Renacimiento de Durango

Renacimiento de Durango

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In hip-hop, there is a lot of talk about "representing the 'hood." And that sense of regional pride is also quite strong in regional Mexican music. Norteño/Tex-Mex groups often have del Norte (Spanish for "of the North") in their names, banda groups from Sinaloa often speak of "la tradicion sinaloense" -- the Sinaloan tradition -- and a long list of duranguense bands from Durango, Mexico, have "de Durango" in their names (Grupo Montéz de Durango, los Horóscopos de Durango, Metal de Durango, among many others). But not all duranguense artists are actually based in Durango. Take Renacimiento de Durango, for example; although originally from Durango, the outfit is now based in Chicago -- which, for Durango residents, is not only up north, it's way up north. But the Windy City has long had a large Mexican community, and what transpires on this self-titled release is as duranguense as it gets. Although Marcos Flores (Renacimiento's founder/leader) contributed the instrumental "De Carreta al Ojo" (an exuberant polka), original material is only a small part of this album. Renacimiento's main focus is standards by well-known Mexican composers like Gilberto Parra ("Que Dios Te Perdone," "Que Te Ha Dado Esa Mujer"), Felipe Valdés Leal ("Mi Ranchito"), and José Alfredo Jiménez ("Amarga Navidad"). These familiar songs can be arranged a variety of ways -- they easily lend themselves to mariachi, ranchera, norteño, or Sinaloa-style banda -- but on this 2004 release, everything is successfully given a duranguense arrangement. Decent but not earth-shattering, this 32-minute CD won't go down in history as one of the more essential Mexican releases of 2004. But it's a likable demonstration of a band's ability to leave Durango yet remain totally faithful to the duranguense style.

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