Amiga Mía

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In the Latin music industry, the terms "regional Mexican" and "tropical" are not often used interchangeably. But there is a place where the two sometimes intersect: cumbia. Tropical has its Caribbean side (salsa, merengue, and bachata), but it also has its cumbia side -- and while cumbia started in Colombia, it is quite popular among Mexicans. Aroma's fifth album, Amiga Mía (My Friend), is not tropical in the way that, say, Puerto Rican merengue star Olga Tañon is tropical, but it is a pleasing example of cumbia, regional Mexican music, and Latin pop coming together. Produced by Ignacio Rodríguez and Federico Ehrlich -- the same guys Aroma worked with on their four previous Fonovisa releases -- Amiga Mía has one foot in South America and the other in Mexico. The group includes three Paraguayans and one Mexican and is based in Mexico City, where they have worked with Mexican songwriters. And Aroma, true to form, is consistently pop-minded on such addictive, high-gloss ear candy as "Cuatro Mentiras" ("Four Lies"), "Yo Te Mato" ("I'll Kill You"), and "Corazón Mentiroso" ("Lying Heart"). The foursome successfully incorporates reggae on the infectious "Solterita y sin Apuro," which puts a slightly different twist on the group's sound. Even so, Amiga Mía is not a radical departure for Aroma. This enjoyable disc is not recommended to cumbia purists, but anyone who has spent a lot of time listening to songs like Pilar Montenegro's "Prisionera" and Mariana Seoane's mildly kinky "Me Equivoqué" should have no problem getting into the pop-drenched, Mexican-influenced cumbia that Aroma provides on Amiga Mía.

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