Cumbia connection

Cumbia connection

By Alejandro Pérez

On stage, Aniceto Molina and his group are the embodiment of cool, what with their non-stop energy and nonchalant demeanor. This vibe translates well to his recorded music: rhythmic, fast-paced cumbias characterized by his heavy, intense accordion playing and the sound of the bombardino, a high-pitched brass instrument resembling a tiny tuba, which plays off of Molina's melodies and accompanies his call-and-response wordplay.

Como Siempre... "Echando Pa'Lante," his 40th disc (and first on San Antonio's A.R.C. Discos), features a dozen examples of his artistry in action, from standout cumbias like the opening trio "El Negro Altanero," "La Cumbia del Portal," and "Cumbia con Sabor," to merengue-flavored numbers like "Carnaval de los Carolinas" and "El Garrobero." "Teresa," the album's first single, is a sweet, simple love song, a kind of audio valentine for the young at heart. The same upbeat spirit drives "Canta Como Yo," an invitation to sing along with Molina and share in his love of the music.

Como siempre...
"Echando Pa'lante"

Aniceto Molina
(A.R.C. Discos)

Cumbia de mi Gente
Fuerza Colombiana
(Joey Records)
Fuerza Colombiana, it appears, did just that. Raul Torres, a former Molina bandmate, put the group together and serves as its musical spearhead. Despite this direct connection to one of the genre's heavyweights, Fuerza Colombiana never simply mirrors its mentor, thanks in part to an expanded horn section.

Still, the best tracks on Cumbia de mi Gente, the band's release on locally-based Joey Records, are the established classics, like "Prende la Vela" and the five-minute medley in which the group runs through Molina's signature "La Cumbia Sanpuesana," weaves its way around "Pollera Colorada," and finishes with the anti-AA "Banda Borracha."

But just when Fuerza Colombiana is getting started, the album winds down, after a too-brief 10 songs in 30 minutes. It adds up to an appealing appetizer for meatier entrées to come.

Alejandro Pérez

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