Polo Montañez

Guajiro Natural

  • AllMusic Rating
    6
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

He's not quite a bolero singer and not quite a salsa vocalist or a folky. The Cuban-born coalman-turned-performer draws on his rich heritage to mix a little of everything on a spirited collection of songs whose emotions rise above the need to understand the Spanish lyrics. His raspy, emotive voice is the focal point, but it's almost as intriguing listening to the bouncing musical balls behind him. Though it is uncredited, the peppering flute improvisation and shaker percussion of "Amanece El Nuevo Ano" creates an atmosphere as festive as the sunrise its words translate to. Spanish trumpets wail for emphasis on the title track, which finds Montanez doing call and response with an infectious choir. That choir returns in numerous spots throughout the recording, always with good cheer. The overall vibe is peppy and toe-tapping, but on occasion there's a more folkloric reflection along the lines of "Donde Estara" or the romantic slow dance "Si Fuera Mia." The violin entwined on this track may remind listeners of Willie Royal from Willie & Lobo. In fact, a case could be made that this is a slightly more exotic Willie & Lobo-type project with vocals and extra spices. It seems odd that the singer is depicted on the packaging as playing the guitar when the guitar is credited to Luis Hernandez. The guitar rides shotgun all the way, stirring up rhythms and loping rhythm lines best identified stylistically by connoisseurs of all types of Latin music.

blue highlight denotes track pick