La Yegros


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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek

La Yegros' debut, Viene de Mi, was issued in 2013 on ZZK. It offered an inseparable meld of popular electro cumbia combined with chamamé, a folk music from the Misones region of Argentina. Since that time, La Yegros (Mariana Yegros) and producer King Coya (Gaby Kerpel) have assembled a killer band and toured Latin America and Europe, taking club and festival audiences alike by storm. Magnetismo appears on Miles Cleret's always-surprising Soundway label. La Yegros takes a kitchen sink approach. The chamamé melodies and rhythms are grafted onto roots cumbia and EDM. In addition, deliberate explorations into North and West African folk music -- from Rai to Malian blues -- hip-hop, rock, tropical pop, reggae, and dancehall are woven in. The title-track opener is a club anthem. A stinging guitar meets an accordion to frame the vamp. The rhythms offer skittering cumbia atop a funky clavinet. La Yegros' punky vocal swaggers and sneers. It's ferocious. Nicolas De Luca's accordion drives the riff on "Carnabailito," a remake of the title track off Kerpel's 2003 Gustavo Santaolalla-produced solo album that La Yegros sang on. This jam cooks, its repetitive refrain and hypnotic vamp are instant dancefloor material; layered guitars, percussion, loops, and keyboards come together under La Yegros' grainy vocal attack. Folk music drives the club sounds on first single "Chicha Roja." Santaolalla guests on a haunted squeeze box illuminated by a driving snare and hand percussion. He swirls around La Yegros' voice. She alternates between rapping and singing while pan pipes and fat, deep hand drums clobber the center of the mix. The band sounds like it is at a festival gathering. "Suenitos" features Lindigo in a call-and-response duet with La Yegros. The cumbia is framed by Moroccan and West African folk grooves -- a backing vocal choral chant, snaky guitars, and incessant percussion. The musical scope on Magnetismo is brought home by "Arde." It features Brazilian Girls' singer Sabina Sciubba and Colombian band Puerto Candelaria. Together they stretch a traditional cumbia toward Brazilian jazz. Accordion and bass guitar hold down the slippery rhythm while horns add punchy fills, alternate melody lines, and syncopation. Second single "Fragil" comes right out of electro. The squiggly, zig-zag synth and looped rhythms create a loopy groove. La Yegros counters by delivering a pouty, sensual rap. Despite the obvious musical and production acumen on display, Magnetismo feels raw and full of grit, passion, and attitude. Here, hardcore cumbia (replete with all of its root influences) meets the pulse of electro and offers a new frontier for this thriving Latin pop subgenre to explore.

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