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Marvin Santiago

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, October 6, 2008 01:04am | Post a Comment

Upon hearing Marvin Santiago’s El Sonero del Pueblo for the first time, I really didn’t know what to make out of it. Marvin’s vocal style is raw, probably too raw for most casual Salsa listeners. But his ability to improvise and to cram every word and syllable in between a choro is hard for anyone to match. Ruben Blades put it best when describing Marvin Santiago’s style: "Marvin is capable of fitting a Mack truck into a parking space where a Volkswagen Beetle won't fit." His raspy voice and lyrical improvisational skills are closer to Reggaeton star Tego Calderon than to someone like Eddie Santiago.

El Sonero Del Pueblo (The People’s Sonero, which was also his moniker), originally released in 1985, is a collection of Marvin’s best material that he recorded for the TH Rodven label. His voice, rough from years of improper vocal training, sounds, as Neil Young once put it, “As real as the day was long.” The recordings that he made for TH Roven sound like the meters on the recording console are peaking deep in the red. The slightly overdriven sound of the band matches the intensity of Santiago’s voice, which is a good thing. It’s like the Salsa version of Black Flag’s The First Four Years. Like that release, El Sonero Del Pueblo is filled with fast songs full of intensity, often layered with humor.

Songs Such as "El Pasajero" (The Passenger) and "Caro Viejo Y Mujer Fea" (Old Car And An Ugly Women) were Salsa Dura classics before there was a term for it. On top of that, try to keep up with Marvin’s thick improvised Puerto Rican colloquialisms. This is one for the dance floor as much as for the people that like to sit and enjoy great musicianship and vocal ability.

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Tango Meets Reggaeton - Calle 13

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, April 27, 2007 02:25am | Post a Comment
calle 13
Everyone's favorite Reggaeton group, Calle 13, released their second album on Tuesday. Residente O Visitante packs as much of a punch as their first release, with many collaberations with other artists. Working with Calle 13 on this release are Tego Calderon from Puerto Rico, La Mala Rodriguez from Spain and Orishas from Cuba. By far the most interesting pairing is Calle 13 with Bajofondo, the electro-tango group from Argentina. If you can imagine Kanye West, Luny Tunes and The Gotan Project getting together to make a song, then you get an idea what the song "Tango Del Pecado" is like. Check it out for yourself:


I know the infamous Viola Galloway, Amoeba Hollywood's world music buyer and Tango enthusiast, is just going to love the new Calle 13! She has been rallying for Reggaeton to fuse with Tango for the last three years!