Caribe - Locos Por Juana

Rock The Moon Productions

A good rule of thumb for newbies to global music is to check out the great compilation albums available. These have been curated by experts in the genre and often created as samplers to encourage the curious to dip their toes into sounds from specific cultures or locations. Ongoing collections from the Rough Guide or Putumayo are good examples which provide contemporary, accessible cross-sections of global fare. My point being that relying on a specific album by a specific artist to  be your sole introduction to South Asian, African, Caribbean or Latin music, for instance, may give the uninitiated a narrow perspective. Caribe from Los Por Juana flies in the face of everything I’ve just said. As a matter of fact, Caribe is exactly the album I wish was available a quarter century ago when I was first smitten by the rhythms of Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean. It’s polished like a gem and grooves on big fat dancefloor beats. “We didn’t sit down and decide we needed to get more reggae, or to sing in English,” explains guitarist Mark Kondrat, “It came naturally. You can’t force things in music, or in life. You have to let the timing be what it is, let things flow out  of a really pure place.” The timing of Caribe is perfect for Locos Por Juanes. Its positive flow and smile-inducing splashes of Soca, African Highlife and Colombian Champeta are like an uplifting, healing balm of unity for an American nation sinking in division and fear. The blossoming of this kind of Pan-Caribbean vibe could have found no more fertile ground than Miami, Fla. “ It’s a beautiful evolution of people and countries coming together,” offers Colombia-born singer, Itawe Correa. “You can feel Latin America without going there.” Some notable outside talent add to the compilation feel of Caribe with contributions from Ghana’s Rocky Dawuni, Bermuda’s Collie Buddz, Colombian crew, ChocQuibTown, Cuban hip hoppers Los Aldeanos on the title and others. ‘Summertime’ featuring Boston’s Dispatch is one to bank for when the weather turns warm, ‘Mueve, Mueve’ or Move, Move is groove-laden reminder to dance like nobody’s watchin’, and ‘Se te Ki e To’s mashup of High Life and Soca is like a solar shot of Vitamin D. Caribe’s fifteen tracks are the fast track to fresh ears becoming hard fans and for the rest of us, a brilliant reminder of what made us fall in love with this music in the first place.

 

Key tracks : All of them!