At first blush, you’d think you’re dealing with another cumbia rock album, especially when you know the spicy background of Colombia’s Ramon Chicharron, a native of Medellin, legally adopted in Quebec a long time ago. But then 12 bars of very Brazilian batucada unexpectedly arrives before we get right back to the heart of the matter, further north in Latin America. Insertion requested! We can feel producer Boogàt’s hand here. Boogàt finally grabs the microphone, does what he does best, and concludes his Latino rap on the first song, “Apretao”, by simply juggling the percussive syllables ‘king’ and ‘kong-kong’. Who else?
Here, we keep it simple.
Winner of the Prix de la diversité en musique awarded in 2018 by the Conseil des arts de Montréal, this small group features guitarists Javier Muňos (half Argentinean, half Colombian) and Adoulaye Koné, our Ivorian veteran with Malian parents. Also worthy of mention are hip hop artists Zalama Crew from the Pacific coast city of Cali, and our beloved Vox Sambou on “Soy de Aqui” (‘I am from here’), who advocates in Haitian Creole the mixing of identities and solidarity before shouting, “No peace without justice!”. A defiant statement for the post-George Floyd era.
Mixed in Mexico City, here are ten lean songs without excess, solidly built on sequences of four chords that will move hips and pop bottlecaps this summer, all on a mix of Afro, Caribbean and Latin rhythms with a touch of electro, almost without keyboards – with the exception of “Recuerdos”, a slow, haunting and neofuturistic song in the Malinké language, performed by the formidable Djely Tapa, Révélation Radio-Canada en musique du monde 2019-2020.
With his distinctive timbre and a certain ease accentuated by his big yellow glasses, this likeable Chicharron, a champeta singer without any headache or megalomania, has undoubtedly succeeded here in his most accomplished recording effort.
Good for spending the summer dancing cheek to cheek.