Banda Cuisillos de Arturo Macias

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Like many other young bandas-with-vocalists of the time, Banda Cuisillos mix ballads and the nascent "quebradita" beat with mainstream arrangements of waltzes and polkas. They are most effective on the uptempo numbers, particularly "Batelo Morena," "Pequeña Orgullosa," and "Pantalon Vaquero." An original arrangement of "Porque No Me Escuchas" saves that ballad from the crushing blare of a typical banda arrangement. The other ballads don't fare as well. You don't hear the intonation, groove, and personality of the 21st century hits on this disc -- but Banda Cuisillos at this point in time are Banda Cuisillos de Arturo Macias, young men who drill and play dances incessantly; who learn hundreds of arrangements by heart; whose musical values are speed, power, and garish overblowing; and whose forays into modernity are based not on a Western notion of pop transcendence, but simply on the type of dances people are requesting. In this, they are no different from a thousand other slightly less talented and much less fortunate bandas. If you meet them on their terms, and are trying to re-create the atmosphere of a dancehall sweatbox in the middle of nowhere, this is a great disc. Banda Cuisillos would make themselves much easier to like a few years down the road.

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