Banda Los Escamilla

La Consentida de Mexico

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There is a great scene in Robert Rodriguez' Mexican film El Mariachi (a low-budget gem from 1992) in which the main character (an ill-fated mariachi singer/guitarist played by Carlos M. Gallardo) goes to a bar in search of work only to be told that Mexican music didn't need real musicians anymore because technology had rendered them obsolete. But even if that were true, one certainly wouldn't know it listening to banda -- an area of regional Mexican music in which large orchestra-size outfits are very much the norm. On La Consentida de México, Banda los Escamilla's 2006 lineup includes no less than 17 men -- and when that many guys are on board, a big, full-bodied sound comes naturally. This 29-minute disc is fairly diverse, ranging from traditional ranchera-minded fare to more neo-banda sounds. La Consentida de México isn't quite techno-banda, but it isn't strictly old-school in its outlook, either; a band that was strictly old-school would not have included an unlikely remake of reggaetón star Daddy Yankee's "Lo Que Pasó, Pasó," which works surprisingly well in a brassy banda setting. And Escamilla makes some Latin pop moves on "Qué Decepción (Qué Resbalon)." Nonetheless, a more traditional and classically banda approach prevails on "Los Polvos de Estos Caminos," "Guarecita," "Media Vida," and the corrido "Lucio Peña." It should be noted that even though La Consentida de México is Banda los Escamilla's first Fonovisa release, it is (according to Fonovisa) their seventh album overall; the Zacatecas outfit had been together at least 30 years when this release came out in 2006. But La Consentida de México isn't stuck in the past; this is an enjoyable, if brief, outing that often cherishes banda's history while acknowledging some Latin trends of the 2000s.

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