Funk, Pop and Beyond by José Conde

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José Conde – Souls Alive in the 305 (PiPiKi Records, 2022)

Cuban-American artist José Conde likes to change direction in his recordings. Sometimes he makes engaging Cuban son and salsa albums, then he ventures into pop and other territories. Condé’s new album, Souls Alive in the 305 is certainly not an album rooted in Cuban traditions. Instead, Conde made a bilingual album that contains a wide range of musical influences, including funk with cool synths and vintage organ, retro tropicalism and lots of pop.

The highlights of the album for me are the less pop-oriented songs such as “Poetry in Motion” which features smoky trumpet, irresistible funk, beautifully blended male (José Conde) and female (Geminelle) vocals and flutes; the funk song “Dale Pa Ya” with vocals in Spanish; “Fallen from Eternity,” a cool song with soulful electric guitar, synths, and a gripping trumpet with a feel that reminds me of Chicano rock band El Chicano; and finally, “Nude Poetry,” a slow-tempo song with blended, reverb-infused vocals, seductive trumpet, and exquisite jazz guitar.

José Conde describes the single “Dale Pa ‘Yá” (dale para allá): “The expression is Cuban and literally means “go ahead!” Inspired by my dog, I used to sing it to him as a joke, then I decided to put it into song form.!”

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music for many years. He founded the sites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel is also co-founder of the Transglobal World Music Chart. Angel has also produced and remastered world music studio albums and compilations for labels such as Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts and Music of the World.

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