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Michi Sarmiento y Su Bravo

Aqui Los Bravos!: The Best of Michi Sarmiento y Su Combo Bravo 1967-77

(Soundway; US: 24 May 2011; UK: 25 Apr 2011)

“I beat them with my salsa,” says Michi Sarmiento, aged, interviewed, sitting in a chair. Aqui Los Bravos! is not a salsa album—the tracks are drenched with his native Colombia, and everything that isn’t already cumbia sounds as if it wouldn’t mind turning into cumbia if you gave it half a chance—but it has that ambition, I beat them, that urge to make music so effective that no one can dispute its superiority. He introduces contrasts to emphasise the vigour. “La Vaca Nueva” opens with milky brass, then the other instruments erupt. There’s a unison of brass and percussion in “A Los Sicodelicos” that takes place against fizz. In “Vamos Negra” we hear the audience cheering, and the musicians toast one another in the middle of the song, and the energy and self-belief of the music saves everything from seeming too self-congratulatory, too grasping, too hokey—yes indeed dear audience, your judgement is accurate, we really are that fine. Good on you for your honesty.


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