Album review: LatinAotearoa, Sonido de LatinAotearoa

LatinAotearoa are stalwarts of the live local music scene. Performing together live for more than three years, they’ve been individually involved in multiple different projects, but this marks their first release as an ensemble.

Jennifer Zea released her solo debut last year and seduced Auckland with her golden voice and vibrant Venezuelan attitude. Renowned Opensouls trumpeter Isaac Aesili also leads collaborative project Funkommunity and is an exceptional percussionist and producer. DJ Bobby Brazuka was the initial catalyst for the collaboration, bringing Zea and Aesili together to layer vocals, trumpet and percussion over his beat selections.

It’s a beautifully composed, easy-listening album, full of salsa, bossa and soul influences, but though those influences may be more than 50 years old, each track is imbued with modernity. Fuego En Mi Corazon has an irresistible Latin hip hop vibe, while Oye Como Suenan takes cues from our rich Kiwi dub history, and the instrumental Mountains of Guyana has a definite deep bass club beat. Un Dia De Sol has peculiar 80s computer game sounds that feel a bit out of kilter, but it’s really just an interlude track, and helps bring the bpm back down for Latin RnB number Something About You which features Anna Coddington and Tom Scott, and a pretty excellent Spanish version of Ladi6’s Walk Right Up.

Time Out – New Zealand Herald