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.
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!
The legendary CD/DVD that captured the live concert of 10 salsa giants on the 31st of August in 2012 at the Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival has a little follow up after the release of an EP featuring 5 more songs.
Disappointing about the songs again, is the fact that most live performances sound a little bit like studio recordings. On the other hand, this is more than compensated by the band, adapting to the signature style of each singer. The three extra live songs that have been selected for this EP are brought by Oscar d’Leon (Llolaras), Andy Montañez (Un Verano En Nueva York) and Luis Enrique (Tu No Le Amas Le Temes). Yet again, it is the studio song that thrives the compilation to higher heights. This new release is called Bajo La Tormenta.
In the collage of voices Ismael Miranda and La India (yes she should have been there in Curaçao as well) have been added to the all-star line-up. They join the joyful video together with José ‘El Canario’ Alberto, Willy Chirino, Oscar D’León, Andy Montañez and Tito Nieves. Sadly, this has also been the last recording of Cheo Feliciano.
Latin Grammy Award winner and Puerto Rican salsa giant José Luis Feliciano Vega, better known as Cheo Feliciano, has died in a car crash on the island. He was one of the pioneers of salsa music and member of the Joe Cuba Sextet before he joined the legendary Fania All Stars. Among his most famous bolero and salsa songs are El Raton, Busca Lo Tuyo, Nabori and Anacaona.
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.