Various Artists

Latino! Latino!

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A New Yorker dedicated to promoting multiculturalism, Dan Storper opened the small Latin-oriented craft and clothing store Putumayo in Manhattan's Soho section before going on to found and head his label, Putumayo World Music. Putumayo had released over 22 albums (everything from reggae to Celtic music to Afro-pop) by the time it turned the spotlight on salsa and Afro-Cuban music with Latino! Latino! This isn't a typical salsa compilation offering only major hits -- rather, Putumayo approaches salsa in a very eclectic fashion and avoids stressing the obvious. The exciting CD does include material by some of salsa's big names, including Willie Colón ("Asia") and Oscar d'León ("Volver a Verte"). But Putumayo also includes recordings by everyone from Zaire native Ricardo Lemvo (who adds a bit of soukous to the Cuban standard "Yiri Yiri Bon") to Spanish group Manzanita (which combines salsa and flamenco on "Arranca") and Colombian singer Toto La Momposina (whose "Carmelina" is a departure from the type of cumbia she's best known for). Salsa CDs don't get much more diverse than Latino! Latino!

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