Thursday, December 15, 2011

TOP-11 LIVE SHOWS OF 2011

Not a good year for concert for me. I didn't get to see as many memorable shows as usual and unlike the previous two years, I only did a couple of DJ sets opening for live bands. Still I got to see my beloved Ana Tijoux three times in a year and that was dope. Don't have much more to add, sorry, not a very inspired post but what the hell... 

1.- Calle 13 @ The Fillmore: Last time I saw Calle 13 live was also the first time I've ever heard any song by them. That was in 2006, right after their first album came out. Since then, they've become the most relevant Latin American artist of the decade, so I was really excited to see them live again and I finally got the chance to do so when, after a few cancelled shows, they finally came to San Francisco in 2011. My only criticism, they had no opening act and they took way too long to get on stage, and in the meantime we had to listen to this moron of a DJ playing the most horrible old-school dumb merengue-hip-hop, the absolute opposite of what Calle 13 aesthetically represents.


2.- Jorge Drexler @ Mezzanine: Another genuine master in the art of rhyming words much like Calle 13's Residente, but instead of doing it in the form of rap verses, he sings and does it very well, and does it over some very interesting music that defy easy labeling. I was honestly surprised at the crazy amount of people that showed up and packed the venue on a weeknight, especially considering this Uruguayan singer is not particularly popular on a mainstream level here in the US, but I guess good music moves through other channels and it doesn't really matter if radios don't play him and hip blogs don't cover him.


3.- Nacional Records Tour @ Regency: Ana Tijoux opened, followed by Los Amigos Invisibles and then Nortec Collective closed, and in between shows, I got to DJ a Nacional Records-centric set to a crowd that barely acknowledged me. I sometimes give Nacional Records a hard time here at my blog, but at the end of the day I have nothing but love for these guys, not only they release some of my favorite artists in the US, they also send me tons of cool free music and they also hire me to play at their event, how cool is that?

4.- Ana Tijoux @ Outside Lands: I didn't like this year's line-up for Outside Lands, our Bay Area massive summer music festival. But they had Ana Tijoux playing and I wouldn't miss that for anything. I saw a couple other decent performances, but all my expectations were in her show, the first time I got to see her in the US with full band. The following day she also did a surprise guest appearance at Julieta Venegas's show and that would've be the highlight of the whole festival if it wasn't for the idiot of the sound guy who left the soundboard unattended just when Ana went on stage... and her microphone was off.

5.- Chico Trujillo @ The Elbo Room: It's always a lot of fun to see these guys live and it's also a great honor to open for them for a second year in a row. Chico Trujillo is cumbia's ultimate party band and considering cumbia's current popularity, they'd deserve to be way bigger in a global scale, but for some reason I still get the sense that their concerts here are mostly a reunion of Chileans living abroad.

6.- Ana Tijoux @ The Elbo Room: Yes, 2011 was an overdose of Ana Tijoux, I've got to see her on stage three times in a year and I can't complaint about it. I've spent much of the previous nine years talking to Ana via chat, both of us fantasizing about her coming to play in the US and seeing ways to make it possible. For her Elbo Room show she brought MC Hordatoj and DJ Dacel with her from Chile and I ran into Dacel before the show and didn't recognize him and he was like "dude, remember that time we went to Argentina with Ana and we all got drunk at your house and passed out in your couch" awww good times...

7.- Reggae Latino @ Mezzanine: Not enough Chileans on this list? Well here you have Chilean reggae band Gondwana, who played at this Latin Reggae festival with Argentina's Los Cafres and Puerto Rico's Cultura Profética. Great night, amazing shows, packed venue with lots of hot girls. Man, I did't know reggae en español was that popular! I really hope this festival becomes a recurring thing, every year, and they bring artists like Morodo, Fidel Nadal, Alika, etc because honestly I'm not into the whole romantic mellow reggae ballads at all.



8.- Sergent García w/ Rupa & The April Fishes @ New Parish: Sometimes show's lineups don't make any sense, specially when you're talking about Latin music shows. You have all probably seen something like this happen: they put a salsa band as opening act for a rock band, just because they both speak Spanish. That's how dumb show promoters are sometimes when reducing Latin audiences to a cliché. In this case however, Sergent García with Rupa made absolute sense. Both of them are born in France (one from Spanish parents, the other one Indian) and both share this mestizo approach to global politically-concious multilingual party music which roots can be traced back to The Clash (in fact Rupa made a cover of The Clash). The venue was small and it was only half full, but what a great time we had!


 
9.- Quantic @ Som: What a cool dude Quantic end up being! I laughed my ass off talking to him backstage before the show and then the show was pretty cool too. He did two parts, one where he basically played his own tracks from beginning to end without mixing but adding some live instrumentation on top of some and then a second part that was basically a DJ set, but all digital. Knowing he's a vinyl collector I was expecting him to play some obscure 45s he found in Colombia, but nope. Still a very decent DJ set.


10.- M.I.S. @ Outside Lands: I love M.I.S. and his live performances have all been memorable (I'll never forget that one in 2009 when I got to open for him/them) but as a DJ set I was a bit disappointed. First the sound quality was horrible and then he wouldn't even try to blend songs into each other, he was just dropping tracks off burned CDs one after the other, going from 86 BPM to 130 BPM with no transition at all. On top of that, they put him to play at this small tent with capacity for only 200 people and there was an hour long line outside to get in, plus the tent had no bathrooms, so if you had to go, you had to leave the tent and then get back in line and miss three quarters of the show. That's exactly what happened to me. 

11.- Pete Escobedo @ Life is Living: This guy is a living legend and his band was hella tight. How come they put him as an opening act before Los Rakas?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

TOP-11 LATIN BUT COOL VIDEOS OF 2011


1.- CALLE 13 "Latinoamérica": For second consecutive year, Calle 13 takes the best video of the year award at The Hard Data and that should not be a surprise to anybody. Simply put, Calle 13 is the most significant thing that happened to Latin music in the past decade. If this song doesn't give you goosebumps, you have no heart... or you don't understand Spanish.


2.- ANA TIJOUX "Elefant": Not an official video. At least it wasn't conceived as such. This dude in LA did a photo session with Ana the day of her show at the Grammy awards ceremony and then he voluntarily edited those photos with a little bit of video to the beat of DJ Dacel's mixtape and voilá, you have a mind-blowing video, for free!


3.- EL DUSTY "K Le Pasa": I always hated Texas for all the obvious reasons and I always said that'd be like the last state I'd move to (well, actually second to last, right behind Florida). But after watching DJ Dus, a.k.a. El Dusty throwing a party of this caliber to such an infectious tune, I decided it must not be so bad after all, right? Maybe I'll go visit sometime.


4.- MATI ZUNDEL "Señor Montecostes": This video is all wow from beginning to end. Maybe even a bit too much, I feel kinda guilty when I watch it, you know, like too much of a good thing can end up being bad or something. In a year when ZZK Records didn't release as many albums as we'd want them to, this astonishing video by Larartijeando's Mati Zundel made me forgive them and expect anxiously for 2012.


5.- DESNATURALEZ "No Te Pasi La Película": Here's one that you won't see at anybody else's best of the year lists. I outgrew hardcore hip-hop a long time ago, but this video is so good and the guys are such skilled MCs that it totally brings me back to my b-boy days when we used to go nuts for every new joint by VKR, CPV or Violadores Del Verso.


6.- PONCHO "Please Me": I don't usually miss the city where I grew up, but when I watched this video it really made me wanna go back to Buenos Aires. The Tourism Secretary of Buenos Aires should be using this video to promote the city. In just four and a half minutes it compiles all the reasons why it's the most amazing city in Latin America and why all the rest of the cities in the continent are hopelessly jealous because they'll never attain such a level of coolness.


7.- BOMBA ESTERO "Ponte Bomb": People here in the US fail to realize the global impact that European hip-house had in the 89/92 period, specially over those kids who, like myself, were teenagers then. Here they see Techntronic as just an embarrassing one-hit-wonder, but down in Latin America they were huge and this Belgian song was some sort of a dancefloor anthem for a whole generation, even when we didn't understand the lyrics. Plus, you get to see Li Saumet's booty... on the floor, tonight.


8.- BABASONICOS "Muñeco De Haiti": I'll always love Babasónicos and killer bees are hella cool, so yeah, this video also makes it into my Top-11. These guys always come up with the craziest, most original, concepts for their videos. Sometimes they work better than others, some are just too weird, but this one here is a lot of fun.


9.- CRIOLO "Fregues da Meia-Noite": Criolo is the best thing that came out from Brazil in a long time but I already made that statement and coerced you to download his album on a previous post so, I'll only say one word: sideboob.


10.- M.E.D. "Blaxican": Solid rhymes, Beats by Madlib, direction by Mochilla's Eric Coleman, what else do you need, shit is dope.


11.- CULTURA PROFETICA "Ilegal": As a general rule, mellow, romantic reggae bores the pants off me. I wouldn't give a video of this type of music a chance to convince me otherwise, unless, of course, it's packed with hot half-naked models. Plus, the video answers the long-standing question: can a dorky guy with a creepy-ass lonely dreadlock long enough to wipe his butt score with two hot girls at once? Only in his dreams.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

CAMPO-Bajofondo Presenta Campo (Bajofondo, 2011)

It's really frustrating when stuff like this happens. This album totally deserved to be on my Top-11 Latin But Cool Albums of 2011, in fact it could've easily been in the Top 3. But I didn't know it was already released until I this morning when I woke up thinking about "what ever happened to that Bajofondo side-project that seemed so promising?" and decided to go check online and yeah, it's already out, and it's been out for almost a month.
I'm a big fan of Bajofondo and when I saw that they had this new project, guided by Bajofondo's member Juan Campodónico, where they'd explore other South American sounds outside of the tango spectrum (meaning cumbia!!!) it blew my mind.
Ñu-cumbia produced with the world-renown impossibly high standards of Bajofondo, I mean, dude, it doesn't get much better than this, right? To be fair, only two of the ten album tracks fall into the ñu-cumbia category (and they both have lyrics in English!) but the rest is equally beautiful.
Now, the thing is, I can't wrap my head around how the fuck this ever happened? How come an album of this importance got away from me? Not that I'm claiming that I'm so important that they should've sent it to me personally before it came out, but hey, not only I'm a journalist who explicitly covers this type of music for more media than just this tiny blog, I've even already covered Campo on Remezcla. And more, I'm a fan of Campo and Bajofondo, and I follow them and I'm friend with their members personally on Facebook and I like spend most of my waking life online, I don't remember seeing anybody post anything, anywhere about this. And I'm friends with a lot of people who love Bajofondo, in fact whenever I go to a Bajofondo concert is like going to a friends reunion where every time I turn in any random direction I run into somebody else I know. What I'm trying to say is, if I didn't hear about this being released, I'm pretty sure 99% of my Bajofondo-loving friends out there don't even know it exists. So how is it even possible for this to happen? We're not talking about some obscure underground shit from back in the rancho here, we're talking about freaking Oscar-winning über-producer Gustavo Santaolalla.
Are they purposely playing the low profile card on this and expecting word-of-mouth to do all the promotional work? Or do they have the world's worst publicist ever? Dudes, call me, I can surely recommend you a good publicist.

Friday, December 9, 2011

TOP-11 LATIN BUT COOL DANCE SONGS OF 2011

Right here you have the 11 new songs that I played the most on my DJ sets during 2011. Only songs released during 2011 qualify for this list, though. Yeah I know that sucks for songs that were released by the end of last year and I didn't incorporate them into my set until 2011 and it also sucks for songs that were released too close to the making of this list because I didn't have time to play them much. Lesson for labels who care about this bullshit, release your shit earlier in the year. Whatever, it doesn't really matter. This is basically what you've been listening in my parties during 2011 and you'll notice most of it is released on vinyl, because that's the format I've been playing the most this year. Also, there's no particular mathematical formula for sorting the songs, basically from 1 to 10 they are sorted in the way they came up to my mind and 11, as usual, is the bonus track, the oddball that I add for my own amusement and yours too.



 
1.- DJ RAFF "Cocaina"(Nacional Records): I was actually playing this one already since 2010 because Raff sent me an early bootleg version of it way before the album came out in 2011. It's a very slow tempo song so it's hard to mix it in my regular set that's goes from 95 to 130bpm, but it's so damn good that I had to make an exception and just drop it, many, many times.


2.- EL DUSTY "K Le Pasa" (Man Recordings): Perfect timing! Dus sent me this one right when I was getting my set ready to go DJ as an opening act for Chilean cumbia/punk outfit Chico Trujillo. The song samples the classic Colombian cumbia "El Conductor" by Mike Laure that particularly in Chile is one of the most famous cumbias ever thanks to the cover done by who else but Chico Trujillo? So when I played this right before they went on stage, the whole club went bananas! Five months later the video came out and it became a hit among bloggers and it caught  the attention of the German label Man Recordings who re-released it with new mixing and great sound. 


3.- QUANTIC "Un Canto A Mi Tierra (J Boogie Remix)" (Tru Thoughts): This one took a while to grow on me. I never really dug the original version and then these remixes came out and I was like, yeah, cool, but I still didn't play it because I still thought that the girl's voice sounded too extravagant and that would weird people out and distract them from dancing. But then I heard many other DJ's started playing it and I decided to give it a chance, so yeah, I changed my mind. Big time.

 
4.- CAPTAIN PLANET "Dame Agua" (Bastard Jazz)
: An instant hit that became mandatory on my sets since the first time I dropped the needle on the record. I just wish more Latin funky stuff like this was available out there so I wouldn't have to scramble so hard to put together a decent set of cool Latin music. Thanks to Bastard Jazz for sending me a complimentary vinyl!


5.- DJ RAFA CAIVANO "The Salmon Cumbia" (independent): I never really got into the whole moombahton craze that flooded the blogosphere in 2011 with clones and disposable MP3s, mainly because I consider it a passing fad, also because it soon lost any connection to Latin music whatsoever becoming its own thing, and last but no least, because there's no vinyl available. This is one "cumbahton" track, however, I played a lot this past year. Released for free by one half of the ZZK duo Frikstailers, it's one of the only two or three incursions in that bizarre hybrid genre that I allowed myself to indulge in.



 












6.- DJ NEGRO "Demencia" (Bersa Discos): Argentina's DJ Negro always finds a way to sneak into my best of the year lists. This one was included in 2011's only vinyl release by local label Bersa Discos and it's really dope if you play it at 45rpm instead of 33 like the rest of the record. Unfortunately couldn't find any stream available online.


 











7.- JD TWITCH "Cumbia 4"(Let's  Get Lost): A British DJ with no previous connection to Latin music, jumps in the bandwagon of the ñu-cumbia movement, late, travels to Colombia and comes back with a bunch of classics that he re-edits making them DJ-friendly but without giving proper credit to any of the original artists in a total bootleg white-label format. Wanna hate on this post-colonial exploitation by the Europeans of South American music, be my guest. Me, I love every second of it and I play the shit out of this vinyl. "Cumbia 4" is actually an extended mix of Wganda Kenya's "Tifit Hayed" a track that I was playing a lot already in its original incarnation, but I'll never have to do that again, since this version kicks so much ass and makes the club go crazy like nothing else.
  
 

8.- EMPRESARIOS "Cumbia (Nickodemus Remix)" (Fort Knox Records): This one was available digitally before 2011 on a Fort Knox compilation and I even included it on one of my mixtapes, but it didn't become a staple on my DJ sets until 2011 because that's when the vinyl came out, so for what it matters, on The Hard Data, you don't become really official until you press it on wax. Anyway, I've been playing a lot of Empresarios stuff this year, some of their new stuff too, but this one is still my favorite from them.

 
9.- CEAESE "2011"(independent)
: New school Chilean hip-hop of the best kind. I DJ'd a few hip-hop in Spanish events this year and every time I included this track and it stole the show. It's also available for free and that's great, so if you still don't have it, this is your chance to catch up.



10.- TOY SELECTAH "Half Colombian Half Mexican Bandit" (Mad Decent): Similar to the Empresarios track, this one was available digitally for almost two years before the vinyl came out (very late) on Mad Decent records. So it wasn't until 2011 that I really started playing it in all my sets. Still, it hasn't gotten old.


11.- JUAN MAGAN "Bailando Por Ahí"(Sony Music): Because I still do mainstream Latin music parties and because I simply love the fact that this guy is from Spain and he broke into the game just a couple of years ago and all of a sudden took over and became the alpha-dog in the commercial dance music field previously dominated exclusively by Puerto Rican and Miami douchebags. I rather play ten back-to-back tracks by this guy than just one by Pitbull.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

TOP-11 LATIN BUT COOL ALBUMS OF 2011

I rarely if ever listen to full albums so compiling this list is always quite hard for me. As you know I'm a fan of the single format and as a DJ I rarely play more than one or two tracks from a record. The experience of listening to a whole album from beginning to end is almost completely foreign to me, or it would be if it wasn't for the fact that I'm married and my wife still listens to CDs, at home and in the car, so she influenced this top-11 list a lot. 


1.- DANAY SUAREZ-Polvo De La Humedad (independent): You probably won't see this album in too many other Best of 2011 lists and that's a pity, really. This is by far the album I listened to the most this year and that's because it's so fucking beautiful I can't get enough of it. Also because my wife fell under its spell too and plays it almost every day at home. If you follow me you know I have a thing for female rappers, but trust me, this goes beyond any fetish of mine, she's seriously that good.

2.- CRIOLO-Nó Na Orelha (Sterns Music): There's nothing that isn't perfect about this album. Absolute audible pleasure from beginning to end. I didn't know about Criolo until 2011 so it could also be listed as this year's greatest discovery. Criolo's debut album has everything I love, cool conscious hip-hop, afro-beat, samba, dub, jazz, classic arrangements, dope lyrics, great vocals, and it's even released on vinyl (only in Brazil though, but just knowing it's out there makes me happy). I could listen to this album on a constant loop without even being tempted to skip a track and I'd never get bored. If you still haven't checked this one out, go and download it from his own website, it's free!

3.- DJ RAFF-Latino & Proud (Nacional Records): Chile's DJ Raff has been my favorite Latin American DJ since the '90s so I was kinda frustrated that it took so long for the rest of the world to discover him. In 2011 Nacional Records finally released a DJ Raff record that compiles tracks from his last two or three releases and if you disregard the lame change of title (misguided marketing move, I say), the album is nothing short of amazing.

4.- BIO RITMO-La verdad (Electric Cowbell): For the first and maybe only time in history a salsa album makes it to the top-11 at The Hard Data awards. Granted is not really salsa in the sense most Latinos refer to salsa nowadays, but it's the type of salsa that if it was more the norm, it wouldn't annoy me at all to play it in my sets. I've been using this vinyl to warm up the dancefloor at pretty much all my sets this year and my wife's been playing the CD in the living room quite a bit too. So yeah, congrats to Bio-Ritmo for being the exception to the rule.

5.- ERIC BOBO & LATIN BITMAN-Welcome To The Ritmo Machine (Nacional Records): A  great idea. Of course, like in all albums conceived around collaborations, there are highs and lows, tracks that will please a crowd and disappoint others, simply because there's too much variety. But overall, it's some top notch production with some kick as percussion and if Nacional would dignify this release with a proper vinyl pressing, I'd be playing it a lot more, I'm sure about that. 

6.- JOAQUIN CLAUSSELL-Hammock House Africa Caribe (Fania): Another great idea for a DJ album: give the entire catalog of golden age Fania records to a house DJ and make a conceptual mixtape but make sure  that it avoids completely the cheesy salsa fusion clichés to focus on the shamanistic Afro-Caribbean atmospheres and hypnotic tribal rhythms. The CD box set is a collectible piece of art in itself, and somewhere out there vinyl discs of the individual remixed tracks is available too, but I didn't know that, I just found out when I googled it right now. Damn, I need to get that!  

7.- CHANCHA VIA CIRCUITO-Río Arriba (ZZK Records): The digital album came out in 2010 and many blogs included it in their best of the year lists last year. I didn't. For two reasons: I didn't get to listen to this album until early 2011 and it wasn't until 2011 that the album was released on vinyl and that's the format that rules around here. Anyway, the album's dope but it's too laid back and down-tempo for the dancefloor so it never makes it into my dance sets, but a few weeks ago I DJ'd at an art gallery opening and it totally made sense to play this shit, finally.

8.- SERGENT GARCIA-Una y Otra Vez (Cumbancha): I honestly didn't pay much attention to this one when it came out beyond the Li Saumet guest appearance. But then I interviewed the guy and he was mad cool and saw him live and had a great time and then my wife started playing the CD a lot at home and it ended up winning me. 

9.- DJ AFRO-Free (Nacional Records): Oops, I almost forgot this one came out! I love DJ Afro and I always play his previous solo album which was in fact a collection of housey remixes he did for other people. This one I got it, I listened to it, I liked it and then it somehow got lost amongst the infinite piles of digital rubbish of my hard-drive and I totally forgot to ever play it again. That wouldn't have happened if it was released on vinyl, you see Nacional? 


10.- TOMMY GUERRERO-Lifeboats and Follies (Galaxia Records): Once again it's my wife's fault that this album made it into the top-11. I would've totally forgotten about it, if it wasn't for her who kept it in rotation in the living room's CD player, which she basically controls (I mostly just listen to music on vinyl and my Ipod, don't have much love for CDs). It's jazzy, cool, laid back music that sound's great when you're having brunch on the weekends with home-made bloody marys. 

11.- ANA TIJOUX-La Bala (Oveja Negra/Nacional Records): OK, this one shouldn't be here. It should either be a lot closer to the top or in 2012's Best Album list. But as I mentioned on the review yesterday, I was having a really hard time trying to find 11 albums for this year's list and I needed to fill it in with something. So there it goes, as a sort of bonus at the end of the list and who knows, may be next year we'll have it listed again since it won't come out, officially in the US, until January 2012.

ANA TIJOUX-La Bala (Oveja Negra 2011/Nacional 2012)

Ana Tijoux's third official album as a solo artist is scheduled for release at late January in the US by Nacional Records. But here at The Hard Data, we are not willing to wait that long. And by we I mean I.
The album has been available for over a month in her homeland, Chile, and the first single "Shock" has been catching plenty of buzz online thanks to its video--even though the label tried hard to delay its global release by blocking it from viewers of certain countries (us). Am I supposed to sit around and wait patiently for a whole other month to listen to the new album by one of my all-time favorite artist (and good friend)? Hell no. Not in the global age when people have instant access to new stuff the moment it's released even if it's on the other side of the planet. We are not in the '80s anymore when we had no other choice but to wait six month for a European new album to reach the record stores down in our under-developed nations.
Still, I do understand Nacional's decision to kick back the release of the album a couple of months because they most probably didn't want it to compete for attention with the magnificent Ritmo Machine (two chilean hip-hop albums on the market at the same time can be too much to handle). But anyway, I already reviewed Ana's groundbreaking 1977 almost a year before it was released in the US (I'm pretty sure I was the very first one to post a review of that album on the world wide web) and I reviewed Ana's (back then still Anita) solo debut on the very first post of this blog even though it was never released in the US. And I also reviewed Ana's-former-band Makiza's releases in previous blogs and US-based magazines even though pretty much nobody else in this whole USA knew who she was back then.
So if one thing is clear, it is that The Hard Data doesn't follow the capricious territoriality and calendars of record labels. And The Hard Data has eternal love for Mademoiselle Tijoux, so do never expect an objective review of her music from here.
Anyway, La Bala (the bullet), that's the title of Ana's new album and no, she hasn't gone gangsta (don't let that collaboration with Sick Jacken deceive you). La Bala pretty much follows the same aesthetics successfully established by its predecesor with the same jazzy smoothness but with more live instrumental arrangements and less boom-bap and scratch. After experimenting for a while with different formats during most of the last decade, trying to find her voice, Ana wisely decided on 1977 to go back to her essence, to what she knew best, to what had set her apart in her beginnings with Makiza: smooth, introspective, feminine, conscious rap with a tiny bit of singing here and there. The result was surprisingly successful, and the world fell in love with Chile's best kept secret, and Ana pretty much erased from her curriculum and repertoire all that middle-age of her career where she flirted with rock, dance and pop. La Bala shows us exactly that, the same Ana from 1977 who's very proud and comfortable with her b-girl stance and doesn't need to experiment any more with other styles and markets because she had finally found her niche and her voice.
And don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that La Bala is 1977 all over again, by any means. It is indeed a deeper, more mature exploration on that same direction and it sounds a lot better, with more refined production and top-notch mixing and mastering. So if you discovered and fell in love with her with 1977 you're gonna love La Bala from beginning to end.
One thing that struck me as odd is that after the success of 1977 and the partial crossover of Ana to the Anglo hip-hop world, with all the contacts she made touring all over the US during the last couple of years, she decided to leave the whole production of the album to Chileans and limit the guest appearances to a handful of Latin American artists (Jorge Drexler from Uruguay, Los Aldeanos from Cuba, Curumin from Brazil) when she could've easily landed some major collaboration with renown US rappers and producers who would certainly grant her more exposure among the hip-hop heads who don't usually pay attention to foreign stuff. That was a conscious decision she made, and one to be respected. Maybe it's not the right time for a full crossover yet and she's saving those cards for a later game, maybe she'll never do it. I asked her about this backstage at Outside Lands and she said something like "there's so much superb talent in Chile to showcase, no need to go anywhere else."
Anyway, they say Nacional Records will release it on January 31st, at least that's what I read somewhere online (I really hope they don't delay it even more). I still have to decide if this counts as an entry for the Best of 2011 record list on the annual Hard Data Awards but I'm leaning towards a yes because I don't think there have been enough good albums this year to fill my Top-11.