The words, “pure” and “criollo” seem to cancel out each other as each is mutually exclusive. They are not even the same parts of speech and “criollo” is a word so loaded with meaning that it is a whole different culture and begs a whole different speech altogether. Somehow, however, Roberto López not only gets them into the same room, but in fact speaks – no, ‘sings’ them together on Criollo Electrik in what has come to be a language all his own; a sort of Esperanto that can only be understood in song because the rhythms of the language run so deep that to experience them you have to awaken that part of your heart that has been asleep since birth. And maddeningly impossible as that is, it is also true.
Listening to Criollo Electrik is to be first struck by the fact that it does incorporate words to be – not sung so much as chanted. Somehow, to say that this is “African” begins to sound dismissive even before the word is uttered. That word, after all, has been given a continent, it is true, but being African is about all of our collective humanness. This “humanness” is another aspect of the record, Criollo Electrik. It is vibration before it becomes music, so that when it does become music, played principally on guitar and bass, with keyboards and all manner of drums. However, the vibrations – each throb actually – comes from the unintelligible (to us) syllable sung by Adan de Dios, Emelina Reyes Salgado and Teresa Reyes Salgado.
In our not-so-fantasy world where pithecanthropus erectus first walked the earth, the so-called human voice became the first instrument. But for communicating across great distances the drumbeat was and still is the only way to “say” or “sing” and always to celebrate something. It is what makes the body move across these great distances – the news of marriage and birth, and eventually death too. But thanks to technology and to the fact that while Roberto López is sitting somewhere having the last laugh at the unbelievers among us we are experiencing not only his songs on this CD Criollo Electrik is as real as when Roberto López first conceived of the music, this singing “pure criollo Esperanto” on the CD with perfect dozen pieces which he chose most wisely to entitle Criollo Electrik.
Track list: 1: María La Baja; 2: Oye Candelaria; 3: Cumbiero; 4: Calentao; 5: Las Aguas; 6: Agüé; 7: Libertad; 8: Chambacú; 9: Hay Pescao? 10: Baila; 11: Guayabita; 12: Quiebra-Canto.
Personnel: Roberto López: guitars, bass, keyboards, tambora and llamador, recording engineer; Momo Soro: drums; Vovô Saramanda: percussion; Vocals by Adan de Dios, Emelina Reyes Salgado “la Burgos” and Teresa Reyes Salgado “la Mella”; Ivan Duran: producer and mixing; Sabino Cassiani Torres: additional recording; Ryan Morey: mastering.
Label: Stonetree Music
Run time: 39:44