The second edition of the Pal Mundo Festival in the Netherlands has confirmed its ambition towards a leading European Caribbean and Latin festival. Even though Marc Anthony was simply removed from the show bill after headlining for about 5 months (he supposedly postponed his European tour) and also one of his replacements (Carlos Vives) didn’t come to the festival, the remaining line-up still matched every other.
Although Krosfyah has not released any music for more than a decade, the soca group from Barbados easily managed to set the crowd on fire on the first night. It was a shame they only played half of their biggest hit Pump Me Up though. They were followed by reggaeton gangster Tego Calderon (Puerto Rico), whose show was very decent, despite the sometimes static performance and occasional playbacking. The night was well ended by veteran Juan Luis Guerra who never seems to have any problems getting a good live sound, despite the poor acoustics at the concert hall.
On day two a big mistake was made by unleashing Kassav + Friends way too early and way too short. Half of the people must have missed the zouk legends and featuring artists such as Jean-Marc Ferdinand, Zouk Machine and Princess Lover. I managed to listen to the majority of the show on the radio while driving to the event. The consecutive artists on the main stage were Yandel, from the reggaeton duo Wisin Y Yandel, and Romeo Santos, who closed the festival with the same show as last year.
Altogether both the festival and its venue have surely exceeded the previous edition. A lot of attention is given to fancy promotion graphics, photos, videos and special effects. This is a big asset. Next year it would be nice to hear some salsa as well.
Following an extensive social media campaign Juan Luis Guerra has launched his twelfth studio album, Todo Tiene Su Hora. Together with his band 4.40 the 57-year-old Dominican superstar has recorded 10 songs with a total playing time of only 30 minutes. Nonetheless, the album is a rich supplement to his discography. Personally I find it better than his previous album Colección Cristiana that was released 2 years ago and was filled with a couple of old songs.
The opening song of the cd is Cookies & Cream, a little cheesy merengue. It is followed by Tus Besos, a more carefully composed bachata which is also the album’s lead single. Canto A Colombia praises the country and people of Colombia and is an original blend of salsa and cumbia. The title song Todo Tiene Su Hora is a merengue and did also appeare prior to the album. It is followed by Dime Nora Mia, a typical Juan Luis Guerra salsa composition and melody. Para Que Sepas sounds very much like a Cuban bolero, especially because the beautiful hobo lines. Another merengue, and probably the most annoying song of the album because of its silly melody is El Capitán. Muchachita Linda is a quiet and careful bachata and is followed by a fast salsa song, Todo Pasa. One can sense salsa is not Juan Luis Guerra’s domestic style, but there is no disputing about his songwriter qualities. The last song of the album is joined by fellow countryman Johnny Ventura and is a real merengue party!
The only song that has a videoclip is Tus Besos. The clip is in fact a little musical orchestrated by Juan Luis Guerra’s son who gave the clip a fifties theme.
Juan Luis Guerra has just completed a small Latin American tour together with Marc Anthony (Gigante2) and some shows also with Carlos Vives (Gigant3s). I don’t think he will build a tour around his new studio album (he hasn’t done so for his previous album either), but it would be exciting to hear some of his new material live on stage!
Saturday the 12th of October I had the privilege to attend the ‘ASonDeGuerra’ tour in Rotterdam. Although a slightly expensive and dutiful performance from Juan Luis Guerra, I could not have missed out.
The king of merengue nearly played for 2 hours, featuring his latest album complemented by a lot of hit-songs (aren’t they all?): A Pedir Su Mano, La Bilirrubina, Frío Frío, Ojalá Que Llueva Café, La Travesia, Para Ti, Como Yo and La Guagua. Together with a large band and bespoke video-animations to each song, a solid performance was put down. Among the merengue, bachata and salsa tunes, two songs were transcending the others in my personal opinion: El Niagara en Bicicleta and the duet Como Abeja al Panal.
The latin-ish crowd and good DJ’s prior to the show made it an excellent night to move your feet and sing along. If only there were more songwriters such as Juan Luis Guerra.