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World Music CD Reviews, April 2009

Album of the Month

Larry McDonald: Drumquestra
MCPR Music

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It's not often that a reggae-rooted album makes it to the top of my playlists, but here's a welcome exception to that rule. The first solo album from legendary reggae player and Jamaican percussion virtuoso Larry McDonald freshes up the genre, raining down great rhythms and a remarkable cast of guest musicians. Toots Hibbert, Mutabaruka, Dollarman, Shaza and Terri Lion are among the vocalists on the generous 15 tracks, which include elements of hip hop, jazz, even Indian classical music. My early favorites include the positive-rap and rhythm "Brother Man," the percussion-celebrating "Drums Say" and "Drumquestra (Dawn Always Comes)," and the instrumental "Mento in 3." In Drumquestra, a reggae great has made a fantastic global album.

©2009 Scott Allan Stevens, Earball Media

THIS JUST IN! ... New World Music CD Releases


Mexican Institute of Sound: Soy Sauce (Nacional)
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Camilo Lara has so many records it's crushed both his love life ("I don't have a girlfriend, but I have my records.") and his body (back surgery). But not his spirit, which is in boisterous evidence on the latest Mexican Institute of Sound album, Soy Sauce. This album was recorded with a live band, but it still has the DJ sensibility of older MIS tunes. Starting with a zesty track simply called "Cumbia," the album veers all over the alt-Latin landscape, mashing traditional rhythms, gritty rap, jungle noises , and electronica into a crazy Latin mayhem.

"When I was working on Soy Sauce," Lara says, " I was obsessd with Cafe Tacuba's classic album Re. I wanted to record an album like that -- going from polka to punk in one second. ... I wanted my album to really cover the entire scope of my musical tastes.

Featuring guest appearances by Ad Rock of the Beastie Boys and Joselo Rangel of Cafe Tacoba, Soy Sauce is less a condiment than a full, satisfying meal of Mexican-rooted but global sounds.

©2009 Scott Allan Stevens, Earball Media



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