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Speaking Latin in the global village

Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin, for all their talent, sing Latin music in an unindividual global style

Rs 475 (CD)

Julio Iglesias, Enrique's father, sang enchanting Latin ballads. Enrique sings ballads, dance tracks and country, and positions himself as a brooding, sulking lover. He faces stiff competition in bubble-gum Latino popdom, especially from Ricky Martin, who has a vibrant stage and video presence.

Latin music is now globalised. Listen to some Latin music before globalisation. It's like listening to Ilaiyaraja or Vishwanathan-Ramamurthy, south Indian composers who were influenced by Western orchestral arrangements, but who absorbed these influences to create music that bore their signatures. The problem with a globalised music scene: everybody sounds the same.

Enrique and Ricky Martin are Latin stars of the globalised age. The guitars are there, the rhythm is there, but nothing sounds particularly individual.

Bailamos features the most authentic Latin stuff, and it's followed in this regard by Rhythm divine. Alabao has guitars with Spanish graces (or Continental graces -- they are common to France and Spain).

You find country-rock in Sad Eyes and I'm your man. Could I have this kiss forever (with Whitney Houston), You're my #1, Be with you and I have always loved you show R&B influences. Whitney is liquid gold, where Enrique is petulant. The chords change unexpectedly on the refrain and the dramatic violin statements bring in an Arab touch.

Rhythm divine, Sad eyes and I'm your man come in their Spanish versions too. Rhythm divine makes a second appearance as a dance re-mix.

S Suchitra Lata

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