My take on the best Latin music (includes one Dominican)

Millner

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The first time I really listened to Latin music was in 1991, when my then-girlfriend lent me her aunt's tape of "Bachata Rosa." (I still have it, by the way.) Although I was never a fan of fast, danceable music, I immediately recognized the presence of a great talent. Something about it -- the quality of the songwriting, the sincerity of the approach, JLG's wonderful voice -- really set it apart from the typical stuff I would sometimes hear on the radio.

Since then, I've bought all of his albums, even "Para Ti," which (at first) turned me off with its evangelical Christian approach. Now, however, I really like it -- favorites are "Cancion de Sanidad" and the title track. I'd have to rank JLG as #3 in my favorites list, though. Numbers one and two are:

1. Silvio Rodriguez. I've never heard music with such emotional power. So wonderful! Favorites: Sueno con Serpientes, La Gota de Rocio, Nuestro Tema ... hundreds of others. He captures the very essence of the human spirit.

2. Pablo Milanes. His best songs -- "Verde Manana," "La Soledad," etc. -- really, really move me. Pure gold.

Other favorites are:

Joaquin Sabina. "Quien Ha Robando El Mes de Abril" is an amazing song, and he has lots of others as well.

Zeca Baleiro. Brazilian multi-talented guy ... does something completely different each time he releases an album. Check out "Minha Casa" from "Liricas."

Rosario Flores. I love her voice, her brassy style and her mix of flamenco and pop.

Carlos Varela. Another great Cuban artist ... like a mix of Silvio and Sabina.

Ruben Blades. "Mundo," his most recent album, is an incredible mix of Celtic, Middle Eastern and Latin music. I also like his classic salsa stuff.

Willie Colon. Great voice, great musician.

Milton Nascimento. Brazilian God who makes music that touches the soul.

Other notables are Chico Buarque, Marisa Monte, Joao Gilberto, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil (all Brazilian). Any good Latin music I've missed?
 

Marianopolita

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Some obscure picks of mine

You certainly have an interesting diversity in your Latin music preferences. It shows you are embracing the spectrum of genres that Latin music has to offer. Hats off to you.There are many great Cuban musicians that you may like and are not aware of. Ranging from son cubano to guaracha to cha-cha-cha.

I definitely agree with your choice of Willie Colón. He's a hall of fame candidate and certainly a renowned 'trombonista'. Also, one of the original Fania All Stars who developed 'salsa' (which stemmed from el son cubano) in New York along with Hector Lavoe. Willie Colón is distinct and unmistakeable. His musicianship is outstanding in all his work but in one song in particular Idilio he gives his fans a sample of the best of his musical ability.

I will suggest if I may:

Albita Rodríguez- tremendous voice, Cuban son is her primary rhythm but certainly has a tint of other genres in her music. Suggested recent albums: Son & Hecho a mano.

Héctor Lavoe- if you like Willie Colón then you will like Lavoe. Actually they were a duo for a while until Willie launched his solo career. Many of Willie Colón's earlier work was with this artist.

Carlos Vives- vallenato moderno. Same as above. Tremendous talent, a unique artist. Modern day vallenato popularity even among the youth is attributed to Carlos having changed the style of vallenato but maintaining traditional beats. Recommended albums: La tierra del olvido & El amor de mi tierra.

Charlie Zaa- bolerista. This artist has mastered the art of contemporary bolero. He's just a class act. Any album by him is a good buy. I highly recommend his latest album Puro Sentimiento. It's a combination of wonderful acoustics, a fusion rhythms and he is an excellent vocalist.

Classic salsa: An absolute must is El Gran Combo (de Puerto Rico). If you don't own music from this band please sample their work. I will suggest their most recent album... Aquí estamos....y De Vedad & Por todo lo alto (this album I saw once in 1996 and I never saw it again anywhere. What an album!).

Conjunto Imagen- acoustically this is some of the best salsa out there. Once again from Puerto Rico. Their most recent album is a good start- Ayer, Hoy y Manaña.

Issac Delgado- by my definition Issac is a living legend. He is a sonero, salsero and timbalero. His music is an example of the essence of Cuban rhythms. Any album in the last ten years would be a great buy. My suggestions: Prohibido (2005), Versos en el cielo (2004), Otra Idea (1997).

My suggestion for Dominican rhythms is the classic music then move forward to some selective modern day artists.

Keep enjoying the art of music.

LDG.
 
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Chirimoya

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If you like Sabina you'll like Luis Eduardo Aute, although you probably already know him from his 'Mano a Mano' CD in concert with Silvio.

The one and only Joan Manuel Serrat?

Rosario I also like, as well as Kiko Veneno who also mixes flamenco and pop with a certain amount of humour.

Not much to add on that definitive list of Brazilians, but how about non-Brazilian Lusophones like Waldemar Bastos (Angola) and Cesaria Evora (Cape Verde)?

I'll definitely look out for that new CD by Ruben Blades. I've always liked his stuff as well. Like JLG he brings satire and wit to the mix.

On the DR music scene, if you haven't already heard Pavel Nunez who has risen to fame here over the last few years, you will note an unmistakable Nueva Trova influence there.
 

daddy1

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This is what makes Dominican music so special.....

There is something for everyone...Dominican music has a melting pot of different styles...Juan luis is just another peace of that enriched history of Domincan music...My all time personel favorites have been interpreting quality music for the longest time...but they have not been given the support from the international community...My all time favorite Dominican artist is Ramon Orlando,, there will never be another band like it...He is truly to me.. an original Dominican musical legend!
 

pi?acolada

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I would add Victor Victor, Sonia Silvestre, Jose Antonio Rodriguez, Xiomara Fortuna, Patricia Pereyra, Manuel Jimenez and Luis Diaz (dominicans), Simone, Vinicio de Moraes (brazilians) Mirian Ramos (Cuban) Victor Manuel, Ana Belen, Azucar Moreno and Pedro Guerra (spanierds)
 
Sep 19, 2005
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I dont have a refined sense of my own for latin music. I have been led to the ones i like based on my girlfriends likes....which I have liked most of the same after I have heard them.

pedro fernandez, Obie fernandez,luis fonsi, luis miguel, charlie zaa, juanes,los temerrarios, alex ubago, jose jose,anthony santos, tono rosario,alejandro fernandez, jerry riverra. of those I really concure with jose jose, and alex ubago, and luis miguel.........bob
 
May 31, 2005
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REALDOMINICAN said:
what about
EL GRUPO AGUAKATE. now thats the stuff.
Come on! They are talking about Ruben Blades, Juan Luis Guerra, and Willie Colon. How dare you mention Aguakate? LOL ;)
 

Keith R

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Millner said:
Other notables are Chico Buarque, Marisa Monte, Joao Gilberto, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil (all Brazilian). Any good Latin music I've missed?
Well, depends on one's taste. I like all of those mentioned in the quote above on the Brazilian music scene (especially Chico e Caetano), plus several others. For example, try any album with Vinicius (Moraes) & Toquinho, especially "O Poeta e a Viola," just the two of them vocalizing to Toquinho's guitar. Or Alex Pires for modern romantic (making out) music. ;) Or Gal Costa, especially her live album where she sings all the hits Tom Jobim penned. In pagode, you can't beat Beth Carvalho (especially her live albums), in my opinion, although no one has ever heard of her outside Brasil and these days Zeca Pagodinho grabs the headlines in that field. I also like some of Paulino Moska's work.

Your Dominican list omitted one of my personal favorite's, Los Toros. I love Hector Acosta's voice, especially when he re-does the classic merengues and bachatas, and I loved the Indetenibles album.

Regards,
Keith
 

trina

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Keith R said:
Your Dominican list omitted one of my personal favorite's, Los Toros. I love Hector Acosta's voice, especially when he re-does the classic merengues and bachatas, and I loved the Indetenibles album.

Regards,
Keith
Keith, this could've been written by me! Hector Acosta and Rubby Perez, IMO, are the best voices in the DR. And I can sing every word of every song of Indetenibles. Sung badly, but I know the words.

I love Los Toros, Frank Reyes, Alex Bueno, Eddy Herrera. But IMHO, the best voice in Spanish music is Marco Antonio Solis...I.love.him. Carlos Vives and Juanes follow for Spanish, non DR favorites.
 

Marianopolita

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Dec 26, 2003
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Trina...

I decided to leave Dominican artists out of my first post because I always support them when I have a post about music. However, it's interesting that you keep bringing up Indetenibles as your favorite album because I agree it's wonderful but that one gets least played by me. When I pull out a Toros Band cd to listen to I always choose Y no hay problema followed by Pa'la calle and then their tribute album Raíces.

Currently on the market they have an album (which I own) called Clásicos y Algo más and by the end of this month they will have a brand new release.

As well, I am proud to see you like Carlos Vives. Since when? I have never heard you mention him before. I included him in my first post of 'elite' artists which I truly believe he is. I like him for vallenato only though but he's very talented in that he can clearly switch from one genre to another.

LDG.


An excerpt from Clave Digital 11/1/2005 6:39:39 PM
MUSICA


El Torito se encuentra actualmente trabajando en una nueva producción que verá la luz a final de este mes de noviembre y que incluirá merengue y bachata. Por Estados Unidos se encuentra realizando una gira bachatera.
 

clara

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Lesley D said:
Issac Delgado- by my definition Issac is a living legend. He is a sonero, salsero and timbalero. His music is an example of the essence of Cuban rhythms. Any album in the last ten years would be a great buy. My suggestions: Prohibido (2005), Versos en el cielo (2004), Otra Idea (1997).[


I love to see Isaac Delgado getting mentioned. What about his 2000 Malecon album? It was a hit the first time I went to Cuba and will always have special memories for me.

Other Cuban bands I love...Los Van Van (we can't stop playing their 2004 Chapeando).

And a former Van Van member who broke out on his own and is doing some great stuff is Pupi y Los que Son Son.

And can't leave out another Cuban group now based in France, Orishas. In terms of Latin rap this is definitely the best group in my opinion.
 

trina

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Lesley D said:
I decided to leave Dominican artists out of my first post because I always support them when I have a post about music. However, it's interesting that you keep bringing up Indetenibles as your favorite album because I agree it's wonderful but that one gets least played by me. When I pull out a Toros Band cd to listen to I always choose Y no hay problema followed by Pa'la calle and then their tribute album Ra?ces.

Currently on the market they have an album (which I own) called Cl?sicos y Algo m?s and by the end of this month they will have a brand new release.

Different strokes for different folks, I guess. We have 5 Los Toros Band CD's, and this one is by far my favorite. I think it's just a really fun CD, and I can listen to it over and over - it gets me bopping in the car all the time.

As well, I am proud to see you like Carlos Vives. Since when? I have never heard you mention him before. I included him in my first post of 'elite' artists which I truly believe he is. I like him for vallenato only though but he's very talented in that he can clearly switch from one genre to another.
I have been a Carlos Vives fan for a while. I first became interested when Angel introduced me to "Tengo Fe". That was probably his least popular, but best album, IMO. "El Amor de me Tierra" and "D?jame Entrar" solidified my feelings that he is well on his way to becoming one of the legends. When I talk about music, my first love is Dominican music, and next love is Marco Antonio Solis...I usually don't make it a point to go beyond that, but yes, there is all kinds of music and several great artists that I listen to.
 

Marianopolita

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Clara & Trina

Clara,

I was wondering when someone would comment on Issac Delgado. As I said in my first post IMO he's a living legend and artists like him are gifted with the art to sing and/or play an instrument. He's very well respected by other Cuban musicians, his compatriots, other soneros and most of all by his fans. I have followed his career completely and thus far it's been a pleasure to listen to his music and see him come into his own as a reputable and talented artist. Cuban music would not be the same without Issac. Adalberto Alvarez, another renowned sonero who has done some duets with Issac on several occasions has the utmost respect for him and if you buy his recent release Prohibido read the tribute to Issac from Adalberto. His words are so genuine and very true. BTW his nickname is el ch?vere de la salsa and Adalberto's is el caballero del son-very appropriate for both artists.

The album you mentioned Malec?n (2000) I am not familiar with it although I suspect it's under a different name. Record companies sometimes change the title of an album and it may be under a different title in different regions. The 2000 album I have from Issac is La primera noche with the hit track being La sandunguita. Otherwise I will have to seek that album to add it to my collection.

As for Orishsas I have heard of them, I know who they are but because I don't like rap music they don't appeal to me. However, I know they are popular in Europe. As for Los Van Van, NG La Banda etc. they are good Cuban bands as well. Not really for me but I know they have some good music.


Trina,

Thanks for responding- very nice as usual. Carlos Vives is really a talented artist and it's interesting that you mention that album Tengo fe. I love that album and you are absolutely correct it is the least popular in his vallenato collection. I was spending time in Colombia when that album was released and radio commentators always made jokes about its lack of popularity and the fact it was too 'mellow' for Vives. One announcer even said: es porque ya no tiene su melena- hilarious! Indeed Carlos Vives is special. D?jame entrar is a good album too.


-All for now


LDG.
 
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clara

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LDG:

The Issac Delgado CD I am referring to includes hits such as "La Formula", his cover of "Hotel California", "Gracias a la Vida", and a bonus track of "La Vida es un Carnaval", which was written by Issac but made famous by Celia Cruz. I bought it in Havana but it was Made in Canada.

If you haven't already, give Orishas a try one day. I know many people who are not rap fans who really enjoy their music, especially if you are interested in Afro-Cuban culture. They have great harmonies and much of their stuff is actually quite melodic. They also do nice fusion with traditional son...

Clara
 

Marianopolita

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Clara...

Okay I know which album you are referring to and I do have it but I don't play it as much as the others. As I suspected the title is different. In terms of Afro-Cuban culture yes, from a music perspective I am curious and basically anything Cuban intrigues me. Regarding Orishas I would definitely have to sample their music before I consider buying a cd. I don't think I will take the risk without listening to it first. Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it.

In brief the three Cuban artists that have taken over my soul are: Albita Rodríguez, Issac Delgado and Adalberto Alvarez. Of course there are many other good ones but those three have my all-star vote.


-Take care
-Feliz fin de semana

LDG.
 

El_cubano

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Get Orisha's last CD, El Kilo.

It's pretty good, saw them the other day here in Miami. By the way only one member is based is France, the others are in Spain and Italy.

Don't miss the last song, "Quien te dijo a ti..." with Pitbull and "El Kilo" .
 

Ricardo900

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Jose Jose, Ricardo Montaner, Juan Gabriel, Joan Sebastian, Luis Miguel, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Victor Manuel, Tito Rojas, Celia Cruz, Hector Lavoe.