La Mission Colombiana

La Santisima Muerte

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As a rule, Mexican consumers aren't known for being major supporters of tropical Latin music; salsa, merengue, plena, and bachata are, generally speaking, more likely to be supported by Caribbean Latinos (Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and Dominicans) than by Mexicans. But there is one type of tropical Latin music that has been hugely popular among Mexicans over the years: cumbia. In fact, Mexican musicians have developed their own interpretations of the Colombian rhythm. La Santisima Muerte is an example of a Mexican-American band playing cumbia, but the approach that la Missión Colombiana takes on this 2008 release is muy, muy colombiana (very, very Columbian). From a marketing standpoint, it isn't hard to understand why a one-sheet that was sent out with La Santisima Muerte described the 39-minute CD as "regional Mexican/norteño"; La Missión Colombiana is from Laredo, TX, where regional Mexican music reigns supreme and norteño bands like los Tigres del Norte and los Tucanes de Tijuana are ultra- popular. But play La Santisima Muerte alongside cumbia performances by los Tigres, and you'll hear the stylistic differences; while los Tigres and other norteño outfits are great at playing Mexican-style cumbia (known as cumbia mexicana, cumbia norteña, or cumbia Tex-Mex), la Missión Colombiana are much more Colombian-sounding on this disc. And all that diversity is healthy for cumbia; the fact that cumbia has Columbian, Mexican, Peruvian, Bolivia,n and Argentinean variations is a plus. Further, the fact that La Santisima Muerte is so Colombian-sounding isn't going to discourage Mexicans from buying the CD -- not at all. Mexicans have been supporting Columbian cumbia artists for generations; so it stands to reason that there are going to be CDs by Mexican-American bands that opt for a Columbian cumbia sound rather than a norteño/Tex-Mex cumbia sound. La Santisima Muerte is a solid and engaging addition to the catalog of this long-running band.

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