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San Lazaro - La Despedida (CD)

2016 release from the Australian band. La Despedida - Spanish for "The Farewell" - is a breakup album. A psychedelic, post-apocalyptic meta-breakup album by a band that has broken up more than once. For over a decade, San Lazaro have been playing and writing original Latin music in Melbourne. Unconcerned by the fact no-one around them has any idea what they are talking about, San Lazaro have put together a collection of Spanish language songs that reflects the alienation and uncertainty of 21st century suburban life. The music is a synthesis of far flung elements from all over Latin America's musical history: Afrocuban Rumba, Son Montuno, Peruvian Cumbia from the 1960s, New York Salsa from the 1970s, and more than a few echoes of the Chilean protest-folk movement that was extinguished in the coup of 1973. All the influences all together - unbound by borders or eras. It's not glamorous, unlike much of contemporary Latin music. The simple almost-live production allows for the musicians' craft and identity to shine through. It's distorted and psyched-out and echo-drenched but it always feels like the same band playing in the same room, no matter what corner of the Latin world they're nodding to. This is a band that has been playing together for a long time, and the self-assurance and confidence that goes with that makes La Despedida an ambitious record that feels effortless and natural.
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