, Spanish music of the time - or at least whatever got airplay - was heavily censored. Still music from Great Britain and the USA influenced generations of musicians under the dictatorship and an underground scene grew hidden from the Franco’s watchful eyes. Algo Salvaje brings together a lot of those sounds, some of them re-issued for the first time. Much more than just a music compilation, these albums represent a social document of those times where young Spaniards forged their identity between a fascist regime and a changing psychedelic world outside their borders.
Ana Moura’s last week’s show in London sold out weeks in advance. Yet the selection of the Cadogan Hall in the heart of Chelsea – home of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) – seemed a good choice. The venue provides the warmth and intimacy one usually associates whilst seating 950 people. A big Portuguese crowd was noticeable within an audience that was in fact very diverse.
La Yegros is so cool. Self-aware and on top of everything that goes on during the show, she comes to stage in high platform shoes, short skirts, afro hair up, really up, and full of colour. Tones of green, pink, blue, yellow, and black, all combine through almost ornamental patterns and ‘nature’: the leaves in her dress combine with those that decorate the stage and with the most minimal of her musicians. The audience is passionate. They stand very close to her, and can almost touch her.
Sequel to the album, the movie and the shows that took the world by storm in the late 1990s, and tribute to both the musicians who have passed away and those alive and kicking, the Buena Vista show at London’s The O2 likely fulfilled the expectations of every single member of the audience, but only perhaps those who wanted to dance to ‘Guantanamera’.
This Colombian salsa institution shows no sign of stopping. Even after the death of its founder and musical brain Jairo Varela, this album shows how the Cali group has managed to keep the band going without losing quality or sabor. Varela had started working on this album before his sudden death, so the album still carries the imprint of the Colombian salsa master. Some old classics such as Senales de Humo and El Coco have been re-produced on an album that proudly maintains Varela’s legacy
It’s not the first time that an all-star team from these twin Caribbean islands have collaborated to record songs from each other’s countries, but when you get Havana D' Primera, Cultura Profética, Charlie Aponte, Isaac Delgado, and Pablo Milanés together in one project, you knows the result is going to be special. In this case the album exceeds expectations; a solid tropical danceable music album.