Charanga Cakewalk - Loteria de la Cumbia Lounge

Charanga Cakewalk
Loteria de la Cumbia Lounge


First Appeared in The Music Box, January 2005, Volume 12, #1

Written by John Metzger

Updated: Tue May 13, 2008, 12:00 PM CDT


Throughout his career, Michael Ramos has helped artists such as Patty Griffin, BoDeans, and John Mellencamp to transform their standard, American roots music into pop-inflected fare. With Charanga Cakewalk, his new outfit, Ramos now has turned his attention toward reinventing traditional Latin American sounds.  Instead of playing them straight, however, he colors them with a dizzying array of styles, allowing bits of lounge, jazz, rock, pop, electronica, and dance flourishes to cycle through his work on Loteria de la Cumbia Lounge.  More often than not, the results of his pursuits are startlingly hypnotic, and nowhere is he more successful than on the rhythmic La Negra Celina and the otherworldly opening track Belleza.

Indeed, throughout Loteria de la Cumbia Lounge, Ramos continues his tasteful exploration of the rhythmic grooves of two distinct eras, successfully placing the organic essence and elegant ambience of the past within a modern context. Like some strange cross-collaboration between Air, Los Lobos, and Antonio Carlos Jobim, Charanga Cakewalk’s debut slithers along its percussive path as radiant beams of accordion, horns, strings, and various keyboards color its edges. Where many world music outings are stodgily esoteric, Loteria de la Cumbia Lounge is a fascinating foray into a realm that is warm, inviting, scintillating, and seductive. starstarstar

Loteria de la Cumbia Lounge is available
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


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