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Various Artists

The Rough Guide to Latin Street Party

(World Music Network; US: 26 Aug 2008; UK: 25 Aug 2008)

In by now established …Street Party style, this latest roundup stretches its definition to the seam-splitting limit, leaving no disapora unturned in its pursuit of all things fiesta. In light of the recent Rough Guide to Salsa Gold, there’s not much for the purist.  Rather, like its sister comps, this looks at the scene in real time, serving up as much commercially-minded miscegenation as it does surprises: merengue and mariachi brass slumming it with hip hop; an almost West Africa-flinty guitar amid the bachata-romantica of Aventura’s “Ciego de Amor”; hectoring, Afro-Latin-Caribbean electro-engineering courtesy of London’s Sidestepper; pool breeze-ruffled latin jazz from Brighton’s Quantic by way of Puerto Rico’s Candela Allstars. It’s the Pimps of Joytime, though, who most tellingly update the party potential of 70s Nu Yorica, and not just in name—a hint of Sly Stone falsetto, rolling salsa-funk arrangements and an extended, Chicano-rock coda.  Picante!

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