Chichi Peralta is from the Dominican Republic, but unlike other Dominican vocalists, he doesn`t sing merengue or bachata exclusively. Instead, merengue and bachata are only two weapons in the arsenal of the Latin pop/tropical singer, whose second Caiman album, De Vuelta Al Barrio, incorporates a variety of Latin elements. The charismatic Peralta isn`t the least bit predictable, and you never know from one song to the next what Latin styles he`s going to draw on. Dominican music (namely merengue and bachata) and Afro-Cuban salsa are perhaps the strongest influences on Peralta`s Latin pop, but during this CD, he also incorporates everything from Puerto Rican plena to Colombian vallenato (Columbia`s most prominent alternative to the famous cumbia rhythm) to Brazilian samba. One hears traces of Rio de Janeiro-ish Brazilian pop on "Desengaño," whereas "La Morena" is closer to the Afro-Brazilian/Bahian axé style of northeastern Brazil. At times, Peralta brings non-Latin elements to his Latin pop/tropical foundation; African pop is a definite influence on Peralta, and the singer manages to fuse Latin pop with Indian raga on "El Beso de Judas." Meanwhile, "Baila Venga Chichi" unites merengue with hip-hop. De Vuelta Al Barrio is recommended to anyone who likes Latin pop that is ambitious and forward-thinking.
16. Debajo Del Agua
Dominican singer-percussionist Chichi Peralta makes De Vuelta al Barrio an international affair. Recorded in the Dominican Republic and England and partially mixed in the U.S., this album also reflects an understanding of world rhythms that allows Peralta to mix and match effortlessly and convincingly. De Vuelta is most successful when Peralta takes the biggest chances: "El Beso de Judas" is a four-minute meld of psychedelic guitar effects, Brazilian percussion, sitar, and droning chant that would bring a smile to Os Mutantes` faces, while "Baila Venga Chichi" is handily and intensely rapped. A few tracks get bogged down in lite-radio clichés, but moments like the child`s giggles at the end of "Hasta Que Lo Pierde" underscore the record`s status as an intriguingly personal addition to the Latin-pop canon.