Review: Aterciopelados, Oye
This one snuck up on me. When I first put Oye in the CD player I thought “Ah, OK, soft rock en espanol.” Wrong. Oye relies heavily, although not exclusively, on acoustic instrumentation but soft rock it’s not. Not by a long shot. Aterciopelados (usually roughly translated as “the velvety ones”, “The Velvets” perhaps?) mixes traditional Latin instruments and rhythms with various types of rock and pop to produce an irresistible mix that lilts, tilts and is almost impossible to take out of the CD player once it sinks its hooks in.
Aterciopelados is Andrea Echeverri (vocals & guitar) and Hector Buitrago (bass and production). They began as a kind of Latin/Caribbean punk rock band and then began to put more emphasis on the musical styles of their native Colombia while also relying more heavily on electronics and keyboards. Their album “Gozo Poderoso” released in 2000 won a Latin Grammy after which Echeverri and Buitrago began working on solo projects. Well, “solo projects” probably isn’t the best term – Echeverri had a baby and I’m guessing someone else was involved, but she then released a well received solo album that focused on the experience. Fans of the group were afraid they had split. Not to worry. They came back strong in 2006 with Oye.
I don’t know enough about different Latin musical styles to identify all of the rhythmic influences that are working on this album. Whatever they are, they compel movement and when combined with Echeverri’s smooth vocals and Aterciopelados’ hook laden melodies produce a set that is consistently enjoyable. As an added bonus, the vocals are clearly enunciated and there is a lyric sheet in the CD booklet so the album can be useful if you’d like to learn some Spanish. Highly recommended.
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