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La Corona

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Album Review

It's Cuban music, but not as you might know it. The roots are proudly displayed, with some wonderful work on the tres and the subtle layers of percussion, but on top, along with Cuban musical styles, there's plenty of hip-hop, proof that there's more to Guantanamo than a prison. The title track offers a Cuban nod toward R&B but throughout hip-hop flashes its colors, without sounding in the least American, a massive achievement in itself. There are some wonderfully strange twists, like the way "La Lenta" slows at the end, or the booming bass drum that powers "Boca Floja." In "El Reugo" the chord sequence and song rival the classic "Chan Chan," where aching violin adds to the atmosphere, while the electro of "Salsa" offers a pan-Latin mix of styles — some cumbia, and even a touch of, yes, salsa, in the trumpet at the end. What Madera Limpia have created here is something wonderfully fresh and exciting, one of the most innovative albums to appear out of Cuba after heavy waves of nostalgia.

La Corona, Madera Limpia
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