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Dance El Ritmo

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2001 1 Jan
Dance El Ritmo

With the explosive success of Latin music on the pop charts these days, it should be noted there are a few Christian labels that have been releasing Christ-centered Latin pop for a while now. One Voice Records is one such label, having released Spanish-language Christian music for the last 17 years and now launching an all-out musical assault focused on the English-speaking market. Phase one is the introduction of Freddie Colloca (pronounced "ko-yo-ka"), who might be called the Christian alternative to Ricky Martin or Enrique Iglesias … or at least one who has such potential.

Dance El Ritmo (Dance the Rhythm) is the English-language version of the recently Dove-nominated Spanish-language album Mas que un Sentimento. The title track invites listeners to be caught up in the rhythm of God's plans for our lives. It's one of the few tracks on the album that possesses mainstream quality. Some tracks are more inspirational in flavor, but manage to color the song with Latin touches. One example is "In Your Eyes," a pleasant ballad featuring a cool guitar solo reminiscent of some of Carlos Santana's work. Then there are some especially cheesy tracks. There's a peppy Caribbean version of the old hymn "At the Cross," which is strangely lame and catchy at the same time. Such is the dichotomy of this album.

Unlike several past Christian artists who have simply re- recorded their albums in Spanish to reach that demographic, this is truly Latin pop. Colored with Latin guitars and percussion throughout, the catchy dance beats and melodies are infectious … at least when they don't feel five years behind the times. It's a generally well-produced album (thanks to Alvaro Lopez, whose own album is also releasing to the English market), though in the future I hope they can make Freddie's music as cutting edge as the big mainstream artists. Carman's recent foray into Latin music, for example, was very current in its Latin dance-pop sound. Freddie's album, on the other hand, is like a second-rate inspirational album with a Latin flavor—and occasional tracks that feel like first-rate Christian Latin pop. Again, it's not a bad album—at times it's downright impressive. But cheesy synthesizer bells don't work on the same album as upbeat Latin dance tracks. The quality will have to get better to attract and hold the attention of Ricky, Enrique, and Christina Aguilera fans. Until then, Latin music fans need wait no longer for their Christian alternative. Freddie Colloca proves there's some great potential in this genre.

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