Leonel Limonta y Azucar Negra

Sin Mirar Atrás

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Leonel Limonta had already established himself as an important songwriter, with his name is the credits column for some of Cuba's most important dance bands, including Bamboleo, Charanga Habanera, and Issac Delgado. Evidently fantastic was not good enough, and he set out in 1997 for a new group of his own, Azucar Negra. As one might expect, the quality of the songwriting on their second album, Sin Mirar Atrás, is of a very high level. Limonta has an inerrant music sense, creating unforgettable track after track. Unfortunately, as one might expect for a group lead by an untrained musician, Azucar Negra leaves a bit to be desired from an instrumental and vocal perspective. Stylistically, the tunes tend to run together, never straying far from timba-tinged salsa. There aren't any instrumental shining stars, and the vocalists have a guttural, nasal quality that can become downright irritating, especially on the pop ballads "Tu y Yo, Misma Cosa" and "Sin Mirar Atras." The overall impression left after a careful listen is that of a mango picked from the tree a week too soon. Though Limonta may himself continue to write infectiously memorable tunes, there was some wisdom in writing them to be performed by more mature groups. Azucar Negra may need a bit more time on the tree.

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