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Que Suenen los Tambores

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Album Review

Victor Manuelle pre-released three singles from Que Suenen los Tambores. Fans reacted well to their rhythmic and stylistic diversity. The title track was his 24th trip to the top spot on the Tropical Songs Airplay chart. Its charging trombones, fierce montunos, and frenetic congas and claves helped to deliver one of the very best salsa tunes in his career. The second single, "Agua Bendita," is the album opener. It commences with a lithe vallenato accordion recalling the singer's collaborations with Jorge Celedon. It quickly shifts into one of Manuelle's familiar salsa romanticos yet transforms further still after the chorus enters. His soneros experiment with different phrasing as myriad Latin rhythms slip in and out of the track's salsa frame. The string-laden ballad "Algo le Pasa a Mi Héroe" was the third single. Melancholic and lovely, it reveals the very personal toll Alzheimer's disease takes on the sufferer and his or her family (in this case, Manuelle's father). These three cuts offer a way in to Que Suenen los Tambores. "La Vida Perfecta" weds breezy bachata to salsa moderna, with ingenious horn charts and a vocal chorus line that weds pop and jazz. "Sal a Bailar" is a smoking party anthem that will drive everyone to the dancefloor, while "Isabela," a classic salsa (with soaring trombones), is a loving and celebratory tribute to the Puerto Rican town where Manuelle was raised. When taken together, all 13 tracks (there are two different versions of the title tune) on Que Suenen los Tambores offer an ambitious, dizzying statement that combines everything the singer does best with wide-ranging ambition as he experiments with many rhythmic styles. It is one of the sharpest and most focused records of his career.


Born: 27 September 1968 in New York, NY [The Bronx]

Genre: Salsa and Tropical

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Victor Manuelle emerged as a leading voice among the generation of New York salsa performers who rose to prominence in the mid-'90s, along with Marc Anthony and India, who were his only rivals in terms of success and popularity. Mentored by Gilberto Santa Rosa and produced by Sergio George, Manuelle regularly topped the tropical charts during his mid-'90s peak, as his albums Victor Manuelle (1996) and A Pesar de Todo (1997) spun off a parade of number one hits. The esteemed sonero continued his hitmaking...
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Que Suenen los Tambores, Victor Manuelle
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