Putumayo Presents: Café Latino
Putumayo World Music/Ode
Here we have Putumayo returning to its roots with a new Latin American collection as part of the celebrations for the label’s 20th Anniversary. A selection of contemporary Latin American and Spanish songwriters (including Jehro, Roberto Poveda, Amanda Martinez and Sacha Nairobi) contribute a set of lush but determinedly down-tempo pieces. There’s not a great amount of excitement here – in fact so often it’s the same groove, but as background music, as a café-styled selection, as a reminder of the aims of the series, it has its merits.
Salima, the opening track (from Jehro) sets the tone and is ‘nice’ – that being the perfect word for much of what you’ll hear here. Martinez’s Alcoba Azul is light and breezy and kinda lovely too but then it’s a thick soup of lukewarm charm. Alex Cuba Band offer another highlight with Café Havana and then the closing A Primera Vista from Goergina Hassan is a sweet, sincere ballad.
Not Putumayo’s finest work – but perfectly innocuous; that’s damning with faint praise. Obviously.