Radio Mundial

La Raiz

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Radio Mundial (World Radio) is a musical collective originally formed by Puerto Rican/Peruvian vocalist and guitarist Jean Shepard and Chilean Swedish DJ and producer Andy Delano. After a couple of hit 12"s on the RX label, Jean's brother Richard joined the band on lead guitar, and Radio Mundial also added Celer Linares on bass, Geraldo Flores on congas, John Uman on timbales, and Andy Cenisi on drums. Based in New York, Radio Mundial has issued its debut full-length on Chris Blackwell's Palm Pictures label, and one can equate this with the discovery of the Wailers. This is Latin-inspired funk and roll -- son and roll is more like it. Here the music of the Andes meets the street music of Brooklyn's neighborhoods meets the folk and popular styles of Puerto Rico meet the old trad styles of Havana and the sass of its nightlife as it careens into the Caribbean heat; the result is dancefloor music of the highest order where ska, reggae, steaming funk, and a polyrhythmic assault take on rock & roll in a free for all of skittering, joyously raucous, largely acoustic-based music where anything goes. And best of all? It's pop music. One listen to "La Raiz" or "Cuarto Sin Ventanas," with their triple-timed rhythms and raw Spanish soul played out against a 12-string guitar, an army of hand drums, a popping acoustic bass, and four-part harmony that will blow your mind, and you'll be buying this set for your friends and neighbors. This is the only record necessary for a block party on a hot summer night. There's "Tambor" or the dubbed-up "Hold On" to get a slippery groove cooking, or the jazzy house of "Pure Vida" and the tough, streamlined street funk cum R&B of "Thieves" to make it blast off into the stratosphere. It all goes out with the jumping, popping, sexy as hell "Me Voy," with four guitars playing counterpoint, synths washing in the backdrop, and timbales kicking it in the foreground as the vocals trade sung and chanted lines. This is an amazing record. Blackwell's still got it when it comes to signing the talent.

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