The Bottom Line
Salsa dura, 'hard or hardcore' salsa, is often also called salsa gorda, which means 'fat' salsa. La Excelencia is a young, New York-based salsa band and their debut album, Salsa Con Conciencia is seriously 'phat'. With a full, deep, brassy sound and strong vocals, this is the kind of salsa that drives feet to perform perfect steps rather than trying to adjust memorized steps to fit the song. A knockout!
- Dynamite modern rhythmic, pounding salsa dura
- Every track a winner, approaching a perfect salsa album
- None, and I'm not being generous
- Debut album by New York's La Excelencia
- 11 tracks of irrepressible salsa dura
- Released by Handle With Care Productions
Guide Review - La Excelencia - CD Review of Salsa Con Conciencia by La Excelencia
Percussionists Jose Vazquez-Cofresi and Julian Silva formed New York's La Excelencia in 2001; Salsa con Conciencia is their debut album and what a debut it is!
Their goal is to appeal to more than old-school salsa aficionados; they wanted to grab the attention of younger salseros and create songs that are both danceble and contain meaningful lyrics that describe and complement urban life in the 2nd millenium. Thus we get "Salsa With A Conscience" and there's little doubt that they've succeeded on both counts. Think of the rhythmic dynamism of salsa crossed with the knock-out lyrics of urban corrido and you'll start getting an idea of what you get with this CD.
The opening track, "La Lucha" is heavy on hot, snarling trombones, reminiscent of early Willie Colon, with lyrics straight from the barrio. The band reprises the track at the close of the album with a hip hop version performed by guest Shanny. "Sentencia" pounds the floor with no-nonsense salsa rhythms while the sound of screeching tires and sirens illustrate the story line. "La Salsa y el Guaguanco" is dancing dynamite celebrating salsa's African roots with strong, in-your-face vocals by both lead vocalist Edwin Perez and the back-up singers. "El Loco" drives me crazy and straight to the dance floor with rhythmic breaks and masterful percussion.
If you love hot, rhythmic, danceable salsa and only have enough money for one album this year, buy this one!