Ever since Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and other Jamaican performers began spreading reggae beyond their Caribbean island, the music's influence has been felt around the globe. Legends like Gilberto Gil, Paul McCartney, and Mick Jagger famously dabbled in the genre, but its impact is perhaps most compelling around Latin musicians, who embraced the genre and developed it further to suit their own musical interests. On the latest Putumayo collection, Latin Reggae, you get a mix that goes from more roots-inspired moments, such as Los Cafres' "La Receta" ("The Recipe") to Cultura Profetica's "Reggae Rustico," which effectively mixes Afro-Cuban elements into the melody without necessarily changing the tune's general feel. Barcelona's Macaco goes in a different direction on the song "Mulata Descolorada" ("Bleached Mulatto Woman"), shifting the music in more of an upbeat, rock-steady direction with a full brass section to boot. Spain's Amparanoia is joined by Macaco (the only artist who makes a second appearance on this disc) and Kalima for the mostly acoustic "Ven," which adds flamenco vocal elements into the mix. Also, Chile's Gondwana uses the melody's bass and rhythm as a vehicle for some great vocal improvisation. Latin Reggae does not attempt to show where reggae might be going today; however, it paints a comprehensive map of how Spanish-language musicians' creativity uses the genre to come up with something new that they can claim as their own.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.