Latin Grammys 2018

El Agua de la Vida

When Scottish salsa ensemble Salsa Celtica came out with its first disc five years ago, the premise of marrying celtic and tropical music was enticing.

When Scottish salsa ensemble Salsa Celtica came out with its first disc five years ago, the premise of marrying celtic and tropical music was enticing. Still, Salsa Celtica didn't pack enough punch to make its music convincing beyond the experimental. Not so with third album "El Agua de la Vida," which finds the band comfortable in its role of local ambassador to a foreign music. Unlike Japan's Orquesta de la Luz, which replicated the sound of a salsa band, Salsa Celtica boldly meshes two musical styles with exuberant results. Take the title track, which kicks off as a Scottish reel, then incorporates the tumbao for salsa or Scottish dancing. "Cumbia Celtica" is a Colombian cumbia with celtic violin lines. "Agua" ends with a bang: a salsa version of "Auld Lang Syne." Gimmicky? Maybe. But oh-so-irresistible.—LC