Cartagena, on Colombia’s northern coast, is considered the cradle of several key Afro-Caribbean styles, notably the easy groove of cumbia and the more piquant champeta. The DJ and production duo of José Alvarado and Mani Romero (collaborating, on this EP, with fellow Cartagenan Pablo Messier) slice and dice their hometown’s musical history – with evident affection, mind you – and generate jams that are playful, punchy, and highly persuasive. The trio of tracks here kicks off with “El Publico”, a sturdy chunk of midtempo digital cumbia with a dash of dub. The pressure rises with “El Espeluque”, a bouncing, fidgety bit of champeta – it’s got a bit of bite, but won’t draw blood. (If you dig it, be sure to grab the Broders’ earlier track “Vacile Champeta Africana”, a free download.) Things wrap up with a nice, shiny remix of “Mambo Bado”, a cheerful number from Orchestra Makassy, East African soukous band of the late ’70s. There you go… happy now?
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