Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Rough Guide to Colombian Street Party [World Music Network, 2008]
Insofar as there are street parties in Colombia--and there are, though probably not as many as the compilers want you to believe--you're unlikely to hear all these beats at any one of them. As the notes tell us, Colombia is home to over 300 genres and rhythms--metropolitan and backwater, coastal and Andean, Caribbean and Pacific. But where on most Rough Guides the abrupt changes of cultural mood are dangerously disorienting, here dance tempos rev over the bumps and the rhythm shifts interest non-Spanish speakers as content even when the beatmakers are strictly from Hungary. Salsa predominates slightly: dura, never romantico. But rustic flutes get things started, the cumbias fit right in, the chirimias likewise, there's a mento thing in English, the rock en Espanol tends ska, and everything's flowin'. A-