The debut album from Peru Negro, a group of Afro-Peruvian performers who have been together since 1969. Previously the group had only been recorded for David Byrne's Soul of Black Peru compilation. This is Afro-Peruvian at its best in an ensemble format. The three most basic forms of music from the genre are presented on this CD: the festeja (nice, simple party music), the alcatraz (music accompanying a rather suggestive dance routine), and el toro mata, the most common type of song in the Afro-Peruvian traditions. Bandleader Ronny Campos serves as an excellent songwriter within the forms that are dealt. There is the obvious sound combination of Spanish and African flavors as one would expect, but there is an added tinge of something deeper. That something is rather difficult to put one's finger on, but it's an integral part of the music. For Afro-Peruvian music, there are certainly a number of worthwhile artists and albums to pick up (such as Susana Baca or Lucila Campos), but for the ensemble format, this is certainly worth placing at the top of the pile. The interplay of the female vocalists, the instrumentalists, and the male exclamations throughout the album makes it a stunning exercise in counterpoint and rhythm. Pick it up as a fan of the genre or as an intrepid newcomer.
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AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg