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    Opa Opa - Los Paisajes

    By: El Caobo
    Mar 30, 2007

    Artist: Opa Opa
    Album: Los Paisajes
    Genre: salsa
    Label: independent
    Music: listen to clips

    Opa Opa (Greek term that means hello/welcome/hola) is a Los Angeles based band formed in 1987 by Oswaldo Bernard and his good friend and fellow musician, Anthony Apollo. During the late 80's and early 90's, the band blossomed into one of the premier bands of Los Angeles. In LA, they were discovered by producer Erich Bulling who signed the band to a recording contract with Warner Music.

    As I listened to the title track, "Los Paisajes," the introductory drum roll immediately commanded my attention. Then, I relaxed and listened to Martín Gourzong croon lyrics loaded with nostalgia for Puerto Rico; its flowers, its landscapes, its coffee and its women. Then, when Oswaldo Bernard's trumpet solo entered, I really began to enjoy the tune and even to live it vicariously.

    Then, I listened to a track called "El Huequito." The entire song is a catchy double-entendre; full of sexual innuendo. Aladrino Manyoma's mellifluous voice entices with an imagery of "threading the needle," and informs us that, "if it doesn't have the small hole, I don't want it... without that small hole I can't thread it." The sexual connotation is subtle yet ubiquitous throughout the song.

    Next, I listened to Opa Opa's salsa version of "La Puerta"; originally a Latin pop tune made famous by Luis Miguel. Pedro Duarte marvelously serenades us on top of an excellently crafted salsa beat. I admit that I like Luis Miguel's version, but I love the Opa Opa version! Opa Opa has managed to cover that song and truly make it better, at least for the taste of an inveterate salsero!

    As I jumped around from track to track, I heard the dance floor ready track, "Mujer Mujer"; which defends women and clamors for an end to violence towards them. As I found myself dancing to this track, I listened to Martín Gourzong's wonderful and befitting adulation of women; "lucky to have them; they are an inspiration; everything revolves around them; they deserve a pedestal."

    Opa Opa has had the privilege of sharing the stage with many major recording artists from around the world; including Celia Cruz, Willie Colón, El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, La Sonora Ponceña, Oscar D'León, Daniel Santos, Willie Chirino, Johnny Ray, Grupo Niche, Guayacán Orquesta, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Ruben Blades, Charlie Palmieri, Poncho Sánchez, and many other great Latin music artists.

    This CD is a must have for the salsa enthusiast.


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