Los Tigrillos

A la Caza

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Some call it "cumbia mexicana"; others describe it as "cumbia Tex-Mex" or "cumbia norteña." Whatever term you prefer -- and all of the above are equally valid -- the Mexican interpretation of the Colombian cumbia rhythm has been a vital part of the regional Mexican market for decades. Los Tigrillos are hardly the only Mexican group that specialize in Mexican-style cumbia, but they are among the best -- and A la Caza does nothing to damage the fine reputation they have enjoyed since the '80s. Los Tigrillos suffered a regrettable loss when singer Francisco Vazquez had to leave the band because of health reasons; Rolando Ortegon Riojas is the lead vocalist on this 2004 release, and he rises to the occasion enjoyably well throughout the album. The moody opener "La Etica" is the closest that A la Caza comes to a South American-style approach to cumbia; 95-percent of the time, there is no mistaking the fact that los Tigrillos' vision of cumbia is distinctively Mexican. Los Tigrillos, like a lot of Mexican groups, are able to incorporate a variety of non-Mexican influences without sounding any less Mexican. Whether they're combining cumbia mexicana with reggae and rock & roll on exuberant tracks like "Como lo Bate," "Que Chido" and "Como Baila la Mujer," or getting into a slow ranchera groove on "Mi Cariñito," there is no doubt that los Tigrillos' primary loyalty is to the regional Mexican market. Los Tigrillos have influences from Columbia (cumbia), Jamaica (reggae) and Germany (polka), but what they do with those influences is recognizably Mexican. Some longtime fans will no doubt wonder how well los Tigrillos will get along without Vazquez; A la Caza, thankfully, demonstrates that there is indeed life after Vazquez for the long-running cumbia mexicana/norteño outfit.

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