El Conde de Xalpatlahuac

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By the time Erasmo Catarino Gonzalez Delgado had taken first place in Mexico's popular American Idol-esque La Academia 4, he had fans eagerly waiting for his debut record to hit the shelves. Programs like La Academia tend to favor artists that lean towards a North American look and pop marketability over Erasmo's strong Mexican identity and traditional musical tastes. Erasmo's surprise victory and underdog story created such a stir that 2005's El Conde de Xalpatlahuac was received with open arms, far exceeding all sales projections. The disc covers a pretty wide stylistic range, from ranchera, cumbia, Latin rock, to banda and more. Though not a vocal powerhouse, Erasmo proves adept and versatile. He delivers confidently and consistently. No small accomplishment for perhaps the most diverse regional Mexican record of the year. As the genre gains momentum, credibility and power, The Count is sure to do that same. When an artist's debut record goes platinum, there's a good chance we'll be hearing from them again. When an artist does that in a niche market, it's assured.

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