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coverpic flag Uruguay - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 28 - 01/31/99

Ruben Rada

This is a great Rada record, his first for PolyGram. Black (Negro) reaches a perfect balance between a commercial sound and the music played at a level of excellence. In other words: this record includes a handful of songs which will certainly become successful, earmarked to remain forever in the memory of the listener. This, however, does not mean that the musical quality is subordinated to the market laws.

Rubén Rada accomplished this with a good dose of inspiration and another of thorough work along with relevant musicians, such as the Argentineans Carlos Villavicencio (producer of the record) and Guillermo Vadalá, and the Uruguayans Martín Ibarburu, Andrés and Nicolás Arnicho, Martín and Andrés Ibarburu, Tato Moraes, Lobo Núñez and Urbano Moraes. In order to put the CD together, the band entrenched itself in the Circo Beat recording studios, located in Buenos Aires.

Ruben Rada is one of the most important Uruguayan popular musicians. He is a master of candombe (Afro-Uruguayan drum rhythm) and he has played with Jon Anderson, Fito Páez, Airto Moreira, Hermeto Pascoal and other relevant musicians. While living in Mexico he recorded the CD Montevideo for Big World Music.

It's hard to point out one of the 12 songs on Black, but Loco de amor (Crazy for Love) will surely be the most famous, because it's a simply perfect creation. Rada was helped by the Spaniard group Ketama. Together, they've built up a sticky rumba flamenca. Other outstanding songs are: Ni un día más (Not One More Day), San Martín de Porres, Cosa de negros (Black People's Things), Amanecí (I Dawned), Austral - a beautiful ballad in which Rada sings as he knows - and Malvín, which, apart from being a good song is an act of justice towards the neighborhood that it's named after. An old Rada rock and roll song, called Físico de rock (Rock Physician) acts as a testimony, but, as the musician confessed, its inclusion is nothing but a whim.

The last two songs are a nice surprise. A memorable version of Strangers in the Night, the Sinatra classic, that Rada accomplishes with talent and with a sound that resembles Miles Davis. The last song, El negro y la rosa (The Black Man and the Rose), is a real musical jewel and the highest poetical moment of the record. Ruben Rada, being 52, has launched a perfect record.

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