Aroma

Amor de Tres

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Like other Latin rhythms, cumbia can be used for either traditional purposes or pop purposes -- and Aroma's second album, Amor de Tres, is most definitely an example of the latter. This 2003 release isn't cumbia in the traditional sense; no one will mistake Amor de Tres for a collection of classic recordings by Lucho Bermúdez, Alberto Pacheco, or Leonor González (just to name a few of the cumbia greats of yesterday). Amor de Tres is, however, an enjoyable example of fusing the cumbia rhythm with Latin pop. What Aroma does with cumbia on this CD is comparable to what salsa romantica artists do with Afro-Cuban rhythms -- in other words, Amor de Tres is Latin pop with a cumbia influence, just as Marc Anthony's salsa romantica is Latin pop with Afro-Cuban influences. Amor de Tres is quite similar to Aroma's first album, but this is a more consistent effort from the female vocal quartet, who tend to favor the Mexican side of cumbia. Although cumbia was created in Columbia, it has been extremely popular among Mexicans -- who created their own version of cumbia just as they adopted the German polka beat when norteño/Tex-Mex music was created. One hears a distinctively Mexican (as opposed to Colombian) approach to cumbia-minded Latin pop on sleek, sentimental offerings like "Cuentale," "Todavia," and "Te Quiero, Te Amo, Te Extrano," all of which are sweetly girlish without being bubblegum -- the performances have some meat on their bones. Aroma's self-titled debut album of 2002 had its moments, but creatively, the more focused and consistent Amor de Tres is a step forward for the female foursome.

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