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Album Review

There is really no reason to toy with the proven symbiosis between the gypsy violin of Willie Royal and the flamenco guitar of Wolfgang "Lobo" Fink, which has created one of the more intriguing and organic (not to mention popular) global-flavored sounds. Yet on Willie & Lobo's latest, Caliente, co-producers Braun and George Nauful try to stir things up with a few urban loops and dance grooves, which are hip to a point but stand as too stark a contrast to the duo's simple, swaying charms. On the awfully busy machinery of the "dance" cut "Noche De Tangier," which is an otherwise glorious track, they're downright distracting. Fortunately, these noble experiments are balanced by what has always worked best for these guys — simple acoustic harmonies offset by both the sweetly melodic and wild percussive possibilities of the violin. The brooding eight minutes of "Moorish Reunion" show that W&L can be dramatic without all the effects, and are indeed, best served by gentle soundscaping or on outside instrument, such as Braun's always engaging trumpet wrapping around the previously released best cut, "Puerto Vallarta Squeeze."


Formed: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s

Though they were initially discovered while playing at a small club in Puerto Vallarta, the acoustic duo of Willie Royal and Wolfgang "Lobo" Fink had been influenced by the music of the entire world — Royal, though born in Texas, traveled with his Air Force father to Turkey, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands and France, while Fink, born in Germany, also lived in Spain, Jamaica and Mexico. As such, Willie & Lobo's music includes influences from Gypsy music, Tex-Mex, flamenco, hot jazz, reggae,...
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Caliente, Willie & Lobo
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