Noelia

Natural

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From norteño to tejano to banda/corrido, Fonovisa Records has been a major player in the Mexican market. Mexican music is Fonovisa's niche; that's the company's bread and butter, and the company tends to sell more CDs in places that have a large Mexican population (especially Mexico and the southwestern part of the United States) than it does in places where the Latino community is primarily Cuban, Dominican, or Puerto Rican. Nonetheless, Fonovisa does venture outside the Mexican realm on occasion, and Noelia's Natural is a good example. Although Noelia is from Puerto Rico -- a place that is known for salsa -- Natural has more to do with Latin pop than it does with salsa and Afro-Cuban music. A few of the tracks have a salsa romantica influence -- including the infectious "Enamorada" -- but most of them don't. Natural is Latin pop more than anything, which means that Fonovisa wasn't going after the tropical market (meaning salsa, merengue, bachata, and cumbia) exclusively. Rather, Natural is the sort of Latin pop release that is meant to have across-the-board appeal in the Spanish-speaking world -- in other words, Fonovisa is going after Latinos in general rather than catering to a specific Latin market (which is how stars like Shakira and Ricky Martin have typically been marketed). Although Noelia's slick, romantic Latin pop isn't terribly challenging, tracks like "Huella Tras Huella" and "Tan Cerca y Tan Lejos" are still very easy to like. Noelia may not be one of the more cutting-edge artists in the Latin world, but in terms of charm, quality, and craftsmanship, Natural paints an attractive picture of the Puerto Rican vocalist.

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