Past Reviews from RootsWorld

Various Artists Silencio=Muerte: Red Hot+Latin
Red Hot

The folks at Red Hot are releasing their tenth album, Silencio=Muerte Red Hot+Latin, to raise money and awareness to stop the spread of HIV, especially focusing on Latin America with this compilation. Silencio=Muerte includes callaborations of Los Fabulosos Cadillacs with Fishbone, Cafe Tacuba with David Byrne, Geggy Tah with King Chango and more. Other artists feature include Cibbo Matto, Ruben Blades, Laurie Anderson, Aterciopelados, Sepultura, Melissa Etheridge and Los Lobos among others.

Musically, Silencio=Muerte (silence=death) covers as much territory as any previous Red Hot effort and it works together as a solid unit. Latino roots, hip hop, punk, metal, pop, ska and reggae all get in the bilingual mix for a full spectrum medium to spread the word about HIV and AIDS. This album succeeds as a great excursion into Latin rock and will hopefully not only spread knowledge about HIV in Spanish language communities but expand acceptance of new Latino music elsewhere. - Paul Harding

REYNOLD D. PHILIPSEK has never tried to hide behind the folkie mask. He's pure pop with the heart of a rocker, a killer guitarist (acoustic and electric) and one of the nation's most under-discovered songsmiths. If The First Hundred Years Are The Roughest (Rephi, 8605 Windward Circle, Eden Prairie, MN 55344) then we have a number of years left to enjoy Reynold's clever turn of phrase and strange melodic sense. After a few records where the production had overtaken the content, Hundred Years seems to have found the groove, using a great band in a rough but wryly over-produced setting (see Randy Newman, Van Dyke Parks) that suites the intelligent, self-deprecating style of the lyrics.

Escapade Music

As always, we get a strange and mixed bag of goods from Austrian/American keyboardist Zawinul. His schmaltz tendencies can be tiring, his propensity for smoothing out rough edges maddening. But he can also surprise and delight. My People is a Zawinal case history, filed with both leanings in quantity. The band on this recording is impressive, indeed: Trilock Gurtu, Chiek Tidiane Seck, Alex Acuna and Ousmane Kouyate are just a few of the many familiar names that join The Syndicate regulars. The core reason for the album is the addition of a world of vocalists: Salif keita (Mali), Burhan Ocal (Turkey), Bolot (Tuvan throat singer), Tahnia Sanchez (Venezuela), jodel/jazz innovators Broadlahn (Austria) and even a little spoken word from The Duke.

You have to wade through some all too typical "fusion" (the jazz term) to get to the great tracks here, but they are here in abundance. After the Ellington intro, the Syndicate wades into their cover of Keita's "Waraya" (with Zawinul doing the vocals!) and it is raw and funky. Strange then that they follow it with another Keita tune, this time with himself on the vocals, and it turns smooth and poppy. Highlights: Sanchez gets a rootsy, drum driven base on "Mi Gente," Siberian string and throat get excellent acoustics and synth treatment on the live track "Ochy- Bala," and the Broadlahn collaboration "Potato Blues."

What makes Zawinul's music important is not the number of successes or failures each album contains, it's his continued drive to experiment, to try new ideas and old, to seek out the talent the world has to offer and rather than exploit it, display it. My People displays that talent and all its possibilities.

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