Though the legendary Colombian band Son Palenque came together in Cartagena, they take their name from the rural mountain village of the same name whose place in south-of-the-Equator history books is secure because it was a shelter for escaping slaves in the 19th century, as well as for its native style of music, palanquera. Son Palenque created their own hardcore fusion of Afro-Colombian and Caribbean music, fueled by congas and other percussion instruments, call-and-response chants, and later electric guitars, basses, and horns. They recorded a slew of albums in the 1980s and 1990s for Fonobosa, Felito, and CBS, before splitting in 1999. Afro-Colombian Sound Modernizers on Vampi Soul contains a whopping 20 tracks recorded between 1983 and their re-formation in 2012, and is the first truly representative compilation of their work outside Colombia. While all of the music here is infectiously danceable and groundbreaking, half of this set's cuts are taken from the group's two finest offerings, 1985's Ane Jun/Ellos Son and 1986's legendary Afric Erotic. Also included are tracks from 1983's Los Trotamundos del Sabor, 1984's La Arepa Asa, and "Adiós Batata," from 2012's Ma Kamajan Ri Musika Ri Palengue. Compiled and annotated by Lucas Silva (who also produced the band's most recent sides), the music is presented here in an aesthetic rather than chronological sequence, making for a seamless, deep-grooving listening experience. The remastered sound quality is exceptional. If you have any interest in Latin, Afro-Latin, or Caribbean music, do yourself a favor, get this.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek