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Rey De La Rumba / King of the Rumba

According to the press release, Peret is the Elvis Presley of Spain (as opposed to El Vez, the Mexican Elvis, perhaps?) Actually, to my ears he doesn't sound much like Elvis at all. But his CDs sure sell like Elvis'. This one went gold in Spain on the day it was released. Part of this is probably due to the long hiatus after his last album. After inventing his own hybrid style of Rumba in the early 70's, Peret retired at the end of the decade for religious reasons. His performance at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona marked his return to the stage, and now he has reinvented himself yet again with this reworking of some of his greatest hits; pairing him with contemporary stars from throughout the Latin music world. This includes familiar names like El Gran Silencio, Sergent Garcia, and the seemingly omnipresent David Byrne. Byrne puts his characteristic stamp on "Si Fulano," including big horn charts and trademark nonsensical lyrics. But the real fun is further in.

My favorite is Fermin Muguruza's take on "Voy, voy," with an energy and big beat sensibility rivaling anything put out by Fatboy Slim. Professor Angel Dust delivers a funky fresh remix of "No se pue aguantar" that gives Los Amigos Invisibiles a run for their dinero. And the aforementioned El Gran Silencio take the cumbia of "Borriquito" and seamlessly splice in a Raggamuffin rap to good effect. Call it rumba-reggae, rumbamuffin, rumba-jungle, or rumba-freestyle, this is a surprisingly hip release with something for even the shortest attention span. - Eric Iverson

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