Pacantó

While traditional Cuban music—from Buena Vista Social Club to Los MuÑequitos de Matanzas—has been widely celebrated in the U.S.

While traditional Cuban music—from Buena Vista Social Club to Los Muñequitos de Matanzas—has been widely celebrated in the U.S. market, traditional tropical music from other quarters has been largely overlooked. Still, Totó la Momposina is largely regarded as the grande dame of the traditional rhythms of Colombia's coasts, even if hers is hardly a household name here. But it could well be. Pacantó, while utterly faithful to tradition, is often forward-looking in its execution—particularly in the title track and "Goza Plinio Sierra," among others—all eminently danceable tracks with distinct commercial appeal made more so by the use of horns, flute, and guitar. At the other end of the spectrum are tracks like "Chambacú"—which finds Totó singing (make that soaring) over six minutes of percussion-only accompaniment that dissolves into an all-out dance track—and the call and response of "Pozo Brillante." The end result is what could be called elevated tradition, achieved with exceptional skill. Pacantó only suffers from being overly long: 15 lengthy tracks where 10 would have sufficed.—LC
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