Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Worth It In 2011: #21 - Bragado

Sometimes I have the disconcerting feeling that I'm the only person, aside from the band and their lovely cover model, who heard this album. Maybe she didn't even hear it! Judging by the production values of the cover art, Ms. Cover Model could've been photoshopped in from some magazine ad for a gentleman's club, and nobody'd be the wiser, BECAUSE NOBODY LISTENED TO THIS CD. I just got it blind from the library, and I probably could've stolen it without anybody noticing, but it's good! Livelier than most Latin albums I heard this past year. Bragado aren't changing the face of regional Mexican art or anything, but they've got one solid accordion-led tune after another, with lots of what I (possibly incorrectly) call "cumbias" -- uptempo dance tunes that don't sound like polkas, with a beat in 2 instead of 4 and jaunty syncopation -- and even some tunes that you could call rock en espanol (e.g., "Como te Va Con El", a rockin' cover of a song that previously sounded like a syrupy waltz, in the hands of Grupo Zima or whoever). (In case you were wondering, Grupo Zima do NOT resemble jolly ranchers.) For a cumbia, try the one below: "El Mudo", i.e. "The Mute" or "The Dumb Guy". Make sure you keep listening until you hear El Mudo "speak"! (This song annoys the heck out of my wife, as it does all right-thinking people.)

De Pies a Cabeza
(Discos Power)

Apparently this "El Mudo" is a thing, a meme or a trope or whatever -- witness this mindboggling 2009 tune from Chacarron Macarron:

Anyway, the songs aren't all novelties, but they ARE mostly spritely and energetic, and even the polkas and waltzes are full of harmonies and crammed-in syllables and rhythmic invention. Inter-library loan them today!

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