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Badi Assad: Verde Badi Assad: Verde
Cool, breezy and edgy, Badi Assad's latest release Verde is refreshing. Showing off a variety of styles deeply rooted in Brazilian sound, Assad is playful and daring.

Aterciopelados: Gozo Poderoso Aterciopelados: Gozo Poderoso
Ethereal, warm and electronic, the latest Aterciopelados release is worth seeking out. Breezy and warm, Andrea Acheverri's beautiful vocals merge with trippy lyrics and cosmic sounds that work off of each other brilliantly to create a melodious album.

Beat Wave Argentina Beat Wave: Argentina
Those crazy Argentines are at it again. A compilation of laid back lounge music titled Beatwave Argentina is the latest offering from Sonic 360, the London label responsible for bringing Kinky and Nortec Collective to the spotlight.

Buena Vista Social Club presents: Omara Portuondo Buena Vista Social Club presents: Omara Portuondo
"La Chica Mas Sexy de Cuba", as anointed by her onstage beau, Ibrahim Ferrer, has finally released her own solo effort. Solo only in so many words, as many musicians from the original Buena Vista Social Club appear, only this time they are playing her song. Ibrahim Ferrer, Ruben Gonzalez, Cachaito Lopez, Eliades Ochoa, Compay Segundo are all here as well as many other accomplished musicians who make this truly a dream band.

Gustavo Cerati: Siempre Es Hoy Gustavo Cerati: Siempre Es Hoy
Gustavo Cerati's latest effort is not a strategically marketed "crossover" album. Hallelujah! Pass the collection basket! It's actually good, not overyhyped (Juanes) nor overproduced (Shakira).

Gustavo Cerati: Bocanada Gustavo Cerati: Bocanada
Argentine Gustavo Cerati of Soda Stereo fame (one of South America’s most influential rock bands) latest solo release is compelling both lyrically and musically. Cerati himself produced the album, and that speaks volumes for his talent.

Manu Chao: Radio Bemba Sound System Manu Chao: Radio Bemba Sound System
For his first live album release, Manu Chao's mellowness has for the most part been abandoned for an ardent blend of reggae and ska along with salsa and traditional Mexican sounds. On a live disc, these vibrant sounds make for an awesome dance party.

Manu Chao: Próxima Estación: Esperanza Manu Chao: Próxima Estación: Esperanza
Unfortunately the highly anticipated follow up to Chao's brilliant Clandestino falls short. Apparently this musical hobo has abandoned introspective lyrics for the time being in favor of the pleasures of marijuana and radio station samples. Of course, coming up with clever lyrics and singing in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and German (?) is no small feat either.

Manu Chao: Clandestino Manu Chao: Clandestino
Mano Chao deserves all the accolades he's received for this album. A hybrid of languages and rhythms, he doesn't sacrifice lyrical substance for musicality. Since Chao is the type of singer whose songs are best heard in a small club, the disc has an intimate feel about it.

Ry Cooder & Manuel Galban: Mambo Sinuendo Ry Cooder & Manuel Galban: Mambo Sinuendo
The excitement of the Buena Vista Social Club phenomenon has passed, though not without converting more than a few people eager to hear more from that influential little island. On Ry Cooder's latest release he not only takes us back to Cuba, but he takes us back in time to futuristic Cuban lounge.


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