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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America


Published January 25, 2006

El Rey Del Currulao

Colombia’s Atlantic coast has long been a fertile breeding ground for new musical styles: cumbia and vallenato are just two of the region’s well-known exports. But, separated by the isthmus of Panama, the Pacific Coast has plenty to offer as well. Take Enrique Urbano Tenorio, a.k.a. Peregoyo, the 87-year-old pioneer of currulao, the rollicking, African-derived dance music that grew up in the Pacific port city of Buenaventura. Peregoyo may be familiar to salsa aficionados for his 1970s contributions to salsa typical, but at home he and his Combo Vacana are best-known for this irresistible carnival music. This rootsy set, their first new recording in more than 30 years, combines call-and-response vocals with blaring, salsa-style trumpets, a chugging sax and a battery of funky hand-percussion instruments (driven primarily by the implacable guaracha scraper). Lyrically, the songs offer joyous shoutouts to such coastal pleasures as women, iguanas and dog soup. Still, scorchers like “La Tintoretta” and “Mi Timbiqui” make El Rey Del Currulao well worth the 30-year wait.