Locos por Juana

Expressing the band's desire for widespread appeal, Locos por Juana's long-awaited second CD, appropriately titled Música P'al Pueblo (Music for the People), begins with a medley of old LPJ favorites blasting across the airwaves every time the dial hits a new station. It's a realistic aspiration. LPJ's festive songs are such a crazy mix of cumbia, rap, ragamuffin, funk, dub, reggae, and ska that it's hard to decipher where one genre ends and the other begins, making the group an authentic reflection of Miami's diverse Hispanic and Caribbean community.

Música P'al Pueblo offers passionate mood swings as it moves between a feisty blend of hip-hop and salsa to slow, easy skanking reggae numbers. The fusion of ragamuffin, reggae, and cumbia on "Camina Pa'Lante," which is ghetto-speak for "walk forward," represents the forward-thinking sound of Miami's Latin funk crowd, while "Adoro" pays homage to old-school Hispanic crooning before taking on its own revved-up identity.

LPJ also does a fine job of alternating between seduction and serious social concerns. The funky horn section on "She's the Devil" helps drive home sassy catcalls to gals brazenly flaunting their sex appeal on the dance floor. On the songs "Colombia" and "911," LPJ members lament how civil strife and international terrorism are destroying the world's faith in humanity.

The urban hip-hop packaging makes Música P'al Pueblo culturally accessible to a broad American audience. Even when listeners don't understand LPJ's fast-paced bilingual rap, its messages are implied by the varied rhythms, so the best way to interpret its songs is by letting your body follow the groove.

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Julienne Gage is a Miami-based anthropologist and journalist who has worked as a reporter and as a civil rights and international aid communications specialist in the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe. Her fieldwork has exposed her to many forms of cultural expression, and during her master’s in anthropology, she studied at Cuba’s Center for the Investigation and Development of Cuban Music.
Contact: Julienne Gage

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