ARTIST: Sonido Gallo Negro
TITLE: Mambo Cosmico
Sonido Gallo Negro (SGN), an eight-piece band from Mexico City, expand their horizons on their third album. Until now, they’ve focused on an updated version of the Peruvian psychedelic cumbia called chicha. Their second album, Sendero Mistico, was outstanding, one of my favorite recording of 2014 – it stands alongside Chicha Libre’s Canibalismo at the pinnacle of the chicha revival movement. There’s still plenty of the Peruvian sound here: 3 and 9 are right up there with Sendero Mistico’s best tracks. Two covers are the key to SGN’s expanded vision: 2 is a Colombian porro (big-band cumbia) classic by Lucho Bermudez given a psychedelic twist, and 5 (best known in its English-language version, Dean Martin’s 1954 hit “Sway”) is a bolero-mambo turned into surf rock. The title track (1) is a mambo from outer space, or maybe sped-up exotica; elsewhere on the album you’ll hear cha-cha-chas, danzons and even a little bit of Middle Eastern flavor. This admixture of lounge, surf and Latin underlies the excellent music of Mexico’s Matorralman and the USA’s Orkesta Mendoza, and it works well for SGN also. A slight left turn, definitely not a detour.
TOP TRACKS: 1 2 3 5 9
ALSO RECOMMENDED: 4 6 7 8 10 11
Bill Lupoletti is world music director at WRIR 97.3 FM and wrir.org in Richmond, Virginia, where he hosts the Global A Go-Go radio program on Wednesdays at 3 PM and writes the globalagogo.com world music blog.