Happy holidays Salseros! We hope you had a scrumptious Thanksgiving meal and that you managed to burn off all those calories on the dance floor. From here forward we have five solid weeks of parties and celebrations, so we’re thinking you can use some of the new music listed below. Enjoy yourselves this holiday season!
Hovedoen Social Club – SLYNGER JULEN INN
We’ll start with this release that is perfect for the season. You’ll recognize most of the melodies, although you may understand only some of the lyrics. This is a record by Norwegian ensemble Hovedoen Social Club, in which you’ll hear season favorites like “Jingle Bells,” “Frosty the Snowman,” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” like you’ve never have before – in Norwegian! Some of the songs are in English, though, like “All I Want for Christmas is You,” one of our favorites, in the lovely voice of Silya Nymoen. “Santa Baby” has been put into a cha-cha step in the melodious voice of Alexandra Joner, and “Vinter og Sne”[Winter and Snow] is delightfully interpreted by the Norwegian group Pitsj. “When you Wish Upon a Star” will remind you of both Christmas and Disneyland, as Helge Sunde sings… ala Donald Duck! Really an enjoyable work, you can listen and purchase it at Amazon.com.
Charlie Aponte – PA’ MI GENTE
When Aponte separated from El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico after decades as part of it, we wondered what we could expect to hear from him next. Well, there’s no reason to wonder anymore, with the release of PA’ MI GENTE [For My People], a record that was made definitely with the dancers in mind. Every song should work on the dance floor, with some that we want to highlight. The promotional song, which shares the name of the album, was written by Juan Jose Hernandez and Michael Stuart and is energetic and full of flavor. “La Salsa se Hizo Para Bailar” [Salsa was made to dance] is another lively one. “Mi niña, Mi Flor” [My Daughter, My Flower] is an emotional song that we totally expect to start hearing at weddings everywhere, as it portrays a father singing about his daughter as she is about to get married. Finally, perfect for the season, listen to “Aires Navideños” [Christmas Airs], a parranda that celebrates the holiday spirit in Puerto Rico. Listen to this good album here.
Tromboranga – TUMBANDO FRONTERAS
The great group Tromboranga, based in Spain, has, as its name suggests, energetic and forceful metal sounds. It is now presenting a ninth production – TUMBANDO FRONTERAS [Knocking Down Borders], and there is no song in this album that will let you down. The first track: “Otro Ladrillo en la Pared” [Another brick on the wall], is a rather political song with which the band ascertains that being an immigrant is no crime. There is also a great cha-cha entitled “Hortensia,” a timba called “Y No Lo Digo Yo” [It’s not me who says it], a bolero with the title “Tu y Yo” [You and I], a song dedicated to Buenaventura, Colombia, and the final track with the title “Pachango Chango,” which is a great descarga. On the spotlight are Venezuelan singer Freddy Ramos and Cuban Diego Coppinger, who are backed by a solid group of musicians under the direction of Venezuelan Joaquin Arteaga. Trust us, you want to listen to this music. Peruse the album and purchase here.
Cubanisms – ACENTO CUBANO
Cubanisms is a septet formed in Kansas City by tres player Michael McClintock. Their album, ACENTO CUBANO [Cuban Accents] has various rhythms and fusions, some of which should work great on the dance floor. What we like the best about this album is the vocal prowess demonstrated by Fedra Cooper and Bruno Bessa, with Cooper handling songs that are traditionally performed by male singers. The septet’s version of “El Cuarto de Tula” [Tula’s Room] is fantastic. You can listen and purchase on Spotify and CDBaby.com.
Simon Monserrat and DJeli – #LATINO
This album has several tracks that you’ll love to dance to, and a few that are absolute art. One of our favorites for the dance floor is “Mofongo,” a song introducing you to the classic Puerto Rican dish. “La Rumba Que Traigo Yo” [The rumba that I bring] is an amazing fusion of guaguanco with flamenco in the voices of Angeles Gomez and Raciel Garces Espinoza. “Latibonito” starts slow and builds into a guajira showcasing the voice of Haitian singer Roger Chatelain with a trombone solo by Martin Palsson that we really dig. This album is outstanding work by leader Simon Monserrat, who was born in Venezuela but has lived in Sweden for many years. Listen and purchase here.
Mista Savona – HAVANA MEETS KINGSTON
If you love reggae you are bound to love this album that fuses it with Afro-Cuban sounds. There are 15 tracks in this record, produced by Australia’s leading reggae and dancehall producer Mista Savona, featuring both emerging and legendary musicians from Cuba and Jamaica. You must listen to this version of “El Cuarto de Tula” [Tula’s Room], which is full of rhythm and energy and renders it impossible to stay still (see video here). We also recommend this fresh take on “Chan, Chan,” as well as “La Sitiera,” which features Beatriz Marquez’s fantastic voice and Ronaldo Luna on the piano. Listen and purchase the album here.
Vicente Garcia – “Bachata en Kingston”
While we’re talking about Kingston, Vicente Garcia’s song, which just earned him the Latin Grammy in the Best Tropical Song category , is one you want to have if you appreciate Bachata in your life. The song is part of A LA MAR, the album that won him the Latin Grammy for Best Singer-Songwriter Album. “Bachata en Kingston” is a nice fusion of Bachata with Reggae sounds, and there are several other bachata fusions in the album. Fusions are putting Garcia on the spotlight. He’s Dominican born, living in Colombia, and we expect to hear much more from him in the future. Listen and purchase the album here.
Tumbao Bravo – EL NIDO/THE NEST
Tumbao Bravo is a group based in Michigan and led by North American saxophonist Paul Vorhhagen and Mexican conga player Alberto Nacif. Since at some point you’ll have to stop dancing and instead sit down to enjoy some holiday meals, this is the album that you want on the background, filled with delightful Latin Jazz sounds. We dare you, however, to keep still while listening to the promotional song, which shares the album’s title – it’s a contagious track full of flavor and rhythm. Listen and purchase the album here.
Ayumi “Azucar” Suzuki & Ayumania – OUKAGEKKA
Here’s another one for your listening pleasure. Ayumi Suzuki is a Japanese multi-instrumentalist and composer that here presents seven original songs and two covers – “Maria Cervantes” was composed by Noro Morales, and “Mi Amore” by Naoya Matzuoka; the rest are Suzuki’s own compositions. Within the album you’ll hear her play marimba, vibraphone, trumpet, and timbales. This album would be perfect to listen during your holiday dinners, although you’ll find it challenging to stay still through “Saredo Danzon” which, as the name reveals, starts as a danzon that later turns into a contagious cha-cha. You must also appreciate the voice of Cuban singer Julian “El Pillo” Tapia, which is showcased in several tracks. Listen and purchase the album here.
Ron Francis Blake – ASSIMILATION
Delightful Latin Jazz coming from California and featuring several Los Angeles musicians, ASSIMILATION another fantastic option to accompany your holiday dinners. Trumpet player Ron Francis Blake gathered top musicians of the likes of Poncho Sanchez, Joey De Leon, Joe Rotondi, Rene Camacho, Francisco Torres, and the silky voice of Cuban singer Adonis Puentes. This album has five original songs by Blake, plus two covers (“You and Me” and “Mr. Bond/Half and Half”). Listen and purchase it here.
Jon Secada – TO BENY MORE WITH LOVE
This is not brand new as it was released in March of this year, but we love it, and it just became the Latin Grammy winner in the Best Traditional Tropical Album category. Jon Secada’s beautiful voice is backed by The Charlie Sepulveda Big Band, performing Ray Santos’ fresh arrangements of Beny More’s classic songs. We’re talking about gorgeous tracks like “Como Fue” and “Que Bueno Baila Usted.” Listen and purchase this album here.
Olga Tañon – OLGA TAÑON Y PUNTO
This is also a recent Latin Grammy winner, this time in the Best Tropical Fusion Album category. Olga here opened her doors and offered her voice to all sorts of music genres, including vallenato, bachata, merengue, and reggaeton. One of our favorite tracks is “Vuelve A Mi” [Come Back to Me], a bachata that she shares with Dominican singer Fernando Villalona. Another favorite is “Miro Pa’l Cielo” [I Look Up to Heaven], which she sings with Pirulo. This song has a beat of Timba that is lively and contagious. Listen and purchase this album here.
There you have it folks – 12 awesome new albums to fill up your holiday parties with music. We wish you a month full of celebration and dance and that you have a very Merry Christmas. We’ll be back with more towards the end of the year.