Inspired by Gilberto Santa Rosa, Puerto Rican salsa singer Victor Manuelle follows his own course with the release of his 16th studio album, Que Suenen Los Tambores. It is an extraordinary sharp record, arguably one if not the best release in his musical career so far. Three singles have been released ahead of the album launch, of which the title-song had set the highest anticipation.
Victor Manuelle (El Sonero de la Juventud) is known for his salsa romantica, but Que Suenen Los Tambores has a lot of variety in terms of salsa styles and rhythms. Not a single song is inferior to the others. From the vallenato accordion in the intro of Agua Bendita, the salsa dura of Sal A Bailar, the classic salsa composition Isabela, to the breezy and romantic composition of La Vida Perfection, this is a very vibrant album that must be part of your latin CD collection.
The 10th album of Morgan Heritage – also known as the Royal Family of Reggae – has been released independent of VP Records, on the new family owned record label CTBC Music Group. Despite the album title, the quintet (Peetah, Gramps, Una, Mr. Mojo and Lukes) actually mixes various genres into their 13-track album. Like all Morgan Heritage albums, Strictly Roots is characterized by excellent instrumentation and vocals.
Featuring artists Chronixx, Jemere Morgan, J Boog, J Mersa Marley and Shaggy make a fair contribution to the diversified album. Songs like Strictly Roots, Rise and Fall and Wanna Be Loved are typical Morgan Heritage standards, elaborating on their signature style of playing roots reggae, a genre that’s – to their disappointment – drowned out by dancehall. One of the songs that turned out very well is Child of JAH, a collaboration with Chronixx. It has a very smooth off-beat vocal flow that’s lifting up the song right after the intro.
The rest of the album follows three paths. Light It Up picks up a deep electronic beat and moves into the direction of hip-hop and dancehall, a bit like Damian Marley would do. Then there is the mellow and R&B tinted single material such as Perform and Done and Why Dem Come Around, songs appreciated by the public. Finally, perhaps in an attempt to attract a wider audience, the album is completed by no less than 4 cheesy pop songs: So Amazing, Put It On Me, Sunday Morning and Celebrate Life. I’m wondering how many people argue this to be an enrichment of the record.
La Voz De La Ternura (The Voice Of Tenderness), better known as Zacarias Ferreira, is helping the bachata genre picking up steam with his latest album release Mi Gusta Todo De Ti. If you would leave out the urban bachateros, Zacarias is one of the most meritorious bachata singers of this time, broadcasting Dominican music like no other. With his distinctive and slightly hoarse voice Zacarias Ferreira remains consistent in the quality of his songs. For those who like to stick to the original sound of bachata, this album is a must have.
The first song of the album, Si Pudiera, is immediately affirming the quality of the production, with the typical build up of a bachata song. Two other delightful songs are Ahora Sé Que Me Quieres and Mirando Las Estrellas. The surprise of the album would be the last song, Mi Compañera. Perhaps unintentionally, this uplifting merengue song is likely to be the biggest hit of the album.
Tiken Jah Fakoly has announced his 8th studio album by launching its title song, Dernier Appel. This time the Ivorian reggae singer has swapped the sword of his previous album (African Revolution) for a speaker.
One would have to appreciate the fact that Tiken Jah upholds the French language, risking a smaller audience. His new song sets high expectations for the upcoming album, and fans of African reggae will instantly pick up on the warm french flow so typical for this sub genre.
The album Dernier Appel will be released on June 2 and contains 10 songs, 3 of them with featured artists: Alpha Blondy, Nneka and Patrice.
There is a range of legendary artists on the African continent with a big track record behind their names, who just seem to forget promotion of their music. It can be very difficult with those artists to take notice of their new releases. Take Daddy Lumba for instance, Ghana top highlife vocalist with 27 albums to his credit. Some 2 months ago he has released a new album called Awoso. There is one particular song instantly taking me back to the streets of Accra and Kumasi and that I would like to share, Nea Nyame Tumi Ye.
The vocals, guitar and bass seem to be the only parts that are recorded in the studio, but the rest is just as well part of the Lumba vibes easily reaching your ears. This is one to put on repeat for a while (or skip back to 5:34 in the video).
Two weeks ago merengue-star Elvis Crespo has released his 10th studio album, One Flag. It can be claimed that the Latin Grammy Award-winning singer’s fame is still attributable to his first single, Suavemente – the merengue counterpart of Aventura’s Obsession. However, the American-born Puerto Rican artist is able to exceed this previous success with this new CD.
The most sticky songs on the album are featured: Pegaito Suevecito featuring Fito Blanko from Panama and Sopa De Caracol featuring the popular American-Cuban Pitbull. No Hay Compromiso, among with the majority of the other songs on the album, has those typical pounding merengue beats indeed without concessions.
This album is another example of the trend that, with the increasingly prominent presence of uptempo electronic beats, different latin and caribbean genres such as reggaeton, merengue and dancehall are mingling together into a new blend of urban latin pop. Bembe De Infieles is the best example of this.
Undeniably, the ultimate Latin album release this summer was Marc Anthony’s comeback on the 23rd of July. Although the name 3.0 suggests another rebirth of the widely loved Puerto Rican celebrity, it is the same Marc Anthony on top of his salsa game.
When you are into the salsa scene, you have definitely heard most of the album on the dance floor already: the strong melodies, the decent build-up of songs, the vivid horn and piano sections, and the deep emotive vocals.
Releasing Vivir Mi Vida as the first single had been a safe choice, but you’ll find songs like Volver A Commenzar, Flor Palida and Espera much more musical. That being said, it’s a shame the 10th and last track had to be a repulsive mix of the hit single. The only blemish on the album, really.
If Marc Anthony’s melodramatic voice fits your taste, this album is likely to surpass your favorite covers on El Cantante.