Miles Peña

Un Miles Pena

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Miles Peña is among the artists who, in the 1990s, embraced salsa romantica, a style that mixed romantic Latin pop with Afro-Cuban rhythms. Salsa romantica is hardly straight-ahead salsa, and salsa purists complained that it wasn't authentically Afro-Cuban. But then, artists like Peña never claimed to be Beny Moré or Tito Rodriguez -- they're pop artists, essentially, and their work must be judged as such. (Of course, even the great Beny Moré recorded his share of romantic pop ballads in the 1940s -- so arguably, Moré recorded some salsa romantica long before the term was coined). Judged by pop standards, this self-titled CD is pleasant and enjoyable, if less than remarkable. Sleek offerings like "Un Sentimental," "Aire No Viciado En Mi Existir," and "Es Mi Culpa" won't appeal to salsa's hardliners, although Latin pop enthusiasts who heard the songs could see Peña's potential. Peña has a strong voice, and he brings a lot of passion to decent but not fantastic material. Despite its imperfections, this disc isn't without its pleasures.

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