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Album review: Choc Quib Town, "Oro"

By Achy Obejas

We don't hear a lot about Colombia's Pacific coast, and outside of salsa, Afro-Colombians are rarely represented in popular music. So Choc Quib Town - for Choco, Colombia's blackest and poorest region, and Quibdo, its capital city - may not sound very typically Colombian.

(A wide variety of styles, after the jump.)

No vallenato here, or cumbia, or big booming voices. Instead, what you'll get is a bit of aguabajo (lots of interplay between male and female voices), a good dose of makerule (a sweet marimba style-rhythm with lots of call and response), and a dash of currulao (a dance based on a 6/8 beat), all blended together with tropical-style hip-hop, Jamaican reggae and electronica.

"Oro," the band's U.S. debut after getting a best new artist nom at the Latin Grammys, is a compilation of 16 tracks, only nine of which correspond to the original Colombian "Oro." About half were produced by Ivan Benavides, including the superb "Somos Pacificos" - the group's anthem, a hypnotic and addictive concoction that brought Choc Quib Town its initial success.

Lead singer Goyo's voice is a sultry instrument that can be smoky or light and seems to occasionally channel Lauryn Hill. The rhymes, mostly in Spanish, are pretty straightforward, but the music is simply delightful.

Recommended tracks: "Somos Pacificos," "De Donde Vengo Yo," "Pescao Envenenao," "San Antonio"

By David Malitz  |  March 2, 2010; 7:15 AM ET
Categories:  Quick spins  | Tags: Choc Quib Town  
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