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Sofrito: Tropical Discotheque

Various Artists

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iTunes Review

Compiled by the people who put on the London dance party known as Sofrito, this excellent 2011 collection draws its mostly vintage tracks from a number of African and Caribbean sources. Rhythms, languages, and styles vary, and the grooves — in all their glory — are relentless. The album opens with “Quiero Amanacer” by Colombia’s Banda Los Hijos de la Nina Luz. The exuberant accordion playing and rumbling percussion should get anybody within earshot shimmying. Les Ya Toupas du Zaire’s “Jen ne bois pas beaucoup” is a slice of extraordinary Congolese soukous; it's fierce and gentle at the same time. Adolfo Echeverria y Su Conjunto’s “Sabroso Bacalao” is hard-hitting salsa, while El Timba sounds a little deranged on the superb “Descarga Bontempi.” Safohene Djeni’s “Mahu Wo Asie” is comprised of a web of guitars and keyboards that gets stabbed with high-hat accents and is topped by distinctive vocals, and Ti Celeste’s “Popilation basse-Terrienne au Abois” features great bass, chattering backup singers, and a sax solo that tickles. All and all, it feels funny to mention just some of the tracks on an album that just never lets up.

Sofrito: Tropical Discotheque
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