Record Review - 5 August 15 2001

The recent interest in Latin music has been primarily focused on the pop arena, but as these two releases demonstrate, the breadth of Latino music goes way beyond Ricky Martin and Christina Aguilera. Los Super Seven are a supergroup, consisting of members of Los Lobos, country artists Raul Malo and Rick Trevino, and Latino stars Ruben Ramos and Susanne Baca. The original concept was germinated during an informal gathering at SXSW in Austin, Texas, in 1997, and the first Los Super Seven CD was a critical success. The new CD expands on the original, and is a wonderful showcase of the diversity within the Latino music community. Featured are the trademark east L.A. barrio styles of Los Lobos, the Peruvian sounds of Baca, Ramos and Trevino's energizing Tejano country, and Malo's romantic Cuban rhythms. The artists take turns on lead vocals, and it's obvious they are having a great time.

Following up on Canto, country star Rick Trevino decided to explore his musical and cultural heritage a bit further. Even though he has released several country albums sung in Spanish, Mi Son is his first album to truly broaden his repertoire within the genre. Supported by many of the musicians found on the Los Super Seven disc, Mi Son is a pleasant collection of songs that showcases Trevino's amazing voice. The wonderful and sensual duets ("La Hiedra" with Ruben Ramos, and "Vanidad" with Martha Gonzalez) add a rich sense of community and pride to the overall feel of the record. On the last cut, Trevino sings in English, performing a stunning rendition of the obscure Los Lobos tune "Long Goodbye."

There is a rich and enticing quality to Latino music that makes the language barrier insignificant, and both of these releases provide a gorgeous soundtrack for the long hot summer. Who needs "La Vida Loca" when we have los cantos hermosos???