Anibal Velaquez-Mambo Loco
Probably my most abused LP that I bought this year. I can’t tell how many times I’ve played Mambo Loco at shows or just sitting at home. Velaquez is a master of the accordion and very influential in bringing Colombian Cumbia to the rest of the world. I found that his outside influences, mostly from Cuban music, made his sound easier for people to digest. In my DJ sets, Mambo Loco served as a gateway into Salsa or Merengue or out of that into Cumbia. I’m telling you, this one is straight heat! If you still aren’t a fan of Cumbia after this album, you are probably dead.
Charanjit Singh — Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat
Does House Music have its roots with Charanjit Singh and his box of archaic early 80’s electronic equipment? That is debatable, but what isn’t is that Singh’s electronic Indian Ragas contained some of the freshest sounds to hit my ear in a while. "Raga Bairagi," my favorite track, is a cluster of different Indian influences with Singh’s ear for soundtrack music. It's as if he imagined Moroder working with Herbie Hancock to create the soundtrack to the Indian version of The Warriors.
I can't help but imagine how much fun we would be having now if the Western world had embraced Charanjit Singh in the eighties like they did Ravi Shankar in the sixties.