Peret

El Rey de la Rumba (King of the Rumba)

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AllMusic Review by

Peret first rocked the rumba back around 1970, and three decades on he's showing that he hasn't lost a creative step yet. Here he's electrified the music and given it a definite international edge, letting it flow in all manner of different contexts, from the more traditional style with Jarabe de Palo to salsa-frying the beat with France's Sergent Garcia and even adding bits of ragga and electronica into the mix. Does it work? Surprisingly, yes, it does, and very well. There's really only one annoying moment, with David Byrne doing his chattering Talking Heads schtick ("What if this guy was that guy?") on "Si Fulano." Get past that and you're home free with a disc that makes you realize the rumba always rocked -- it had been merely hiding its true colors. Peret's gritty voice gives an earthiness to the sound, taking the rhythm by the tail and dragging it along, while the guests -- and there are no shortage of them on this record -- become just the icing on the cake. Most certainly, even in his sixties, he remains ahead of the pack, offering a new light on a genre that's taken on the air of a museum piece. This shows it to be vital, and very much alive and kicking hard into the 21st century, as electric (and eclectic) as any fan could hope, thanks to a powerful rhythm section, the equal of any rock band in drive, but far more subtle and incisive. And when Peret does play his guitar, he can strum up a real storm.

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