Pepe Vásquez

Ritmo de Negros

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Renowned in his native Peru as a gifted songwriter and performer, Pepe Vasquez released his first international album with Ritmo de Negros. The album is a treasure trove of Latin styles, but focuses mainly on festejo, a bright, powerful style fueled by percussion instruments like the cajon and cajita. Vasquez also dabbles in other styles. "Zambo Malato" is played in a lando style, which is similar to Cuban son. The highlights on the album are the title track and "El Alacran," a slithery track that starts off quietly and gradually builds to a blissful, passionate conclusion. If you're looking for quieter numbers, then look elsewhere. At its best, Ritmo de Negros is a loud, frenzied celebration of Peruvian music and Vasquez' inimitable skills.

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