THIS PAGE HAS MOVED TO WWW.ALFREDOFLORESPHOTOGRAPHY.COM honored by photography award honored by photography award
Named to Washington Life magazine's Hot List September 2010

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dancing to Juanes' pain
October 23, 2007 Washington Times
Alfredo Flores
Juanes La Vida ... Es un Ratico
Universal Music Latino

Juanes has a lot going for him. He's one of the few Latin pop stars to achieve crossover status without singing in English. He has won 12 Latin Grammys; he was named one of People en Espanol's 10 Sexiest Men in Hispanic entertainment; his two previous albums went platinum; and he has two beautiful children with his model wife, Karen Martinez. Underneath the fame and adulation of millions in his native Colombia and around the world, there was a heavily publicized breakup with Miss Martinez earlier this year. However, Juanes is an eternal optimist, especially after receiving sage advice from his 78-year-old-mother that life's too short to waste time worrying about problems you cannot solve. In his fourth studio album, released today in 77 countries, "La Vida ... Es un Ratico" ("Life ... Is a Brief Moment"), Juanes, 35, sings about his troubles — not negatively, but in a way in which you can dance away the pain. This is most evident in the smash worldwide hit (No. 1 in 14 countries) "Me Enamora," a song about love, redemption and reconciliation with an upbeat acoustic guitar beat, electric guitar riffs and heavy background percussion. Juanes beautifully delivers an ode to his wife in Spanish with, "I don't know if I deserve you/I just know I still want you to give light to my life in the future days." "Clase de Amor" features beautifully melodic background humming and danceable electric guitar riffs in a song about scorned love that caused him pain. Other love songs include "La Vida ... Es Un Ratico" and "Gotas de Agua Dulce" (both focusing on looking ahead) and "La Mejor Parte de Mi," about remaining best friends with his wife. Juanes — a contraction of his given name, Juan Esteban — has always blended his pop rock with guasca, cumbia and other musical styles found in his native country. He does it again here with heavy accordion sounds in the vallenato and Colombian folk-music-infused "Tres" — which will give his fans flashbacks to the popular "La Camisa Negra" on his previous album. Juanes continues his previous efforts to help Colombian land-mine victims in "Banderas de Manos," a German and Spanish duet with German rock star Campino of the punk band Die Toten Hosen, and the barcarolle-rhythms-filled "Minas Piedras" with Argentine rocker Andres Calamaro.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Yes-and-No Answer
Reviewed: Cafe Tacuba's Sino

By Alfredo Flores
Photo Credit LuiSFher Gallo
Posted: October 17, 2007 Washington City Paper
Café Tacuba
Universal Music Latino

It's unlikely that one band is capable of encapsulating three decades of English-language rock, much less in Spanish. But for rock en español pioneers Café Tacuba, arguably the most critically acclaimed Latin rock band of recent memory, tackling such challenges is nothing new. On Sino ("yes/no" or "but instead"), its first studio album in four years, the Mexico City quartet combines odes to late-period Beatles, heavy synthesizer and cheesy sounds of '80s rock, and the pop-ish Latin rock they've helped establish soon after their formation in 1989. Encompassing all these instincts is "Volver a Comenzar" ("Starting Over"), the album's first single: A melodic deep bass strum sets up a light mood before heavy synthesizer riffs establish a spacier tone. A calming, Beatlesque "uuuhhh uuuhhh uuuhhh" chorus ensues, as lead guitarist-vocalist Rubén Isaac Albarrán Ortega sings in his trademark nasal voice: "Si volviera a comenzar/No tendría tiempo de reparar/El agua derramada está/La sed que siento/No saciará" ("I would start all over again/I wouldn't have time to repair/The water spilled/The thirst I feel/Will not be satisfied"). Café Tacuba (named after a coffee shop in downtown Mexico City) helped transform rock en español, shifting to pop, rock, grunge, and electronica, while taking cues from Mexico's folklore and indigenous population—as in the Mexico City "Chilango" slang used on "Chilanga Banda" and heavy use of norteño rhythms on "La Ingrata" ("The Ungrateful Girl"), two of the band's biggest hits prior to Sino. For the new album, though, they look back: On "53100" (a Mexico City postal code), Emmanuel "Meme" del Real Díaz channels his inner '80s keyboardist with a simple pop beat mixed in with synth blasts and lyrics that long for the good times the bandmates had that decade. Elsewhere, Ortega questions the divide between Mexico's rich and poor in "El Outsider" and shifts into a punkish mode on "Cierto o Falso" ("True or False"). Instead of trying to deliberately create a new sound or a nostalgia trip, the band uses Sino to look back at the music they loved and incorporate it into a remixed fusion.