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Santana: Supernatural Santana: Supernatural

Santana’s latest release, Supernatural, has taken the U.S. by storm. Deservedly so, the band has taken center stage under pop music’s spotlight with a creative, modern, soon to be classic album that blends Carlos Santana’s distinct sound with emerging and established artists from R&B, Latin, Rock, and Alternative worlds.

Compay Segundo: Calle Segundo Compay Segundo: Calle Segundo

El Viejo Compay is already onto his second release while the rest of his bandmates from the now legendary Buena Vista Social Club work on their first solo album. Segundo has cast a wider net this time around. Lucky for us, it’s more of the same beautiful songs sung by that unmistakable voice.

Shakira: Laundry Service Shakira: Laundry Service

And the result is…disappointment. Unfortunately, too much bleach was added to this load of laundry. Lacking direction and overproduced, the new Shakira album is more of a thwarted attempt than a triumph.

Shakira: Unplugged Shakira: Unplugged

With a new live album, modeling Dirty Denim Jeans in a print ad for Calvin Klein, and an English language album in the works, it is safe to assume that Shakira is poised to pounce on the U.S. Her recognizable voice and new arrangements on favorite songs make MTV Unplugged a success.

Shakira: Donde Estan Los Ladrones? Shakira: Donde Estan Los Ladrones?

Shakira is the Catholic Latin American version of Alanis Morissette or the French Zazie. Her second album, 'Donde Estan Los Ladrones' is lyrically more complex than her debut album. Musically, though, you’d be hard pressed to find a progression. The catchy, danceable pop remains. Add an infectious Alanis-y voice, and damn! she’s one fun revolucionaria.

Si*Sé: Si*Sé Si*Sé: Si*Sé

David Byrne sure can pick 'em. Si*Sé, another find for his innovative Luaka Bop label, show off their wares in an eclectic bilingual Spanish/English debut.

Tributo a Soda Stereo Soda Stereo: Tributo

Seminal Argentine rock en español band Soda Stereo was due for a tribute anyway. Too bad that this one is a bit uneven.

Various Artists: Fuerza Various Artists: Fuerza

Latin, rock, ska, reggae, rap, electronic—there’s a bit of everything on this compilation from Virgin France. The hodgepodge of diverse fusions provides a sampling of what’s happening mostly in Paris and Barcelona, as well as in New York and Havana.

Various Artists: The New Latinaires/Beleza Tropical Various Artists: The New Latinaires/Beleza Tropical

The following compilations are amalgams of widely different music that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. The New Latinaires is an antiserum of sound; a blend of techno and percussion that is long overdue while Beleza Tropical conquers itself with its range, leaving us with little sense of harmony.

Various Artists: Red Hot+Lisbon Various Artists: Red Hot+Lisbon

The Red Hot Organization has been providing us with Red Hot and Something for the last ten years. The Original Red Hot & Blue stands out as a personal favorite, while Red Hot &Rio a few years back is a notch below this latest release in my opinion. This latest album, Onda Sonora, is exceptional. Culled from African, Brazilian, Spanish, French, and American musical influences, both traditional and modern, this disc shows that unlikely marriages can in fact work.


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