Even though the Philippines were once a colony of Spain, Latin music doesn't have a wide following in the country, but talented local musician Bo Razon broadened awareness with his excellent 1998 Latin-influenced album Biyahero (Traveler). Bo Razon is a top-flight percussionist and guitarist and is backed throughout the album by keyboardist/guitarist and respected producer Bob Aves, also the producer of this album; Bo Razon co-produced the album. Other talented musicians appear on various tracks. The opening "Gala-Gala" is a wonderful song, alluring in its approach and manner. An instrumental, the song has an attractive folkish aura and Bo Razon plays expert acoustic guitar on a marvelous, spirited melody. Bo Razon once lived in Cuba, where he played much music, and he also teaches congas and percussion at a top Philippine university. "Freedom" features rough-edged funky vocals, while the charming "Diwata" (Mythical Queen of the Forest) mixes funk with a Latin tropical vibe. A contemporary jazz ambience is heard on several tracks, including "Blaze of the Sun," which also incorporates a Latin tropical jazz feel, and "How Can I Say," which is more commercial than the album's other songs. One of the album's most striking, beautiful songs is the folkish, Latin-influenced instrumental title song "Biyahero" (Traveler). Biyahero has many moments of beauty and is a fine, accomplished effort.
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