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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

VARIOUS ARTISTS

By SUSANA SCHROEDER
Published May 5, 2006

NEW LATIN XPRESS
Shakti

A fusion of Latin-inspired dance beats, New Latin Xpress provides a fresh sampling of the global underground. The album is more electronica-influenced than Hispanic; as a result, the music seems more destined for rotation in a posh Tex-Mex eatery than on alternative airwaves. New Latin Xpress begins with a bang, featuring Manu Chao’s sing-along “La Primavera.” The next standouts include “Ana Maria” by Cabas (reminiscent of Ozomatli), as well as an innovative cover of “Oye Como Va” by Professor Angel Dust and the pH Force, complete with reggae style rhyming. The album dips into more mellow territory with Ely Guerra’s lovely Bebel Gilberto-esque “Yo No.” Later, Lila Downs’ poetry is powerful and heartfelt, but the music accompanying it on “Transito” sounds far too polished for the scenes described. The closing tracks are quicker, with Mexican-flavored electronica by Titan, groovy electro-pop by Kinky, and folksy Susana Baca jamming with her band. P18 wraps it all up with an urban Latino dance cut that sums up New Latin Xpress perfectly.