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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Rául Juarena

By Ernest Barteldes
Published April 24, 2007

Te Amo Tango
Soundbrush Records

No tango record would be complete without a rendition of “La Cumparsita,” which is probably the genre’s best-known tune. Listeners, however, are advised to look beyond that song. This Uruguayan bandoleon player has a lot more to offer, as he wrote or co-wrote most of the songs on this disc. Particularly worthy of attention is “Danza Para Un Bandoleon/Bandoleón Arrabalero,” a suite in which the strings, piano and orchestra engage in an extremely dramatic exchange that serves as an introduction to the beautiful vocals of Marga Mitchell, who urges the player to cure her heartbreak with some sad, sad music. “Tatoneando” showcases violinist Lya Perez’s talents in a beautiful solo that becomes a duet with Juarena. Equally impressive is the closing tune, “New York Gotan,” an upbeat ode to the city where the musician now lives and serves as musical director of the Thalia Theater in Queens.