Carta De Amor

Los Angeles de Charly

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Carta De Amor Review

by Alex Henderson

Cumbia has always been a part of the picture for singer Charly Becies and his group los Angeles de Charly ("Charly's Angels" in English), but it's especially prominent on Carta de Amor. This 2004 release isn't cumbia in the strict Colombian sense; no one who is seriously knowledgeable about Latin music would mistake Carta de Amor for a collection of recordings by Lucho Bermúdez, Leonor González Mina, or Alberto Pacheco (who were among the heavyweights in classic Columbian cumbia). Rather, Carta de Amor (or, in English, "Love Letter") favors a sleek, polished, and highly sentimental blend of Latin pop and cumbia mexicana, which is a Mexican interpretation of the cumbia rhythm that originated in Columbia. Carta de Amor is definitely a pop album, and it's a pop album that not only owes something to cumbia mexicana, but also, to '50s doo wop; those with attentive, observant ears will notice the doo wop element in some of Becies' material. In Mexican pop, that doo wop influence isn't uncommon -- even in the 21st century -- and the fact that doo wop, like classic soul, continues to influence Mexican artists after all these years can be attributed to the fact that "recuerdos" (memories) are so important in the family-oriented Mexican culture. Becies has never been among the more challenging or daring artists in regional Mexican music; his romantic brand of Mexican pop is meant to comfort, not challenge. But the singer is certainly good at what he does, and those who have enjoyed his previous work will find Carta de Amor to be a pleasant, if predictable, addition to his Fonovisa catalog.

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