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The various artists present on the Lula Lounge Essential Tracks Vol. 1, which was released on Feb. 22 on Lula Lounge Records, resounds with the fervent dance music of the Caribbean and Latin America. The album is a gathering of Latin dance-oriented artists that reflect scorching Cuban talent, the intersection of cultures and the exuberant community that has turned Toronto into a Latin music locale.
In the style known as Charanga Francesa with the addition of Cuban tres guitar, “La Molotera” from Tipica Toronto led by master flutist Jorge Maza is incredibly danceable with a light feeling and smooth flow while keeping the beat lively. “La Crisis” was arranged and composed by Roberto Linares Brown, one of Cuba’s most talented arrangers and composers. Brown began his career with Cuban groups such as Valentin y Los Del Caribe, Azucar Negra and Adalberto Alvarez. It’s a song listeners will want to grab the nearest person and samba to. Its island vibe brought about by expert percussion work, sax play and a splash of piano in the background makes this a song that could be heard on the upcoming season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.
“Cántame Sonera” from Lady Son evokes the sound of Cuban Guajiro and Son Montuno. Lady Son is famous for her commanding vocals, innovative compositions and distinctive arrangements. It’s a song listeners might want to cha-cha to with its speedy rhythm. “Guaguanco” from Changüi Habana is a song from one of Toronto’s newer ensembles, this 12-piece all-Cuban group, led by Robelcys Martinez moves naturally from salsa and merengue to cumbia, bachata and rough street-style timba. The song’s percussion work is sure to get listeners in the mood to shake their bon bons.
“Ron Con Ron” from Juno Award winner and Grammy nominee saxophonist Jane Bunnett begins with acoustic guitar, which fades then percussion enters and then Bunnett lets her adept sax skills roam free. Bunnett is a fixture on the Canadian Latin music scene with her revolutionary foray into Afro-Cuban music and culture.
Finally, a bonus track on the album, “Mi Mambo Pide Campana” from Luisito Orbegoso & Moda Eterna, was inspired by classic New York salsa artists like Ray Barretto. Recorded Live @ Lula!, Peruvian-born Orbegoso is one of Canada’s most sought-after Latin percussionists. Listeners will feel the intensity of this song as Orbegoso pounds away and the unmistakable Cuban rhythm could make listeners envision hearing this song being played live at the opening of the hottest new Latin dance club in town.
In closing, the assortment of artists found on Lula Lounge Essential Tracks Vol. 1 is sure to satisfy listeners who crave the heat and passion of the authentic Latin and Cuban rhythm.