Silvio Rodriguez, often called the heart and mind of the Nueva Trova movement, has long been a leading social and political commentator for the Cuban people. Long before his 1981 release Unicornio, Rodriguez had been writing songs inspired by his country's Socialist Revolution in 1959. It was not until this release, however, that his artistry came to international notice. Nueva Trova (New Cuban Song) put the island on the map as not only a jazz/Afro-Caribbean hot spot, but as an environment that encouraged great intellect and poetry in its music. Rodriguez appropriately became the genre's most visible figure, performing all over the America's and encouraging similar musical trends to flourish in his wake (Nueva Cancion in Argentina). Unicornio is not only a gem of lyricism and socialist sentiment, but also a musical triumph. Featuring styles such as chacarera, Cuban fusion, North American folk music and the roots of Latin pop, Rodriguez puts a sweet coating on his political pill. Even bitter commentary goes down easy, thanks to Rodriguez' intelligent melodic sense and pleasant voice. Like the Beatles White Album and Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life, Silvio Rodriguez' Unicornio is a record that not only helped define an artist, but an entire genre.
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AllMusic Review by Evan C. Gutierrez