Choc Quib Town, "Oro"
While pop superstars Shakira and Juanes-or, at the other end of the spectrum, cumbias and vallenato-get all the attention when it comes to Colombian music, Choc Quib Town shows that there's much more to discover. The Afro-Colombian hip-hop trio benefits from skilled, anthemic flows and innovative production from Richard Blair (of Sidestepper fame) and Ivan Benevides, known for their refreshing blends of the folkloric and the modern. What makes Choc Quib Town's new album "Oro" (which contains music from the band's first two Colombian releases) so interesting is that every track finds a new way to interpret the traditional sounds of the country's Pacific coast. Trip-hop ("Alguien Como Tu") and salsa ("Pescao Envenenao") are fair game, as are a frenetic jazzy rumba ("Rumba Sin Pelea") and electronica. "Oro" is a compelling introduction of the band to U.S. audiences after a best new artist nomination at last year's Latin Grammy Awards.