|Singer Alberto Alberto has gathered together some of the best Latin musicians in Toronto for his début CD, Traigo de Todo, along with Grammy award-winning musician, composer and arranger Joaquin Betancourt to provide the musical direction and write the arrangements. All of the pieces are originals, written by Alberto Alberto.
Traigo de Todo is obviously a labour of love with its heartfelt songs and danceable rhythms a love of music, of singing, of life, people and even the love of this transplanted Cuban for his new city of Toronto. The first song however is a celebration of Cuba, its weather, women and of course its music. Alberto sings here of the land of the son montuno, adding a dash of rap to the Cuban style mix.
The title tune, Traigo de Todo has that "the world is tremendous-its great to be alive feel and puts me in mind of Adalberto Alvarez y su Son. Albertos singing and the interplay with the voices of the coro is so rhythmic it will make your body sway. It belongs firmly to the tradition of the Cuban soneros and even features a tres. Add to that a healthy dose of exciting percussion and brass and you have a tune to tempt even the most reticent of dancers and delight all others with enough going on musically for those who would rather just listen. Nada Que Ver is also a richly layered piece, one of my favourites on the CD and great for dancing. Dime Luna has the classic piano opening of many popular Cuban songs, a nice fat bass and the kind of chorus that can plant itself in your head for the day.
Concédeme un Milagrito is interesting for its Brazilian flavour with what sounds like an accordion but must be a keyboard as there is no accordion credit in the booklet. (Could there be an undeclared Gordon Sheard on the CD?) No Quiero Estar Solo is a solid romantic song with more of a pop flavour and even a pinch of soul and R&B influence in the intro to my ear. It also features some very fine piano.
Toronto is the first song I have heard that speaks of the vibrant Latin music scene in Toronto. Its about time someone sang about that. It starts with words along the lines of no city compares with the grace of Caracas or the magic of Habana, but Toronto has something I like, something that enchants me. Alberto sings of the various clubs one might want to visit on a Friday night in Toronto such as Lula, Bamboo, Babalu, Revival or Cervejaria where you might want to stop a while and listen to Son Aché (a Toronto Latin band). Albertos voice soars here against a chorus of de Toronto soy (I am from Toronto). Its Cuban salsa/timba with a little reggaeton tossed in and represents well the mixed flavours of Latin music in Toronto. Tù, Un Hotel y Yo returns us to Havana and is a quintessential modern Cuban salsa or timba perhaps the boundaries blur.
The closing tune, "Amanda", is a touching poetic ballad Alberto wrote for his daughter. All of the lyrics to the songs are printed in the booklet that accompanies the CD (in Spanish only) as well as an entire page of thanks to friends and family.
The CD is well produced, in fact, almost a little too smooth. All in all, Traigo de Todo is an excellent début CD from the charismatic Alberto Alberto. To my ear, it stands up well with the best of the genre coming out of Cuba.
reviewed by Joyce Corbett May 2007