The music on The Rough Guide to Latin Funk is, exactly as it says on the box, Latin Funk. We have funk from Venezuelans, funk rap sung in Spanish, funk with batá drums, slinky Cuban funk, funk that mingles Willie Colon with Manu Dibango makossa, hot funk, cool funk, piano funk, funk of all speeds, moods, and flavors, as long as the flavors are American-Latin. If you only want a little bit of funk then this is not the album for you. Pablo Yglesias works smartly to vary the mix, taking us from a hard track to a softer one, putting the barnyard sound of roosters and guitars on Ozomatli’s “La Gallina” between the rap-electronic mix of Up, Bustle & Out’s “Bristol Brooklyn Bridge” and the sex-chilled burp of Nortec Collective’s “Funky Tamazula” but anyone not totally dedicated to funk will be overwhelmed by the end. “Too much funk,” they will say. “Too much of the same beat, over and over again. And if the men from Up, Bustle & Out say, “From the east to the west, from the east to the west, from the east to the west,” just one more time I am going to scream.
// Notes from the Road
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