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Back to Da Barrio

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Album Review

Michael Stuart claims to bring it home on his 2006 release Back to da Barrio, and after a career that has flirted with the urban as much as claimed the Latino, this record definitely makes good on its boast. While there are plenty of hints that this isn't your abuelita's salsa, salsa it is nonetheless. Leaving his drum sequencer at home for these sessions, the instrumentation and arrangement are more akin to the likes of Oscar d'León than the hip-hop-tinged Stuart audiences have come to know. The preceding record, Sin Miedo, harkened to the dance club or the cruisin' strip as much as it did the salsa dancehall. Not so in his first project for the Machete Music label, which is ironic, considering the urban slant of the majority of their productions. The round, rich tone of the record seems to emulate the fat '70s timbre of New York salsa's heyday. Stuart brings a certain barrio bad-boy quality to all of his projects, and that is certainly present, despite the classic aesthetic. Hearing Stuart in this context feels quite natural, and the results of the new direction are rockin'. The writing is among the hippest in modern salsa, and the stylistically savvy band, including some guaguancó, bomba, and comparsa sounds fresh and enticing. Old style with a new attitude is a great combination, in Stuart's hands. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez, Rovi

Customer Reviews

This is a Grammy, a totally must have album...

Brothers and sisters, this cd is totally awesome. Michael Stuart From Da Barrio is perfectly done. His voice, the way he fuse reggaeton songs into sallllsa, is incredible. He is the 1st in ever trying something like this, now you gonna see a lot of salsa singers to do the same with reggaeton songs. A wonderful idea from Michael Stuart in doing reggaeton songs into salsa so the kids and youngers that don't have an idea about Salsa or didn't want to know, to make them listen Salsa Gorda with songs everybody already knows from their original rhythm. This is a Grammy bro', congratulations. Pa'lante boricua, voy a ti.

Muy Caliente

This CD is muy claiente. You can not tell that he is mixing reggaeton with salsa unless you listen to a lot of reggeaton like me. This CD makes me feel like I am back in the 70's in East Harlem and if you don't know what I mean go watch Carlitos Way.


I had low expectations for this album since I hadn't enjoyed a Michael Stuart in quite awhile, but wow, he pleasantly surprised me with this album. This is possibly his best work since his debut 10 years ago. Listen to the sample and hear for yourself. I was shocked to find out that these songs has were originally reggaeton songs. Michael's reinterpretation of the songs brings something completley new to these tunes. Excelent!


Genre: Música tropical

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Next generation Nuyorrican salsa singer Michael Stuart was born January 5, 1975 in NYC of Puerto Rican parents who emigrated to the city in the '60s. He spent significant amounts of time both in New York and Puerto Rico throughout his childhood. From a very young age, he was influenced by his uncle, bandleader Israel "Timbalero" Stuart, and his father's love for music. Playing together at home with his mentors, Stuart became familiar with the percussion instruments and melodies that laid the groundwork...
Full Bio
Back to Da Barrio, Michael Stuart
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Customer Ratings